Game Review: Ikaruga (Xbox Live)

Developer: Treasure

Platform: Xbox 360 (via XBLA, 800 points

Grade: 9 / 10

There was a time before save points, where only pure wit and

memorization led to the credits. Old school gamers always seem to relish this

time, but forget some of the anguish that came with the repetition of facing a

boss six or seven times as he killed you.

Sure there was a difficulty attached, but those who are used

to the relative comfort of today’s games would find it difficult even to push

through the easiest of levels.

Even so, there were the best of this period that captured

your imagination, so you were willing to slay the evil doers once more.

Ikaruga is a prime

example, with its furious straight forward gameplay and addicting level design.

Even with its unforgiving gameplay, it leaves you wanting even more.

As previously hinted, the most addicting and oddly

satisfying thing about Ikaruga is its

difficulty. There is constant ship

movement, gun fire, and boss battles that will strain your thumbs to dodge. But

within that is the games genius, as you’re not asked to dodge all of the

bullets coming towards you, but your ship has the ability to absorb bullets of

the same color.

You don’t just have the ability to absorb the bullets, but

you are encouraged to. Bullet absorption gives your ship an extra ability to

fire homing beacons at your enemy. This can help when you need to eliminate a

boss or get some of the ships off your back to breathe a bit.

This game isn’t really long though, clocking in at five

levels, but you wont notice. Each level feels just right, and feels satisfying

when you complete them. And you wll be playing them often, as enemies are quite


Adding to the replay value, aside from your rising death

count, is the grade you receive - ranking from C to S. The grade is based on

your score, which is increased by knocking out combos of three enemies of the

same color. This not only takes a quick trigger finger, but patience and

awareness, as things often get quite hectic.

Like most games that receive the Xbox Live treatment, you

can expect score tracking against your friends. It makes for quite the contest

especially when you both are looking to be King of the Hill on your friends

list. Also, this game does get a graphical bump from its predecessors on the

Gamecube and the Dreamcast. The picture comes in a bit clearer, and the levels

are that much crisper.

Unlike most things retro, this game is worth remembering. Failure

does loom around every corner, and there are no real crutches to help, but it

makes it that much more satisfying.

Do yourself a favor, and enjoy one of the best ways to spend

your Xbox Live points. There may be cursing and controller throwing in your

future, but there are few games which can match Ikaruga’s satisfaction.

Whenever he isn’t contemplating a world takeover, you can find Adam Thomas building the Gamer Studio. For now, join the support and catch

some cool screen shots at