Raiden is one of those names that is synonymous with Shmups, much like R-Type, Gradius and 19-42. This long running series has been churning out games for years and only a few years back we saw Raiden V. Step back in time with me for a bit, bring a fairy and dodge some bullets, Raiden 4 X Mikado remix has dropped on Switch.
If you’re new to Raiden and shmups pull up a stool, I’m putting on a class, everyone else you already know about most of the game so I’ll shout you back in when ready.
Raiden IV released originally on the X Box 360 back in 2007, while it pleased the bullet dodgers and high score chasers somewhat, it wasn’t the most robust of titles, had extra ships tied to DLC and the mainstream shunned it, not a big success by any stretch of the imagination.
Raiden IV received a free update and got released on Steam and PlayStation 3 as Raiden IV Overkill. The game got extra levels, the choice of 3 playable ships, balance tweaks, replay and an extensive gallery and Overkill mode which is a score chaser’s wet dream.
Shmup Squad can come back in the room now, Raiden IV X Mikado remix is now upon us and is a lovely enhanced port of Overkill with the assistance of Game Centre Mikado and one of my personal favourite Mangakas Rensuke Oshikiri of Hi-Score Girl fame.
Game Centre Mikado is an independent chain of arcades throughout Japan, funnily enough they actually assisted in the creation of the Hi-Score Girl anime series and are the beating heart of the retro gaming scene in Japan, something Raiden and Shmups are generally boxed in with.
Visually Raiden IV X Mikado remix is a nice looking Shmup that trends the line between modern life and sci fi, the stage designs are varied ship designs distinct. The explosions are crisp and vibrant and the bullets are clear and defined, this extends to both docked and handheld and is one of the best examples that art direction and functionality is timeless.
Of course being a Shmup it obviously has quirks in terms of display, standard features borders which can be changed and are thankfully not quite as busy as the ones in Raiden V. Fortunately it has the life saving TATE mode which works so well in handheld, didn’t have chance to try it in docked because I’m not sure the wife would have appreciated me flipping the TV on its side!.
Sound is where the bulk of the extra content lies in this package, the Mikado part of this remix is a completely new soundtrack with artists including Daisuke Matsumoto of CAVE fame and HEAVY METAL RAIDEN. Sound effects give that awesome arcade feedback making you want to rack up the Hi-Score and have “just one more go” and either soundtrack slaps hard enough for them to work their way into your mind and playlists for weeks to come following.
Obviously when it comes to Shmups and the arcade culture crew it’s all about gameplay & you know Raiden is always ready to steal your money and make you beg for more. Raiden IV X Mikado remix has more modes for you to shoot, dodge and collect power ups than you could need.
- Boss Rush
- Score Attack
- Additional mode
These modes compliment the additional content such as Gallery, replays and World Leaderboards.
Arcade is the standard mode that was released shockingly in the arcades and on the original 360 release, this features 5 stages, 10 if you choose the original but these are the first 5 just tougher with different enemy placements. Scoring here is done by killing foes as quickly as possible.
Additional follows the same format as the above mode with the inclusion of extra enemies to take down and 2 extra stages. Scoring system remains the same as the above.
Overkill was the updated mode which features different placements, the two additional levels from above and a brand new scoring system which changes the way the game is played dramatically. Rather than rewarding quick kills of popcorn enemies, bigger enemies now stay on screen and you earn your bonuses for causing extra damage after you’ve killed them, “Overkill” for massive point, one for the Hi-Score chasers.
Score Attack is a tough 1 credit run of the game using the Overkill scoring system, it also doubles up as a practice mode to help you really nail the tougher sections.
Boss Rush I’m sure you know what this, unlocked by completing the game in any mode and allows you to run the gauntlet against the game’s bosses.
Raiden isn’t the most complex of the Shmup genre, 1 button shoots, 1 is the bomb, you have 3 selectable ships one of which is the series famous Fairy and your shot changes with pick ups from a spread shot to the series famous homing “toothpaste lazor”.
The beauty in Raiden is surviving until the end on one credit, riding the leaderboard and learning each of the game’s sections until you have the perfect run. Every mode is viable and fun to play and for those who really fancy a challenge there is a mode where you can control 2 ships at the same time!.
Raiden IV X Mikado remix initially doesn’t throw too many continues your way so you can’t just credit dump, it forces you to play through it a few times which I thought was a brilliant move and forces you to up your game. Several difficulty modes and the choice of ships also help you customize your game to suit difficulty preference.
There is a whole lot of game here in Raiden IV X Mikado remix and the trip to the options to change up the music to the new Mikado mix is a must do. While not as bullet heavy as games like Rolling Gunner and less of a all out visual assault like Raiden V, this title offers enough quality and content to make it more than worth attention for any fans of the flying ship bangy shoot genre.
It’s great to see such a fantastic Shmup available on the Nintendo Switch, while rather pricey it is definitely in the upper echelons of the genre and shines brightly with this edition.
A slice of near perfect Shmup perfection. The definitive release of one of the best 360/PS3 gen shmups
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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.