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Shooter/Vertical Scrolling Shooter
Atari Interactive, Inc.
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Originally released in Japanese arcades in 2001, Treasure's Ikaruga steers its way onto GameCube as the system's first vertical scrolling shooter. While inspired by traditional games in the genre, Ikaruga sets itself apart by doing away with power-ups and featuring the unusual element of absorbing certain types of enemy fire. As Shinra, the lone hope for mankind's salvation, players must travel across five levels of futuristic laser-blasting action to save the universe from an evil ruler named Tenro Horai. One of Ikaruga's key features is the ship's ability to switch between two distinct forms: light and dark. Enemies also appear in both light and dark forms.
To make it through each level unscathed, players can absorb the energy of same-colored enemies while avoiding incoming fire from the opposing color. Players can also switch between forms at any time during the game. Storing absorbed energy allows players to activate homing lasers that are more powerful than the default blasters. Completing a stage reveals a ranking screen based on points and combos, with the latter achieved by destroying three or more similar-colored enemies in one shot. The GameCube version adds multiple difficulty levels as well as bonuses in the form of artwork, additional modes, and more. Two players can also team up together for simultaneous shooting action.
Other notable features include a demo mode that players can watch to learn how to complete certain stages to attain a perfect rating as well as passwords that let players post their high scores to the official web site at www.ikaruga-atari.net. Display options offer a vertical, horizontal, or letterboxed view. The letterbox setup has black bars on the left and right of the playfield to show more of the screen along the top and bottom. The vertical display reduces the screen's length by stretching the environment on both sides to fill the entire television screen. The horizontal option simply flips the display so the action is moving from left to right instead of from bottom to top. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide