Ikaruga

Overview

Do you ever get tired of playing the same kind of games over and over again? I know I do. There are just some genres today that just seem to get too much attention and find themselves become very tiresome and repetitive. Well our good friends over at Infogrames felt like it was time to bring some variety onto our Gamecube, with Ikaruga, a game based on old-school mechanics, but with a kick of new age gaming.

Gameplay

Sometimes in gaming the graphics don’t always have to be the focal point. And in fact true gamers will always say that the graphics are not what make the game, it is the Gameplay its self that is what decides whether a game is good or not.

Ikaruga although a shooter, actually has quite a few different game modes to choose from, and with all these game modes will bring you some variety and some fast action fun. The modes include Practice, Conquest, Challenge, Tutorial, and Extras. With all these modes you may be asking yourself, is this just another shooter?

The shooters of the past have always been fast paced, high action, low on strategy, and high on firing your weapons as quickly as possible. And for a lot of this Ikaruga falls true to, but the one thing Ikaruga does differently from all the rest, is that it is much, much more difficult then the others. Unlike in previous shooters, in Ikaruga there are no powerups, which means you die, you die. Without powerups, this brings a lot more strategy to the table, instead of going head first guns blazing, you have to plan out your attacks to make sure you do not get blown up into little peaces.

What really makes Ikaruga an appealing title in these second generation consoles, is the amount of strategy involved in completing some of the missions. On the face of the game it seems pretty straight forward, but once you get started you will find out very quickly (even on lower difficulty settings), this is not a basic game.

Your ship has two different modes to choose from, dark and white. When in the dark suit you cannot be harmed by dark weapons, and the same goes for that when wearing the white suit. This concept has been implemented before in Working Design’s Silhouette Mirage for the PlayStation. This is another aspect of quick immediate reactions that can keep you from getting killed.

The controls of Ikaruga are not anything you are going to have to take time to get used to. The controls will come to you in a matter of minutes after placing the game in the cube. The controls are easy for a reason, so you can concentrate less on where the buttons are, and more on what your next moves will be.

The sound in Ikaruga was actually quite pleasant. The background music throughout the game flows very well and fits perfectly with the mood of the game. While the sound effects are nothing spectacular, they do seem to get the job done, but I believe they could have had some more variety to it.

Graphics

When Treasure sat down and decided to make Ikaruga I am sure one of there key concerns was to try and make the graphics as crisp and clean as possible, but still keep the same 2D atmosphere that we all grew up with. With all that being said the graphics of Ikaruga are not one that will take you by surprise, and many gamers are going to be very displeased. But as the game starts going on, you will find that Treasure did an excellent job of keeping to the plan and making it look as good as possible.

Treasure instead of making everything highly detailed, they just gave the game a ton of variety, so you wouldn’t get sick of shooting down the same enemy over and over again. Which was done quite well considering you never did seem to see the same enemy more then once. As a whole Ikaruga is not anything that people are going to rave about, but a game that did a great job keeping the old school look, and giving it a facelift.

Fun Factor

If Ikaruga was just a straight on shooter, where things came easy and powerups helped breeze you through the levels, I would have considered giving Ikaruga a perfect fun factor score. But since this game has a lot more strategy involved in it, compared to other shooters there are going to be a "lot" of times of frustration throughout the game. You will not find yourself completing this game in one sitting, because of how tough the computer AI becomes later on in the game. And if you find this game easy, well then you can just raise the difficulty settings, and find out how hard this game really is. With that said this is a fun game, just a game that can be quite annoying at times.

Overall

Ikaruga is a game that takes the old and combines it with the new, and does a good job of it. If you find yourself playing some of those old shooters, then you should definitely think about picking this one up. For those of you that are unsure about Ikaruga I would recommend renting this one and you never know it might just be what the doctor ordered.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.