Scrolling shooters are pretty hard to come by on the PlayStation, so fans of the genre tend to snap up whatever they can no matter the quality. That usually leads to a bunch of shovelware being released. However, Working Designs takes this stuff pretty seriously and it shows. RayCrisis not only has the old-school gameplay of shooters past--it has the bang-your-head-against-a-wall difficulty that machoistic shooter gamers out there thrive upon. On normal difficulty in special mode, RayCrisis is a good challenge for casual players, but on maximum difficulty-watch out! For the wimpier players out there it's possible to enter regular mode and play a five-mission game that's pretty easy to finish. The game-play is intuitive if somewhat simple: You have a regular shot and a lock-on weapon that can be chained together for combo multipliers (both different on each of the three available ships), plus the kill-every-thing bomb. Of course, no shooter is complete without a collection of screen-filling bosses, and RayCrisis succeeds here too. The bosses are huge and take a lot of punishment before succumbing to your superior firepower. Working Designs also gets some extra credit for including the PocketStation game PocketRay (it sucks, but hey, it's a cool extra). The only big thing keeping RayCrisis down: why no two-player mode when even the last Ray game, RayStorm, included it?
It's not often that I see an old-school shooter come across my desk, and for about an hour or so I was thrilled to play this. It has a few of the things I really like in shooters: The screen gets crazy with swarms of enemies, and there's some great end-level bosses. Everything gets a little messy at times, as any shooter does, but this one is worse because of all the pix-elated graphics that are thrown up at once. Also, RayCrisis doesn't have enough of what makes shooters really fun--tons of cool power-ups. You can level up your weapon a bit, but there's no variety. This is a good rental, but if you want to buy a shooter, try Einhander.
It's been awhile since the PlayStation had an honest, straightforward shooter, and on that level RayCrisis delivers. There's a good number of higher difficulties, and the boss battles are intense without being impossible--with strategy and good reflexes you can master almost all of them. Graphics are nice, smooth in most places and only slowing down when things get so intense you welcome it. The three ships also have distinct play styles that add some nice variety. Although I'd have liked to see more levels, and the gameplay doesn't have the technique or polish of an R-Type Delta or Einhander, this should keep shooter fans happy fora bit (until Silpheed).
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP