Publisher: Treasure
Hardware: Naomi GD Rom
Year: 2001
Controls: 1 Joystick, 3 Buttons Per Player
Number of Players: 2 players
Serial / Ic : GDL-0010 / 253-5509-5081J
GD Rom Image:
Ported To: Dreamcast/Gamecube


Dedicated Cabinet:


The plot of Ikaruga is, for all intents and purposes, the same as the plot of every other space shooter ever made. Basically, it's the future and you're civilization's last hope. You've got a high-powered spacecraft with unlimited ammo, but your enemies have entire armadas of killing machines, and you're their only target. Ikaruga actually has an optional simultaneous two-player mode, so it doesn't have to be just you against the world, but still--you get the idea. The game consists of only five vertically scrolling stages, but offers three distinctly different difficulty settings and a decent number of unlockable extra features. Considering how apparently short the game is, you'll find that Ikaruga actually has a surprising amount of depth. Like with many great games, this depth isn't readily apparent at first due to the game's seeming simplicity and quickly familiar controls, but spend some time with Ikaruga and you'll find in it an action game that actually forces you to think on your feet, constantly.

It's also one of the best space shooters in many years.
The gameplay has a few twists, but one of them, a concept first introduced in Treasure's own Sega Saturn side-scroller, Silhouette Mirage, is especially noteworthy: Every enemy in the game is either light or dark colored, and your little spaceship has both a light surface and a dark form as well, which you can switch between at any time. These two forms are identical, except for the color of your ship and its energy blasts. The thing is, you can absorb same-colored energy, and only enemy fire of the opposite color can ever hurt you. For more than 20 years, the object of every space shooter has been to avoid absolutely everything on the screen, except maybe the occasional power-up, while returning fire. Ikaruga effectively disposes of this time-honored tradition by forcing you to train yourself to avoid only one type of enemy firepower at a time.

(Description written by: Greg Kasavin)

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