She will kill you, savagely and repeatedly... and you her love her for it

User Rating: 9 | Ikaruga GC
n the early days of home video games, storage was limited and games simply couldn't afford to be 40+ hour long quests. Simple, challenging gameplay was the order of the day and Ikaruga harkens back to them. It delivers simple but refined shooter gameplay along with a whalloping difficulty. You will die. Alot. But that won't keep you from having fun.

Ikaruga is a bullet-hell, top-down shooter. Swarms of enemies flood the screen with an even larger swarm of bullets. You don't get a screen clearning bomb, but you aren't limited to just threading a path through that maze. Everything in the game - enemies and their bullets, your own ship and its bullets- is colored black or white. Your ship, which can flip colors, is immune to same-color bullets and will inflict increased damage on opposite color enemies.

When that beatiful, but deadly, bullet pattern comes racing to meet you, you can either smash through it by changing into its color or thread it (and deliver the hurt to the enemies behind it) by changing into its opposite color. It doesn't take long for black and white bullets to mix together so you will always be dodging and timing that next color change.

The game is short - only 5 levels. I've never gotten past the 4th, but it's still a thrill to play through. The pace at which you need to change colors gives the game an a rythmic quality and the patterns that the bullets form give it a puzzle-like feel. It's very satisfying to make your way farther, or get a better score, than your last attempt.

Casual gamers won't get very far, but they still will have fun. Shooter veterans, will get a run for their money. Recommended, if you can find it.