Radiant Silvergun- Treasure

Now that it's done, I've begun to see the reason why we are here...

Reviewed by Mr. Bungle

Treasure, one of the more interesting companies that broke away from Konami, eschews the traditional shooter genre with ideas of its own. Their last shooter, Axelay, is a classic, although I wasn't particularly fond of it (insert comment here, "what! Axelay was the best!") ... thought the mode7 was overdone.

Radiant Silvergun, which was an arcade release in Japan, epitomises these ideas with a single concept - No Powerups. Usually the gamut of shooters out there feature a shitload of powerups, used to make your ship bigger, badder, and meaner to survive the onslaught of enemies waiting to annihilate you. Instead, Radiant Silvergun takes the unique approach - have all different weapons at your disposal anytime, and pressing certain button combinations will unleash different weapons. For example, button A unleashes a straightforward shot, B unleashes tracking green shots, C causes a split shot with a mortar effect. Combinations of A+B, B+C and A+C add another 3 weapons (Homing lasers, Back shot and a lock on laser lightning thing).

The best one of all though is the Radiant Sword itself. Pressing all three of these will cause a sword to swing around your ship, which can nullify some enemy shots (believe me, you'll need this). What might not be so obvious is the smart bomb mode this has. Collect the floaty purple shots with the RSG, and it'll power up, enabling you to do a special move - You'll fall off your seat when you see it! .

What this entails is a blast happy time with a hint of strategy - certain enemies can be attacked different ways, and experimentation is a must to figure out how the hell to survive. The graphics in this game are drop dead gorgeous. Transparencies, notably tough as hell to program on the Saturn, abound. The polygonal bosses (as opposed to your sprite ship) are menacing, using every damn trick in the book to ensure your death. Portions of the game evoke anime, as with the end scenes and cutscenes.

Difficulty: Okay, now to difficulty. This is one of the most difficult shooters out there. Forget everything else, you'll need a damn miracle to survive this one on a quarter. Believe me, i've played my share of tough shooters in my lifetime (R-Type, Layer Section) but this one takes the cake. What you'll be facing against is a shitload of bullets, tons of flying lasers, and huge missiles hurling at you. In some instances, you'll have to contend with multiple oh-shit scenarios - i.e. bosses spew bullets at you, while simulatenously launching a tracking laser, on top of that, little ships come kamikazing toward you. If you manage to score a 100% killrate on the bosses, without continuing, you are truly the master of the shooter genre.

I tend to think the chances of achieving this is almost as bad as winning a huge $40 million jackpot in the lottery. However, don't be daunted at the difficulty - difficult shooters are a good thing, and you'll start sweating buckets. After I played this game, i had to lay down, take a tylenol, and watch the grass grow. There is occasionally slowdown in this game (not alot), notably during the scenes were you have 100 billion bullets and lasers hurling toward you and the boss death scenes as they explode into million pieces of scrap metal.

Gameplay: Extremely good. You get a percentage score based on destruction bonus (some bosses can self destruct, which is good, but the points are low), combination score multiplier, etc. To top it off, in those oh-fuck situations, you have a gauge which allows you to unleash the huge ass killing sword, which kills almost everything within a 5 inch radius. This baby comes in handly, especially in those above mentioned tight situations. There are only about 5-6 stages in the game. This might seem low, but take in account that you have 4 minibosses in each stage, one big ass boss in each stage, and stage segments are rougly long as Layer Section stages, you'll be sitting on the chair for some time. Some stages took me 10-15 minutes to complete, which is pretty long for a shooter. Also, you have the ability to save your progress, which is absolutely essential if you're trying to go for the one-quarter kill.

Quick menu explanation:
You have 3 choices - arcade mode, saturn mode, and options. Arcade mode is no frills blasting action. Saturn mode has a storyline, japanese speech, and anime characters. The options lets your configure game layout, music, difficulty, lives, etc. After beating the game, you will have access to options+, which allows you to have stage select and various other goodies.

Final thoughts:
Overall, a great damn game. Those shooter fanatics who think they're up to the challenge should do themselves a favor and pick up this game - don't miss it. Hardcore shooters will love it, others might not due to the insane difficulty level. I otherwise love it, this shooter really tests my reflexes and hand-eye coordination. Most of the game is in english, save for the storyline, which is in japanese. Most amusing is the garbled messages that come up whenever a boss blasts onto the screen. If the boss doesn't kill you, the messages will...
Treasure strikes it again with a winner...

Unlike almost every other shootemup, you get all the weapons you're going to ever get right away at the start. These are upgradeable though, and become pretty powerful the further you get.

There's two ways of setting up your controls: The first three weapons use the keys A, B, C. Then you can either assign the X,Y,Z and R Saturn pad keys for weapons 4-7, or use combinations of A, B and C instead. Personally I prefer the first way, as I can never remember which combination does what.
I don't know the proper names of the weapons (not being very good at Japanese), but here's a run-down anyway...

1. Basic gun. This is the most normal of them, fires forward only, and pretty powerful

2. Search. A homing device, spits out green acidballs which lock onto enemies in front and at the sides. Not very powerful.

3. Sideshot. Throws out two blasts at a wide angle - great for gun emplacements.

4. Circling lock on Thingie. Creates a wide rotating circle which acts very much like the lasers in Layer Section. Passing over an enemy, they initiate a lock on laser.

5. Backshot. Same as the basic gun, except the firepower is concentrated towards the bottom.

6. Tracking lasers. Two thin lasers which track and lock onto enemies, starting a lightning laser once locked.

And finally.....

The best weapon in the game, the RADIANT SWORD! Wooooh!!
Collecting certain bullets powers up the RSG meter, once full you can use the Hyper Sword, which is utterly gobsmacking to use. You can quite easily get carried away using this and forget to dodge, which in this game means rapid death!

I'm not sure about the level order here, as it's quite confusing how it works. You seem to start at level 3, then you can choose to go to 2 or 4 after that, and so on. So this is probably level 3. Got that?

This is the normal shot in action, which is a bit silly as those gun emplacements need taking out badly. The purple blobs can be used as powerups for the Silvergun sword, with the advantage being they disappear when collected.

Nasty bit this. Here's the RSG in action, scooping up the blobs.

Gets very tight in here, bear in mind that the collision detection is very fair, only if the middle of your ship is hit do you die.

Tracking lasers now. These ships move really slowly, but take up lots of the screen, so you can experiment with your weapons and find out the best way to blast them.

Now for the Thunderforce style back shot. You can probably work out yourself where these things come in handy!

If you want to see some more pics, of later levels and outstanding bosses, then in might be a good idea to CLICK HERE!

Nice one Mr B! Currently my favourite shooter, Radiant Silvergun is a surprising beast. Due to Treasure's different take on the shootemup, it constantly surprises with it's deviously deep gameplay - it reminds me somehow of Alien Soldier - you'll need technique more than anything else to get past some bosses, which are damned hard and numerous. And I haven't even tried going through the game by chaining - totally beyond this mortal soul.

The only thing I don't like about it is that the ship moves far too slowly for me. There's no speed-up option anywhere. If you're playing this on an unconverted (50Hz only) Pal Saturn then it's even slower.

    Been caught staring vacantly at the attract mode? Welcome to the ultimate site of Radiant Silvergun Translations!!

Why not download a few nice 1024 res background for your desktop which were on the Saturn CD? Click on the wee pics to get big ones....



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