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    Administrative Queen of Evil RiotingSpectre's Avatar
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    RiotingSpectre's Raiden Legacy Review

    The OUYA console has a few developers that continue to deliver content and DotEmu is one of these developers. R-Type, Double Dragon, and Another World are some of the games they've gifted the OUYA, but Raiden Legacy is undoubtedly their strongest title. Very few games can match the franchise's popularity and it's for this reason alone am I reviewing it. However, has DotEmu done the franchise a disservice, or is it a worthy re-release? Find out for this is the Raiden Legacy review.



    For this review I'm going to tackle things a little differently. The collection contains four games which are Raiden, Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive, & Raiden Fighters Jet. I will be doing them separately since they're completely different games, but I'll also bring up Raiden Legacy's faithfulness to the originals. I will be describing what Raiden Legacy brings to the table first before digging in.

    The four games are laid out for you in a beautiful select screen which is accompanied by a catchy tune. Selecting anyone of these games won't immediately throw you into the action since you're taken to another menu where you can proceed to play the game, see the intros for the games (excluding Raiden), see the credits, or change the game's options. The options aren't tacked on either since you're able change the game's aspect ratio, volume, and more like turning off auto-fire. Furthermore, you can change the game's difficulty, select Mission Mode which is essentially a level select for the levels you've reached in Arcade Mode, and Training Mode which is basically free-play.

    Despite all these great things, there are some drawbacks too such as some of the games having audio issues not found in the originals with Raiden being the game affected the most. Selecting the easy difficulty and starting the game will present the player with no music whatsoever and instead the sound of explosions for nearly ten seconds before starting the music. This may not sound like a problem, but you get a lot of game overs in Raiden in particular which means you're going to be reminded of the errors pretty frequently. Other than that, I noticed some visual errors in the form of flickering when there's a lot going on that I don't remember seeing on other versions, but this is all for the errors I've noticed. The collection's additions and subtractions aside, let's get to the actual games themselves.

    Raiden



    Story:

    The story revolves around Earth in the year 2090 which is coming under attack by a new alien threat called the Cranassians. The entire world bands together to combat this threat by forming the World Alliance Military and creating the most powerful weapon in existence known as the Raiden Super Sonic Attack Fighter. Being a ship based off the same alien technology the Cransassians use, it's the planet's sole hope for survival. Overall, not bad for a story for a shoot 'em up as it definitely gives you a sense of urgency and reason enough to consider the threat an actual danger to humanity. I wish there was at least a name for the pilot given his important role in the grand scheme of things, but it is what it is.

    Gameplay & Controls:

    The gameplay in Raiden is very traditional for a shoot 'em up as it was made during a time where there still wasn't a lot of innovation in the genre. Because of this there's not much uniqueness to be had if any, but due to its simplicity it's easy to pick up and play. You start out weaker than an infant since your weapon is at base power, but you can upgrade it by acquiring power-ups which are only obtainable by destroying a specific type of enemy. You can also change your weapon from a spread-shot which has good coverage at the cost of lower damage output per target to a laser which is a concentrated beam that is good for taking out one target at a time very quickly. Other than that you can acquire point pickups and bombs with the bombs being especially useful for destroying incoming fire which can act a temporary shield for the player.

    Furthermore, you can also choose to play with a friend which is included as a feature in most if not all Raiden games. Aside from that the game contains eight levels and each of them contains a boss which will test your reflexes and patience. However, one could argue that you're always unequipped to deal with them since the ship you're piloting is abnormally slow which will be the cause of a lot of deaths unless you can think in advance. You'll have to memorize enemy attack patters if you have any hope in continuing through the game which is an archaic form of advancement to impose on the player compared to today's games where anyone with decent reflexes can make progress. This archaic form is future exacerbated when you beat the game since it will loop back to the first stage and the game is much harder on top of it.

    Overall, the gameplay is very unrewarding and has aged poorly since the year of its release. Nothing feels right playing it and its greatly outclassed by its sequels to the point where there's nothing but the legacy the original title has to justify playing it. Everyone knows that an arcade game needs to be difficult in order to earn a lot of revenue, but Raiden went to extremes by having the player be unequipped to deal with anything more severe than small waves. It's just not fun like it was back in 1990 when you had five dollars in quarters.

