Thursday, January 28, 2010

Video game number fifteen: Ikaruga

Game review number fifteen in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Ikaruga".

I need to catch up, it being January 28th and me only having 14 games completed. That's 14 games shy of being on target for the year, which isn't good at all. If I'm going to do this, I have to stop playing games I'm really interested in trying (and playing for hours and hours at a time) and instead start casually trying more games.

I decided to pop in Ikaruga. This is one of those crazy, Japanese space ship shoot-em-up games. It reminded me a lot of playing Silpheed on my Sega back in the day, and after a quick search of Wikipedia, it turns out this was done by the same developers.

I probably plunked a lot of quarters down on games like this in the arcades back in the 80's and 90's, and I never got any better at them. I swear, they're designed to kill you quicker than almost any type of game out there. You pilot a ship, then 10 or 20 enemies shows up on the stage and each of them fires about 100 bullets at you. I'm sure you could get really good at these games if you wanted to play them over and over again until you memorized the fire patterns, but I never did.

This game features something a little unique...you can "reverse the polarity" of your ship. Basically, your ship starts out blue, and fires blue bullets. You can absorb any blue enemy bullets that head your way, which is a neat trick. Of course, there are also red ships, that fire red bullets. In order to absorb their shots, you must quickly press the "B" button to reverse your polarity. At first, the ships come in straight lines of blue, then red....to teach you how to do this. Very quickly, they start ganking you in giant intermixed squadrons.

There's a big boss at the end of each level. The first one took me 3 or 4 tries. On Easy.

That's how hard this fucking game is.

Overall Score: 2 out of 10. For the genre, it's decent...but I've never had much of a stomach for the genre. Give me the good old days of Galaxian and I'll be happy.
Overall Gank factor: 11 out of 10. There are more bullets on the screen than you can count...and they're all coming at you. I prefer my video game odds to be the other way around. :-)

Achievement Unlocked: Just one, for the very first level. I was lucky to get that far.

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