I know that neither my playing experience nor playing acumen with side-scrolling shooters can compare with Ben's, but I know a below average shooter when I see one, and RayCrisis: Series Termination is such a game. It does have a few things going for it. I found Taito's gimmick to give players a say in determining the length of each level to be an interesting one and the graphics were quite nice. Despite a slightly overhead perspective, everything is rendered in 3D. This means everything from missiles to enemy ships and structures to power-up icons floating across the screen are rendered in real-time. What's more, there is hardly any slowdown present in the game no matter how congested things may get on screen. The sounds are not bad either. Although the music is pure arcade fare, the explosions and sound effects are done very well—the constant background voice of my plane's computer informing me of my encroachment level was not as annoying as I thought and quickly became a plus.
It's everywhere else that RayCrisis either stumbles or simply failed to impress. The selection of ships is sad at a mere three ships. It wouldn't be that bad except that as Ben mentioned, there are few power-ups to make these ships handle better or to improve their offensive or defensive abilities in a measurable way. Whichever ship you select is the one you are stuck with throughout the entire stage. When the action heats up, its almost impossible to keep track of what is going on. At times there is so much debris and explosions on screen that it's hard to see what was destroyed, what I was aiming at and, most importantly of all, where the power-ups are. What's worse is that Taito committed a cardinal sin (at least for me) by omitting a two-player mode. Perhaps this was the only way Taito could find to keep the action running at a steady clip, but it has always been a crucial part of the side-scroller shooter experience to be able to tap a friend for some mindless destruction. If it is taken out, then the developer has to create a great single-player experience to as a substitute—something that Taito did not do.
You may have figured that Ben is our resident shooter expert by the brief shooter history lesson he treated us to in his review, but I think he looked at this game through "Ray" colored glasses. I won't argue the greatness of those old shooters, but if they are to be compared with a game as lacking as RayCrisis, then they must not have been that good.
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