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Raiden II

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Released: 1997

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: PC - Windows

Publisher: Gamebank Corp

Developer: Seibu Kaihatsu

Submitted by: Anthony Staude

When I first found Raiden II for Windows I thought it would be a rubbish conversion, much like the original Raiden for DOS.

With more of a gamer's sense of duty rather than eager anticipation, I installed the game. I was so pleasantly surprised at how amazingly good this game was that I ended up buying a proper joystick for my PC rather than use keyboard controls.

It's an utterly fantasic, spot on conversion of the original arcade. I would never have thought that it would be so good.

Raiden II as a game is a bigger, better game than it's predecessor. The original formula that worked is still there and has been improved.

New weaponry in the form of the purple "homing laser" weaponry that twists and bends around seeking a target. Though not super powerful and actually tricky to use it's a lot of fun and graphically quite spectacular. The more experienced Raiden pilot may prefer one of the other previous red or blue weapons which are both still present. Bombs now come in two flavours though missiles are still the same with homing and non-homing varieties.

The first end of level boss is quite a treat and rather than a boring tank, features not one but two "walkers", beautifully animated.

Raiden II is only available on Windows and Playstation 1 via the Raiden Project. MAME does not emulate it yet. So if you want to play, these are your only options.

So, Raiden II is in my opinion the ultimate incarnation of the vertical scrolling shooter – before they got too fancy and complex. I urge you find and play and be amazed like I was. And make sure you have a good joystick or pad!