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aka: Project RS2
Moby ID: 7738
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Description official descriptions

Vertical shoot-em-up ported from the Naomi Arcade version. Ikaruga is more or less a sequel to Radiant Silvergun on the Sega Saturn.

Based on a two-colors system, the player has to switch between the black & white sides of his ship during gameplay. The black side is immune to black enemy bullets which it considers as a bonus and dies on impact with white enemy bullets. Your own black bullets damage white enemies twice as much as white bullets. And vice-versa for the white side. Those properties make a balance between protecting yourself well and killing enemies fast.

This aspect, combined with specific enemy patterns and a combo system makes Ikaruga an original shoot-em-up with a dose of strategy.


  • 斑鳩 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

13 People (11 developers, 2 thanks)

Main Program
Character / Object Design
BG Graphic Design
Music by
Sound Effect / GM Data Edit
Sub Program
BG Graphic Design
Art Works
PC Edition Prototype / Tutorial Game Program
Special Thanks (SEGA)
Executive Producer
Presented by
  • Treasure



Average score: 86% (based on 74 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 142 ratings with 5 reviews)

A dieing genre...

The Good
Ikaruga is a new game in a dying genre. Space Invaders has hardly seen the light since the NES and Sega Mega Drive was out. 2D games anymore, just don't cut it. A concept which is highly untrue and ignorant. Ikaruga is a space shooter, to cut it short. You control a ship that can change colour to vary effects in the game, (black and white.) Black makes white enemies easier to kill and vice versa with black, also when you are black you can suck up black bullets, same also with White. When you suck up enough bullets, you can fire a missile and take out ships nearby.

How does it clause into such an amazing game?

Easy, it's so simple. The game is designed for fast paced actions and that delivers. Ikaruga is more of Speed and Reflexes other than true tactical skills. But that is what makes it so fun. Oh, did I mention that there is also a Co-Op mode involved? Packed with speed and powerful graphics to add on to that cutting edge of pure gameplay as well as nice music that fits the scenes brilliantly too.

The Bad
However, it's not all rosy posey. To be honest, this is one of the hardest games I've ever played.(Blink and you die.) Yes, I have Gradius and I have other space shooters and this is still harder than them. The screen is also awkward, you can have a small horizontal screen or a big horrible vertical screen. Also, the game is rather small and it has a distinct lack of a storyline.

The Bottom Line
This game does not compare to anything, simply because nothing has really been done like this before. And, because of it's fast tense gameplay and true originality and inspiration this game is pure brilliance.

A very challenging, but very fun and worthwile game to say the least.

GameCube · by Exeox (38) · 2004

A challenging, original arcade shooter.

The Good
Ikaruga brings a few new cards to the table. The light/dark shooting ability is something to love or hate. You have to have very careful timing with how you switch between the two. If you are in the light stage and you get hit with a dark shot, you die. If you're in the light stage and you get hit with a light shot, you gain energy, and vice versa. Even the slightest mistake in using the two could mean the end of your game. The graphics are very nice. The combo system is a challenging and interesting feature that utilizes the light/dark system. Hit 3 enemies of the same type you get a 1 on the chain counter. Hit 2 light enemies, and 1 dark enemy, you get nothing.

The Bad
This game is a challenge, and not your average challenge. An intense challenge. The boss' are rather difficult.

The Bottom Line
A very challenging, very rewarding, very fun shooter. Yet another must have for Dreamcast owners.

Dreamcast · by big_brother (6) · 2004

Zen and the Art of the 2-D Shooter

The Good
Treasure has a reputation for making good games, but they really outdid themselves with this one. Gameplay is pure simplicity: You control a spaceship. You can move, and you can shoot. There are no fancy-ass power-ups. Ikaruga doesn't need them. The only weapon enhancements are your homing lasers, which you charge up by absorbing enemy shots... but only with the right color bullets. That's right, in Ikaruga you TRY to get shot, which is counterintuitive to every other shooter out there. You can change your ship from black to white at the press of a button, and then you can safely absorb enemy fire of the same color, plus you do double damage to enemies of the opposite color. It definitely takes a little practice to get used to, especially when you've got enemies and bullets of both colors raining down on you.

But Ikaruga moves even further beyond the ordinary shooter with its chain strategy: Shooting 3 enemies of the same color in a row gives you a chain bonus. The more groups of 3 you can destroy without breaking the chain, the faster your score increases. This is really challenging and requires loads of practice. But what's great about Ikaruga is you can play it any way you want. You don't have to try for high-scoring chain combos. If you want to just hold down the fire button and blast away, you can. Or if you're really up for a challenge, you can try the "Dot-Eater" technique, where you asorb enemy shots but don't fire any of your own. Think about that: You're playing a shooter, but you're not shooting!

The waves in Ikaruga unfold at a very tight pace. If you don't shoot all the enemies down fast enough, the survivors will flee and the next batch will arrive. If you destroy everything so fast that there would normally be a delay before the next group of enemies, you get bonus enemies to fill the time. Everything is flawlessly choreographed, and enemies are carefully dispatched in creative groups of 3 so that anybody can get decent chain combos with a little practice, but only the very best players will get them all and achieve the highest "S++" rank.

**The Bad**
If you're easily frustrated by dying, you probably won't like Ikaruga. Even on the easiest difficulty setting this is one insanely hard game. You will die more times than you can count before you start getting good at it. It's quite short, with only 5 stages (though they remain challenging for a very long time). It was designed for a vertical monitor, the exact opposite of every gamer's TV set, so there's a lot of black on either side of the playfield. Also it's semi-rare. The Dreamcast release was confined to Japan, and the U.S. GameCube release is out of print now, and getting difficult to find.

**The Bottom Line**
If you can appreciate the sheer beauty of a fast-paced, exquisitely designed game, and enjoy when a game defies every established convention of its genre, you owe it to yourself to play this one. Ikaruga is worth the time and patience it takes to master it. For shooter fans, nothing finer exists.

GameCube · by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1674) · 2005

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Ikaruga appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Replays DVD

In Japan the Ikaruga Appreciate DVD was released in 2003. It contains replays of full games played by three of the world top Ikaruga players of the time completing levels with unbroken chain combos. Scores are 32,178,600 in easy mode, 35,759,960 in normal mode, and 34,289,970 in hard mode.


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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Bock.

PlayStation 4 added by Rik Hideto. GameCube added by Kartanym. Nintendo Switch added by A.J. Maciejewski. Fire OS added by Sciere. Android, Xbox 360, Windows added by Kabushi. Arcade added by The cranky hermit. Xbox One added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe, Caelestis, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Rik Hideto, is_that_rain_or_tears, FatherJack.

Game added November 12, 2002. Last modified March 4, 2024.