Saturday, 18 July 2015

Rayer Shoot (X68000)

Something the X68000 has a lot of (compared to most systems) is fan-made games based on anime, with a fair few of them being based on magical girl shows. There's a bunch of Sailor Moon fangames on there, as well as a relatively well-known one based on Akazukin Chacha. Rayer Shoot is another one of those, based (as you can probably tell from the very obivously fanart title screen) on CLAMP's series Magic Knight Rayearth. I'm not very familiar with the series, but I do know that it's about three schoolgirls who get whisked away to a magical fantasy land while on a school trip to the Tokyo Tower.

Anyway, despite the amateurish title screen, the game itself is really well presented. Almost commercial quality, even, with nice sprites, lots of colour, decent music, and even voice samples. I assume the samples must be recorded from the anime itself? I should really talk about how the game plays too, right? Well, it's no classic, but it's a pretty good effort.

It's a vertically-scrolling shooter, and the player has control of all three of the schoolgirl protagonists, though only one at a time. Each girl has a different weapon, and they each have a health bar, which slowly replenishes while tagged out. There's also an experience/levelling up system in lieu of power ups, though it seems to take a very very long time to get anywhere with it, and it'd definitely take a lot of skill to even try to keep your three girls' levels balanced.

In fact, playing the game takes a lot of skill in general: those health bars go down very quickly, and the enemies and their bullets are both high-speed and high-quantity. To get anywhere, players really do need to keep an eye on their helath bars and make tactical use of tagging in and out to recover as much health as possible, trying to keep the girl with the highest amount of health in play as much as possible. You also get a bomb attack which is different for each girl and recharges a short time after use.

Rayer Shoot is a fun, well presented game, as well as a nice little artifact of 90s anime fandom in Japan. I definitely recommend it, with the caveat that you go in expecting a merciless challenge.

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