Raiden Fighters Jet
by sunburstbasser

Raiden Fighters Jet is a vertically scrolling shmup which may have a story involving blowing stuff up. If you're really good, it'll tell you the story.

Seibu Kaihatsu had found a winning formula with Raiden Fighters 1 and 2, and took those basic concepts and added in a whole lot of adrenaline for Raiden Fighters Jet. This game marks the last Raiden Fighters game, and the last shmup developed directly by Seibu Kaihatsu. MOSS, formed by former Seibu employees, was responsible for Raiden III and IV.

The formula is barely changed from Raiden Fighters 2. Drab military, tons of secrets, and fast, hard to see bullets. What has been changed is the intensity. Raiden Fighters Jet has more enemies, more bullets, and more things happening at once than Raiden Fighters 2. Bosses are now much more threatening, and the stages have more bullets at any given time as well.

The controls are unchanged from the previous game. Tap A for normal shots, hold A for a charged shot (except in the Raiden and Judge Spear ships). B drops the bomb. Charged shots work the same way as well, firing a larger number of your currently equipped weapon. M and L icons switch between missiles and lasers.

After going through all those fighters for RF2, I really wasn't looking forward to doing it again. Turns out, I don't need to. Seibu simply reused all of them. The Aegis IIc and Dark Sword are no longer available, and only one new fighter has been added.

The first time I played RFJ, I picked the Ixion because it looks cool. Turns out it may be one of the better ships. It is insanely fast, and in this game speed is paramount. Both the missile and laser attacks are very powerful, and it has a short charge time.

Beyond that, the Miclus now has a shorter burn time on it's flamethrower. The other ships are close enough to the RF2 versions that I see no need to re-hash all of them. The faster gameplay makes the slower ships much less useful. While the Raiden was fun to mess around with in RF2, in Jet it moves far too slow and feels like crawling through thick mud after playing with the Ixion or Judge Spear. This is a game where instead of weaving between bullets, your best option is to get out of the way. The hitboxes are reduced but they aren't the few pixels of Cave shooters, so whenever possible just move away from the mass of bullets.

The scoring system manages to be just as absurd as Raiden Fighters 2 and simultaneously easier to figure out. Medals now start as 100 point badges. No matter how many single badges you collect, they will always be worth 100 points. To get high-value medals, you must first get a flying enemy to drop a badge, which will slowly fall off screen. If you have a slave, it will follow you around. If you don't have a slave, you can get it to follow you temporarily by scratching a bullet. Ixion's long wings are good for scratching. Once you have the badge following you, let it run into other badges and they will combine. Each combined medal raises the value, until it turns into a huge silver badge with an eagle on it. Collect this for 2,048,000 points in one go! Once that is done, you can start another chain of badges but the better method is to get 9 badges on screen at once. Do it, and they will explode and instead of badges, you will now get the gold medals from the other Raiden Fighters games. These medals work exactly like they do in the other games, worth up to 100,000 points apiece. It might seem like going for the silver badge would be worth more points, but once you hit the 100,000 value you'll get more points for the medals than you would collecting all those badges again.

In addition, both the QUICKSHOT and DESTROYED AT A TIME bonuses are back, and they now stack with each other. Each phrase you have at the top of the screen at once will act as a multiplier, so getting three QUICKSHOTS will give you the speed kill bonus x3. DESTROYED AT A TIME is easier to accomplish and it seems any larger enemies destroyed together count for it. Drop a bomb on the large tanks in Stage 01 and you can get two QUICKSHOTS and a DESTROYED AT A TIME bonus with good timing.

And to top that off, after each stage is a score tally of ability, medals collected and a Technical bonus. These numbers multiply together to add even more points. The Technical bonus is a little nebulous, but if you reveal a Miclus or Fairy in each level it'll build up as high as 10.

The graphics look pretty much the same as Raiden Fighters 2. Very nicely animated enemies, fairly flat backgrounds. The backgrounds do seem a little better made than RF2, with objects containing medals strewn all over. Stage 05 has lots of crates on the ground to destroy, for instance.

The music fucking sucks. Techno-themed music has been popular in shmups since at least the early 90s, but here it serves to piss me off instead of pump me up. I suppose the brutality of the music fits in with the brutal gameplay. MAME doesn't emulate the sound properly, but my suggestion is just to turn the music off anyway. The sound effects are still nice, big explosions and all.

Raiden Fighters Jet has 12 separate stages, but you won't play through all of them in one sitting. The most you can play is 7, and this requires beating the game in one credit. If I showed each stage, this write-up would be long and pretty boring. I'll instead show what one playthrough could look like. As part of the story, the missions are all simulations for the real battle. If you can get by on one credit, you'll reach Phase 1 and 2, which are supposed to be the real battles.