    Visuals:

    The visuals in Raiden are more on the realistic and natural side of things opposed to other games released around the same time. Each level has its own unique aesthetic and continues keeping the scenery fresh from the start of the level to the end. The enemies themselves are nice to look at and are animated very well with the best looking ones being the bosses. The bullets in the game are something I feel should be brought up since a lot of shoot 'em ups don't understand that bullets shouldn't blend in with the environments. However, the developers knew this fact from the get-go as you're able to see the incoming wall of bullets without a problem whatsoever. Overall, the visuals in the game hold up very well and still look better than a lot of games that are still being released. The developers really went all out with making sure that anything your eyes would be witnessing would impress and they didn't disappoint.

    Soundtrack & Sounds:

    The music in Raiden is bland if not reflects the slow pace of the game. Everything is repetitive, slow, and doesn't put you in any sort of mood to destroy any fleets. The sounds are sadly on an average level with nothing adding to the experience, but thankfully not doing the opposite. It's pretty bad overall and certainly doesn't do 1990 justice.

    Conclusion:

    Raiden was the original game in the series and arguably the most popular since it was the one most people played. However, that's not to say that it's the best one in the series and may even be in the running for the worst. It's been nearly 30 years since its release and it has undoubtedly aged more than any other game I've ever seen. The player is just too slow to deal with any serious threat in the game with deaths being guaranteed during the boss battles unless you've mastered every pixel on the screen, and have mastered thinking 15 seconds ahead.

    The visuals are good to look at, but the music is pretty bad all around. The story is surprisingly good for a shoot 'em up which are infamous for having bad stories if any to begin with. Honestly, if at least the gameplay were to have held up then Raiden would most likely still be popular with players from all across the world, but because this crucial aspect is outright broken means this never happened for a reason. Everything accumulates into the gaming getting a two out of five.

    Raiden Fighters



    Story:

    Oddly enough, Raiden Fighters doesn't have a story within its confines and you only find out what's going on during the prologue of its sequel. Basically the planet is under attack by a guerrilla army lead by a dictator and you're tasked with defeating them. I don't know why this wasn't conveyed in Raiden Fighters, but it reeks of laziness. Overall, the story itself is inferior to Raiden's in every aspect and would feel tacked on even if it was included in the game.

    Gameplay & Controls:

    There were three games between this game's release and the release of the original Raiden, and it shows. The differences between the two games are apparent and comparing it to Raiden is like comparing a bonfire to the sun. To start things off, the core gameplay is still the same with the exception being the option to choose from five characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses with their stats being visible from the character select screen. Some move faster than others, some have better spread on their weapons, and some have more damage output just to name some of the differences. However, the biggest inclusion is the fact that ships now have special attacks which can be used by holding down the attack button and what main weapon you have equipped determines what it does.

    There are seven levels in the game and some are encountered in random order whereas some are fixed. This makes for a gameplay experience that's not completely linear which is a nice feature that I wish would appear in other shoot 'em ups. The usual enemies are back but the placement on some of them are questionable given the fact that a lot of them are in spots where they can hit you but you can't hit them. The first boss level is the worst offender since numerous turrets that barely show up on the screen will be the cause of a lot of frustration and deaths. Maintaining a position on the bottom of the screen won't help you avoid them since the game has a mechanic where it will spawn targets to kill you so it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    Overall, a lot has been improved since the original Raiden to Raiden Fighters and it's clearly evident that the developers were always looking for potential ways to improve on what they already had. The inclusion of different ships that have different attributes really adds a lot of replay-value to the game much like the randomized element to some of the levels. The gameplay is far more in your face and crazy than most other games in the same genre, and the controls are great as long as you pick a ship you're comfortable with. The bosses themselves are more sporadic this time around, but you're far better equipped to deal with any hazard thanks to the improved controls the ships have. The fact that you're actually able to dodge incoming fire makes every death feel less aggravating and that in itself is something that held the original Raiden back.

    Visuals:

    Much like Raiden, the visuals are great in every sense of the word. The fact that Raiden Fighters was in 1996 shows because everything is so beautiful to the point where it can be classified as art. Everything is crisp, animated smoothly, and is brighter than most other games in the same genre. The biggest jump from Raiden to Raiden Fighters is the bosses since they're flashier to the point where they're almost distracting in their construct. Overall, there's so much I could praise the game for in its visuals, but I can simply sum it up as it being something the developers should be truly proud of.

    Soundtrack & Sounds:

    The music in the game is good but not great. Some of the songs are composed in a way where parts of it go on for way too long which can get annoying during the heat of battle. The sounds that aren't afflicted by this perfectly complement the increased tension of the game and are seriously something worth owning a compact disc of. The sounds have also been greatly improved as everything has more of an impact and never get old. Overall, everything pertaining to audio is almost perfect with the exception being a couple tracks.

