Ikaruga

Info

Treasures award-winning scrolling shooter brings a tactical twist to the genre with its yin-and-yang gameplay: the colour of your ship determines your effect on enemies. In this polarized system, enemy ships and their bullets are one of two colours. Attack an enemy of the opposite colour for extra damage. Absorb enemy fire of the same colour as your ship, and use the energy for a special attack. Destroy multiple enemies of the same colour to score a chaining bonus.

Number of Players: 2
Released: 2008

Review

At Ikaruga’s core is duality. Read what you want in to the existentialism of flipping between light and dark or the battle between good and evil, but there’s no denying that the games mechanic and frenetic pace is as fun today as it has ever been.

Piloting your craft through the scrolling stages, enemies come in either black or white and the same for their weapons fire. With a press of a button your ship is able to flip between its own black and white variations and absorb projectiles of the same shade. These alternating patterns mean the eyeball melting, bullet-hell style gameplay is given an extra level of depth and the player is required to be just as quick with the colour flipping and manoeuvring as they are with the fire button. With a frantic pace that never falters, each level becomes more and more elaborate and challenging as the game progress. Ikaruga may only have five stages but there is no denying that, with its waves of enemies and massive bosses, this is more than enough.

As a HD conversion, Ikaruga on XBLA looks lovely, colourful and crisp. Special mention also needs to be given to the games classic soundtrack which remains just as wonderful as the first time you heard it. And if this is the first time you’ve heard it, then it’ll truly become stuck in your brain for the longest time.

The Live Arcade game may not be the complete collectors package, lacking a lot of the additional filler features for the Dreamcast and Gamecube version, no doubt to cater for the size limit for Live Arcade games. However all the essential functions and modes are there. Local co-op play is present and there are also practice modes available for each level to perfect your skills and attack patterns. It also has the ability to download ghost data from Xbox Live to watch your friend’s progress or simply marvel at some the amazing skills on display by the veterans at the top of the leader board. For the hardcore crowd the game also features a TATE mode, but unless you have the specialist kit the risk of accidentally dropping your expensive TV probably isn’t worth the risk of going all out to try and emulate that Arcade feeling.

Ikaruga is widely touted as a classic and rightly so. Long time fans will delight in having the game at their finger tips on a current generation machine. Those who weren’t lucky enough to play the game in its previous incarnations will find it the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.