It's not different from many other shooters before it, but it is still challenging and fun.

User Rating: 9 | Raiden III PS2
There are three genres I enjoy the most: Platformers, action/adventure, and shoot-'em ups. Shoot-'em ups have always been a favorite of mine since the days of arcades and it is nice to see that the genre still holds up today. However, the kind of shooters I enjoy the most are the games with the incredibly hard difficulty, with games like Ikaruga and Perfect Cherry Blossom (though I probably wouldn't go to that kind of sadistic of difficulty). But a great challenge is what makes these shoot-'em ups so great. But then we have a game like Raiden 3, which is supposed to be a revamp of the classic series of shoot-'em up games. Raiden 3 effectively follows the formula and is certainly challenging, but in the end fans of the genre will not find much of any originality.

The game is set as a vertical shooter. You pick one of the few game modes, set your difficulty and stock, and go blast it out through 7 levels. You fly around in your ship and blast anything that moves, all while avoiding dozens upon dozens of gunfire on screen at once. Most likely you will die, but the challenge the game presents you (especially on the highest difficulty) is very satisfying. To make things better you can play with an extra player, which is always a plus for games like this.

Like in other shooters of this kind you will be collecting a few power ups: The Vulcan Shot, Laser, and Proton Laser. Each weapon can be upgraded from power-ups, which makes owning enemies all the more satisfying. In addition to that you can also obtain secondary weapons, which include various missiles, and bombs. When you lose a life your bombs are restocked and you go back to your default weapon.
Again, as cool as these features are, there is no denying that this game does nothing new to set itself from other shooters. However, this game does come from a preexisting series which have used many of these same features, so a lot of these originality problems a little forgiven. But in the end, it could have added a little more to it to set itself apart from many other shooters that came since 1994.

The graphics are decent, but the backgrounds are a little bland. The character sprites look really good and have really cool gunfire. The sound effects are also pretty sweet. The music is really catchy and upbeat, and it actually fits into the action rather nicely.

To sum things up:

-Challenging and satisfying shooter action
-Cool-looking character sprites
-Awesome music
-2 player option

-Blandish backgrounds
-Not much originality since the rise of other shooters

So in the end, fans of space shooters like myself will devour this. Those new to the genre should hopefully find something to like here (as long as you are up to the challenge).