It's rare to find a handheld game with this much emphasis on narrative (and narrative logic) and Osamu Tezuka's colorful roster of characters are ultimately crowbarred in to good effect.
Ikaruga is like no other shooter I've played. Despite my enjoyment of other excellent games like it, Ikaruga comes out on top. It's unfortunate that to describe why is so impressively difficult.
Ikaruga's patterns of alternating colors and the constant flipping of the ship are not unlike Tetris at its most complex levels (at least in terms of being forced to concentrate fully, react as quickly as possible with complete precision, and plan a few moves ahead). This really brings an extra dimension to the game in terms of mechanics as the title asks gamers to not only shoot and dodge, but also focus on finding the best path through each stage.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Violence
Originally released two years ago in Japan for the Nintendo 64 under the title, Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh, the U.S. Dreamcast release of Bangai-O continues a long and excellent Treasure tradition of fast and furious arcade thrills that began with the Sega Genesis game Gunstar Heroes and culminated with Treasures magnum opus, the Sega Saturn import Radiant Silvergun. Bangai-O reunites Treasure with Silvergun collaborator ESP, and not surprisingly, it marks a triumphant return to hardcore shooting madness.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Animated Violence, Mild Language
After playing a game like Bangai-O, it really puts a spotlight on the fact that there are some very different types of gamers out there. Extremely rare is the disc that can please all (or even most) gamers, and Bangai-O is a perfect example of the type of title which clearly tells you which type of player you are since it strikes me as a "love it or hate it" type of affair.