Armed Police Batrider
by sunburstbasser



Armed Police Batrider is a vertical shooter which may have a story involving blowing stuff up. You can get a scene at the end of the game, but that's about it.

Raizing created a masterpiece with Battle Garegga, so for their next game Raizing made just a few changes. The result? Visible bullets, less punishing rank, and more stuff happening at once even very early on. Armed Police Batrider will be familiar to Garegga players but doesn't add the enemy chaining of Bakraid.

Raizing also has a rather interesting background story for Batrider. An artificial island dubbed Zenovia is constructed outside of NYC. The firm GiganTech is brought in to police the city and maintain law and order. GiganTech enjoys great success, and people flock to Zenovia. This all turns out to be a ruse, as GiganTech itself is run by criminals. The GiganTech army is made of machines with AI designed for combat, limiting the options to the government. Finally, nine convicts are selected to defeat GiganTech. They are given hover cycles called Batriders to fight in. Victory means freedom, failure brings death. Somewhere along the line nine more showed up, looking for a new challenge after winning their own games.

Vanilla Batrider is a bit like the original King of Fighters. You don't choose one player, instead being forced to pick a team of three. However, under the dip switch settings you can access Stage Edit, Guest Characters, and a Boss Rush. I recommend at least activating the Guest Characters. Unlike Bakraid, the Guests are all returning veterans from previous Raizing games. The Battle Garegga planes piloted by the Wayne brothers return. All four magic warriors from Mahou Daisakusen return as well. The ninth slot goes to a character from Shippu Mahou Daisakusen, a shmup/racing combo.

The A button shoots your gun, the B button drops a bomb unique to each character (yes, 18 different bombs!). Letting go of A charges the Aura in front of your fighter, like Battle Bakraid. Once charged it'll release a full-power attack, and your options will sit in place. You can charge the aura, and drop the options right on top of ground bosses to do heavy damage while getting out of the way. If you map a C button in MAME or on your cab, you can use it to rotate the Garegga planes' options. Otherwise you'll need to use button inputs.

When selecting a character, the button you use to select will also change their attributes. Button A powers up the shot, button B powers up the option. Button C enhances the options and shot at the expense of speed, and the Start button enhances speed at the expense of shot and option power. Play around, some characters are better suited to one style than another. With 18 characters, and nearly all of them useable, it might take a while to find your favorites.

D.D. in the FLYING KILLER


D.D. is part of the Police Team. His main shot is pretty wide, and his options make it even wider. It doesn't seem to do a whole lot of damage per bullet, though up close you can concentrate a lot of power on an enemy. His bomb is a dark blast that does a lot of damage in a small area.


SHORTY in the CARRY CARRY


Shorty is the second member of the Police Team. She also has a fairly wide main shot. Her options fire a stream of homing missiles. The missiles don't seem to do a lot of damage, but they seek out everything and she can have a lot on screen at once. Her bomb is a huge energy blast that envelopes her Batrider and effectively destroys everything in front of her.


JYUJI in the SANGEREA 5280


Jyuji is the final member of the Police Team. His main shot is another wide shot, but his options are the lightning shots that Chitta used in Mahou Daisakusen. For his bomb, he drops a flaming bird that slowly accelerates vertically.


MARIA in the CLITTER IV


Maria is the first member of the Psychic Team. I wonder if Clitter isn't supposed to be Critter. Sounds a little risque. Her main shot is a wide shot. Her options swing around in about about a 60 degree arc. For her bomb, a bunch of orbs pop up behind her and fire a stream of energy. They lock on to enemies and do a ton of damage if they all lock on to the same part and aren't blocked.


GOLDEN in the RAZORBACK


Another Psychic member, Golden has another wide shot. His options shoot straight ahead, and for his bomb he fires a salvo of missiles half the width of the screen straight up.


STRAWMAN in the BEYOND 8570


And the third Psychic Team member. Yet another wide shot (notice a trend here?), but for his options he shoots rings that lock on to an enemy even when he moves past them. For his bomb, he fires bullets all over the screen and the pattern looks like one of Black Heart's from Battle Garegga.


