Not recommended for players that dislike challenge.
For anyone who knows what a 'bullet hell shmup' is, feel free to skip this paragraph, bullet hell is a type of shoot em up where bullets cover most of the screen, most of the time. Making it very difficult to move around, let alone shoot enemies. The gameplay concept is simple, you fly a ship over a scrolling background, shoot enemies 'til you get to the end of the level, where you face a boss. To add a little twist to the shoot 'em up concept, you can change the polarity of your ship, to do extra damage to enemies of the opposite polarity, and to absorb bullets of the same polarity. Adding a bit of strategy to the game. The key feature of this game, is the difficulty. After several hours of gameplay, I've only been past the 2nd boss once. Usually, I lose the last of my lives facing the boss itself. If you play games just to breeze through them, this game isn't for you. However, if you like a challenge, you can't go wrong with this one.Read full review
If there's a reason to own a Gamecube, this is it.
Years ago, when the Gamecube was still in its heyday I read a small review in the back of one of their official magazines. In this section, every game that had been released for the platform had a cursory description and a percentage score. This title stood out amongst all the others as it had one of the highest scores and was summarised thus: "It has only five levels...but you'll be lucky to finish them all". A game with that sort of synopsis has to be worth playing, I remember thinking. There's a reason they said that, and, years after its release and subsequent demise of the Gamecube, it still stands strong in the world of gaming. On the face of it, Ikaruga is an arcade scrolling shooter like many that have come before it. You operate a ship, shooting at enemies as they fly at you from the top of the screen and trying not to die in the process. However, it has a unique and deceptively simple game mechanic that sets it apart from the likes of other games of its ilk. The mechanic is as such: your ship has two polarities; black and white, which you can switch between at any time. Your enemies, and their bullets, also possess the same polarities. If you fire white bullets at a black ship, or vice versa, you get a bonus than if both were the same. This is where the game gets interesting. If you get hit by an enemy bullet of the same polarity as your shield, you absorb its energy, which you can then accumulate and release later on as a special attack. However, if you get hit by an opposing bullet, you die. That's all it takes, a single bullet and it's game over. As the aforementioned summary implied, this game is hard. This game is hard. THIS GAME IS SO HARD OH MY GOD WHY CAN'T I EVEN GET PAST THE SECOND BOSS THIS IS SO UNFAIR WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS. I wish that was hyperbole, but that is perhaps the best way I can express how difficult it is. Even though the first level is a challenge on initial attempts, it doesn't quite prepare you for the intensity of the subsequent levels and the difficulty ramps up exponentially after the first boss. I would comment on the last three levels, but, as I exclaimed earlier, I have yet to defeat the boss at the end of the second stage, even on easy mode. Throughout the stages, you are constantly faced with an onslaught of bullets, lasers, ships and structures, and it only takes one of those to wipe out a life. The developers were kind enough to add a trial mode to help ease in new players, which only lets you play the first two chapters, but you have unlimited lives in the first chapter. I cannot express how difficult this game is, if you want to truly understand then play it for yourself. Having said that, this is one of the best games I have ever encountered. Despite the frustration that the difficulty may cause, it is this aspect that drives you to play the game just one more time. The achievement felt in completing a stage is so much greater because of the strategy and hand-eye coordination needed to do so. If you give up, it certainly won't be because the controls didn't respond properly. The controls are flawlessly simple: move with the stick, B to shoot, A to switch polarity and R to release energy. It's that simple and you only have yourself to blame when you die. Visually, Ikaruga is, even now, outstanding as it's bright light show and playability allow it to transcend the graphical limitations of the console. This is truly a spectacle of modern gaming and will outlive us all.Read full review
Makes no sense but okay.
I didn't purchase Ikaruga and have only ever played it twice for about 30 minutes at a time. I actually purchased Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Eternal Darkness is a mystery survival horror game that mimics the works of Poe, and Lovecraft. With a deep story and an insanity meter that always has you on edge, It really is worth hunting down and purchasing this gem. However the graphics are more fitting for the PS1 than for the Gamecube's capability. The Shooter Ikaruga is considered by many to be one of the best challenging games made for the Gamecube. An underrated gem that is ultimately, greatly rewarding. With excellent graphics and awesome soundtrack, Ikaruga is highly addictive.