RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Sep 26th 2010 at 02:59:33 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under GameCube, Shmups, Gaming



Recently the really great blog http://isitaboutmygamecube.blogspot.com put a post about the GameCube Shmup library. Fellow blogger lisalover did a great job outlining them, though what's odd is that even though he likes all five he seems to rank them completely different than I do. So as much as I encourage you to visit his blog and check out his thoughts, I'd also like to offer you some alternate thoughts on all five of these gems. Now it should be noted that although there are other Shooter games for the Cube, the library is really rather small if you're a fan of classic 2D Shmups like myself. However, I honestly think all five of these games is absolutely must-own if you are a fan of the genre. And of course I can't picture playing any of them without an arcade stick myself.

Now on to the games...






Chaos Field tends to be one of those games that you either love or hate. There just doesn't seem to be a whole lot of in-between for some reason. Personally, I love the game. It has a fantastic techno soundtrack and features beautiful graphics that truly showcase the colorful bullet-hell patterns of the game. If you've never played Chaos Field then what you need to know about what makes the game so unique is that there are no levels to shoot your way through. Instead, Chaos Field is just a series of boss battles. Generally speaking this is what most non-fan gamers tend to hate about the game. But to me, this is what makes it so special. Shmups as a genre tend to be very zen-like in a strange way. Although they are often constantly high-tension games, the ability to control the situation by understanding bullet patterns is almost relaxing. In fact, fellow RFGen blogger Crabmaster2000 once wrote that Chaos Field was like Shadow Of The Colossus in space. With that in mind, I'm not sure any Shmup fan could not adore this one.







What can I possibly say about Ikaruga that hasn't already been said a million times? Not much really. Of course everyone knows the gimmick about the white-vs-black polarities. Generally this is one of those games that everyone knows is a great game (regardless of the inevitable backlash that's starting to present itself). In fact most gamers will consider this one an essential title in any GameCube collection regardless of genre. So having admitted that I can't shed any new light on the game, I will surely just say that I do Ikaruga. I can't picture owning a Cube without this game myself. I still play it often, still find myself astounding by the graphics, and still think it's just as challenging as ever.






Radirgy GeneriC has a huge cult following, as well as a bit of an interesting story. It was originally released in Japan and was actually brought over to the US as Radio Allergy toward the very end of the GameCube's lifespan. In fact, the game could have possibly been the last officially released GameCube game as the Wii was already in full swing. The US packaging was even set to have a "compatible with Wii" logo on the cover as a matter of fact. In spite of glowing reviews from gaming publications, the game ultimately never materialized in the US market. Indeed, I can't help but wonder how many promotional copies are out there, as obviously the reviewers had to have something to review. I also wonder if any copies were ever pressed. Certainly Milestone could have distributed them directly through their website. But perhaps they ended up in a landfill which has since been paved over. Oh well.

Radirgy is a great game, and it's certainly understandable why it would have such a dedicated following. It's definitely unique in its presentation with its cell-shaded appearance. As great as it is, I still don't rank it quite as good as Chaos Field, Ikaruga or Shikigami No Shiro II (I'll get to that one in a second). But that just comes down to personal taste. I just don't really enjoy the cell-shaded graphics as much for Shmup. I will say that the soundtrack is great, and I guess I should mention that if you don't want to spend the high premium for the GameCube import, the game was actually re-released (along with Chaos Field on the Wii's Ultimate Shooting Collection.






Shikigami No Shiro II is by far my favorite GameCube Shmup. In fact, it's probably one of my favorite Shmups ever. The soundtrack is incredible, the graphics are stunning, and the variety is astounding. Indeed there are seven characters to choose from, each of which has their own shooting style and special weapons. What makes the game standout is that instead of spaceships, you control little flying people. The level of the detail put into these characters is insane. I personally use Fumiko the witch, and you can even see how her robe flows through the wind. I could go on and on about what a fantastic game this is, but ultimately I feel like you just won't get it unless you try it. There's certainly a small but dedicated following to the series. I myself plan to pick up the third installment that was recently released on the Wii myself based solely on the merits of this one.






The GameCube version of the classic Star Soldier is actually an enhanced remake that was part of a series that Hudson released. Graphically, it's incredible. It certainly blows the original away, while retaining the classic gameplay style. But perhaps that's to its detriment. While I do think this is a game worth playing, it's also a lot less deep than some of the other Shmups I've mentioned above. However, the intention of these 2.5D Hudson remakes was that they were budget titles. At least in Japan they were. So while 3,000 yen was a small price to pay for what was essentially a prettier version of a simple Shooter, it's a bit pricier for the rest of us to import the game. Having said all that, the game is still certainly worth playing through and very enjoyable if you can track it down at a reasonable price.

Of course these are  all just my personal opinions. As I mentioned earlier, lisalover had a completely different take on most of these. So what are all your thoughts on these titles? Oh! And one last thing -- if anybody wants to trade or sell me the Fumiko figurine at a reasonable price, please let me know!








