Ray Crisis Review
In the day and age of 128-Bit gaming, arcade shooters are quickly being forgotten and are rarely developed anymore. But developers such as SquareSoft and Working Designs plan on keeping the tradition alive. Einhander is without question one of the best shooters on the Playstation, it got bright and vivid 3D visuals, fast paced smart gameplay and one of the most challenging action I've ever experienced in any shooter. Of course games like Asteroids were one of the first and original shooters, that spawned next wave games like Raiden 1 and 2, Actraiser, Gradius, Einhander and now Ray Crisis. Ray Crisis is Working Design's newest aircraft shooter that plays like Raiden and Einhander, and Working Designs was kind enough to sent us a copy of this extremely pleasing shooter over to us, see why I thought Ray Crisis is one of the better shooters out there today.
Of course we now have our Madden NFL 2001, Tekken Tag, and SSX, so that means the hell with 32-Bit games, when I've got 128-Bits of raw power in my blue/black box, if you think that way then you know what... the hell with you! I still think that if developers would give PSOne another year or so, we would still be able to receive great games, maybe not like Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Cross or Legend of Dragoon, but titles such as Ray Crisis, MegaMan Legends 2, NHL 2001, and Lunar 2. Ray Crisis is one of those games that isn't spoiled with eye-candy flavor and no gameplay, instead its got a nice visual touch and some sweet gameplay to go along with it. The backdrops are fully polygonal and are very sharp, the textures that go along with it are also polygonal and have a great depth of detail into them, that is for a Playstation game. The aircrafts have a nice amount of detail to them, enough so that you would be able to distinguish different parts of the craft, and on top of that the enemy aircrafts are also spotted with good detail. Now with these shooters comes huge bosses that need a lot of inspiring designing and a nice solid robotic feel, so that all of them are not just large, but detailed as well. Thankfully Taito (developer) comes thru with some incredibly sweet looking final bosses and awe-inspired special effects. As time goes by, I know that whatever shooters are released for PS2 and other consoles, will have tremendous looking special effects and whatnot, but currently what Ray Crisis is doing on my PSOne is fantastic. These special effects such as lasers, explosions, fire and other effects, are pure eye candy, they may not be Sega Dreamcast or PS2 quality stuff, but I really have to give it up for Taito, for so far doing a great job with the visuals.
If you read carefully you noticed that I mentioned Ray Crisis was part Raiden as well as Einhander, the Raiden part is self explanatory, because of the games top-down action, but the Einhander part comes in with the games 3D field, and a rotating camera for when your ship would make a turn, or a boss would run away from you for a while, just to get a breather, but the camera is moving a lot of the time and will never, I repeat never, screw you up in action, because there wont be anybody around to hit you. Now you read me rambling about the visuals as if they were perfect or something, and then the score says 7.8. You see although the visuals are sweet, they are sweet on the shooter genre standards, the visuals honestly are simplistic, but still are pretty as ever. With all of this talk about the visuals, how exactly does the gameplay hold up?
As of course with any shooter, the premise is always the same. You shoot, dodging enemy fire, then kill the final boss, and I admit that Ray Crisis falls into that cliché, but it falls in there gracefully. The game lets you pick from two modes, Original, which is a straight out port from the Arcade version, and Special Mode, which is similar to the arcade except the levels are picked randomly and your score will decrease if the Encrochment meter reaches 100%, so you better play as quick as possible if you want to put your name in the books. Also in Special Mode your craft is fully equipped, depending on what craft you pick, you will have access to either missiles, lasers, machine gun laser, or torpedoes, each of the three air crafts has unique weapons, that the player can use. In Arcade mode you are given a selection of five levels that can be picked in order from which you want to play them, and in Special you are thrown into a time-attack like area where if you lose your lives the game's over, you've got seven levels to complete here. Yes by reading the numbers you are going 'why so little stages and crafts'? Well although it is true, what matters is that the game is addictive, I admit that the replay value may not be the best, but hey I played the game for quite a while and found it very exciting.
If you are wondering what this "Encrochment" is, let me explain. It is a meter that shows how much you suck or how well you are playing, have the meter at around 90% and the stage will be a breeze and even end faster then it should, have the meter at lower than 30% and the game will toss mini-bosses, enemies and many other obstacles your way so that you can raise your score, let's just hope that nobody sucks so bad that he/she will be in those low marks. What I was very surprised with is that this game has Pocketstation support, even though barely anybody actually owns one in the US (thanks a lot Sony!), and Ray Crisis lets you download a mini game into the Pocketstation called PocketRay. And then we come down to all of the other things that make shooters, the power-ups and other pick ups are here, and they haven't left you. Overall I frankly enjoyed Ray Crisis, I saw it as an exciting shooter, with great gameplay, and a good variety of options.
What can I really say, the sound is decent, nothing really that I haven't heard in previous games. The techno soundtrack is a bit un-inspired and slightly repetitive. But then we have the great sound effects, such as explosions and gun fire shots, which I really like a lot. If you have a nice stereo system, or at least have an earphone jack in your TV, then be my guest and either get your TV connected to the system, or pop in those earphones into the TV and blast up the volume. Nothing really to boast about here, there is also a little bit of voice acting here and there, but that's about all.
Now the control segment I shouldn't really talk much about, the lay out is rather simple, you have three fire buttons, you have a laser fire button which is X, a torpedo fire button which is Circle, and a primary weapon button fire which is Square, all of these guns have there strengths and weaknesses, and the torpedoes can only be used once every life you have, so make the best use of them, or you will have to be killed to get a new one in a re-spawned craft. The Dual Shock and analog sticks are made of good use, the force feedback is very powerful, and the analog sticks are precise, nothing very difficult about the controls at all.
After playing Ray Crisis for an extensive amount of time, I have come to the conclusion that the game is very enjoyable and should definitely be considered a purchase by any shooter fan, especially die-hard arcade fans of classics such as Raiden and Ray Crisis. With a semi-budget price tag of $29.99, there is no reason why you shouldn't own a copy of Ray Crisis, and besides the manual is frigin' cool, nice and shiny, it really catches the eye. Make sure to give Ray Crisis a spin, it's a worthy game to its arcade counterpart, with sweet visuals, and action packed gameplay.