April 21, 2003
It Matters if You’re Black Or White
We just got Ikaruga. It came out for the Gamecube, which we saw as a sign that the gods were pleased with us, or at least thought we were working too hard. Previously, it was only available via extreme measures on the part of unbalanced individuals. Now, it has spread to the masses.
The game seems to be one of those standard (you look down upon a smallish ship with immense firepower as it dodges slow-moving bullets and slow-witted enemies) shooters that are usually a dime a dozen. But it is so much more. The real problem with those games is that they are unbelievable. We are supposed to believe that a single fighter was able to penetrate the most labyrinthine and diabolical defenses of the enemy, which, judging by his arms expenditures and poor planning, is clearly some sort of Evil Empire. Really, though, the defenses are a sham. How could they ever expect that these defenses would repel a little schoolgirl, let alone a tactical fighter!
The difference with Ikaruga, as AB poignantly noted, is that they had every reason to expect that no one could ever get through them.
The game has three difficulty levels: Hard, Impossible, and We Haven’t Even Tried This One Yet. My guess is that in the last one they make you play with one hand, or maybe you don’t get to shoot or something.
More importantly, the game has two colors. That’s what makes it so cool. You, along with everything else in the game, are either black or white, with weapons to match. The trick is that you can change your color whenever you want (and, in my case, many times that I really didn’t want to), and you are only vulnerable to attacks of the other color. This removes the classic difficulty the Evil Empire had, which was that the rebel fighters got all pissy when there were too many bullets on the screen and refused to play. Now, though, all they have to do is make it so that there are places on the screen where you are only getting hit with one color’s worth of bullets at a time, and the rebels have no choice but to rise to the challenge. As a result: Oh My God.