BIRTHDAY in the MAD ROMERO


Birthday is a member of the Criminal Team, even though all of these characters are supposed to be criminals. Her normal shot is a wide one, her option shots a fireball that explodes. Instead of a normal bomb, four huge circular saws pop out of her Batrider and allow her to cut through anything.


TAG-T in the GRIZZLY VSE


Tag-T is the second member of the Criminal Team. Another wide shot, though for his options he fires homing lasers similar to those in Rayforce. For his bomb, a huge blade spins all around his Batrider and lets him cut through everything.


ADAM in the V-TWIN BOGIYMAN


Yes, it is spelled Bogiyman in the game. Adam has another wide shot, while his options fire little half crescents. For his bomb, he literally covers the entire screen with saws. All of the Criminal Team seem to have a passion for saws.


If you've activated the Guest characters, you'll get the following nine choices as well.


SILVER SWORD


The Wayne Brothers from Battle Garegga are back! These planes are all pretty much identical to their forms in Garegga. The Silver Sword has a slight spread, the options are exactly the same as before, and the bomb is a napalm that moves opposite the direction you hold on the stick.


GRASSHOPPER


The straight shot pierces when powered up, and it has a vulcan bomb.


FLYING BARON


Straight shots, and a crap load of homing missiles.


WILD SNAIL


The Wild Snail still has a piercing weapon at all power levels and can still cut through enemies. Still has flame throwers that lock on to enemies for a bomb, too.


GAIN in the VALHALLYZER


Gain has a slight spread on his bullets, and gets two piercing options instead of four like Garegga. His bomb is the Mahous Daisakusen bomb, though here it is colored blue.


CHITTA in the GUN DALF


Chitta also has a slight spread to her shot. Her option fires tons of ice cubes all over, effectively the same as her wide shot from Mahou. Instead of a traditional bomb, she summons a DEMON that destroys anything that touches it.


MIYAMOTO


Miyamoto is still so badass that instead of a vehicle he just flaps his wings fast and flies into battle. He has a straight shot that gets a little wider as it powers up. His options are explosive, and for his bomb he flings crescents all over the screen.


BORNNAM in the GOLGODIAN


Bornnam the Necromancer returns and has a slightly modified moveset from his Garegga incarnation. Most notably, he has a pretty wide shot now, and his options shoot the right-angle lasers he used in Mahou. He drops a freaky skull on enemies for his bomb and it still does good damage.

CARPET on a MAGIC CARPET


Carpet originally showed up in Shippu Mahou Daisakusen, a pseudo sequel to Mahou Daisakusen. She has a somewhat narrow forward shot. Her options fire piercing shots and follow her like Gradius options. For her bomb, her sprite grows huge and she gains a ton of speed and invincibility. Parodius has the exact same powerup.

While all of the new characters have fairly wide shots, they aren't all classified as "wide shot" in game. The Garegga ships don't have as much spread, but their options give plenty of width and are still extremely flexible. My suggestion is to enable single character mode and play with a few different ones until you find one that you like.

The graphics really don't look much different from Battle Garegga. The colors themselves are brighter, with more reds and blues instead of greys and browns. This brightness extends to the bullets, all of which are now larger and easy to see. No invisible bullets like Garegga. Like both Garegga and Bakraid, you'll be facing a lot of military vehicles along with some giant robots and strange contraptions. The level design is quite different, with huge numbers of ground enemies leaving bomb fragments behind and all kinds of stuff to bomb.

The sound department is above average but nothing special. The explosions and sound effects all sound like straight lifts from Battle Garegga, or nearly so. The music was provided by multiple composers, including Hitoshi Sakimoto. While it's all pretty good, I prefer Garegga and Bakraid. If you fight Black Heart in Batrider, you will get a new version of Stab and Stomp that is actually better than the original.

The scoring system is lifted directly from Battle Garegga. Shoot enemies, and collect medals worth up to 10,000 points each. No enemy chaining in this game. This game throws a lot of enemies at once, so take some care when the screen is full of flying enemies so that you don't drop medals without even seeing them.

The Rank system from Garegga returns as well, although it isn't quite as hard to work with. The first thing you'll want to do is set the game so that it boots up in the Test menu, then press the Start button (not the A button) on Game Mode. This sets the rank to a low value to start with. Otherwise, it'll be very high right away. From there, just do like you would in Garegga. Batrider is very generous with powerups and after the first level you will almost definitely be fully powered up. Just ignore powerups besides bombs after that and you won't drive the rank too high too fast.

