Ikaruga Atari History
Ikaruga Atari History
Among the innumerable TV game software products released every year, a work that can be called an invention may appear once in several years.
Examples of such inventions are “Tetris” and “Derby Stallion”, which have pioneered a new genre and established it. If a work exploits an excellent idea to reach another zenith that no one has ever expected, it is also called an “invention.”
Ikaruga is a miraculous invention that has shown a new road with a brand-new and overwhelming perfection in the genre of vertical scroll shooting games (vertical SHT).
A so-called vertical SHT is a simple game where you destroy all the enemies with enormous power and manage to escape through a barrage across the screen. Ikaruga outwardly inherits this concept and provides an “ordinary play feel” that requires the moving body eyesight and reflex of the player.
However, this is not what the producer has intended.
Only shooting and evading cannot reach a “high score” in Ikaruga.
While description of the game system is omitted here, to gain a high score, you must use attributes to tell bullets to evade from those to hit you, remember the attack pattern of the enemy aircrafts, and take shooting and cease-fire timing in order to acquire chain combo bonus.
In the world of Ikaruga, you cannot gain a high score by incessantly shooting and annihilating the enemy despite the fact doing so is a real fun.
Ikaruga is a work that is based on the “reversed way of thinking.” This game lets bullets of the enemy, which are usually considered obstacles, hit the player and denies the idea of annihilating the enemy by employing the chain combo system.
Above all, while that “Players can clear the game by simply repeating a certain routine action without evading bullets” has been an element that receives criticisms, Ikaruga intentionally lets the player to enjoy creating routine actions.
It is reasonable that game fans with trained eye interpret this work as an action or puzzle game, not an SHT. Ikaruga, disguised in the form of an SHT, presents a totally new horizon of games. In the current game software market where masterpieces are a mainstay, Ikaruga is consisted by only five stages, reflecting the confidence of the producers. The sequence of each stage is short and compact, and even graceful.
The producer of Ikaruga, TREASURE Co., Ltd., has a history filled with a number of hits around action games based on the Sega’s Mega Drive and Sega Saturn as main platforms. Its aggressive ideas and pictorial representation that seemed to exceed the limit of hardware have amazed game enthusiasts. The company has gradually gained a nickname “TREASURE, the Technicians.”
While the company has released a relatively small number of works of its own brand name, TREASURE has supported behind the scenes a large number of game development projects across hardware platforms.
In Japan, many game fans become interested in a game software product just by hearing it’s “produced by TREASURE.”
The overwhelming perfection of Ikaruga has a long history.
This work is an answer reached by TREASURE, who has cherished action games and SHT. Two past works from TREASURE are prototypes of Ikaruga.
The horizontal SHT, “Silhouette Mirage” (Sega Saturn/Play Station), released in 1997, has already employed a system where two types of attributes are alternated depending on direction the character is oriented.
The vertical SHT, “Radiant Silver Gun”, released in 1998, featured a “routine action oriented game play” where seven shots are mounted on the unit from the beginning and the player chooses shots from these to acquire a chain combo.
Not only the reversed way of thinking, Ikaruga satisfies the “requirements for an invention”, which the creator dismantles the existing elements, which had been created by himself, and merges again.
While the author has given good compliments, actually Ikaruga is not for everyone. The essence of Ikaruga is different from the amusement of an existing vertical SHT and the level of difficulty is not at all low. You must clear a high hurdle before you are interested in this work.
Senior players of Ikaruga have created routine actions completely. Their play styles are as precise as operation of a machine. Their minds, absorbed in the game, are similar to the state of euphoria in which their hands move automatically without any thinking.
This might be a spiritual state of selflessness in Buddhism. Entertainment of this work is fully enjoyed only when the player has attained such state of mind.
The trial and error process is just an initial phase. I hope you will play this game until you have implemented your routine actions and fully experienced the rapture from natural narcotics secreted in your brain.
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