First released in 2001 in the arcades, this legendary shoot-em-up has made it’s way to the Nintendo Switch and PS4. Hurray… we guess, as we’d never played it before so didn’t know what to expect. What we do know is Japanese developer Treasure is behind this one – it made Mischief Makers on the N64. Hurray, indeed! Well, there was plenty to be hopeful of when diving into this SOB.
Treasure shifted the game over to Sega’s Dreamcast in 2002 after the arcade game became something of a phenomenon. Its legendary stature is based on how it redefined the space shooter genre, which may sound a bit odd now given the limitations of the genre. But at the heart of the title is a pulse pounding romp with unique puzzle elements.
Whilst not holding the same type of esteem amongst modern gamers as the likes of R-Type and Axelay (the latter being an unbelievably difficult example from the SNES) did in the past, the genre still holds fond memories amongst retro gamer enthusiasts. New entires have been made to the genre, such as Star Ghost, an excellent shooter that launched on the Wii U, made it to the Switch, and boasts a David Wise soundtrack.
But Ikaruga is a different beast entirely. Straight up, firing up the game was like taking on a Dreamcast title. The arcade style graphics of circa 2000 are more than evident, but the Dreamcast did have a lot of ports from those dimly lit areas of flashy lights (Sega being something of an arcade game specialist, of course).
It’s a vertical shooter of polarities. Depending on the colour of your ship, you have to dodge certain shots being fired by enemies, all whilst keeping up with a title that moves at a frantic pace. It’s bloody difficult, but it’s intense and great fun once you get into it all. You can see where’s its legendary status has come from, which has been matched by critical acclaim for its new lease of life on Sony and Nintendo’s current consoles.