Raiden IV, wait a second, is that out in the United States? Calm down folks, this is still a Japanese-only release and one that should be released state side. It is one of the forbidden fruits that only 360 importers get to enjoy on this side of the Pacific. If you do have the means though, you will be treated to a fantastic 2-D SHMUP that is all but a dead genre on modern systems.
Developed by MOSS Ltd and published by Taito, Raiden IV is a port of the arcade game of the same title. The 360 version adds a couple of levels and a few new enemies. It also has a few extra modes, score attack and Boss Rush, not to mention the option to play the game as the original arcade version. If you have an adjustable monitor you can also play in vertical mode, which if possible is a must play.
The 2-D graphics are truly awesome; the amount of detail that is put into the various sprites is excellent. There is a mix of 3-D backgrounds that give the illusion of depth, but it’s the 2-D that makes the title shine. The amount of bullets and enemies on the screen is ridiculous, to the point of Ikaruga bullet madness. The only hint of any graphical issues is a little slow down at the start of mission 1-4.
Being a Japanese title, some of the options are in Japanese, but most of the game is actually in English. This makes it a breeze for the linguistically "challenged" to be able to jump right into battle. Playability is a simple control scheme that makes it easy for anyone to come to grips with. The controls are tight, though I personally noticed a little bit of analog stick drift to the left. The good news is that you can use an arcade stick if you have one. As are most titles like this though, practice is needed to truly master the game, as the difficulty is high, even with a large number of continues. It’s not a simple walk in the park and an attempt on any level above normal will reduce you to ashes in a matter of seconds. Still, it is rewarding to push through the game as a full play through of the title can be done in about an hour and fifteen minutes on Normal in the 360 mode.
As it is a 360 game it does offer the chance at a full 1000 achievement points. Most of them are beating various modes of the game as well as passing a certain level. Most of the achievements are going to be unobtainable as they are high skill based, including beating the game with one credit on Ultra Hard.
As stated before, if you have a Japanese 360, this is a must have title. It’s not quite a system seller unless you are really into SHMUPs but its pretty close. If not, it’s just another title that you can hope gets ported to North America/Europe as Raiden Fighter Aces has been.
Raiden IV is rated A by CERO which is similar to E for Everyone by the ESRB.