Gamestyle Score intro: a game so great I actually mentioned it in my wedding speech in 2004. A marvellous experience that arrived on the Sega Saturn in 1998 and received an overdue revamp for Xbox Live in 2011. To this day stunning. Dating this review is difficult however I’d expect it to be from around 2000.
Radiant Silvergun – no doubt you’ve heard of it, a couple may have seen it and perhaps a lucky few may have even played it. One of the unwritten rules of gaming is that often towards the end of a consoles’ life, some of the best games will appear and many of these won’t be released outside of their native country – for instance Treasure’s latest title (Sin & Punishment N64) won’t be seen outside of Japan.
This happens to every console and no doubt more examples will be seen on the N64 & Dreamcast in the coming months. Radiant Silvergun is by Japanese developer Treasure who since their formation in 1989 have created a reputation amongst developers and gamers for their originality and gameplay. Radiant was released in 1999 to excellent reviews world-wide however due to the flat-line status of the Saturn abroad it was considered commercially unviable to release the game in the West. Since then it has gained a cult reputation as being one of the best shooters (if not games) ever made and a title that made the Saturn sing like no other. For a shoot ’em up Radiant has a decent plot driven by anime sections and radio communication between the main characters. The story is set in the future where scientists have discovered a diamond shaped object and attempt to open it on earth. Upon opening the object a massive destructive power is unleashed, destroying the planet. Not all is lost however, above the planet, residing in orbit are a group of pilots who after discussion decide to travel back in time and prevent the disaster from happening. Treasure tends to do things their own way and for Radiant they introduced a whole range of weaponry, enemies to fight and secrets to discover.
As with all of their games Radiant is difficult at first, perhaps even sheer impossible without the use of continues however you soon realise the ingenious game design. You have a selection of seven unique weapons which you can fire using various combinations on the pad, each has their own specific purpose. Through experience and playing the game six of the weapons levels can be increased, eventually making the earlier levels fairly easy with your increased strength. For the spectacular bosses you will require all the fire power that you gained and even then its still challenging. Your seventh weapon is the Hyper Sword that can be used once you have collected enough power balls. This is the most devastating attack in your arsenal – it hits everything on the screen, causing immense damage and proves very useful when the screen is full. Not only is the gameplay exceptional but the actual visuals are stunning (both 2&3D), proving that the Saturn was perhaps the ultimate 2D console.
The game moves at a constant rate with hints of slow down during the clashes with end of level bosses. The collision detection can also be suspect at times but this is more of a bonus. Some of the effects in the game will have you looking down to check which console you are using. I have played most shooters available on the Dreamcast and Psone but few come close to the standard set by Radiant. The soundtrack is truly one of the best that I have heard and in the options you can sit back and enjoy the tracks or you could have downloaded them from Napster. Yet despite all my praise I would think that many of you will still be thinking its just another shoot ’em up? It certainly is, however Treasure have taken the original genre and injected much needed dose of class A drugs. This is gameplay at its finest.
Not only does the game support two players, it also has a different route if you perform badly on the earlier levels and you can collect dogs! In the options you will notice your kennel which contains the number of dogs that you have discovered and they’ll be there barking at you. By collecting these four-legged friends you open up hidden extras making the game last longer than most. To collar one you need to use the radar attack, which is the only one capable of finding and hitting dogs. They are hidden in certain locations on levels, which may increase your chances of destruction but its well worth it. You will also notice that your enemies are divided into different colours and by only hitting the same colour you will build up your chain bonus but it isn’t easy! The game is built for replay value. Be warned that you and your friends will become easily lost in Radiant Silvergun and without realising it waste at least three hours. I’m very critical of everything in general but this is the game I go back to the most – even though it caused the destruction of my last Saturn through overheating!
Gamestyle Score: 10/10