I could go on, but suffice it to say, I consider myself an average gamer. There's lots of games I like to play, but I'm not one for "mastering" games. In all honesty, I'm probably not a very good video game player, but at least I can have fun. Sometimes. There are games that just frustrate the hell out of me - Defender has always been one. For all I hear of how great this classic is, in its original form and as D2K on the Jaguar, I just can't seem to get anywhere, so I tend to stay away.
But then there are games I want to like so much, I keep playing them, even though I know going in I'll end up frustrated. Raiden on the Jaguar is among those games.
Raiden is the classic two-dimensional, over-head view arcade shooter. And in the Jaguar library, it is one of the system's better games - the Jag does 2D well, and this proves it. This is one of the games that make you feel your Jaguar is bringing the arcade into your living room. The graphics are colorful and crisp. The music and sound effects are great. The look of the enemy tanks and planes are intricate and well done, and there's lots of detail on the ground. You can collect power-ups to increase your fire power in two different ways, with bullets and lasers. As your firepower increases, you get a real sense of power as your opponents explode all over the screen. This is also a good game to really work-in a new controller, as the lack of rapid fire is noticeable, but not detrimental.
Sounds good, doesn't it? What could possibly be wrong? The fact that what's exploding on the screen is often YOU. This might be a case of the arcade-in-your-living-room feeling going to far, as the game seems intent on ending your game so the next player can plunk down his quarter.
Put simply, the amount of firepower your opponents have is insane. Quite often the screen is filled with enemy fire, and there's no way to avoid it, so BOOM, you blow up. This is especially true for the game's "bosses." I don't mind having bosses in a game, and I recognize they should be a bit tougher than the fodder you wade through to get to them. However, a boss' toughness shouldn't just be measured by filling the screen with bullets, or missiles, or lasers or whatever the heck it is they're firing. Sometimes there is a pattern, and if you can figure it out, maybe you can survive; but sometimes survival is a matter of millimeters. But all to often, survival is just impossible.
What is most frustrating in Raiden is collecting the powerups to increase your firepower, maxing out, only to be blown up a few times by the boss at the end of the level and having to start the next round with a pea shooter all over again. Perhaps to compensate, the game gives you five lives per credit, and at the start of the game allows you to choose two, five or eight credits - if you want to get anywhere in the game, and have the time, selecting eight credits is advisable.
Should you buy Raiden? Absolutely. Is it a good game? Certainly. Will you want to play it all the time? Probably not, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure.