#483 Ikaruga

Posted: 17th May 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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958th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Arcade/Dreamcast/Gamecube
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Treasure

I think I’m going to end up getting this wrong and come across it, but if I’m right this is the last Treasure game on the list. From their early start with Gunstar Heroes to their last listed Sin and Punishment: Successor of Skies, we’ve seen them as one of the giants of the shoot ’em up genre. We’ve also seen them take on a bunch of other genres, with the bizarre Stretch Panic and 3D platformer Wario World. It’s weird, then, how they seem to have disappeared, focusing on re-releases and sequels since around the time of the list’s original release.

Today’sย Ikaruga is one of their shoot ’em ups, although with some inspiration of Silhouette Mirage

Our Thoughts

It seems quite an inspired take to use their Silhouette Mirage colour swapping gimmick to a top down shooter. Enemies are either black or white and you can swap between them. You absorb all shots from your own colour to power up big attacks while you do double damage to the opposing colour. It means that you’re constantly swapping between the two, mostly to avoid damage during big waves but also to maximize the damage you do. With the standard shooter standard of enemies in formations that you try to avoid, it becomes interesting enough, but when you get to the big boss fights it really takes advantage of this. While normally you wouldn’t be able to avoid the constant waves of fire, the fact that you can absorb damage from one colour without being hurt by it means that you can avoid a bunch of it and try to work tactically to defeat them.

It actually builds on that until you get to the final boss, where you not only make a lot of use of avoiding bullets, but your weapons are disabled and the only option you have is to avoid everything that’s fired at you until the time runs out. It’s a great twist on a shooter and with the PC version having enough options to make you more or less immortal, it’s possible for anyone to see it (I doubt I would have without them). It feels like it makes the game that much more accessible, tweaking it to create the challenge you can handle.

Final Thoughts

It’s not often that I finish a shooter like this, but the game makes it straight forward enough. There’s a lot of fun and skill in weaving through bullets and timing your swaps just right. It may be a bit shorter than most (but I’m not sure I could tell), but it felt quite addictive to get through and figure out.