Such a simple mechanic brings about a strategy hitherto unseen in shooters of this ilk. Where Radiant Silvergun had three-way colour-coding, it was still possible to finish the game without bothering to ‘chain-up’ multiple hits of the same hue. Not so with Ikaruga: one is often caught in the crossfire of both colours and flicking back and forth between alignments is of paramount importance. The end of the third level is a mash that forces the player to negotiate tiny rotating gaps, constantly switching modes while avoiding physical barriers and opposing 360-degree fire. The fourth level is a Herculean task.
Treasure has once again distilled a potent, unforgiving, stunning, dramatic and overall monstrous number that, while not completely innovative (having adopted the self-referential colour system), thrills and enrages in equal measure. A case for the cream of the crop? Undoubtedly.