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Released: 1990

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Seibu Kaihatsu

Developer: Seibu Kaihatsu

Submitted by: Anthony Staude

Raiden is the classic arcade game having all the elements which make up the best of the vertical scrolling shoot ’em up genre.

When I first saw Raiden at the arcades, I knew it was the start of a long love affair that is still going strong today. It’s the perfect vertical scrolling shooter. Beautiful and vibrant graphics, lots of selectable firepower and excellent and precise controls. The game is perfectly balanced. If that wasn’t enough, you can bring along a friend and have two players at the same time for double the blasting fun!

In my humble opinion, the late 80’s and early 90’s was the period of time where the best arcade shooters saw the light of day. Somewhere after that time, things started to go horribly wrong. Shooters became a garish, bullet-hell nightmare where you weren’t so much as shooting but dodging an ever increasing swarm of bullets. Yuck!

Give me the likes of Raiden anytime! Who can forget the first time they collected enough powerups to create the mega blue gun? Or the fan-spray of the powered-up red gun? And what about those awesome green homing missiles? And did anyone ever use the other slow firing missiles?

There aren’t zillions of enemies or even bullets on the screen at once. None of this bullet-hell rubbish, just a few well placed shots. Sit in one spot too long and you’ll know about it.

With it’s catchy tune (it’s playing in my head right now) just writing this review urges me back to an arcade (where are they all gone?) wanting to play this game again. Yes, I have Raiden for the PC DOS, PS1, PC Engine, Megadrive and even SNES. But it’s not the same. The arcade version rules supreme, so much so that I also have the original jamma board – the only arcade game I own. It’s safely in a box, waiting for the day that I can restore a cabinet, invite some friends over so that we can all enjoy the thrill of playing Raiden on an arcade machine again.

Wait… WAIT! Alright, there is one home version of the game that is okay – Raiden II on the PC for Windows. But that’s another retrobate…

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