The StarSoldier


Artist touch: Whoa, that's freakin' weird. It's still wins points for originality though. Cover art rating: 6/10
Month it won: August 2007

(Atari/Treasure, 2002)
Special note: This game was also released for the Sega Dreamcast but only in Japan. Ha, bet you didn't know that, eh?

Good old fashion shooters like Raiden or Blazing Lazers are getting to be a rare thing in this day and age like a smart move by George W. Bush. Unlike Bush they are still somewhat popular and I'm Republican here. Enter the intense arcade-like shooter Ikaruga by Atari and the dudes at Treasure. Wait a minute: I-car-u-gai? It must mean 'Lame Shooter Name' in Japanese. Anyway, it's another shooter by the masterminds at Treasure and if you don't remember their last shoot em up then maybe you heard of the name Radiant Silvergun for Saturn before? No, well that old shooter won a lot of praise and it will cost over 100 bucks on eBay alone. Those expecting the next Radiant Silvergun may be disappointed in Ikaruga here though. This unique game here features a concept I never seen before.

Unlike in traditional popular shooters of the early nineties like Space Mega Force and Super Star Soldier there is no power ups so you can forget about collecting pretty coloured gems, cute numbers, fairy dust and other weird junk in the air to upgrade your weaponry here. All you get here is a quick but very basic valcan twin cannon throughout the entire game. That isn't all though because there is the ability to charge up your reserve power by absorbing enemy shots that match the colour of your ship, if you have enough power in your weapon gauge than you fire some flashy lock on shots that help to clear the screen for maximum pwning!

Although the game sounds kind of lame since there are no power ups, what makes Ikaruga so unique is the ability to flip between two colours to save your life. This flipping technique can help in both your attack and defense because your fighting star ship can destroy enemies easier if you use the opponent colour to kill it and you can even guard against red and blue shots by transforming into the colour of that type. Sure it sounds simple enough but believe me it still never gets too easy as the screen can be filled with both sets of enemies and their some times overwhelming firepower. Also remember only one hit will destroy you as well so trust me when I say this game will beat the crap out of you so get your swear words nice and ready. I like saying Fudge nuts!

Fortunately the stunning graphics help ease the pain a bit. This game sports some truly excellent 3D/2D graphics that even surpass Einhander and Radiant Silvergun looks but only slightly. You can also forget about slowdown and flickering either even when the screen gets littered with bullets. The graphics are not full 3D though as a typical game on the GameCube don't expect to be blown away but the art style still rocks. The fast paced music and loud sound effects were also pretty interesting and matched the intense feel of the game.

Ikaruga is a little on the basic side thanks to the lack of a standard shooter power up system found in other titles like
Twin Cobra or Star Soldier but it's still takes a lot of skill to master since the enemies aren't not afraid to throw everything at you. The game not only comes packed with lots of modes but it's unique black and white game play really help it stand out and there lays the beauty of A-car-u-... oh what ever it is God Damn it!


*Uncommon GC game

overall rating: 83/100

Find Ikaruga on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
Rated (E) for Everyone

graphics: 8/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 6/10
replay: 8/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007

Other Games of the Month