TGS '07: Ikaruga Hands-On

We get a brief taste of Treasure's acclaimed shooter on Xbox Live Arcade.

One of the many games available to try at Microsoft's booth on the Tokyo Game Show floor is Ikaruga, the old-school flavored shooter from Treasure recently announced for Xbox Live Arcade. The game was released in arcades on Sega's NAOMI arcade hardware in 2001 and then brought to home consoles in Japan in 2002 on the Dreamcast. A GameCube version was released in Japan, the US, and Europe in 2003, giving players around the world a chance to revel in the polished shooter. The demo on display in Microsoft's booth offered a short sample of what to expect from the XBLA version, but what was there has us pleased by how it's coming together and anxious for the final game.

The demo in the Microsoft booth let players tear through the first level of the game, which offers a nice introduction to the vertically scrolling space shooter's simple but addictive gameplay. Your goal is to survive wave after wave of enemies then make your way to a boss who needs dispatching. Although the game has a decidedly old-school feel, the big twist to Ikaruga's gameplay is its polarity-shifting mechanic. Besides having a basic array of blasters and a powerful super attack you can charge up that lets you shoot out up to 12 homing missiles, the most important ability your ship has is the ability to switch polarities on the fly. The polarity mechanic is tied directly to the enemies you face, which will come in two different color varieties denoting one of the two polarities, white or black. By shifting the polarity of your ship as you play, you'll be able to absorb the bullets from enemies if you match their color. So shifting to white lets you absorb white bullets and vice versa. You can also choose to attack enemies while using the opposing polarity because your shots will do significantly more damage to them. The deceptively simple mechanic adds an impressive amount of depth and strategy to the experience, which is compounded when the game is played in two player co-op. Control in the game seems fine with the default control scheme being offered, although you'll be able to customize your button layout if you see fit.

While Ikaruga is still in the early stages, the game's presentation is looking and sounding top-notch. The visuals in the demo were stunning as ever and crystal clear in HD. The game's visuals always stood out for their sharpness and smooth scrolling but all of that bumps up several notches when it's running in HD. The crisp detail and vibrant color popped on the 360, which certainly bodes well for the final game. As with the previous versions of the game, Ikaruga on XBLA will offer horizontal and vertical display modes so players can re-create the arcade experience on their HDTVs. Although it was a little tough to make out the audio in the game due to all the ruckus in the Microsoft booth, it sounds as though the game's soundtrack and effects are on point. The soundtrack offers a solid complement to the action, while the various effects for explosions and weapons fire are a good punctuation to all the craziness.

Based on what we played, Ikaruga should rock on Xbox Live Arcade especially with the co-op mode being expanded to include play over Xbox Live. Although Ikaruga is still without an official release date in any territory, it's expected to be available sometime next year. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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52 comments
ng2006
ng2006

I don't know this.

Bakahashi
Bakahashi

Awesome. I played this on the Dreamcast and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite It's extreme difficulty.

jpri26
jpri26

Sadly, this is my favorite game of all time and actually foced m to buy a Gamecube.....the game mechanics are ridiculous as is the dificulty. ~reflexes beware`

Wakey652
Wakey652

CaptianPeachfuz, you've got completly the wrong attitude mate, Everyone deserves to play this game, i've got a jap DC copy of this and if anything, being on xbla will make physical copies of this game more valuable by raising it's profile.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

Beautiful, I so miss old school shooters with a passion. XBLA is a thing of beauty! "I love it when a plan comes to action!!", Hannibal Smith

L1qu1dSword
L1qu1dSword

lol @ captain peachfuz. your like a rich snob who just found out that there was a free mercedes hand out. calm down and let us all enjoy. definitely a nice addtion to the xbla. 360 is KILLING it lately damn!

NND1
NND1

Owning 360 has been like an awesome dream... Dont Pinch me don't wake me UP!!! :)

ShirkDawg
ShirkDawg

hahahaha sucks for you captain, anyway why would you want it to be hard? I have some rare games I could sell for a lot but I'd still want people to be able to buy them cheap because I like the games.

CaptianPeachfuz
CaptianPeachfuz

this not fair... now it becomex easier for people to get thier hands on this rare game. Instead of paying 40-100 dollars for it. Even n00bs can get thier hands on Ikaruga...

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

i want it this year!! pretty please!!!!!!

