Raptor: Call of the Shadows

aka: Mercenary 2029, Raptor: Call of the Shadows - 2010 Edition, Raptor: Call of the Shadows - 2015 Edition
Moby ID: 511

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 76% (based on 14 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 107 ratings with 11 reviews)

This set the standards in '94.

The Good
It had a good variety of weapons available, nice sound effects and smooth graphics. A lot like Raiden Trad for Genesis, only ten times better.

The Bad
Nothing. This game has absolutely no flaws.

The Bottom Line
It's a really great third person shooter where you fly in a fighter plane and save the world from alien space ships.

DOS · by Sam Tinianow (113) · 2000

Classic shooter action for the PC. Raptor KICKS YOUR ASS!!

The Good
Raptor is a game that managed the impossible: bringing top down shooters to the pc and doing it Right. For the most part, all other previous scrolling shooters were a piece of crap when brought to the pc, and the genre only thrived on consoles or arcades. Raptor was the first game of it's kind that I could play on the pc without puking, and it was so because it combined furious mindless action with the right amount of gameplay depth to keep things from getting stale.

For starters the developers nailed the concept of the genre perfectly, and crammed as much action into the game as they could, you can destroy everything (and in fact doing so is encouraged since it gives you money!) and the enemies came from everywhere, be it land, sea or air. The locations are varied (tough deep space is missing...), the end-level bosses where massive as per regular shooter rules, and you had a humongous arsenal of weapondry to kick ass with.

The trick was, of course, that the weapons or power-ups were rarely found in-game, and were instead purchased in the black market! Previous games had already made use of that formula, but no other gave it so much sheer importance. In fact, you could say this is the "Privateer" of scrolling shooters, with dozens of weapons, shield upgrades, nukes, etc. available for purchase. How do you acquire the cash? Completing levels of course, but also blowing shit up, and racking the most kills! Finally a real incentive to be good at one of these games!!!

Furthermore the game allows you to take advantage of other PC-only skills, such as being able to save your game (a must when you added the mercenary angle) and the option to personalize your character as you see fit (which is not really PC-only but... hey! you couldn't do that without a keyboard! Well, at least not comfortably...).

To top it off you have absolutely Beautiful graphics, with silky-smooth animation and amazing detail (ok, for the time!) and a great sound engine to make each explosion feel extra-special.

The Bad
Well... hmmmm....

No 2P support. I mean, wouldn't it have been cool to be able to export your character and continue playing with a friend??? Probably the only rule this game broke was that one: no 2p support.

Other than that there's the fact that sometimes the action feels kinda slow, but Raptor is one of those slow-scrolling shooters, not the ones you zip around on-screen like 1942 or the like...

The Bottom Line
Required playing if you consider yourself a real action gamer. Raptor brings the fun of shooting the hell out of everything and adds just enough style to make it a completely fantastic experience that keeps giving instead of just a couple of funny minutes you spend at the arcade. It's a pulse-pounding experience that never gives up, and keeps coming for more. Play Raptor. Go visit strange and exotic lands... And blow the shit out of everything in sight!!! But keep your eyes on your profit margin or else you are never gonna get that twin laser!

DOS · by Zovni (10503) · 2002

The most visceral and intense top-down shooter ever made

The Good
In 1994, this was a breath of fresh air. The graphics represent the pinnacle of what is possible with the VGA 320x200 video mode. Interesting ship designs, lovingly detailed backgrounds, earth-shaking pyrotechnics. When I pull this game out and play it today, the sounds are still impressive - loud and clear, every noise adds something to the experience. The gameplay is tons of fun, with a wide array of weapons to keep things fresh. Great map design and interesting enemies make Raptor an engaging experience from beginning to end. The "mercenary" aspect allows for buying and selling of equipment, which is a lot more interesting than in-game pickups.

The Bad
You can only play it so many times before you have so much equipment that you're sleeping your way though the levels. And it's not entirely taxing on the gray matter.

The Bottom Line
A top-down shooter with a gritty edge.

DOS · by Bob The Wanderer (4) · 2005

Wham and splatter

The Good
A description of Raptor is pointless, if you haven't played it you've probably played a million games like it. The vertical shooter is a genre that goes in and out of fashion (though mostly out), but the fundamental gameplay mechanics have gone unchanged from the classics like Xevious to modern-day releases like Ikaruga. Raptor is an evolutionary link in a series of games that are almost identical to one another. With that said, it's a very fun time-waster and a great example of the genre.

