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Shooter/Vertical Scrolling Shooter
Entertainment Software Publishing (ESP)
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Though hailed as the spiritual successor to the Saturn title Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga foregoes many of the genre's conventions — including power-ups — in lieu of a more thoughtful gameplay mechanic. Like Silhouette Mirage before it, the world of Ikaruga centers on two colors, in this case, black and white. Your ship itself is composed of a white side and a black side, while lesser enemies come in one of the two variants. Like-colored projectiles fired by enemy units are absorbed by your craft when in the corresponding mode (when in black mode for example, any projectiles fired from black ships will be absorbed). Absorbed energy is stored and can be used to unleash a devastating barrage of homing lasers on the swarms of enemies that inundate the screen. The more absorbed energy, the greater the number of lasers.
The offensive capabilities of the color-matching system are equally adept, in that by shooting projectiles of the opposite color to the enemies themselves, it's possible to inflict twice the amount of damage than a like-colored projectile would cause. Of course, all of this pertains to your existence as well. Being hit by a projectile of the opposite color to that of your ship will result in your demise. Although the game presents players with a storyline to legitimize the proceedings, the ability to constantly surpass one's own high score is the major draw. To this end, Ikaruga makes use of an intriguing combo system. Combinations are created when the player destroys three like-colored ships in succession, and the combination chain continues as long as players destroy ships in like-colored groups of three.
The game supports two-player cooperative play. Here, it's possible for the ships to bump into one another, possibly causing your partner to be forced into oncoming enemy fire. In addition to the five-stage main mode of play, players can select from Practice, Ranking, or Config modes. The Config mode allows the adjustment of numerous settings such as the monitor type (horizontal or vertical modes), difficulty, controller settings, tutorial, and the like. Unlockable rewards include a picture gallery, as well as a sound test and minor gameplay changes. ~ Gavin Frankle, All Game Guide