APP OF THE DAY: Raiden Legacy review (iPhone)
If you're a fan of Nineties arcade action shoot 'em ups that were so tear-jerkingly difficult they'd make you spill as much profanity from the lips as bullets sprayed from the on-screen fighter, then Raiden Legacy poses incredibly good value for money. And it'll make you swear like a trooper.
Raiden Legacy compiles four of the Seibu Kaihatsu arcade originals - Raiden, Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive and Raiden Fighters Jet - into one slick, touch-enabled package. It might not be the same playing on an iPhone as it was tugging the joysticks at the back of the chippy or inserting those coins in the now long-gone arcades, but the app is a hark back to the bullet-filled originals that's been wonderfully ported over, pixel for pixel.
Not familiar with Raiden but like top-down, bullet-fuelled shooters? Then prepare yourself for a treat. And a bloomin' difficult one at that.
We're not exactly sure what the story is in any of the Raiden titles. Nor do we really care. It's straight on to the shooting where you command a jet that spurts out a hail of bullets at all times. The goal is to tear your way through a sea of enemies and avoid getting shot down.
That might not be so difficult if the various armoured sprites on screen didn't spray out a continual wall of bullets in all directions. But they do, so you'll need to dash your jet around the screen - forward and backward as well as left and right - to keep going. Sometimes it's borderline impossible to avoid the crossfire, but the more play you put in, the more familiar you become with the rapid movement characteristics required to advance.
Busted enemies often leave behind floating power-ups that take your guns from puny to significant. More power-ups means a wider spray of bullets, missiles and, therefore, a greater chance of cutting down the metal foe.
You'll get blown up time and time again of course, leaving behind many of your power-ups that can be picked up again - a useful, essential feature.
The only thing that hasn't been ported over from the original is the ability for a second player to join in on the action - you'll need to revisit the arcade hardware for that experience.
Also dodging around screen can get a little tricky because of the obvious nature of having a finger directly on the smart device itself to control the jet's position, but it's not as obscuring as some titles we've played because there's no one position that needs to be used to control - you can pick anywhere, irrelevant of your jet's placement.
With all four titles at your disposal there's a lot of play to be had here. It's difficult to work through the titles unless you happen to be a total pro, but it's a lot of fun to try. And it's great to pretend its the Nineties again, albeit minus the shell suits. A quality conversion of the Japanese originals.