The Saturn had, and still has, one hell of a library as far as shooters go. I remember when I was first getting into the system that's all I ever heard about: its fighters, and its shooters. Here's an old review I wrote nearly five years ago... one of 5,972 Saturn "shmups"... I give to you... Shienryu
Bet 'cha a hundred bucks you'll be seeing this fella again...
The Saturn is home to many shooters (AKA ''shmups''). The general consensus on Shienryu seems to be mixed. Many believe it's average and nothing special. Others will contest it's ''underrated, under appreciated and well, damn good.'' I fall somewhere in the middle but more toward the latter than the former
Many folks feel Shienryu is reminiscent of the old vertical shooter Raiden. There are definitely some similarities between the two. While Shienryu doesn't possess dazzling graphics or mind blowing game play, it is a pretty damn solid shooter. Besides, it has one of the best covers on the Saturn, bar none
In December 2002, Natsume released this on the PlayStation under the title Gekioh: Shooting King
But c'mon, ya gotta have the Saturn version ;)
The intro is pretty hot
Ship looks like the one from Galactic Attack
Remember intro? HE'S BAAACK!
Love that statue head lying around
This gun option is the cheapest
Lots of turrets to dismantle
Early on the graphics may not jump out at you much, but later on things get rather eye-catchy and impressive. In one of the last stages, there's a giant white ship that appears almost cel-shaded. My brother was playing with me and said, ''Whoa, check out the cel-shading power of Saturn! Albeit first generation...''
The bullets often times appear in the blue hue. Enemies are well animated. You can see damage on bigger enemies before they blow up... very cool stuff
The sound is nice; explosions are fairly meaty with nice oomph. Music however is a bit bland for my liking -- loads of generic guitar riffs that are OK. Nothing to write home about in that department
As in most shooter games, great. Controls are very basic (shoot, bomb). Ship speed feels about right which is something you should never take for granted
Solid. Just solid. Although you only have one ship (some other shmups give you a choice between 3 or 4) the gameplay zips along at a nice pace; it never gets TOO frustrating (on the easier difficulty levels, anyway) and yet, it always manages to keep the pressure on at all times, especially in the later levels. There are lots of bullets to dodge and lots of turrets to destroy. It's just well done. One small gripe though: if you lose a life, the action stops and you either go back to a certain segment, or go forward. It depends on how much damage you did to the enemy ship(s) before you died. Say you're on stage 5. There are increments to each stage, such as 5-2, 5-5 and so on. Say you're on 5-4 and badly damage a mini-boss but he ends up killing you. Instead of going back to face him, in this case the game automatically takes you to 5-5 even though you did not ''earn it''
I know I'll come back to it someday. Not a game I'll play every week but I'll break it out every once in a while. It's not as replayable as other shooters in my book, but without a shadow of a doubt I'll come back to it more than just once because it's solid good challenging fun
Fun Factor: 8.5
It's something I can get down for and just have a blast with. One thing about Shienryu that is extra special in my book is the incredible arcade feel it has. [Well... maybe that's coz it WAS an arcade game -Ed.]
When I'm battling the stage 3 end boss -- that red robotic octopus -- I can almost smell the aroma of cheese in the air and hear the joyous laughter of children as they're scampering about downstairs...
Love this boss... good times
Lots of big bad ships...
Can you survive this demon? Good luck
Loading times are quick!
Yes, you have the all-mighty Bomb
The bosses are all pretty cool
The last stage and last boss is very difficult
The CG intro is well done, putting you in the right mood to blast baddies and save the universe
2 Player simultaneous play is a go!
Shienryu's a good, solid shooter. Unfortunately, it finds itself in a crowded genre. Saturn's shooter library runs deep and rich. From the superb (Radiant Silvergun, Soukyugurentai) to the ho-hum (Gekirindan, Sol Divide) it's hard to get recognized in the crowd. Shienryu falls a bit short of being a superb shooter, but then again few are
Shienryu is not a ''front-of-the-line'' shooter but regardless, it gets my seal of approval. I hope that once you finish buying and playing the likes of Soukyugurentai and Battle Garegga, that you give Shienryu a fighting (or should I say shooting) chance
Special thanks to:
Mike B. from Destroy All Monsters for Shienryu cover
Kent Rittenhouse, as usual, for his generous Saturn screenshots