Planes fly down from the top of the screen and you have to shoot the hell out of them. In lieu of points you collect money for your kills. As the levels go by you have to deal with tougher, smarter and more numerous baddies and eventually a boss. This is all set to a senselessly bombastic soundtrack that you can hardly hear over near-constant explosions and gunfire.

It is a shmup in every good and bad sense of the word. Raptor isn't quite as intense as some of its contemporaries (movement speed of the planes is actually rather slow ), but it's a joystick-destroyer of a game nonetheless. And instead of being a 100% knockoff there are actually one or two nods towards creativity that warrant a mention.

I mentioned earlier you receive money for kills. In between levels (at the main console) you can buy and outfit weapons and armor for your plane. Buying and selling stuff gives the game a cool "Mercenary" flavor, rather then having the game randomly dole out weapon upgrades during the game like most other vertical shooters do. Repairs cost money as well, so you'll invariably be torn between wanting that shiny new Autotrak Minigun and the need for fix your damaged plane. The game isn't very generous with money so the stakes are pretty high. You can carry multiple weapons at once and equip them at your leisure (although the controls for this are somewhat awkward.)

On easier difficulties the game is fast albeit measured. On the harder levels it becomes so frantic and desperate you'll clutch at any advantage you can get against the relentless waves of enemies. Strangely, the most useful advantages is what would outwardly appear to be mere decoration. When an enemy arrives from the top of the screen, its shadow will appear a small amount of time before the enemy itself. This means you have a critical quarter-second or so to prepare for whatever's coming at you. If you see a shadow arriving that takes up more than half the screen, you're facing a boss. Er...yeah. A boss.

As you'd expect for one of Cygnus Studio's games the production values are excellent. You get treated to a stunning pre-rendered animation that's almost as good as the FMV characterised by the CD revolution. The graphics are top-notch. Explosions are bright, zany and colorful, and while the enemy planes aren't very detailed (what would be the point? They're on the screen for about one or two seconds each) this deficiency is more than made up for by the detailed and elaborate locations you play in.

Most vertical shooters take place in deserts, glaciers, or other empty environments, but in Raptor you fly across bustling cities complete with buildings, cars, bridges, oil refineries, gas stations, etc all of which can be blown up for quick cash. But while the backgrounds are extremely detailed, they aren't so eye-catching as to take your focus off the foreground, something many shmups forget about. A nice touch is how buildings blow up one piece at a time, or burn slowly and are then destroyed. This is really effective and evokes an atmosphere of pure mayhem.

The Bad
Like most games of its type Raptor has little replay value. Once you complete it once or twice and buy all the weapons and upgrades there's nothing left to do. Many shooters try to entice you into playing further with unlockables and bonus features, but there's none of those here. Seriously, is a 2-P mode too much to ask?

Being able to buy and sell weapons is cool, but it's not exploited as well as it could have been. Weapons are of the "strong, stronger, strongest" category, so your choice in buying weapons is not dictated by strategy but rather by your budget. Once you max yourself out and get the strongest weapon in the game you'll never need to touch any of the other ones, which is a shame.

And since it's a shmup (perhaps the lowest common denominator of video gaming) the standard "if-you-don't-like-the-genre-don't-play-this" disclaimer applies.

The Bottom Line
Whether you could call Raptor a classic is debatable, but it's a cool game with solid gameplay and (for its time) great graphics. Raptor is obsolete these days, but if you are into classic gaming and aren't one of the "playing 2D shooters are beneath my dignity" crowd I urge you to give it a try.

DOS · by Maw (833) · 2007

The most acclaimed PC shoot'em up ever

The Good
Finally a real shoot'em up for the PC after so much wait. Raptor is a PC only shoot'em up which is incredibly fun to play. All the tiny details here and there, ground, air and sea targets, innovative weapons, unique shield system, and finally a both life and time saving save game feature are the pros of the game.

The Bad
Well, it's nevertheless a mindless shooter. Other than that there's nothing really wrong with this game.

