Frankenreview, Ikaruga (XBLA)

Treasure's classic shoot 'em up Ikaruga has a simple premise. Turn your ship white, become immune to white attacks. Turn your ship black, become immune to black attacks. The casual onlooker would say the premise sounded simple. The seasoned Ikaruga player would say the premise sounded deceptively simple.

So the question isn't should you play Ikaruga if you haven't. The question is, should you play Ikaruga on XBLA, or should you hunt down a Gamecube or Dreamcast version. Hit the jump for our Frankenreview to find out: it's Ikarugalicious.

Team Xbox
Time and again, the game has gotten high marks with critics as being one of the best looking 2D shooters on the market. ... now, making the jump to the 360, the game looks even better. In 720p HD, everything looks sharp, refined, and runs smooth as silk.

To truly excel at Ikaruga requires a mastery of the polarity system and a lot of practice...Casual gamers may find themselves overwhelmed and unable to scratch the surface of this classic. That would be a shame, though, as this is easily one of the best titles on the Live Arcade.

If you have an LCD TV you can flip that bad boy on its side and, in the options screen, flip the gameplay sideways so you get full-screen up-scrolling action (known in the shooter scene as TATE mode). That's how the purists play (and us).

...whereas once dedicated players would need to import Japanese DVDs of the top players' score runs for tips and techniques, now you simply select their name on the scoreboard and sit back to watch their replay, awestruck. The option to save and upload all replays, combined with co-op play over Xbox Live, makes the definitive version of the game.

At $US 10, it's the price of two value meals. And cheeseburgers don't taste this good.


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