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Missing image
Ikaruga GameCube box cover

Developer(s) Treasure Co. Ltd
Publisher(s) Infogrames
Release date(s) 2000, 2003
Genre Scrolling shooter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Everyone (E)
Platform(s) Arcade, Dreamcast, GameCube

Ikaruga (斑鳩) is a vertically-scrolling shooter video game developed by Treasure Co. Ltd. It was released in the arcades in 2000 on Sega's Naomi system and subsequently ported to the Dreamcast in Japan and then worldwide to the GameCube. It is a spiritual sequel to Radiant Silvergun, and the introduction says it is "Project RS2".

The gameplay consists of shooting enemies who come in one of two polarities: either black(/red) or white(/blue). The player's ship can be either polarity, and can be switched at will.

One unique feature of this game is the way in which only opposing bullets (i.e. a black bullet if the player's ship is white and vice versa) can kill the player. If the player is hit by a bullet of the same color, that bullet is absorbed and stored - if enough energy is stored, homing projectiles can be released by the player, the number determined by the energy stored up to a maximum of 12. Correspondingly, if a player shoots an enemy that is a different polarity than he or she is, the enemy will take double damage. Players also can perform "chains" for points. A chain occurs when three enemies of the same polarity are destroyed consecutively. The more sets of three enemies that are dispatched in a row, the more points are acquired.

The game uses its high production values well, with full three-dimensional landscapes and a strong soundtrack. It also has a TATE mode - the ability to rotate the game's display by ninety degrees while the player's monitor rests on its left side (for full-screen arcade size). When the game is played with the display in a normal orientation, the sides of the screen are blank because the game field itself is taller than it is wide. If it is turned on its side, it can take up the whole screen and still be taller than it is wide.

Ikaruga is a reasonably difficult game on its Easy gameplay level, but can become exceedingly frustrating on Normal and Hard modes. Some have criticized it as requiring more of a player's memory than his/her reflexes in order to gain the most points, because all of the enemies and chains appear exactly in the same place and time every time the game is played, with a few exceptions. Still others prefer to recognize it as a work of art in videogame form: Simple in design, brilliant in execution, easy to pickup, yet difficult to master. An interesting feature of the arcade release (which is also included in the home formats) is the 'Trial Game' mode, where infinite lives are awarded for a single credit on the first level, but only the first two chapters of the game can be played, offering a good way to practice. Ikaruga is generally highly regarded in the shoot-em-up community for its unique "puzzle" gameplay patterns, and top players are revered.

It is sometimes compared to Team 17's Project-X for the Amiga.

External links

Ikaruga (斑鳩町; -cho) is also the name of a town located in Ikoma District, Nara, Japan. The Horyu-ji, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located there.

  • It is also worth noting that the two Kanji used for Ikaruga independently mean "Spotted" or "Marked" and "Pigeon" or "Dove". The Japanese Grosbeak is a bird often known as Ikaru, and is both black and white, much like the ship in the game.fr:Ikaruga

ja:斑鳩 (シューティングゲーム)


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