When you begin a game, you'll be given a few options. Training is just a couple stages and includes an autobomb when you are hit. Normal is 5 stages. Advanced is 7 stages at a higher difficulty. Special is a boss rush in which you are always fully powered up. Once you've made your course selection, you'll be given the character selection. From top, the selections are for a Team, Team Edit, Random, and Single. Team gives you one of the three default teams. Team Edit lets you pick any three characters in any order and with your preferred shot style. Random is hard to predict, though even if you haven't enabled guest fighters it can select them. Single gives you three lives with a single character. I recommend using the Single mode until you get comfortable with the game, then switch to Team Edit.



The first stage is already a madhouse. Right away, you'll have cars to destroy for points and motorcycles running under you. Those motorcycles drop bomb fragments, grab as many as possible. This stage also has a huge used car lot, and like many of us have wanted to do in real life you can destroy the cars and the dealer's building. For a bonus, swing around the sign and destroy the building then quickly take out the sign. You'll release birds, just like Stage 2 of Battle Garegga. They aren't worth nearly as much here, but it pads your score nicely.

The first boss is a big dual-armed tank named Confrict. Wouldn't be a shmup without Engrish, would it? This guy is pretty easy if you don't get cocky. My suggestion is to damage each arm with your aura until it blows up once. Each side will then release a whole bunch of items that you can collect for points. Just sit back and let your aura take care of homing missiles, and get out of the way if it shoots anything else at you. Eventually both sides will blow up again and be replaced with guns. Most of these aren't too bad, though the flame throwers tend to catch me off guard. Batrider uses a reduce hitbox, and to give you an idea of how small, the central turret of this boss fires a twin shot. If placed just right, you can fit between the bullets vertically.



If you activate Stage Edit I recommend the Sewer next. The Sewer is awfully large for a city, large enough to house submarines! Early on, you'll come across a bridge with turrets on it. These turrets fire a straight beam. You can fit between the beams but your dodging space is limited. A better idea is to bomb them before they flip over, which destroys them and reveals a medal. Later on in the stage you'll face more laser enemies. The beams go from harmless to deadly very fast, so don't sit on top of the beams expecting to be OK.

The boss for this section is called Deviate. This boss is a platform full of gun turrets. Initially it'll fire aimed bullets at you and it will chase you all over the screen with them. In addition, each of the six turrets will regenerate with new types. The main target is the central part. Once the first part is destroyed, another turret pops out and starts trying to hit you with blue bullets.

Beat this boss with a Garegga ship still alive and you'll get to fight Black Heart from Battle Garegga! Pretty much the same fight and not too bad overall. The visible bullets make it much more manageable.



For my third stage, I selected the Airport. The Airport has a bunch of medals waiting to be found. It is also absolutely crammed with bombs. Two big trucks drive by right at the start. If you destroy the cab before the trailer opens, it'll reveal a full Bomb icon and five small ones. And right after these guys are a few endless streams of turrets, like those motorcycles in Stage 1. This stage has a midboss of sorts as well. Towards the end of an airliner you'll face a wall of turrets. Destroy each side before going after the center to unlock a secret later.

The boss shoots it's way out of the nose of the airliner. Bazzcok is a huge flying airplane that has a combination of bullet spreads, lasers and popcorn enemies. I end up using far too many bombs on this guy, he gives me more trouble than the other bosses from the early levels.

I didn't do it this time, but I believe this is the stage where one of Bashinet's forms can be triggered. I did fight him in the boss rush, and he goes through his first three incarnations from Mahou with a whole lot more bullets.



Skyhigh was my fourth stage. This stage takes place too high for ground enemies, so instead it throws tons of aerial enemies at you. At one point, you'll have to face two mid bosses at once. You also get to face a hoard of big blue planes that surprisingly go down pretty quickly. The last leg of the stage is a screen full of missiles heading right at you. Just hold the fire button and you'll be fine.



