Ikaruga Reader Review
Ikaruga is completely unapologetic in its execution. Everything from its cruel and punishing difficulty to the maelstrom of fire hurling towards you, is only offset by your own skill. I would not have it any other way.
Original a 2001, Japan only, arcade release, Ikaruga's unique twist on top down, 2d shooting is acclaimed as some of the best in it class. Ports also made it to the Dreamcast in 2002 and then to the Gamecube in 2003. Now it is the Xbox Live Arcade's turn to have its shot, so what is new?
Not much really. However this is not a bad thing. Ikaruga's main mechanic is the ability to reserve the crafts polarity to absorb and fire bullets of the same type. There are two types, black and white, with each type doing an increased amount of damage against the other type. In other terms, black bullets damage white enemies better that white bullets do, and vice versa. Simple in theory, however theory is a traitorous thing and this allows the designs to input some truly devious puzzles to pilot your way through. It also provide a surprising amount of tactics to the game, giving the player the option to go all out offence, whilst dodging all the incoming fire, or absorb and play it defensively. All this is coated with a superb synthetic sound track, creating a truly satisfying experience when you finally kick that boss in the shins.
With the 360 version, the visuals have been cleaned, with a sharper, brighter presentation. The games set pieces now look more stunning, creating that 'OH, damn!' from start to finish (or whenever you die.) Online co-op is included for up to two players, however beware: at time of writing, there have been numerous complaints about lag over the Live service. Despite all of this, the real jewel of this version is the replay function. This option allows players to upload replays of there game to Live (similar to Halo 3's file sharing,) for others to watch and gorp at the players skill, knowledge and manual dexterity.
Anyone that likes shooters should try this one out. Simple mechanics and gameplay combine with a difficulty that punishes and much as it rewards, creates one hell of a shooting experience that needs to be played to be believed.
9 / 10