Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: Varies

Sound: Varies

Gameplay: Varies

Overall: Varies


raidenarcade.png (19843 bytes)Raiden remains one of the 16-bit mainstays, and if a console is truly worth owning, it has a version. This simple shooter remains a classic, and not all home versions are created equal. Here's how this will work:

All versions are compared to the arcade original. The PS One Raiden Project, aside from the soundtrack (which out of all these translations is the best when set to remix), is the same. It's a perfect duplicate, so there's no point in discussing differences.

As for separate versions, the Hu Card and Super CD-ROM for the Turbografx/Duo are identical to each other, with only the soundtrack remixed on the CD. Differences there will be discussed. That leaves the Genesis, Super NES, and the Jaguar to dissect individually in every category so you can find the version that appeals to you.


Each version has its own style when it comes to the game, some respecting the vertical aspect ratio of the arcade game, and others stretching the screen for easier play. The Jaguar is the only home port to maintain the ratio correctly. The right side of the screen is crammed with an overly large, gaudy status bar. The Genesis does the same on a smaller scale, inserting a simple black portion instead of the gold detailed Jaguar sidebar. The Turbo and Super NES stretch the screen, putting the scoring/lives/bomb information where it traditionally goes for a vertical shooter.

raidensnes.bmp (171290 bytes)Quite obviously, the Jaguar features the strongest detail and color. Explosions look better than they did in the arcade, and the craters larger enemies leave behind are dominant. Oddly, animation has been severely trimmed, and the explosions are a two frame "poof," lacking any real impact. Still, it maintains speed and smoothness, much like on the Genesis. The lack of available colors for Sega's console hinders the backgrounds (it's quite muted and set to a gray scale), though the sprites remain intact.

On the Duo, animation has again been slashed, but compared to the Genesis version, this brightly lit, and colorful effort looks better than expected. Surprisingly, the SNES receives the worst translation visually. Any and all background animation has been cut, and there are fewer enemies attacking. Slowdown is prevalent, and even worse when two players power themselves up.


Raiden's soundtrack is one of the best of its time. It probably means more that the music is properly maintained here that it would with other titles. Starting again with the Jaguar, it has an odd, almost country, 'twang to it. You'll know if you've played any Jaguar titles previously that this is the console's sound chip at work. It's fairly middle of the road in the scheme of things. Explosions are forceful, with a nice bass shot when something goes down.

The Genesis and SNES each have their own advantages. Given the hardware, the Genesis does a remarkable job, especially with the slight touches that made the soundtrack great to begin with. Sound effects suffer horrendously however, and the new Genesis-specific spurt when a shot is fired is overwhelming. Not surprisingly, the SNES sound chip performs admirably, and this is the best non-CD soundtrack of the group, with every track captured accurately.

RaidenTradgenesis.bmp (860214 bytes)The Super CD translation logically makes the Hu-Card fail miserably. The meager music fails to pick up on the multiple channels of the audio. The sound effects, aside from a few explosions, are equal. The CD soundtrack is a unique one, adding in some grating electric guitar work, though it would likely find an audience. More care was obviously taken with the Raiden Project on the Playstation, which remains one of the greatest remixes in video games.


This is what obviously will break each version, and some of the tweaks are different to say the least. Different developers handled the Genesis and SNES ports, which is the only logical reason they're wildly different. Sega's flagship console receives one of the best, smoothly scrolling, rolling at a great clip, and the controls are spot-on.

With a decent arcade stick, you'll never tell the difference where gameplay is concerned. Bombs take apart anything on screen, not just adversaries dumb enough to fly into it like in the arcade (the only version where they work like this). Being shot will send you back to a checkpoint here. However, to make this all work, it's a single player affair, and it loses the arcade versions best asset.

raidenturbo.gif (20382 bytes)On the SNES, 2-players can tackle Raiden, at a price like mentioned above. Movement is slow, and choppy gameplay (it's as if the console is loading new enemies as they appear) ruin this. They almost make up for it by bringing back players right where they died and providing additional options for difficulty (the most varied of the set), only to be shot down again because the unresponsive controls failed to move the player out of the way quickly enough.

The Jaguar offers no difficulty tweaks, two players, and the fastest moving port of the bunch. Stages fly by (no pun intended) in this translation, and you'll meet the boss if you can stand the onslaught. Enemy forces are prevalent here to say the least, and in sections where they bombarded the player in the arcade, they completely take over here. It's almost as if the programmers decided to see how many sprites they could fit on screen, and did this to show off the hardware. Even though players restart where they died, this is still one of the tougher versions.

To find the roughest version though, you'll need to look at the Turbo. Three lives are all players have to conquer this brutal game (alone nonetheless), and they're sent back when shot down. There are no options, so you'll need to fight through the default difficulty.

For the most part, each game is complete and accurate to the original. They all feature the two weapons systems to power-up with, and both styles of missiles. The Super NES has the most effective homing missiles of the group, zinging to the target regardless of how powered up they are. Other ports are true to the arcade game, slowly moving to an unfortunate ship until it lands to finish the job. Powering up increases speed and strength.

raidenjaguar.jpg (185681 bytes)There are other slight differences, none of which specifically hinders the gameplay. For instance, the second boss on the Jaguar stays on a static backdrop, while the others move over a seaport. Other versions have bosses that approach differently, and the amount of enemies on screen is a small variance, set up by the options before hand. The title of the SNES and Genesis versions was changed to Raiden Trad.

Finally, there are two versions not mentioned here: The Lynx and a light version on cellphones. If you would like to contribute information pertaining to these releases, do so through the normal review page here on DP. Also, if you have any detailed information on retro computer ports, feel free to submit that as well.


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Last updated: Sunday, September 18, 2005 01:09 AM