    Conclusion:

    In conclusion, one could easily consider this the best game in the series given all that it does right. The gameplay is smooth, the controls are great, and the visuals are works of art. The fact that you're able to select different ships with different abilities allows for experimentation and replay-value. Despite having only three games between it and Raiden doesn't stop it from being superior to it in every possible way. However, that doesn't stop Raiden Fighters from having issues since the unfair enemy placement leaves a lot to be desired and the music is annoying at times. In the end the game gets a four out of five.

    Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive



    Story:


    Four years have passed since the events of the first game and the fallen guerrilla army has returned. The rogue group launches several attacks on the protagonist's army and their response is to call for the very same fighters that took them down the first time around with a few new recruits. The old now outfitted with different weaponry, a new war wages. Overall, the story is simply acceptable. The events of the first game are explained in this one's prologue which also serves to explain its own story, but during the time of this game's release there were much better ones written for shoot 'em ups.

    Gameplay & Controls:

    The gameplay is largely the same as its predecessor with one of the few major inclusion being that if two players were to use their charge attacks at the same time then they'll unleash a powerful hybrid attack. There are a lot more ships this time around which bring their own brand of carnage and some of the older ships have had their weapons changed around, or updated a little bit. I never had a problem with how any of them played, but the developers improved on them by having their attacks be more diverse nonetheless. Everything else from the power-ups you can get and the incentive for point collection are exactly the same which I have no problem with since I felt everything in these areas were polished enough already.

    There are seven stages with some having the same randomization mechanic just like the first one with the only major change being the fact that they're fresh new stages like you would expect. The enemies and bosses are still after you in full force, but don't seem to offer as much of a challenge this time around because of their lower health and fairer spawn locations. The exclusion is the hidden final boss that can only be encountered by meeting certain requirements and it's something that will undoubtedly give a few game overs. However, the fact that you have more options thanks to the amount of ships you can choose from means that you're definitely going to find one of them that you can easily master. This accumulates into an experience that's more forgiving overall which is welcomed in a series that had some issues in this area.

    Overall, there's not much to say about the gameplay and controls as they're largely the same. The hybrid attack is good for annihilating everything and the new ships are cool, but that's all there really is. There's nothing wrong with this since games like Super Mario Bros. with its sequel titled Super Mario Bros. 2 Lost Levels are similar in this fashion, but I can't help but think that players who're wanting innovation in the Raiden series will be unfortunately letdown. On the other hand, returning players who're looking for the same thing that Raiden Fighters offered will be pleased to find that everything is the same with minor improvements over the original.

    Visuals:

    The environments have gotten a bit more technical thanks to the visual effects the developers used in their design. Everything has better use of colors, animation, and is generally more immersive which makes for a greater experience. The bosses look more menacing than they were in previous games and the natural environment blends very well with the hell that's going on around it. The addition of new weapons for the new ships means new visuals and they're great to look at too. Overall, it's a beautiful looking game that won't disappoint.

    Soundtrack & Sounds:

    I go in chronological order in my games which means if I haven't beaten one then I won't be proceed to the next one. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the soundtrack is a definite improvement over Raiden Fighters'. Every track is pretty much flawless and definitely aids you in your goal to beat the game by giving even more adrenaline then you already have. The sounds are just like the ones in Raiden Fighters which are good enough. It's hard to improve on something that wasn't broken in the first place and overall everything seems perfect this time around.

    Conclusion:

    In conclusion, Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive is a lot like Raiden Fighters in just about every way possible. However, the improved soundtrack, more ships, fairer difficulty, and better visuals make the game a justifiable sequel. The inclusion of a prologue that explains the events of the first game and its own was a needed touch, but still fell short of anything impressive compared to other shoot 'em ups despite the game's release date. I don't see any flaws in this game whatsoever as it was a great time from start to finish which gives Raiden Fighters: Operation Hell Dive a perfect five out of five.

    Raiden Fighters Jet



    Story:

    Raiden Fighters Jet doesn't have a narrative to it, but the story is clear thanks to the game's presentation. The pilots are experiencing a series of simulations to train themselves for potential threats in the future and that's basically it. I wish the incomprehensible opening cutscene made any sort of sense whatsoever, or at least attempted to try, but it unfortunatly doesn't. Overall, a story isn't important in most cases, but when you set a precedent with your previous titles and don't deliver in the sequel then that's doing it wrong.