You will always start in Simulation 01. Ostensibly an airport, it is much larger than the one in Raiden Fighters 2. Immediately at the start, a large airplane will zoom diagonally across the screen. Destroy the turret on it for a QUICKSHOT bonus. Additionally, you can get more QUICKSHOTS by destroying the large airplanes as they fly in. Their shadows are visible on the ground before they show up on screen so it isn't very hard to be in position.

The boss is a large tank and the bosses in this game are considerably meaner than in RF2. Right here in stage one, you'll get crossing bullet streams and multiple bullet arcs layered on each other. Most of them aren't too hard to get past, though I do lose track of my fighter under both my bullets and the enemy bullets. The gun ports in the rear of the tank will fire small bullet spreads while the main turret fires straight bullets. This attack is the hardest for me to get past. The level is not actually over when you reach the boss. You'll see a few tanks off to the sides, enough that with proper play you can get the maximum badge in this stage. It is also possible to trigger a Miclus hovering over one of the bomber tails, and get into the 100,000 point medal mode before the second stage.

The next stage is Simulation 05. The level is a semi-arid area, and looks like it might take place in a shallow canyon or dry river bed. You can see a few train tracks in this area, but no giant train boss. Most of the boxes on the ground actually look a little like shipping containers, which seems like an awful material to build an impenetrable fortress out of. It blows up too easily, after all. On the plus side, shipping containers all seem to carry medals. This level has a few large stationary turrets. While they aren't hard to destroy, if you sit right on top of them they'll explode and reveal a Miclus.
,br/> The boss is a huge airplane, with lots of turrets. The central portion is the weak spot. My strategy is to take out the turrets next to the center, then the wing turrets. The bullet patterns can be intimidating especially if you get here on one life, but in my less skilled playthrough I was able to find safe spots while the center fired spreads. The attack that I have the most trouble with starts out as a cross-shaped stream of bullets. The bullets then curve inwards to create a deadly arc. Sit right in the middle of the screen and you'll be dead. Once you see this attack starting, MOVE.

My next level was Simulation 10. Sim 10 is a beach zone, and is sort of the reverse of the Beach level from RF2. The stage starts on the sand. Remember the mass of large planes from the Swamp stage in RF2? They return here in greater number, and getting QUICKSHOTS can quickly lead to some big bonuses off of them. A few large tanks towards the end of the sand portion can also give QUICKSHOT bonuses but I found that I had to bomb them to get it. Once they fire a shot at you, the window for the QUICKSHOT is closed.

The screen starts scrolling to the left, but instead of more stage you face off with some popcorn fighters and a big blue airplane. This one combines some aimed shots with spreads. Take out the turrets on the sides first. The central portion will actually blow off, revealing the true weak spot. I've never found a good way to beat this boss that doesn't involve repeatedly tapping B.

My next stage was Simulation 20, ANOTHER arid/desert stage. This one looks a little flatter than Sim 05, no canyon or anything. Of note are two large tanks next to each other. If you destroy the turrets, and don't touch the bodies, they will release faeries.

The boss is another giant tank. Giant tanks, giant airplanes. I think I see why I don't love these games as much as some folks do. I see no point in elaboration on this boss because after fighting dozens of bosses for this series of writeups, the Raiden Fighters bosses just aren't memorable to me.

My next stage was Simulation 30. Which is a variation on the Sky stage from Raiden Fighters 2. WITH THE SAME BOSS. To the game's credit, the boss is a two-part event, with the old boss flying out of a giant airplane after you destroy it.

Following that is Simulation 40. A sea stage! Which doesn't actually have tanks but has boats that look like tanks. Damn you Seibu. Most of the enemies are large cruisers, which have both turrets and superstructures to destroy and leave a medal behind.

The boss is an aircraft carrier. Lots of turrets, yada yada. I'm glad I get to write about Raizing games after this.

Sim 35 is the last stage I played, and the last stage available to credit- pumpers. It's also ANOTHER FUCKING SKY STAGE. This one does have an authentic Giant Battleship in the form of an airplane with wings that each fill the entire screen, which is cool.

So yeah, Raiden Fighters Jet. I know that a lot of people absolutely love the Raiden Fighters games and I don't get it. I do recommend playing them because while they use a lot of the same ideas way too much they also are well made and a lot of fun. For a military themed shmup, I suggest Strikers 1945 II. At least the music is a ton better.


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