Raiden

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Raiden is a popular and influential series of vertical Shoot'Em Up created by Japanese developer Seibu Kaihatsu, and later handled by MOSS. It is quite notable for popularising (though not necessarily creating) many concepts and conventions still used by vertical shmups today. Spawned the Raiden Fighters series

The plot of the series is completely nonexistent and inconsequential, much like most shoot'em ups. The gist is that a race of aliens called the "Cranassian Empire" is invading Earth, and it's up to the Raiden supersonic jet to stop them.

The series is composed of the following games:

  • Raiden (later ported to the SNES and Genesis as Raiden Trad)
  • Raiden II
  • Raiden DX (an extension of Raiden II with a more elaborate scoring system and several different modes)
  • The Raiden Project (A Compilation Rerelease of the first two games for the Playstation)
  • Raiden III
  • Raiden IV

Not to be confused with the thunder god of Mortal Kombat, or the Metal Gear Solid character of the same name, or the big wrestler from Fatal Fury...


The series exhibits the following tropes:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: All of the games begin by launching from one of these, and end by landing on it.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The purple Plasma laser, as cool as it looks, does less damage than the blue laser or the Spread Shot at point blank. Not to mention that it's distracting.
    • It is quite useful for the Final Boss in II due to the fact that there are so many targets scattered about, handling all the Mooks whilst doing consistent damage to the actual boss at the same time.
      • It's also useful for the second boss in II, since it lets you blast it while flying completely above the second form's flak storm (the guns don't cover the boss's sides or back). Just remember that the flame scatter can find you up there, but that's easy compared to the flak. Granted that the angles of all the flak storm's bullets are fixed, but given that the boss is moving around while shooting...
      • On a side note, if you get shot down in the later stages of II and D/X, you probably want to climb up with purple, not red. This is because even at the weakest levels, the plasma laser can whip to the sides of the screen rather quickly, making it of vital importance for getting rid of minor aircraft (especially the Goddamned Bats-caliber ones in st. 6).
  • Boring but Practical: The red vulcan shot, mostly because if (if) you can nose up close enough to an enemy to make all of the spray hit it, it will suffer more damage more quickly than even with the full-power blue laser. It is not uncommon to get a mid-sized enemy destroyed this way before it can even start shooting. To summarize, red is your standard-purpose, blue is for concentrated power when point-blank is not an option, and purple/green is for blue purposes that also need you to hit things behind that strong opponent.
  • Bullet Hell: Later games have denser bullet patterns, although the focus remains on fast aimed shots.
  • Combination Attack: In 2 player mode, a very strong attack happens if both players shot collide with each other.
  • Continuing Is Painful: As with most shmups, you lose all your power ups when you die, although you can find a hidden fairy that gives some of them back.
  • Cool Plane: The titular ship.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The 360 port of Raiden IV offers a 360 mode that has all 5 stages plus two extra stages. At first glance that's the only difference, but if you're familiar with Arcade mode, you'll notice that 360 mode changes around the placements of many enemies, which can throw you off.
  • Difficulty Spike: Usually occurs around the second or third stage.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In DX, the red, player 1 ship moves faster vertically, while the blue, player 2 ship moves faster horiztonally.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The whole Raiden Fighters series started out as an unrelated game called Gun Dogs.
  • Double Play: The home ports of both III and IV have a mode where you can control both ships on the same controller.
  • Dual Boss: The first Boss fight of I and II are two tanks and two Spider Tanks, respectively.
    • Two tanks again in III. In IV, the fourth boss is a pair of tanks that take to the air when they suffer enough damage.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: In I and II, if you mange to make it far without dying, the difficulty gets batshit insane. Tanks will fire very fast and accurate shots almost as soon as they enter the screen!
  • Easy Mode Mockery: Clear Raiden IV's Light mode and you're treated to an ending cutscene where the Airborne Aircraft Carrier you took off from gets destroyed (to the tune of the happy ending theme). Then you're told to try Original mode and the game ends without going to the second loop.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: Every game's first stage sends you flying over a farm with some cows. Cows that have animated sprites.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In II and DX, destroyed airborne enemies have a pretty good chance of crashing into the ground instead of just exploding in mid-air. If their landing point happens to be on top of a ground enemy, that poor enemy is going to be hurting (if not destroyed outright). Like with the things noted in Serial Numbers Filed Off, this is another element from Toaplan games, in this case Flying Shark/Sky Shark. In that game, if an enemy biplane was shot from far enough away, it would indeed crash-land rather than just explode—and destroy any hapless tank, patrol boat, or anti-aircraft gun that happened to be underneath.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Later games in the series reduce the ship's hitbox to the size of most Bullet Hell hitboxes.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version:
  • Lightning Gun: Come on! Don't fool us with the laser-beam shape, Plasma! We know you to actually be lightning!
  • Marathon Level: The “training” campaign of Raiden DX is one long (about 15 minutes) continuous level.
  • Nerf: The Lock-On Plasma Laser became the Proton Laser in III then came back in IV albeit with different coding.
    • To be fair, the Lock-On Plasma Laser never was a good weapon to begin with.
  • Nintendo Hard: The older games in the series show that just because it's not Bullet Hell doesn't mean it's any easier.
  • 1-Up: Most games in the series avert Every Ten Thousand Points; instead, you gain 1-ups by fulfilling some obscure requirements in later stages.
  • Product Placement: The Genesis port of the first game adds a really hard level that appears after the credits. Beating it will show a message advertising one of Micronet's (the port developer) game, Heavy Nova.
  • Recurring Boss: The giant jet bomber that launches missiles that look kind of like smaller planes.
  • Recurring Boss Template: The first boss battle of the first three games pits you against a duo of ground enemies (gun platforms in the first, spider tanks in II and giant tanks in III) with the weaker one appearing slightly before the other. IV broke the trend by having a single spider tank instead.
    • Also, there's the missile-carrying bomber in those games' second stages, and the giant aqueous vessel in the third stages (a battlecruiser in I, a submarine in II and III).
  • Recycled in Space: Seibu's own Viper Phase 1 is this series IN SPACE! Its soundtrack is even unlockable in the Playstation port of Raiden DX.
  • Sequential Boss: The fifth boss of Raiden II. First you destroy a space shuttle, then fight the fighter it was carrying, and finally face off with the orange jet housed inside it. Also kind of a Climax Boss, considering it's the last level on Earth.
    • Also the Final Boss, which has you fire at the core of this giant purple obsidian-temple-thing, with more and more crap coming out of the temple (Mooks and bulletfire) as the battle goes on.
    • Many of the bosses of the later games do this, as well as Turning Red.
  • Spider Tank: The first Boss(es) of II, also unofficially known as the "Death Walkers". You have to fight two of them (thankfully, not at the same time, unless you're slow in cutting down the first one). One is also the first boss of Raiden IV.
  • Spread Shot: The default (red) weapon.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Raiden III took the presentation aproach.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Your blue powerup becomes this at max level pre-III. In III and IV, it just gets steadily thicker.