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Comments
 
Hey man great article again! I'm a huge shmup fan, and I love my cube so it's always great to see them come together so nicely! I've got a question about these games though, seeing as they're all vert shmups, do they have tate modes? I'm pretty sure Ikaruga has it (it did on the DC anyway), but I'd be very interested to know if the others have it.

Also, on a related note, I actually just bought a brand new sealed copy of Chaos Field from, of all places, Kmart! I was in there picking up some cat food, stopped by the videogame isle and it was staring me in the face. It also has a "Wii compatible" sticker on it that I don't think is very different from the one that was supposed to be on Radirgy, which is very interesting. It was only $15 too! If you have any Kmarts in your area it may be a good idea to ask them about old stock, I wonder what other magical things they have in the back room!
 
lol, everything on the list but Star Soldier had their first home console release on the Dreamcast.  Yet they are such great games they warrant a second purchase even if you have them already.  Come to think of it, I've bought Ikaruga 3x now with XBLA, DC, and GC.

For US gamers, I recommend the budget "Ultimate Shooting Collection" or "Milestone Shooting Collection" for Wii.  It includes Karous, Chaos Field, and Radirgy.  Complain about Milestone's ability to make 'shmups all you want; you can't beat 3 titles for $15 or less. 'Shmups never seem to sell lots of copies so I usually make an effort to purchase current gen ones ASAP because I never see them on the shelves for longer than 6 months.
 
Noiseredux, as always you do RFGen a great service with an interesting article covering games and genres oft left to the wayside.  I'm a huge shmup fan myself (check out the Gate of Thunder review on our podcast! *shameless plug*) and I also give Chaos Field a thumbs up.  I had my copy reserved alongside "Radio Allergy", which of course never materialized. 

I also heartily recommend the 'Ultimate Shooting Collection' for Wii.  Despite sharing a title with every other generic PC shareware bargain bin collection, its a great and cheap way to pick up these harder-to-find games.  Bought my reserved copy for $15.

And if you're like me and snap up anything shmup that is released for modern systems, check out 360's Deathsmiles and the upcoming Otomedius Excellent (which just got pushed back to next year.)  While I don't try to convince anyone to get into the free, no interest loan program that is video game reserves, this is a case where it can send a positive message  for publishers to continue giving us these old-school treasures.

 
Sweet blog! I own/enjoy all of the above game with the exception of Star Soldier. Castle Shikigami II I have for PS2 and Rario Allergy for Wii (USC as mentioned several times already).

Personally I'd even rank Castle Shikigami II above Ikaruga. It is so much fun and the poorly translated dialogue has me laughing out loud most times. And like you said, seven different characters (very different in some cases) keep the game fresh even after completion.

Definately worth investing in an arcade stick to play these though. Chaos Field in particular feels "off" with a Wavebird.

Thanks for the recognition also! Its always nice to know people are reading, especially the really old blogs like the Chaos Field one.
 
@Crabmaster2000: yr Unloved post on Chaos Field was what got me to buy the game! Oh and I think I'd agree that Shikigami II is even better than Ikaruga. Though it's close, there's something extra amazing and special about it.
 
Thanks again for mentioning my blog, noise. I hope some more people will give Star Soldier a chance; I positively loved the game. Shikigami No Shiro II is a great game for fans of newer SHMUPs, but if you prefer simpler, retro SHMUPs, SS is where it's at.
 
@lisalover1: that's a good distinction lisalover. They're definitely kind of the two extremes of styles. Both are great though. As are the other 3 mentioned.
 
Another great article Noiseredux. I too am a big fan of schmups and always love reading about them. My schmup collection tends towards Dreamcast and earlier for systems but I have been able to pick up a copy of Chaos Field. Got it from a local chain of game stores called Game Xchange for $8 brand new. From what I could tell they actually had several copies in stock. Worth checking out if anyone is in Arkansas.

Do you think you will do any more schmup articles in the future? I would love to see one on Gameboy and Gameboy Color schmups.
 
@finerion:noiseredux has been on a shmup kick lately - check out his article on Invader, and some previous articles on GBA shmups.

I picked up Chaos Field randomly at the flea market and I've been itching to play it. Every time I find a shmup, I have to pick it up just to give it some friends on my shelf instead of being alone and unloved on someone's shelf. One of these days, I'll summon the time and courage to play through some of the rougher shmups I've picked up over the years. Smiley

Great article as always.
 
Good stuff and all but it put me in a bad mood towards the end -- I'll probably never get to play that Star Soldier remake! I own every other game.
 
Woohoo! Found a lonely copy of Castle Shikigami II for the PS2 at my local game store. At only $6.99 (complete and in good condition) I couldn't help but snatch it up, especially after reading the review here. Thanks for giving me a heads up on this title Noise.
 
I have a friend who is is a game journalist. He has a developer's copy of Radio Allergy and says it's 100% finished and fully playable. The only thing is that you need a developer Gamecube to play it. I offered to buy it off him, but sadly he turned my offer down.
 
@satoshi_matrix: wow. I wonder if a developer copy plays on a chipped Cube? Anyway, that's awesome.

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