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Radiant Silvergun (Xbox 360) artwork

Radiant Silvergun (Xbox 360) review


"We really do live in fortunate times. Used to be that if you wanted to play a game like Radiant Silvergun, you had to own a Sega Saturn. Worse, you had to own a Japanese Sega Saturn or doll up your inferior North American console with a boot disc to get the darn thing to play. Now, thanks to Xbox Live Arcade, you donít have to do that. You donít have to own a stodgy video game consoles procured from some shady eBay urchin (our product *like new* A++++++++++++++), and you donít have to plop down $150 or whatever the going price is to see that Radiant Silvergun . . . isnít worth $150."



We really do live in fortunate times. Used to be that if you wanted to play a game like Radiant Silvergun, you had to own a Sega Saturn. Worse, you had to own a Japanese Sega Saturn or doll up your inferior North American console with a boot disc to get the darn thing to play. Now, thanks to Xbox Live Arcade, you donít have to do that. You donít have to own a stodgy video game consoles procured from some shady eBay urchin (our product *like new* A++++++++++++++), and you donít have to plop down $150 or whatever the going price is to see that Radiant Silvergun . . . isnít worth $150.

For far less than that, you can now experience Radiant Silvergun on the comforts of your very own Xbox 360. You might be pleased to learn that it is still a good game! As far as shooters go, that is.

Darn it, thereís that caveat: as far as shooter games go. Letís face it: in shooters, you shoot stuff. This has been the tried and true formula since Space Invaders. The difference here is how you shoot stuff. Radiant Silvergun offers complexity through affording you not one or two but SEVEN different ways to pulverize your enemies. Thereís the requisite Vulcan cannon, sure, but I bet you werenít expecting an arsenal of homing plasma, bending lasers, or a rotating sword. Most of which you can augment through repeated trouncings of enemy star fleets so that, one day, your shipís weapon systems will carve through six-foot thick steel like a hot knife through butter. Nevertheless, no matter how intense all of that sounds, youíre still just shooting stuff as you move from the bottom of the screen toward the top of the screen. At least now youíre given multiple options for how you like your destruction flavored. I personally enjoy pistachio.

The contradicting element to Radiant Silvergunís death and destruction motif is that blasting everything to oblivion and back wonít let you truly master the game. Itís one thing to beat the darn gameís five bullet hell stages, but itís something entirely different to do it by racking up the highest score possible. In order to achieve a score worthy of the leader boards, youíll have to chain enemies of the same color Ė red, blue, or yellow Ė without breaking that chain. Itís not mandatory, but it adds an extra layer of complexity to a shooting game that already offers more dimensions than most.

We have Treasure to thank for that, as they have always been known for providing gimmicks to their games. Guardian Heroesí was inter-plane combat. Bangai-Oís was space fruit. Ikarugaís was bullet absorption. Radiant Silvergunís is all-out annihilation moderated by timely chaining enemies of the same color for max points. It gives you something to strive for aside from just trying to complete the game, but after awhile most players, I feel, will probably say to hell with it and just resort to dousing the screen in molten plasma. For a game as old as old as this, you might be surprised at how stylish and stylistic it remains in its performance. It offers explosions, tense races through obstacle-laden corridors, scenic panning across other-world vistas, battles against epic war fleets drafted in polygons and sprites replete with lighting, hazing, and shadowing effects. Treasure was at their most creative here.

If thereís one hindrance to Radiant Silvergun, itís that this is ultimately a shooter. Shooters arenít ďinĒ unless theyíre of the first-person variety and contain the words ďCallĒ and ďDutyĒ in their title. Even so, if youíre intrigued by this piece of Sega Saturn lore, youíll really find no excuse in not paying for this game. Now you can let out a big sigh of relief that you got this game on the cheap.

Itís essentially a true port of the original Saturn rendition. There are a few minor updates, primarily with the game offering a 16:9 letterbox format that effects a new HUD. Another change is that you canít gain unlimited continues by playing the game for a set amount of time. If you want to beat it, youíll actually have to get good enough to do it, or play it so much that youíve garnered, say, 37 continues from 37 hours of play. Know what Iím saying?

In the end, I liked Radiant Silvergun enough to play it through completion. I found it exhilarating most every step of the way, for a shooter game, that is. Maybe one day Treasure or someone will release a shooter that is as hardcore as it is mainstream. One that doesnít rely on gimmicks and is instead unadulterated in its chaos, hope, and envy. One that causes any half decent reviewer to write a review that doesnít resort to generic descriptions such pertaining to space battles, weapons systems, and bullet storms. I expect to fight the kitchen sink in that one. But until that day, I guess Radiant Silvergun will be among the best that the genre has to offer. Now at a convenient price to boot.

Rating: 7/10

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Community review by Fiddlesticks (October 22, 2012)

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