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

groovy looks nice, can never have to many twitch games

magix2k
magix2k

Ikaruga, good times. Can't wait for it! ;D

buttons2010
buttons2010

To be honest pretty much any game from the Treasure back catalogue would be welcome (Barring that McDonald's game, there first one and pretty obscure, and Light Crusader). The Wii already has Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy so there is a chance they will come are way to!

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

@buttons2010 Guardian Heroes was great on the saturn and your right with Radiant Silvergun for xlive but Gradius v i would also welcome but good that Ikaruga is coming even if the release date is yet unannounced .

barrett_rob
barrett_rob

next year!!! release it on Christmas at least! why ow why

buttons2010
buttons2010

Please, please, please Treasure, release Radiant Silvergun on XBLA! I've always wanted to play this game! Guardian Heroes would be awesome to

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

should try this again for sure.brings back some memories playing it

zidan4000
zidan4000

i have a dream cast but i never played this game , it looks soo good from what people is saying about it.

Wakey652
Wakey652

This game is sooo dman good, looks like my TV is gonna start living on it's side again. On DC with the VGA box this looks great, all we need now is a hefty arcade stick. DREAMCAST LIVES AGAIN lol

ScottEFresh
ScottEFresh

As a PS3 owner, I Can truly say I am jealous of this. OH well good thing I can play it on Wii (GC).

Puck82
Puck82

I played it on Dreamcast and then on Gamecube, but the 360-style will be more improved under the multiplayer gameplay and HD graphic too. I will wait impatiently for this title (and also for Sensible Soccer too).

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

sounds great but whats going on with the marketplace, 3 days running still says unvailable, there was an update yesterday, anyone know what for >?

diablobasher
diablobasher

Freakin sweet, if this sells as well as i hope, it should give rise to a whole wave of amazing XBL games from the likes of Treasure and other companies.

erlachu2
erlachu2

It's a good time to be a 360 owner.

allmybase
allmybase

Although I barely had the chance to play this on the GameCube, it's nice to hear that this version is shaping up quite nicely. If I had a 360, I'd probably get it so I could avoid having to resort to eBay and paying absurd prices for a GC or DC version of the game. Nevertheless, it's a good thing this gem is getting some more limelight. Few Treasure games ever do outside of the gaming community.

wooooode
wooooode

I have it for GC and the game is great. It is hard but for each hour you put in you get another continue and after 9 hours infinite continue's.

km1498
km1498

Looks good, never played any other version of it but I will definitely check this out when it comes out.

darkzerogamer
darkzerogamer

Seems like Microsoft is really pushing out the big guns during the Tokyo Game Show. Makes me glad that I have an Xbox 360.

Hunawearl
Hunawearl

I kept meaning to get this game on the Dreamcast, then later on the 'Cube, but never did. I won't miss it this time around :)

Holopaw
Holopaw

Whoa, this game looks great, can't wait

magicalclick
magicalclick

woot, I have been waiting for this type of game for quite sometime. Weeee.....

enterprise1345
enterprise1345

I remember seeing this game when it first came out and it looked awesome but couldn't play it i'm looking forward to this

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

more pumped for Rez but this looks insanely awesome

link631
link631

i love this game i had it on game cube its so fun

sephiroth_4
sephiroth_4

another fine dreamcast game re-released. Thank you! Just make the 360 emulate the dc and I would be in heaven.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

I've got the GameCube version already. I've had it for years. Ikaruga and Soukyugurentai are two of my favorite shmups. I'm still going to buy the XBLA version. Online co-op and 720p being two of the reasons. Now my fingers are crossed that one day Radiant Silvergun will come to XBLA.

futagoza
futagoza

I played the Gamecube version as recently as 3 hours ago. It is without a doubt one of the best games ever imo. This is one game that makes me seriously consider buying a 360. If they did Radiant Silvergun as well, I would be completely sold.

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

never played it, but looks totally awesome. I can't wait to get it on Live. Chad Wardenn loves Ikaruga!!

ElementalSoljer
ElementalSoljer

The toughest shooter I have ever played. Hands down! Very intuitive though and not to mention easy on the eyes environments. :3

sniper2k0
sniper2k0

I love playing this game on the Dreamcast. Hopefully it will be a better experience on the 360.

Nedemis
Nedemis

I can't wait for this game on XBLA. Even though I owned it for the Gamecube, the ability to play this online is a huge draw. By far, this will be one of the best XBLA games to date. :)

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

I have Ikaruga on Gamecube and although I think it is a fantastic game, I don't know that I can warrant another purchase. It would be fun to play on Live and I would like to see it in HD, though.