ESP. Extra Sensory
[ I thought ESP stood for Extra Sensory Perception
- Felix the Cat ]
Over time there have been reports of people with these powers. The
ability to read minds, move objects, turn the car on without keys,
and so on, these people have been feared throughout time. Of course,
none of that is actually true, but there is one thing for sure---ESP
makes good ground for video games. One of those games is ESP Ra.De.
Truly a great shmup, ESP Ra.De. (ERD from now on), puts you in the
shoes of several "gifted" young individuals fighting against some
sort of evil. There's your generic loner anime guy, your typical
saucy anime chick, and lastly, a young girl. Quite a motley crew,
to say the least. Each character goes through the stages in a different
order, until the final boss. I've only played through the game with
one character, so forgive me if I'm leaving out something important.
Each characters ESP allows them to fly over the cityscape, and they
also each have 3 attacks. All of these attacks can be charged up
repeatedly by grabbing plenty of stereo-typical 'P's. The first
attack is usually your standard straight-forward rapid blast, the
second is an explosive attack that must be recharged between firing,
and the last is a super powerful attack. This attack can be used
in two ways. The first is to just fire a huge blast of fire forward.
This blast neutralizes all enemy fire for the time it's in the air.
The second way is to hold down the attack button, initializing a
force-field of sorts, which will save you temporarily, and then
fires an extra long super blast. However, keep in mind that you've
got only got so much energy for your super attack, and using it
too much will leave you screwed. Along with all these attacks, you
also have a life bar, but it really just counts as your live count,
since losing all life puts you in game over.
The graphics in this game are excellent, which is to be expected
from a 1998 shmup. Most of the objects in the game are 3d rendered,
such as the humans and backgrounds, while most of the enemies are
the usual 2d hand-drawn fare. This is very pleasing to the eyes,
and the graphics are never cluttered or confusing, besides the intense
action in the game itself. The rest of the game is just as fantastic
as the graphics. The game has a very smooth learning curve, slowly
easing it's way up in difficulty. At the beginning of the game,
you can make it through nearly unharmed using minimal amounts of
of effort. However, the game gets much harder very fast, until pretty
much the an entire stage is dodging screens of bullets.
The bosses are huge, and very interesting, often having many attacks
at many different times. Lastly, the stages are varied, and of perfect
length. However, there are only 5 stages in the game. This is really
the only problem of ESP Ra.De.
Easily one of the finest shmups of all time, ESP Ra.De. is a must-play
for anyone who has ever been even relatively interested in shmups.