Saturday, Nov 26, 2022

Review: Radiant Silvergun- An Outstanding Shmup That's Still One of The Best

Captured on Nintendo Switch. Treasure made it a business to boycott business practices. Its dedication to dying consoles once made Treasure Japan's..


Captured on Nintendo Switch.

Treasure made it a business to boycott business practices. Its dedication to dying consoles once made Treasure Japan's most admired boutique developer. Radiant Silvergun, a practice that led to some of the most important works in gaming, is an example of unapologetic showboating and spectacular overachievement.

This Switch debut, once Sega Saturn's most coveted import prize, is actually a port-of-a-port, cloned wholesale using the 2011 Xbox 360 release. The Switch's control scheme lends itself well to it -- and superbly to a Pro Controller -- an LCD HUD displays button functions to help you become familiar with your ship's varied arsenal. The training mode is invaluable and extremely configurable. Unfortunately, there is no new content available for Switch owners. However, some artwork galleries and similar would be welcome as well as an in-game quick restart.

The handheld mode is particularly impressive, though, because this is a vertical-scrolling shooter-em-up with a horizontal format. This means that you can leave your Flip-Grip at home and still have a larger screen-estate when on the go. The options to customize and sharpen graphics assets are fascinating, but the high-resolution settings can make the sprites look a bit plasticky. Our preference is to combine the authentic grit from LOW-RES 1 and ALPHA for clear transparencies.

Captured on Nintendo Switch.

Although Hiroshi Iuchi, the director of Radiant Silvergun, cited Irem’s Image Fight as its motivation, many feel that the film's disregard for game conventions almost makes it unrelated to the genre. Radiant Silvergun abandons the idea of power-ups and collectable weaponry and equips your ship with three classes of fixed weapon: Vulcan Homing, Spread, and Homing. Each shot type has two variations. The strength of each one steadily increases with use. A craft-encircling sword can be used to collect special pink bullets and trigger a bomb attack. Even for people who are familiar with the genre, it's quite complex. It is important to know which weapon you should use at what point in the game. This is especially true in a game with many boss encounters.

Sega's ST-V arcade hardware is used to create Arcade Mode. This is a stunning fifty-minute epic in which you must chain colour-coded popcorn enemies, disassemble bosses, and increase your weapon power. You'll find yourself credit-feeding with increasing frequency if your ship isn't up to standard. It's beautiful and brutal and should be carefully hacked apart, dissected and memorised. There are only three continues at the beginning, but you earn more as you play. Arcade Mode's completion is so difficult that Treasure's president Masato Makawa had to hire top-notch players to help him debug the final third of the game. Story Mode, an original Sega Saturn mode, was created for 1998's home-release. This mode is a long, bleak, and emotional one-and-a half-hour marathon. It has a voice-acted, animated plot.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

Story Mode, unlike Arcade Mode's stage routes, allows you to run the entire gamut. Its irregular stage chronology jumps into the future and flashes back to the past, and it is not limited by the optional stage routes. Story Mode is unique in that it does not offer any continues. Instead, you can save your game by dying and restart the game with the same weapon levels as before. You also get a greater number of lives. This genius allows the best players to win the campaign in a few attempts. Everyone else can enjoy the thrill of levelling up credit by credit until they are able to cut through the early bosses like butter. It is a brilliantly designed way to expose Treasure's masterpiece, which may be difficult for some players to follow the serpentine path.

Silvergun, a masterpiece in artistry and technical brilliance, is a classic game console's best work. It displays uncanny technical flair on a console known for its muddled architecture. The action begins with the player craft, which is a tiny four-pronged weapon of fury that flies through the sky above an iron platform. As you battle the first wave popcorn enemies, a dramatic Wagner-esque march echoes out. You then face a cannon-wielding, giant warship. It is engulfed in flames and a vast, brooding sci fi landscape emerges beneath it, spinning spectacularly as you approach it.

The scenery is not limited to single planes like most shoot-em ups. It can be arranged through passages, enclosures, and obstacles. It is a seamless, effect-laden gala made of ribbed copper and circuit board imprints. The 2D layers are combined with the 3D industrial estates that dwarf them, each infused with a luminescent palette of light and colours. Radiant Silvergun's dense, starry forests, incandescent cities and stellar orbits are far more impressive than Ikaruga, its spiritual sequel that is stylistically boring.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

It follows visually where it goes aurally. Hitoshi Sakimoto (Gradius V), a composer, added the finishing touch to the cake with a stunning soundtrack. This orchestral accompaniment was perfectly matched by Iuchi’s visionary approach. Inspiring synth arrangements flow into bell-filled crescendos. Military drum beats and galactic themes are accompanied by atmospheric vistas of supreme theatrical clarity.

Although the 32-bit era was a host to many milestones, few titles can boast such raw expertise. It's the Ben-Hur title of the genre, an undeniable masterclass in the colossal. Modern games are all about thrills and join-the dots action. 1998 Treasure was a game that broke new ground. Every stage is a journey. You can speed up buildings and rocket out of Death Star-style trenches. In a memorable confrontation, you will also face an enemy assault in a retro wire-frame. This is Treasure's primary example of reckless ambition. It will have you involved in an endless series of altercations, as you navigate through bullet fields, laser arrays and precarious mazes. You'll be left breathless by its inexorable re-invention.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

The scoring system adds an additional layer of complexity to the puzzle. It's possible to stick with red-colored enemies to get a slight chaining bonus and enough weapons boost to last the race, but experts can find hidden strings and bonus dog icons to gain a significant online leaderboard advantage. However you slice it, chaining equals strength -- something you must remember if you want to make it in Arcade Mode.

Radiant Silvergun's boss armada, in true Treasure style, is as creative and imposing as it is. You can take their armaments off for a 'perfect destruction bonus. You'll be attacked by everything, from cylindrical fortresses to robotic reptiles, as well as subtle tributes the great shooting games. Xiga, an anthropomorphic god that descends in a ring filled with burning light, is a stunning finale. The pre-battle warning, "Be praying", is a two-screen high androgynous giant. The inevitable bullet attack is accompanied by a haunting chorus. It's pure adrenaline-fuelled euphoria.

Some may find Silvergun a bit too dense. Despite its status as one of the most sought-after titles in gaming, there are still some disagreements about its merit. Iuchi's labor of love is actually quite impractical. It's a work of stupefying excess that's far too complex to be of any use to the entire shooting game contingent. However, it is wrong to slander the willing pioneer; those who want something more traditional have thousands of shooting game options. The real problem is with the gamer, not the game. It is the gamer's sensibilities that will determine whether or not it can be resolved. It's a raucously extravagant, treacle-thick conflict that almost runs away with itself. But, to use a common phrase, you get what you put in.


In light of its achievements, Clarifying Radiant Silvergun's position in the genre is irrelevant. It is still a worthy achievement, despite its intransigent nature. It wears its toughcore credentials on its sleeves, and its technical and artistic depth is amazing. It's as stimulating and rewarding, but also exhausting. This is a labor that transcends not only the genre but the medium. It's difficult, and in some cases it lacks immediate connection. But those who master Radiant Silvergun can claim they have lived Radiant Silvergun. It's an experience that is worth fighting for.

This is a genre-reinventing masterpiece, full of raw creativity. A soundtrack that will make you weep. An incredible system to learn. Different modes cater to different skill levels. Excellent910 Scoring Policy
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