Radirgy (ラジルギ)

In general shoot-em ups are a genre I tend to steer away from discussing at DCgaga. Firstly, fans of the genre are notoriously passionate about their pastime which makes it somewhat difficult to write about if you don't have a textbook knowledge of all of the specific terminology like, “barrages” “walker” and “curtains” which the average "shumps" fan use with vicarious frequency, but most of all I just don’t have the muscle memory these days to record waves and waves of enemy patterns and locations that you need to get anywhere in these games, I just want to react to what’s on screen and blast the crap out of everything that moves.

The art style is very reminiscent of JSR

Radirgy, or 'Radio Allergy' interested me due to its striking cell-shaded visuals and cool Shibuya setting reminiscent of the Dreamcast classic, Jet Set Radio, and it is this background and it quirky story which makes the game stand out. The story itself is told is told by means of a series of on screen text messages which you receive at different parts in the game. The main plot revolves around a young girl, Shizuru Kamigusa, whose father currently works for a corporation which is developing a cure for a radio wave allergy which she, and many others in the future are suffering from (pretty ironic as she always on her phone). Unfortunately, as is often the case with Japanese stories, a terrorist group has taken over the building where her father lives and it is off you go in a big flying robot anti-terrorist suit from to save him and get back the cure. Still with me? Fair enough, it’s typical odd Japanese narrative but again, the zaniness suits the quirky, colorful presentation of the game.

In Radirgy you get the choice of three mechs to choose from with the only difference between them being their primary weapons. The first one comes with a standard wide shot, the second a more concentrated shot, while the third mech is armed with a bubble shot, which is narrow but more powerful. You can also soak up shots by remaining still, and you've got a little sword that can deflect shots as well as slice health off your enemies. Together, through using these abilities you can increase a power meter to activate a shield and smart bomb which also allows you to suck up any power ups floating around on screen. This can help you out of some of the more intense scenarios so it's vital you do not waste them and learn to make the most of these bonuses if you want to go far in Radirgy.

Unfortunately, boss fights aren't particularly inspiring

You see, while the visuals appear colorful and cartoonish, the gameplay is anything but gentle. Radirgy is from the “bullet hell” variation of the “shmups” genre which as the name implies revolves around you avoiding waves and waves of bullets which constantly fill the screen. You need nerves of steel to find any space to steer your ship and for the most part the game becomes hectic one and once you proceed past level 3 dodging the blizzard of enemy shots will take Mr. Miyagi level reactions. Luckily, player movement is slick and responsive with main shot configured to the A button, your sword attack the B and your shield on the X button. During gameplay I found that the game was slightly better suited to the arcade stick than the regular controller as the button layout is more suited to spamming the A and B button simultaneously which helps raise your score much quicker and more importantly, gives you quicker access to your shield bonus.

The game's visual style certainly make it stand out

The game is rendered in what can only be described as, "not-quite-cel-but....kinda-cell-shaded(phew)", the effects are there but its not the same technique as used say in games like JSR and Wacky Races. Admittedly, while it looks unique it probably looks more akin to a high-grade Java title these days. Still, it’s all very busy with all kinds of strange and ultimately unfathomable Japanese type things going on and of course being a NAOMI port everything is arcade perfect and there is even an option to switch to TATE mode should you be so inclined. One criticism I will level at the game is the rather forgettable audio which was a big disappointment especially coming after a playthrough of the legendary JSR (definitely an area Milestone improved upon with their rockin' sequel, Karous). This links me to my final problem with Radirgy, while the game comes across as quirky and original, multiple playthroughs reveal the game to be well, largely dull. Sure, the Shibuya setting is inspired and the onscreen text interludes connect well with the game’s youthful setting but where it really counts, the gameplay, the game fails to reach the heavy heights of other Dreamcast shooters.

Powering up your laser is a vital part of the game!

Nevertheless, being one of the very last official releases on the Dreamcast (it was the final jewel case release) Radirgy is definitely one that serious collectors need to have in their collection, but considering the rather forgettable nature of the gameplay and the high difficulty, it’s hard to recommend to anyone else.