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1-2
Players

2D
Vertical Shooter

Developer:
Seibu Kaihatsu

Released:
1997


PSone
Raiden DX
雷電ディー・エックス
SLPS-00728 SLPM-86656


Raiden DX is looked upon by many people as nothing more then a remake of Raiden 2. This however is a very simplified view and doesn't do the game justice. Raiden DX does contain the basics of, and various references to Raiden 2, but it offers too much new content and a multitude of extra's to write it off as a simple update.

The Raiden games take place in a world with a large military presence. Your mission starts on earth and later on takes you into outer space. One of the trademarks of Raiden DX is it's extremely detailed graphics, which are on par with Raiden 2. There is an abundance of rotating, scaling sprites on screen most of the time.

When enemies are destroyed they don't just go down with a regular "kaboom". Instead, large amounts of particle effects are spewed from their destroyed parts, depending on their size. There are various ways enemies can come to their end. When an airborne enemy is destroyed it might explode in mid-air, sending small debris flying off into various directions.
As the debris falls down and hits the surface, it triggers a small dust cloud when it hits the ground or a splash when it plunges into the water.

The second way airborne enemies can come to their end is when their propulsion system gets damaged. When this happens, the craft will drop down towards the surface, exploding on contact, leaving behind a smoldering crater.
In the event that an aircraft crashes on top of a house, a large piece of the structure will get blown away, leaving a gaping hole behind. Making it possible to see inside the house.

                         

This goes to show how much time has been spent on getting every little detail just right. Same thing happens when an explosion occurs in the vicinity of a tree, leaving behind burning remains. So basically everything in the background is interactive: from the water which splashes and ripples, the grass that can catch fire, buildings that can be destroyed, trees that can burn down or craters of various shapes and sizes that will be left behind in the dirt after an impact.

Moving on to the game system. The ships movement is relatively slow compared to most other shooters. Your arsenal of weapons consists of a Vulcan Shot, a Laser and a Plasma Laser as your primary offensive weapons.
All of these can be powered up 8 times. The Vulcan and normal Laser are self-explanatory, but the Plasma Laser is a different story. It can be fired like a normal laser, but when you continue to fire it rapidly, it becomes a guidable laser beam.

Your secondary weapons are either Homing Missiles, which aren't very powerful or Nuclear Missiles, which aren't guided, but explode on impact and cause much more damage.
The secondary weapons can be powered up 4 times. Your last line of defense are 2 types of bombs: Thermonuclear Bombs and Cluster Bombs.

When you start the game up, you can choose between 3 routes: Training, Novice or Expert. Training is not exactly what the name implies. It's a very long exclusive level, divided into 3 parts. This level isn't featured in the other modes. There are several mid-level bosses and lots of secrets to be found. But more on that later. It could perhaps be best described as a Score Attack stage.

The Novice route takes you trough the first 5 levels of Raiden 2, which is the main reason it gets labeled a remake. Still all the new rules and hidden specials apply here.

Now onto the real meat of the game: Expert Mode. This route takes you trough the full 8 levels plus an extra bonus level. But there is a catch.
This mode is completely remade, different locations mixed into ones that remind of the classic ones but aren't the same. All the levels now carry the scars of a prolonged conflict, looking much more grittier and beat up. New enemies also come into play, as well as completely new attack formations and shot patterns. The frequency of enemy encounters is also multiplied compared to other Raidens. All of this along with the new rules and secrets make this a very, very different game than it's predecessor.

                         

Now onto the extra's. For starters, the whole point system has been turned upside down.
At the end of the game you get a status screen describing how well you did. Percentage of enemies shot down, amount of secrets uncovered and something which can probably be best described as defiance.
Do you avoid enemy encounters and hide in a corner of the screen or do you take the fight to the enemy and snatch power-ups and max point medallions from under their noses while blasting them out of the sky screaming: "I'm going for your momma next!!!" :-P
A good example of this would be in the Training Stage, at the end of the first part, before the music changes the first time.
Here you encounter 2 massive tanks. When you destroy their top shell, a rotating turret is exposed. The enemy will now start shooting at you in bursts, between these bursts there are small gaps. Each time you zip through one of these gaps you are rewarded with 5000 points.
These kinds of maneuvers also build up your defiance ratio at the end of the game.

Something important happened to the medallions, these now act very differently than they used too. They appear when containers are destroyed or certain locations are attacked. Normally they would just sit there waiting for you to come pick them up. Not anymore.
Now as soon as they appear, their colors start to fade until they are black&white. Along with the colors, their point value also fades. When they become black&white they are almost completely worthless, but just 1 second or so after that, they flash up 1 more time, very briefly. When this happens whey are worth mega points. The gold medals go from 500 down to 10, and when they flash they are worth 3000 points. The platinum medals go from 3000 down to 100, and when they flash they are worth 10000 points.
Something similar happens to those dancing Seibu Kaihats icons, named Mikuras. When they dance they are worth 10000 points. But just after he has stopped moving and has started again he is worth 50000 points!

Then there are the boss encounters in each level. When you encounter the boss, a meter will start counting how long it takes to defeat them. The faster you can defeat the bosses, the more extra bonus points you'll receive.

Finally over to the secrets. All over the stages there are secret silo's and red diamonds hidden, which when uncovered and destroyed, not only give direct bonus points, but also make a big difference in the bonus score you will receive at the end of the game. The silo's are pretty easy to find. All you have to do is pass over them and they will appear.
If you look closely you can see the top of the roof sticking out of the sand. It looks a bit like a white square and is very tiny.
The diamonds on the other hand have to be uncovered by hovering over certain spot for about 5 seconds. They also take a serious amount of firepower to blow up.

Where can you find these?
It won't be as much fun if I just tell you, wouldn't it? -__^
Well, try looking for suspicious things in the levels and hover over them. For some reason I haven't been able to uncover any hidden silo's in Expert mode, perhaps there are only red diamonds there....

Taking the new medal technique and the hidden silo's and red gems into account, and combine this with the new score system at the Game Over screen, this game system has gone through many changes. Awarding high risk game play with big score bonuses has made this game much more challenging and nerve wrecking than Raiden 1 and 2 combined. In the end, if you love 2D shooters or Raiden games, even though you already have Raiden 2, Raiden DX is more then worthy of receiving a place in your collection.


Andy De Wilde



































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