In the late 1980s, an enormously popular game by the name of Radiant Silvergun took over arcades in Japan. Not long after that, it was ported to the Sega Saturn. Cut to 2010 and an XBLA port of the game is announced, bringing the game to America for the first time.
I must say while I’m not a big fan of all Japanese imports, I did have fun with this one. Call me an uncultured American bastard, and I’ll tell you you’re right. This one definitely has that “outrageously Japanese platform” feel to it. But we must remember it is indeed an import.
The game opens with the original (supposedly) cutscene from the Sega Saturn version, and like the Sega Saturn version, the game uses English subtitles over the original Japanese dialogue. Something I was happy about since American dubs on Japanese things always just sound….creepy. It’s clear that this game was made to be authentic to the original as possible. The menu shows us what the game has. A story mode, arcade mode, leaderboards, multiplayer, options etc. The multiplayer is 2 player couch only, but for a 20+ year old game, that’s fine with me. While the game lacks in achievements, it’s understandable for this style of game.
Onto the actual game modes, there’s story and arcade. Story racks up points while playing out the dialogue/cutscenes while arcade just racks up points. Each come with 4 options within them: Normal play, score attack, training and replay. Training lets you choose specific stages, but more impressively even the power of your weapons and also game speed. Replay lets you view your previously saved games. It sounds absurd but when you actually see how nuts the gameplay can get, showing off replays of your runs can be quite impressive.
The game is difficult. Period. As for the style? I’d say if you were to mix the classic arcade title 1942 with N64 favorite and one my personal favorites, Star Fox 64. It has that top down ship shooter style gameplay but the 3D enemies reminded me of Star Fox quite a bit. One thing that sticks out about Silvergun that made it so popular was the fact that instead of power ups, you get every weapon available in the game from the start. Pretty much every button on the 360 controller is used for a different type of weapon, and they are pretty rad weapons. The game is in classic 4:3 ratio, so each weapon and its respective button is displayed on the right side of the screen while you play. Like I was saying about difficulty, it’s pretty extreme. There can be hundreds of various types of lasers/missiles etc. shooting at you only on screen at any given time, taking some serious dodging skills to get through. Top this off with enemies that NEED to be destroyed in order for you to advance or you’ll crash and you have one of the most frustrating, yet addictive arcade shooters I can think of.
However, this doesn’t make up for lack of content. While you’re playing a classic arcade game, at its price point of 1200 MSP, I can’t say it’s worth it unless you’re a big fan of the game, and at that point you probably already own it. Radiant Silvergun is a hit or miss, play the trial (since that’s what they’re there for) and see what you think. I’d wait for a XBLA sale myself. As a remastered remake, it does its job. As a separate arcade game, it needs something extra.