You'll face Boredom after those missiles. Not exactly a name that instills fear, is it? Boredom is a strange contraption being airlifted by some durable helicopters. Smash them quickly or they'll get pissed off and start throwing wide, tight spreads at you. Boredom itself then activates and has a nice slew of attacks. The one I get the most often is also the easiest to avoid, a host of vaguely aimed green rings. It also has a stuff like a crazy spread pattern. I've also gotten arms to pop out and fire aimed shots. This fight can go either fairly easy or pretty rough depending on what patterns Boredom uses, so if you're having trouble just keep at it.



At this point, the stage order is now pre-determined. The next stage is the Highway. The music is really not fitting for the mood of the game, but it might go well with the beach underneath the road. The main focus of this stage is the big blue vehicle you'll be chasing through most of it. It fires a nice wide bullet spread and can be a real pain. Regular enemies also get extremely aggressive by this point especially if you haven't been controlling rank at all.



This area can have multiple bosses. The first boss will be determined by the stage order, with Sewer giving the easiest boss, Sabut. Sabut has many attacks, but what I noticed was a lot of straight streams of bullets. As long as you aren't caught in a stream, it doesn't take a whole lot of moving to avoid the bullets.



While grabbing screenshots, I also managed to trigger Envy, the hardest boss of the Highway. Envy has some homing lasers that can circle around and come back, and can drop a bunch of purple lasers that I wasn't able to find a pattern for. They looked like they were moving in nearly random directions. Envy also has a blue blast that is very pretty, and takes up about a third of the screen. This guy is a major pain so if you just want to beat the game, try NOT triggering him.



And because I still had a Garegga ship left afterwards, I triggered Black Heart Mk. II after Envy. Just like in Garegga, the Mk. II version wastes no time filling the screen with projectiles.

Once you've finished with any bosses you triggered, the Highway stage is over and the Normal game ends here. On Advanced mode, two more stages await.



The first is Zenovia City. I didn't pull out a stop watch or the like, but it seemed while playing that this level was by far the longest in the game. Lots of turret groups in this level. At several points, you'll run across big circular turret groups that act a lot like Mad Ball from Battle Garegga, with many shared attacks. You'll also run across walls of turrets and guns and at one point a couple missile launchers that shoot missiles twice the length of your ship.



The boss for this zone is Grubby, an enormous robot. Grubby has a bunch of attacks, like chasing you around with aimed bullets or fling screen-wide spreads at you. He can also stick out a bunch of guns on mechanical arms that each have their own set of attacks. The one that kills me the most are the little purple blasts. They are very hard to see, and when they explode they don't give any time to move away.



The final level is the GiganTech building. This level doesn't seem nearly as long as Zenovia but it is pretty heavily packed with enemies. Very early, you'll fly right up to a dude behind a huge desk. Said dude drops down and brings up a twin turret. If you sit right in the middle of the screen, the turret's bullets will not hit you. The other turrets CAN hit you. Once he has enough, you'll get to fly through the building some more. One long section is full of green tubes. It seems that these tubes release suicide bullets, and they were doing a good job pinning me down.

Right before the boss you'll get to contend with some whirly turrets. It's possible to squeeze through the gaps, just try to kill them quickly as once more than about two are on screen the bullet count goes way higher than you want it.



The final boss, Discharge, is a multi-part contraption. Initially, you'll be concentrating your shots on the dude you chased down while he hides behind some green glass. Beat it, and the ceiling comes crashing down. Keep shooting here, that rubble is deadly. The next stage of the final boss looks a bit like the Technodrome. The laser guns are visible on the body, stay between them. When they spin, if you move at the same time they won't get you. In the third phase of the fight, Discharge sets up a couple mobile turrets. This is a difficult fight and the projectiles come from all parts of the screen.

Beat Discharge, and you'll get an actual cutscene of your surviving characters looking over their work. Each individual character gets a cutscene as well.

Armed Police Batrider is another great Raizing game. I don't think it quite reaches the level of Garegga, but I don't think many games do reach that level. The Normal mode and Training mode are fun enough for casual shmuppers and those looking for depth will get plenty of that here. Give it a whirl.

Overall:



Character artwork was taken from Sheep's World of Arcades.net. Check it out for all the secrets that I didn't include here.






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