    Gameplay & Controls:

    The gameplay at its core is the same as Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive which is exactly the same as Raiden Fighters. The only difference to the system is the how you achieve a highscore which is based on a new scoring system. How well you do in regards to how many enemies you defeat, how much medals you acquire, and how technical you are determine how high of a score you'll get at the end of the stage. The medals themselves are a bit different since they'll hover around the stages merging into each other to form bigger medals which will result in much more points when collected. This scoring system is disregarded since most don't care for scores and simply just want to have fun, but as someone who does for these types of games, I have to say that it's a great addition to the series.

    An addition to the new scoring system, there's a new one for the ten stages which means that some aren't randomized and instead there's a branching system that has you go to a different level depending on how well you do. Some of the requirements to gain access to the different stages would be borderline impossible for anyone who is below moderate in skill level, but they're possible to conquer given enough practice which adds replay-value. Some of the bosses have been recycled from previous games with new tactics to keeps things fresh along with some new ones mixed in. The variety of bosses the game has seems to have improved overall as there's going to be a lot of different types of strategies you'll have the utilize to defeat them.

    The game is also a bit harder than its predecessor's, but in a way that's fair unlike what you'd find in Raiden or Raiden Fighters. Despite the fact that enemies and bosses have been recycled doesn't change the fact that their placement, tactics, and how much the game expects of you has remained the same. Even the most traumatized players will find that a boss they've encountered in Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive won't kill that as often despite putting up a greater challenge. Overall, everything seems to have improved and because of this the game is the most fun in the series thanks to the added additions and changes.

    Visuals:

    The visuals in the game are on par with the ones found in Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive. I don't see any improvement outside making the special attacks the ships be more flashy. Though a minor improvement, I suppose it's nice anyways. Overall, it's just barely better than in visuals than its predecessor and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Soundtrack & Sounds:

    The soundtrack in the game is so good that even the former two game's in the series can't even compete despite their overall amazing soundtracks. Everything and I mean literally everything is just absolutely phenomenal. The sounds are the exact same as they were in the previous two titles, but at this point I think the developers realized that there's only so many ways they can improve a game in this area and just left it the same since there was nothing wrong with them in the first place. Overall, Raiden Fighters Jet has the best soundtrack in the series and since its sounds are on par with Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive makes for the best experience in the series thus far.

    Conclusion:

    Raiden Fighters Jet is undoubtedly the strongest title in the group due to its fun level branching system, new scoring system, and everything else which really shows that there's always things to include in the shoot 'em up genre. There's tons of replay-value to be had in the game which is something that the more linear games in the franchise didn't have such as Raiden & Raiden Fighters. The difficulty may be at its highest in the game, but it's a fairer than it was before. All these positives greatly overwhelm the game's lack of an attempt to have a story which is thankfully the most optional thing a shoot 'em up can have. Overall, Raiden Fighters Jet gets a five out of five and is the best title in Raiden Legacy.

    Closing Comments:

    Raiden Legacy is one of the few things the OUYA has that contains more than just one experience to be had within its confines. Though in Raiden Legacy's case this is because it contains four games which aren't equal by any means. One could argue that Raiden is a complete waste of a slot given Raiden II's obvious superiority and noticable absence I might add, but I suppose having a collection without the original would be like Super Mario All-Stars without Super Mario Bros. The collection does add some errors in the games but they're very far and few between, and someone who hasn't played any other versions will not notice anything that's out of the ordinary. Overall, the Raiden Legacy has a lot to offer any player that's looking for solid shoot 'em up action and it gets a perfect five out five because of it.

    [Raiden] Score: 2/5
    [Raiden Fighters] Score: 4/5
    [Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive] Score: 5/5
    [Raiden Fighters Jet] Score: 5/5


    Score: 5/5





  2. #2
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    Super Moderator Starfighter's Avatar
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    I agree that RFJ is the best of the bunch! But as someone who has competed in it I must say that this version is... for casual gaming only. It's absolutely playable and can be a lot of fun, but it's just not close to the original in terms of image quality. Trying to reach great scores in an "one-mistake-and-you-have-to-reset"-shooter, as this is, with half the framerate and plenty of flickering everywhere is not possible if you ask me.

    I was all over this when it came to the OUYA but after playing a few credits in all parts I never really came back for more. I have played RFJ on my OUYA since then, but I did so in an arcade emulator.

