Raiden IV x MIKADO remix Review

Richard Walker

Top down shoot 'em ups frighten me. When a genre is affectionately dubbed 'bullet hell', you can guarantee that I'm taking both of those words very seriously indeed. Generally, they're festooned with bullets, and the sum total of all these bullets swirling around the screen is a definite hell, of sorts. Obviously, Raiden IV x MIKADO remix is a great place to get back into a type of game I'd long left behind in 1990s arcades, then, and had only occasionally dabbled with in Capcom's various retro collections. Or is it?

Raiden IV has previously seen the light of day beyond the arcade via ports on both Xbox and PlayStation, which raises the question: what does this version bring to the table? First of all, the old versions are no longer easily available, and, second of all, this updated release brings together a whole host of modes and features, making for the most definitive Raiden IV experience to date. For shmup purists, Raiden IV x MIKADO remix is an exciting proposition, eking hours of gameplay out of what is otherwise quite a short game.

Like Ikaruga and 1941, Raiden IV is every bit the fast and frantic shot of pure bullet hell, teeming with power ups, strafing enemies dutifully cascading down the screen, and all manner of flashy visual effects designed to burn out your retinas. Following Raiden III marking the series' move to 3D in 2005, Raiden IV built upon that visual finesse with spectacular explosions and a series of formidable bosses, upon its release in 2007. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 ports followed, and this updated version of the game features a remixed and remastered soundtrack, new levels, and a full complement of modes.

OverKill and Arcade mode are the go-to options here, serving up the most immediate and instantly gratifying shmup kicks, whether you're piloting the game's Fighting Thunder ME-02 Kai or Fighting Thunder Mk-II ships, or choosing to play as a near-naked Fairy that can fire purple bubbles at enemies. Where Raiden IV x MIKADO remix comes unstuck is in the brevity of its fourteen-mission campaign, which is, strictly speaking, a seven-level campaign. Reach level seven and dispatch the boss, and you'll find yourself repeating the same seven levels again, but with the same bosses palette-swapped and given a few extra tricks to contend with.

Beat the game, and you'll unlock Boss Rush mode (and infinite continues), which helps extend Raiden IV x MIKADO remix's somewhat short longevity, while additional modes, like Score Attack, and the lure of tackling the campaign with a second player, will keep you going for a fair while. Once you've had your fill, however, you'll find little impetus to keep on coming back to Raiden IV x MIKADO remix. While it's a fine example of the vertical shmup, and, this release is by far the most complete version of Raiden IV available, only hardened bullet-hell aficionados will feel the need to make return visits, and master everything the game has to offer.

Raiden IV x MIKADO remix

As far as vertical shmups hauled out of the arcades and ported to home consoles are concerned, Raiden IV x MIKADO remix is just about as good as it gets. Nonetheless, this is really one for the die-hard fans of bullet hell.

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Plenty of heavy rock to complement the blistering shmup action, and some wonderfully satisfying explosion noises. None too shabby.


Polished, remastered 3D visuals that retain the chunky charm of the arcade original. Explosions not only sound great, bit they look fantastic, too.


Raiden IV x MIKADO remix requires lightning reflexes and a good pair of eyes to pick out the countless bullets amid the chaos. Easy it ain’t. Fun it is.


Every version of Raiden IV to date is collected here, alongside a few added extras, as well as continues and checkpoints for less hardened shmup heads. Lovely.


There are quite a few quite easily attainable objectives here, and then there are some stupid, almost impossible ones. A bit of a silly, overly tough list.

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