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Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Taito
Publisher:  Taito
Features:  Dual Shock Compatible, Pocket Station Compatible
Ratings:  Rating Pending
Memory Req.:  
You can call me crazy, but I think that software developer Taito is run by aliens. How else to explain their seemingly endless fascination with futuristic shooters? From the classic simplicity of Space Invaders and Night Striker, to modern classics like the Darius series, it almost seems as if these programmers were themselves created simply for the purpose of making games like this. Raycrisis, the third in the series that started with Layer Section and Raystorm, continues the trend, and import shooter fans will no doubt lock on to this one as well, as it's another great shooter.

Yes, there's the usual "aliens out to destroy all" storyline, ship selection, and weapons. But the game throws a few interesting curves your way, such as a stage select that lets you play the same stage over (if you want to) until you reach the final boss. Like the two other games in the series, movement is primarily vertical, with a few cinematic camera changes thrown in for good measure. In addition to the stage select, you can also choose the number of ships per game, which seems to affect your overall score and whatever bonuses you acquire at the game's end. Interestingly enough, you only get one Special weapon per ship, so proper deployment of this is a bit crucial, as you can imagine. Strangely, the game is only single player this time out, so forget all about having a friend join in on the fun, except as a cheerleader.

The environments in the game vary from futuristic cityscapes to a desert with a lethal lake of lava at the end, all loaded with enemies out to ruin your mission. You have a choice of 3 ships, each with different weapon loadouts and targeting. You can power up your weapon to do some incredible amounts of damage, and as in the other games in the series, you can sweep the screen and target multiple enemies, then take them out with a single shot from your lock-on weapon. Bosses however, are another story altogether- Even if you're fully powered up, expect to spend some quality time avoiding death by micro-inches, should you be so skilled. The game also has a cool techno-mix soundtrack that counterbalances the games' furious action perfectly.

The main game itself is pretty short, so Taito has seen fit to include a few bonuses, which you'll have to discover on your own (don't you hate it when reviewers give away stuff like that?). There's also a really sweet mini-game, Pocket Ray, for those of you who have Pocketstations handy. Yes, I know you still think I'm crazy for my opening line about Taito, but Chase H.Q., Elevator Action, and all the rest are all fronts for some future invasion plan by these guys. Hell, if they keep making games this good, when the ships DO land, I won't mind one bit. Maybe I'm really wrong, and they want us to sharpen our shooting skills so we can STOP an alien invasion! Oh well, whatever- Raycrisis is an excellent choice, and one that will give you plenty of practice…

Greg Wilcox

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