    Also: I loved that you wrote a full review on each game respectively and not just as a whole. Great reading!
    Last edited by Starfighter; 05-14-2015 at 05:09 PM.
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    Administrative Queen of Evil RiotingSpectre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starfighter View Post
    I agree that RFJ is the best of the bunch! But as someone who has competed in it I must say that this version is... for casual gaming only. It's absolutely playable and can be a lot of fun, but it's just not close to the original in terms of image quality. Trying to reach great scores in an "one-mistake-and-you-have-to-reset"-shooter, as this is, with half the framerate and plenty of flickering everywhere is not possible if you ask me.

    I was all over this when it came to the OUYA but after playing a few credits in all parts I never really came back for more. I have played RFJ on my OUYA since then, but I did so in an arcade emulator.

    Also: I loved that you wrote a full review on each game respectively and not just as a whole. Great reading!
    I never really had a problem with the flickering that went on. Sure, I noticed it well enough, but it never caused me any deaths. I also didn't notice any framerate differences when I compared my experience to videos found online, or my own memory of when I played the actual arcade machine back in the day.


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    Super Moderator Starfighter's Avatar
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    The original arcade version runs at 54 frames per second, the 360 port runs at 60 frames per second and Legacy (iOS/Android) runs at 30 frames per second - with dips depending on the device. But I guess everyone isn't as sensitive about 30 vs 60 as I am. There are other shortcomings as well, such as that we can't play as slave/fairy in Legacy.
    Last edited by Starfighter; 05-14-2015 at 09:53 PM.
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    OUYAForum Devotee Warzard's Avatar
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    Of arcade shooters Raiden was always my least favorite, but I haven't played them in a while. Your review (and especially of your astute tastes) I'm curious about this pack. Have to think on it.

    "My dog barks, some. Mentally you picture my dog, but I have not told you the type o' dog which I have. Perhaps you might even picture Toto... from "The Wizard of Oz." But I can tell you, my dog is all ways with me. ARF!"- Bozie OO Spool

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    Administrative Queen of Evil RiotingSpectre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warzard View Post
    Of arcade shooters Raiden was always my least favorite, but I haven't played them in a while. Your review (and especially of your astute tastes) I'm curious about this pack. Have to think on it.

    You can buy the DotEmu bundle which has other games along with Raiden Legacy. That way if you end up nothing like it then you'll at least have other games to play which were all paid at a discounted price.


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    OUYAForum Devotee Warzard's Avatar
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    If I am correct about bundles, I'm SOL, because I have all the other games by DotEMU. So, it would be full price, which is really no biggie anyway. Just have to decide to weather or not to pull the trigger on this shooter.
    "My dog barks, some. Mentally you picture my dog, but I have not told you the type o' dog which I have. Perhaps you might even picture Toto... from "The Wizard of Oz." But I can tell you, my dog is all ways with me. ARF!"- Bozie OO Spool

  9. #9
    Administrative Queen of Evil RiotingSpectre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warzard View Post


    If I am correct about bundles, I'm SOL, because I have all the other games by DotEMU. So, it would be full price, which is really no biggie anyway. Just have to decide to weather or not to pull the trigger on this shooter.
    Yes, you would get the bundle at its full price so you really are shit out of luck. Hmm... Maybe I can convince DotEmu to start a say for Raiden Legacy. They're very nice and I think there are a lot of people like yourself that need that last push for the game. I'll see what I can do.


  10. #10
    Super Moderator Starfighter's Avatar
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    From the chat:
    06:01 PM <Starfighter> Has Raigen Legacy recieved any updates since it first launched on OUYA?
    06:02 PM <Starfighter> Is there a way to see that without asking the developer?
    06:05 PM <Starfighter> The framerate isn't as bad as before! Either there was something wrong very early on with my first console or the game has recieved an update. All is forgiven, I've been playing Raiden Legacy for hours and loving it like a fangirl!

    TL;DR: I take my complaints about the framerate back. Sure, it's not 54 frames, but it's waaay smoother than before. Awesomepants activated.

    How about.... A highscore in these games-related contest...? *tries to hide excitement*

    Edit: I mostly have been playing Raiden Fighters, using my favorite ship Devastator.

    Edit 2: Oh, and if anyone wants in on the action after reading Riots reviews then here's our highscore thread for the games. It's completely empty at the moment so first place is guaranteed!

    Edit 3: Well, the framerate is fixed through an update. It's now as close to perfect as a port can be if you ask me. I stand utterly corrected, with a big smile on my face!
    Last edited by Starfighter; 05-25-2015 at 09:31 AM.
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