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Ikaruga

斑鳩

Developer: Treasure Publisher: Sega
20 December 2001
Ikaruga [斑鳩] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.76 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
384 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#587 All-time
#27 for 2001
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2001 Treasure Sega  
JP
2002 Treasure ESP  
Disc
JP 4 520923 010055
2003 Treasure Atari  
Disc
US CA
Show all 8 releases
2008 Treasure Atari  
Download
2014 Treasure  
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2018 Treasure Nicalis  
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2018 Treasure  
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JP
2018 Treasure  
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I hate this game
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yoitu 2023-10-04T13:12:41Z
2023-10-04T13:12:41Z
›80%
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Like many bullet hell games, Ikaruga was originally released in arcades. It made its console début on the Dreamcast, then later ported to the Gamecube, then finally brought to the Xbox Live Arcade.

Ikaruga has an interesting 'polarity' mechanic. Your ship can flip between light and dark polarities which gives you a different coloured laser and shield; blue or red respectively. This duality means you absorb any enemy fire that matches the colour of your shield, otherwise; you are destroyed. Your attacks will damage enemies regardless of their polarity, but opposite polarity deals twice the amount of damage compared to the matching polarity. Initially, when bullets flood the screen, your natural gaming instinct is to avoid them regardless of colour. It takes a while to train your mind to ignore the opposite colour bullets, and requires a high level of concentration as you switch between polarities.

Switching polarities is almost instantaneous, so it gives you enough flexibility to switch at the last opportunity, but you cannot spam the manoeuvrer to stay safe. Throughout the game, all sorts of patterns of bullets are thrown your way, so you are required to weave and switch polarity in order to navigate the danger. Earlier on, you may just have to dodge a large number of bullets, but later on, there will be nets of intersecting lasers that you can only get through by timed switches of polarity.

The bullets you absorb fill up a meter, comprised of twelve boxes. By pressing R, your ship releases a set of missiles that home-in on the nearest enemies. The number of missiles is proportional to how full the meter was.

At the end of a stage, there is a boss. These boss battles are timed, so either end when you defeat the boss or run out of time (and the boss flees). Defeating the boss awards you with lots of points, but you don't score anything if the boss flees.

Surviving and maximising your points comes from practice and memorisation of the stages. If you destroy three like-coloured enemies in a row, you are awarded with bonus points and the opportunity to start a 'chain'. If you carry on this way, your bonus multiplier will increase as the chain grows. To take advantage of this, you need to shoot carefully, which then makes your task of surviving more difficult. Chaining makes a huge difference in score which gives you extra lives as a reward (and bragging rights!). At the end of the level, you are given a performance grade (C-S++) based on your total number of points, if you destroyed the boss in time, and if you used continues.

Like most bullet hell games, Ikaruga is incredibly short at only five chapters long. However, the level of difficulty means there's a pre-requisite of hours of practice, honing your skills on the individual levels before completing a successful run. The length of the game is perfect for the difficulty because you feel like you haven't lost a lot of progress when you die, often leading to that 'one more go' attitude. It's enjoyable to replay the levels because you should notice an improvement each time you play. Extra continues are awarded every hour of play-time, so you should complete it with enough perseverance.

There are few difficulty levels. On Easy, enemies do not send parting shots when defeated. On Normal, enemies fire more bullets and send parting shots if you are the same polarity as them. Hard brings more bullets and parting shots regardless of your polarity. Obviously, if you stay the same polarity, you will merely absorb these bullets, adding to your power, but switching polarity means they pose a danger. Since you'll be switching polarities frequently, you'll have to be aware of the current on-screen bullets and take into consideration bullets from exploding enemies.

When you do complete the game, you unlock Prototype mode. In this mode, you have a supply of ammunition which can be topped up by absorbing bullets. This means you cannot just permanently hold down the attack button like you can in the main mode.

Overall, Ikaruga is a joy to play. It features a great game-play mechanic and utilises it perfectly. The levels are well designed which means it maintains a high level of longevity despite its natural brevity.
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CaptainClam 2017-09-29T22:53:29Z
2017-09-29T22:53:29Z
4.5
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Catalog

DissonantTimpani Ikaruga 2024-05-14T23:05:22Z
Xbox 360
2024-05-14T23:05:22Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nezbie 斑鳩 2024-05-12T21:21:49Z
2024-05-12T21:21:49Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
xalpi 斑鳩 2024-05-08T22:45:08Z
2024-05-08T22:45:08Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hugo6849 斑鳩 2024-05-07T03:21:24Z
2024-05-07T03:21:24Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
xfuneral_teethx 斑鳩 2024-05-06T16:35:39Z
2024-05-06T16:35:39Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Yvonnelim99 斑鳩 2024-05-06T13:18:47Z
2024-05-06T13:18:47Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ranzac 斑鳩 2024-05-02T16:33:57Z
2024-05-02T16:33:57Z
7.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Foppishcrow 斑鳩 2024-05-01T19:46:33Z
2024-05-01T19:46:33Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MatteoAmmiragli 斑鳩 2024-04-30T01:50:14Z
2024-04-30T01:50:14Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Helios1 Ikaruga 2024-04-21T04:17:24Z
Windows
2024-04-21T04:17:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
need to finish
FirstMate 斑鳩 2024-04-19T18:51:20Z
2024-04-19T18:51:20Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bluejaysfan99 斑鳩 2024-04-16T21:33:33Z
2024-04-16T21:33:33Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
1-2 players
Multiplayer modes
Cooperative
Multiplayer options
Local
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  • Ikaruga
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  • Previous comments (2) Loading...
  • heavymetalthunder 2021-08-28 10:44:42.944549+00
    Radiant Silvergun is better gameplay-wise but this has so many good game design tricks and art style is amazing
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  • ... 2021-09-11 15:18:36.674097+00
    Awesome game
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  • Aysenthesys 2022-04-15 06:49:24.01481+00
    Bullet hell paradise, if that makes any sense. The dual polarity system makes the gameplay really deep and engaging. I felt really motivated to strategise.
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  • dokkancheng 2023-09-11 12:44:04.528598+00
    Underrated
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  • Regal_Throes 2023-11-02 15:39:57.061622+00
    Nowhere near as good as Silvergun or Dodonpachi. How this is considered the definitive shmup is beyond me.
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  • watercolour 2024-02-23 20:21:23.002392+00
    our FROTHING demand for this game is STILL increasing
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  • The_Prep 2024-03-13 04:34:52.710338+00
    Did they seriously put a big-ass IGN review on the box art?
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