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April 15th 2003


Ikaruga is Treasure’s quasi-sequel to Radiant Silvergun (Treasure’s claim to fame), but is more akin to another one of their efforts: Silhouette Mirage. In a nutshell, Ikaruga can be described as a gorgeous, fast-paced, arcade-style, top-down shooter where you control an airship that must destroy and evade enemy turrets and gigantic machines. Nothing out of the ordinary here then, right? Well, since the gaming market is no longer saturated with countless clones of this genre, Ikaruga will come off as a breath of fresh air in-between your 3D romps.

The first thing that’ll get your attention about this game is its shear beauty. Ikaruga sports some of the most impressive graphics seen in a shooter to date -- everything is gorgeous, from the lush scenery and weapon effects, to the enemy models and especially the gigantic bosses! The best part is that it’s all displayed without a hint of frame-rate issues, even when the action is extremely busy and fast-paced (which is constantly!).

One area where Ikaruga is different from the typical shooter is in the audio department. Normally a techno or heavy rock soundtrack is pretty commonplace, but in Ikaruga we’re treated with a fully orchestrated soundtrack instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either because Treasure seems to have been able to achieve the desired mood and atmosphere with this style of music just as well, if not more so, than could have been done with a techno or rock soundtrack.

Word on the Street
Arcade gamers have been enjoying Ikaruga for over a year now, and they have been anticipating its home version for just as long so they don’t have to beg for quarters to fulfill their daily Ikaruga fix. There’s not too many top-down shooters out there and even fewer that can measure up to Ikaruga. This game isn’t getting a lot of publicity however, so there’s a good chance that it will slip by unnoticed as a sleeper hit.

From the Horse’s Mouth
The story originates in the land of Horai, which used to be just a small island nation. But several years ago, one of the most powerful men of the nation, Tenro Horai, discovered the Ubusunagami Okinokai – the Power of the Gods. This energy emanated from an object he dig up from deep within the earth and gave him powers of unimaginable strength. Soon after, Tenro and his followers, who called themselves the “Divine Ones,” began to conquer other nations one by one. They saw themselves as “The Chosen People” and carried out their conquests in, “the name of peace."

Meanwhile, a freedom federation called Tenkaku emerged to challenge the Horai. By using fighter planes called Hitekkai, they fought with the hope of freeing the world from the Horai’s conquests. But all their efforts were in vain. They lost battle after battle and were eventually wiped out completely. Miraculously, however, one young man survived. His name was Shinra.

Refusing to accept defeat, Shinra set off again for Horai to wage another battle. This time he was shot down. He crashed in a remote village called Ikaruga, inhabited by a group of aged people who had been forced into exile there as by Horai’s conquests.

Kazamori, the village leader, and the other inhabitants pulled Shinra from the wreckage of his plane and nursed him back to health.

Once he regained his strength, Shinra announced that he was determined to continue battling Horai. The villagers entrusted him with a fighter plane that they had built themselves called the Ikaruga.

Players take control of Shinra in the Ikaruga as he battles the Horai.

  • 18 different fighting stages
  • Vertical and horizontal play options
  • An extensive fable told throughout the game
  • A variety of strategies, including the advanced “Bullet Eater” technique
  • Massive points awarded for orderly “chain attacks”
  • A slow-motion gameplay option
  • Fight the evil Horai with a friend in two-player co-op mode

To say I am highly anticipating this game would be an understatement. It’s not just because I’m excited about the revival of a classic genre of gaming on the current console hardware, but the game itself is shaping up really great as well. If you’re a fan of the genre, you should be anticipating this game just as much as I. If you’re not, I suggest you don’t dismiss it as just another game.



word on the street

press release notes


Staff Avatar Jeff Pearson
Staff Profile | Email
"I've given all I can, but it's never enough."

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