Raiden (雷電 raiden?) is a scrolling shooter and a series of arcade games by Seibu Kaihatsu initially available in arcades in Japan and later distributed to other countries by Fabtek and other arcade game manufacturers.
The game that began the franchise was Raiden, which has been 26 months at the top 10 in the charts. It was ported for the PlayStation as The Raiden Project, and other ports, including Amiga, Atari Jaguar, NEC's TurboGrafx-16, NEC's Turbo Duo (known as Super Raiden, includes Redbook audio and two extra levels), Atari Lynx, Super Nintendo, PC, Sega Genesis and mobile phones.
Seibu Kaihatsu developed the Raiden games and its related spin-offs from 1990 until 1998. The license of Raiden was recently purchased by MOSS. Since 2005, all Raiden games have been on various Taito boards (Taito Type X).
In each installment, there is a threat to humanity posed by the invasion of Earth by an alien race known as the Cranassians. In the wake of the Cranassian invasion, the World Alliance Military must launch a daring counter-attack with their powerful weapon, a Raiden supersonic attack fighter, for the future of humanity. In most of the Raiden games, the Cranassians have a red crystal that holds many powers. It is usually the last boss in the games. The first two Raiden installments had eight stages, and if all stages are completed, a mission clear bonus is given and the players will start another mission. The third installment has seven stages each. The fourth installment blends classic gameplay with new ideas in one package.
Its distinguishing feature was the simultaneous double player mode where one player can play like two players at the same time. Players can get high score by quickly destroying the enemy which appears, with the new flash shot system. But this feature is not new to the Raiden series release-wise, as a slightly different version of this scoring mechanic was introduced in the Raiden Fighters spinoff.
The level design of the first two installments consists of five Earth-based levels and three space-based levels:
- Forest (in Raiden the player starts from the coast, but in Raiden II, the player starts from inland)
- Giant enemy battleship
- Final attack goal (in Raiden the final attack goal is the alien command battleship, but in Raiden II, the final attack goal is the planetoid with the Cranassians' headquarters/temple)
However, in Raiden III, level design appears to consist of three basic Earth-based missions and four space missions:
- Farm, City
- Enemy in-land remote base
- Ocean with platforms
- Giant Battleships
- Battleship Interior
- Connected Planetoids
- Final attack goal
The enemy's insignia appears to be a shape of a diamond in later Raiden installments.
The bosses in Raiden has normally an octagonal shape of a glowing crystalline being, but in the sequels, they have a diamond shape. In Stage 8 of Raiden, the octagonal being is concealed with a green module which moves back and forth in one direction, while in Raiden II and later installments, it appears exposed.
In Raiden DX, the st. 9 boss first appears as a featureless sphere of grey metal, then transforms into the boss tank. This suggests that the Cranassian crystals have the ability to reshape metal to any form they desire.
|Raiden||Raiden II||Raiden III||Raiden IV|
|Two rail tanks (Desert Spiders)||Two four-legged mecha (Death Walkers)||Two giant chaingun tanks||Spider-like mecha (Exerey Iss)|
|Aerial missile carrier (Flying Fox)||Aerial missile carrier (Ichneumon)||Aerial missile carrier||Aerial warship (Ordo, Fyurasu, Mairazard)|
|Large battleship (Phalanx Mk. II)||Submarine (Shadow Submarine)||Submarine/Battleship||Three-hull battlecruiser (Fameru Yaa)|
|Armed fortress||Giant fortress (Fort Cyclops)||Space rocket||2 ground/air super-tanks (Aven and Ewato)|
|Ground tank||Armored bomber/fighter (Dread Bomber)||Armed satellite||Ball holding a crystal
Armed satellite (Da Rutyura) (Xbox 360)
|Two walking statues||Energy-weapon tank (Manticore)||Mine-laying fighter||Repeating fighter (Isudogaaramu) (Xbox 360)|
|Forward module of the battleship||Forward module of the battleship (Whisper)||Crystal-holding fortress||Ball holding a crystal (Horda Gardia) (Xbox 360)|
|Red crystal in a green module||Crystalline temple (Cranassian headquarters)||N/A||Crystal-holding command vessel (Horda Gestorada)|
The bosses in Raiden DX keeps their similarity to its precursor, with the exception that it contains an extra level boss tank.
The first three Raiden games were published by Seibu Kaihatsu and sent to distributors for specific countries such as Fabtek (US), The Metrotainment Network (Asia), and Tuning Electronic (Germany). After more than a decade, the original series was revived and licensed by MOSS and published by Taito.
The Raiden game legacy saw its own spinoffs. Viper Phase 1 originally had an exhaustible secondary weapon system (indicated by a bar meter). A "new" version of Viper Phase 1 modified the weapons system to be that more similar of the Raiden games.
The Raiden Fighters games inadvertently became associated with the Raiden legacy. The first Raiden Fighters game was originally a completely unrelated game with the name Gun Dogs during development. Seibu Kaihatsu changed its name to the current Raiden Fighters due to market tests of the game performing better in the public with the Raiden name.