Saturday, April 4, 2009

50 Great Arcade games #2 - Raimais

Raimais is a relatively obscure title by Taito and is available on Taito Legends 2. The gameplay can best be described as a culmination of all of the ideas Pac-man has introduced over the years. However Taito has introduced their own ideas and changed everything up to create a unique and amazing game.

In the far future bad things are happening and you have to rescue your brother. What this involves is running through levels collecting dots which reveal powerups, avoiding/destroying enemy bots, and maybe even fight some giant bosses. After collecting all of the dots in a level multiple pathways open up, allowing you to choose where you want to go next(there are a ton of levels in this game, though you'll only see a fraction of them in a single playthrough).

Controlling is simple enough. You have a button for speeding up(essential for evading your quick-moving foes) and an action button if you pick up some lasers. Whenever you hit a wall you automatically make a right turn(very important that you remember this while you play). Due to the speed of this game I'd personally recommend you get a joystick for this game and not to rely too much on the speed-up button as it will get you into trouble. Other power-ups like shields(which allow one hit from one enemy/obstacle), "Bs"(which open up a path to the next stage), "Cs"(Which clear dots on the screen), "Ss" (slow down all of the enemies in the stage for a limited time), and special icons that open a path to a boss(which all seem to be insect-themed and are relatively simple to take out, just grab the lasers and blow them away while dodging their fire and very large bodies). For the most part power-ups are random and whenever you reach a new stage all of your shields and laser disappear so you have to start fresh, which helps each stage remain fresh and challenging since you can't simply shoot through all of them. 

Like the ghosts of the Pac-mans your foes in Raimais all have their own unique properties. Some will wander the stages and run away if they come face-to-face with you, others will jump in their allowing you the chance to pass under them(which is required in some levels), still others will chase you down and eventually outrun you, making them very dangerous foes. There are a ton of different enemies in this game and knowing how they behave is essential to progress.

The greatest aspect of Raimais is its constant variety. The argument can be made that the randomness of certain powerups(like the boss-fight portals) can make playing for score a frustrating endeavor but I think it works great as one is still very likely to run into a few in the average playthrough. All in all this is a fantastic game and one of the best Arcade titles I've ever played.

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