Just as Samurai Shodown 2 brought an arcade fighter to your PC, Raiden II does the same for this classic shooter. No installation is required, assuming you have Direct X installed. The game is very difficult and due to the small screen size, it's incredibly trying. One of the best changes, however, is that gameplay now encompasses both vertical and horizontal perspectives, an option not available in the arcade version.
Attacking aliens is about the only reason anyone could have for blowing up so many things! As is typical for most shooters, the screen gets cluttered with enemies and you find yourself just holding on to the guns while plowing through them. To its credit, Raiden II never slows down. The screen may be covered with enemy fire and ships but you'll never have a sluggish moment.
Some of the weapons you wield are very powerful. You begin the game with a simple dual firing laser and then, as you get certain power-ups, you're able to use more powerful guns. An example is the continuous-firing purple laser that is a useful weapon against big ships that stay in front of you and don't move.
The available bombs can either destroy a bunch of enemies ahead or those surrounding you. One of the things I've never liked about games like this one is when the ground moves by too slowly. Your ship doesn't appear to be traveling very fast and the enemy tanks on the ground can actually move as fast as you can!
The game, although viewed from a 3D perspective, is decidedly two-dimensional during gameplay as you shoot everything as if it's on the same level (ground or sky). In Darius Twin for the Super NES, one of my favorite shooters, your ship appeared to be traveling along at an incredible speed, action was more spread out, and the levels were varied.
In this game when an enemy fires, bullets are often on the screen for a couple of seconds. The levels are also very much alike as you travel the Earth's landscape to get to the alien stronghold. These differences in gameplay from Darius Twin are presented for comparison purposes and I'm sure there are many gamers who prefer this style.
Raiden II is a popular arcade classic, so the visuals were untouched for the PC version. To see the best graphics, you must play the game at a very basic resolution in a small window on your screen. Although the option exists to play in full screen mode, graphics suffer if you do. The action does not slow down, though, and the graphics aren't incredibly bad at that point, just not nearly as good or smooth as they are in the small screen.
Other than these issues, the game is as close to the coin-op as you can get. The weapons and enemies encountered throughout the levels are identical. If you enjoy these types of shooters then Raiden II will not disappoint. Features are typical of the genre and gameplay is very straightforward and simple: point and shoot!
While there are no instructions or manual, nothing needs to be explained. Gameplay is intuitive and all you need to know are which buttons to push. Overall, Raiden II is a decent arcade shooter for your computer. You can probably find better and more powerful shooting games, but if you're running low on computer space, this is a definite must!
Graphics: Just as in Samurai Shodown 2 for the PC, Raiden II is designed for play in a small screen. Had they changed this, the game would have been much better. But, as is, the graphics are not bad. Imagine playing the Arcade game from about ten feet away.
Sound: The lasers make a decent sound and there's a lot going on with ammunition from other ships and various tanks. The music is just a basic midi-file but serves as decent background to the action.
Enjoyment: Overall, it's fun to play Raiden II but you do tend to get killed a lot and often I didn't see much point in continuing. The action is very cluttered and fast-paced, so, if you like that sort of thing, the game will suit you just fine. It's a very difficult game to defeat, which can also result in discouragement.
Replay Value: The replay value here would be bad if there were no two-player feature. The two-player cooperative game allows you to fight other enemies in a teamwork effort while destroying each other as well.
People who downloaded Raiden II have also downloaded:
Raiden, Raptor: Call Of The Shadows, RayStorm (a.k.a. Layer Section 2), RayForce (a.k.a. Layer Section), RayCrisis (a.k.a. Layer Section III), Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams (a.k.a. Street Fighter Zero), Robocop 2D, Quake 2
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