Thursday, December 6, 2012

Raiden Legacy [DotEmu] - $4.99

DotEmu is definitely up there on our list of developers who do an amazing job with porting games to the iOS. R-Type, King of Fighters, The Last Express, Metal Slug 3, Blazing Star, I could pretty much list their entire catalogue when talking about great ports available in the AppStore. Their most recent release is no exception, and this time around they’ve brought another classic to the touch screen with Raiden Legacy. Not only have they ported over this must-own shmup, but DotEmu has also included 3 other Raiden titles in the package; Fighters, Fighters 2 and Fighters Jet. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Radien, now is a great chance to get acquainted. Not only will you be able to see where quite a few other shmups were influenced from, but you’ll be exposed to a hardcore shmup on par difficulty wise with bullet-hell titles from the likes of Cave and Doragon (Sunny Tam), as well as many other titles from non-iOS development studios. It’s always great when games can still hold their own after 20+ years. 
Not only does Raiden feature stages packed full of power-ups, loads of enemies and quick action like just about every other shmup out there, but it also incorporates some great features that help it to stand out, like bullet grazing, quite a few on-screen projectiles (at the time of it’s original release, it was known for having ‘loads’ of bullets, and even today is considered one of the first steps that brought shmups towards the bullet-hell subgenre) and a nice scoring system that includes the bullet grazing along with medals, two ‘secret’ items; the Fairy and Miclus, and end of level bonuses that multiply your remaining bombs by the number of medals you’ve picked up in the stage. There are also other little features that make the gameplay more interesting; various enemy projectiles, some of which can be ‘absorbed’ by your own shots, quick moving ‘grouped’ projectiles reminiscent of bullet curtain shots and a larger-than-the-screen play area that you can use to your advantage, like being able to avoid enemies as enemies that are not on-screen can not shoot at you.

Along with the original Raiden, Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters 2 and Raiden Fighters Jet are also included, all of which feature some of the same great mechanics as the original, including bullet grazing, medals and more. One of the major differences, aside from the graphical improvements, is the addition of numerous ships, each with their own strengths and weaknesses as well as some enhancements to the scoring system, charged shots and ‘slave’ ships that have a direct influence on the medal system. Needless to say, once you learn the ins and outs of each games scoring, they become a lot more difficult, as well as raise up the replay value and general fun factor of the games. 

Each of the 4 titles have the same game options. If you’re familiar with DotEmu’s previous releases, you pretty much know what to expect. You can change the game’s volume level (though you can’t change the sound effects and music volumes separately), turn video filtering off or on allowing for you to experience the games in their original pixilated graphics, or more ‘modern’ smoothed out graphics and switch the aspect ration between ‘original’, which puts a ‘dead zone’ at the bottom of the screen, and ‘full-screen’ which takes up the entire screen. You’re also able to adjust the controls by placing them anywhere on the screen, turn auto-fire on or off and switch between the original arcade ship speeds, adding quite a bit to the strategy and ship selection decisions, and fast touch, allowing for near 1:1 movement and speed. 
Along with the ‘typical’ DotEmu game options, you’re also able to choose between two difficulties for each game, Medium and Hard as well as play through the original Arcade Mode, Mission Mode which lets you play through single levels that you’ve unlocked by playing through Arcade Mode, and Training Mode, which gives you a chance to practice levels with unlimited continues. 

Of course, an iOS shmup isn’t really complete unless you’re able to chase other players high-scores. Raiden Legacy is supported by GameCenter and features 8 Leaderboards; two for each of the 4 titles, split up by difficulty. Along with the 8 Leaderboards there’s also 15 Achievements, most of which will take some pretty slick gaming to unlock. Along with all of this, Raiden Legacy also features iCade compatibility, giving players the opportunity to have an almost exact copy of the original arcade experience. 
There is one minor issue that I’ve run into while playing; starting the game back up after pausing it will give you a black screen for a second. During this second, the game has already started which can result in some very unnecessary deaths. But aside from this, Raiden Legacy is a near perfect port, as you might have expected coming from DotEmu. 

Priced at $4.99 and being Universal, Raiden Legacy is an incredible deal. If you told me years ago that I would be able to own Raiden for a mere 5 quarters, I would have laughed in your face. Shmup fans looking for a hardcore gaming experience up to par with the bullet hell titles available on the iOS would be doing themselves a favor picking this collection up. However, if you’re not very good at shmups, you should keep in mind that the Easy difficulty has been taken out of each of these games, so there just might be more frustration in here than you’re willing to deal with. With that in mind, it should also be said that DotEmu has done an incredible job in the past with adding tweaks and features to games based on customer and gamer feedback, so there is a real possibility that Easy could very well be added to the games in the future, so you just might want to keep an eye on the updates for Raiden Legacy in the future. Personally, I’ve got to put Raiden Legacy in my top 10 favorite iOS games of 2012, and it’s definitely a must-own for shmup lovers. 


Seems too different and colorful graphical images which you have provided in your blog.

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