It’s Black, It’s White!
I think Ikaruga is Japanese for “Mind Fuck”. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept behind the game I will cover it briefly for you here. Ikaruga is a top down shooter in which all the enemies you will fight are divided into two groups, black or white. Your ship also has two sides to it, black and white and you can flip between these sides at anytime. When your ship is black you can absorb black shots which charge your mega shot meter, you deal more damage against white enemies and white shots will fuck your shit up. The same is true for your ship when it is in white mode only backwards. Get it? Good. The screen is almost always full of enemy fire of both colors and only through skillful use of your own ships alignment will you be able to navigate through them safely. There is also a pretty cool combo system. Destroy 3 enemies of the same color in rapid succession and that kicks off a combo. Continue destroying groups of three enemies of the same color to keep your combo going. You can chain together pretty large combos in this manner and rack up some serious points. While Ikaruga doesn’t have multiple weapon upgrades its innovative use of this black and white system more than makes up for it. The level of strategy required to pass some of these levels is light-years beyond your average shooter.
Ikaruga may also be one of the best looking games on the Dreamcast. The levels themselves are not content to sit motionless below you as in many other top down shooters. The scenery behind your ship will twist and dive through vertigo inducing 3D backgrounds even as the action stays fixed on a 2D plane. In the arcade Ikaruga would have been played on a monitor that was taller than it is wide. The home version gives you the option to play in either a vertical mode in which there are large black bars on the sides of your screen. Or a horizontal one in which the image is rotated clockwise and the game plays like a side scrolling shooter. Both are cool and since I can’t read Japanese anyway the fact that it was on its side in the horizontal mode wasn’t much of a distraction. Speaking of Japanese you won’t have any trouble playing Ikargua if you don’t speak it. The main menu options are all in English and translations of the story are easy to find online. If you have a Dreamcast Ikaruga is a must have. If you don’t have a Dreamcast go buy one, it’s that fucking good. Keep in mind it is an IMPORT TITLE and you will need something like DC-X to play it on a US Dreamcast. Thanks to <"http://www.videogamedepot.com"> VGD
VGDas always for the hook up.
Thanks to my contact at Nintendo, I’m also playing a bit of Animal Crossing with Kara. We each have our own town going and it’s pretty cool. Kara being the hardcore Sims addict that she is has taken much more of a liking to it than I have, but I can’t deny a certain amount of joy in finding just the right lamp to accent my new wallpaper. Last night I caught her in my town stealing some of my pears. She evidently had plans to take them back to her town and start some kind of pear orchard. She could then sell the extremely rare fruit for hundreds of Bells and live like a queen on her tropical island. She is out of town this week and I have devised a similar plan involving her precious oranges. Soon I will be the orange king and I will rule my town with an iron fist! I get a lot of mail from guys asking how they can turn their girls onto gaming. Animal crossing is a great game to play together. Think of it like a gateway game. It’s easy to picture a girl moving on from animal crossing to a game like Pikmin or even Zelda. Baby steps my friends, baby steps. I will put some more time into it this week and check back in Friday with a more detailed report.
To those of you who mailed me about the Club PA gift for this month not working please try it again. I had some problems getting it uploaded but the link you have should be working now. There will also be another Club PA gift coming out towards the end of the month so keep an eye out for that.