The Bottom Line
A classic which is still appealing in today's standards.

DOS · by IJan (1972) · 1999

Amazing how some old games are still better than new ones.....

The Good
With the graphics of today, everyone has forgotten about old games. No one ever touches their Bio Menace, or Duke3D CD anymore. Instead they reach for Navy Seals and Counter-Strike. Raptor: Call for the shadows, I say, is better than a lot of games out today.

The graphics of this game are great (compared in its time). The ships look real, and you will love getting to the big explosion when you destroy a boss ship. The weapons all look good, so you wont be bored of them after a while.

The sound is also great, the music will keep you playing, and the sound effects also seem to be carefully made to sound very realistic.

There are mass arrays of weapons, each that must be bought, which is also another good aspect of this game. Players will love having to shoot and shoot to get more things to shoot with.

The Bad
The only thing wrong with this game is its repetitiveness. Throughout the game, you basically do the same old things over and over. They could have added special missions, like say you had to fly a ship into a certain building, but this is a minor problem.

The Bottom Line
This game is a great idea. And players should look for it, and get to play the greatest game (one of them) ever. I give RCOTS a 5/5 :)

Windows · by ThE oNe (180) · 2002

The only "Flight Game" I've ever enjoyed playing.

The Good
It's all good, baby. The weapons variety is vast and unique, the gameplay is "on-the-edge-of-your-seat" type of play, and the graphics are pretty good for it's time. I got hooked on this game back when it came out, and I'm still hooked on it.

The Bad
Well, after playing it for years, you tend to notice the repetiveness of the game. The levels and scenery are different, but all you do is go back and forth, left and right, shooting the baddies. That's mostly what some flight-shooters are, I guess.

The Bottom Line
It's a great game. More fun than any other flight-shooter game. I recommend it.

Windows · by Dason Rise (17) · 2003

This is still one of my favourites

The Good
Raptor had lots of things going for it. Replayability in all the difficulty levels, non stop action, loud sound effects, amazing graphics (for the time), and cool weapons. It's really hard to get from one end to the other of the game but you can save where you are in between levels so you don't have to start right from the beginning if you lose.

The Bad
The loud sound effects were good, but they were too loud. The gameplay gets bland after playing it through in elite difficulty 2 or 3 times.

The Bottom Line
A fast paced shootem' up I would suggest to any fan of the genre.

DOS · by wossname (203) · 2000

A great top-down shooter.

The Good
It is exciting meeting the end-level bosses. The music's cool, and the high-costing weapons are truly devastating. The levels are unique, and so are the episodes. Finally, most everything is destructable.

The Bad
This game is hard! Also, it gets kinda annoying since there is no mid level save feature (you almost kill a boss, but the boss kills you, and you have to start all over). The levels are a bit long and monotonus.

The Bottom Line
A very good top-down shooter. If there was a save game feature and it wasn't so monotonus, I would recommend it. But for now, play Stargunner.

DOS · by Archagon (108) · 2001

A classic.

The Good
Wow, almost missed this one :-)

Raptor is indeed a classic shooter, one of a kind so that even now, five years after it came out, people are still measuring shooters against it. It has a smooth engine, delightful graphics (for the time), decent music and hours worth of gameplay, a variety of weapon upgrades for your ship and most importantly - it's damn fun!

The Bad
A bit too repetitive, and doesn't hold a candle to Tyrian - but hey, it came out earlier and is a damn good game in its own right.

The Bottom Line
A great shooter most people find extremely solid and enjoyable.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 1999

Par for the course in a stale genre

The Good
Fast, smooth, and polished. Mindless fun.

The Bad
The pattern-oriented vertically scrolling shooter became very stale between 1983 and 1994. Raptor doesn't add anything new or interesting to this type of game. In fact, if you go back to the genre-defining Xevious from over ten years earlier, you'll find that it is more sophisticated than Raptor in many ways.

The Bottom Line
A vertically scrolling shooter with well-done VGA graphics. If you liked Raiden, you'll like Raptor.

DOS · by James Hague (10) · 2000

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alsy, Dae, Tim Janssen, Tomas Pettersson, Scaryfun, Parf, Sun King, Patrick Bregger, TMg, Pseudo_Intellectual, Mr Creosote, yellowshirt.