This page was last modified 2008-04-23 17:59:30 by Puchu.Net user Choco. (Show history)

Ikaruga is an excellent port of the original arcade/Dreamcast game.

Go to: [ Game Mechanics and Controls | Good | Bad | Notes ]

Developer Treasure
Web site http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/i/ikarugaxboxlivearcade/
Platform Xbox 360
Cost $10.00
ESRB Rating EVERYONE, for fantasy violence.

This is one challenging game, short but extremely difficult to finish (there are five chapters), even more difficult to try to achieve high score with chain combos. Unlike other shooting games where dodging bullets and discovering patterns is key to survival, in Ikaruga you have to do more: switching polarities is a must to progress in the game.

What I think is really cool about the 360 version, is that it allows everyone with a 360 to enjoy this amazing game with updated high-definition graphics for just $10. And it's great that you can try the game before you buy. Because you may decide that you like watching other people play more...

Watching experts play is also very enjoyable for me. A few years ago you'd have to import expensive and rare DVD's from Japan just to see how the highest scores are achieved. Now with the Live service you can save a replay and watch it using the game engine itself. I think this is good evolution of a fine game that is very unique and enjoyable.

Game Mechanics and Controls

  • Ship you control has a black and white polarities.
  • Ship can change its polarity, allowing it to absorb energy from bullets of the same polarity.
  • Absorbed energy builds up homing missile attack. Each block in the energy meter launches one missile.
  • Hitting enemies with bullets of different polarity causes extra damage.
  • Destroyed enemies releases bullets if your bullet polarity matches their polarity.
  • Shooting down consecutive enemies of the same polarity builds up chain combo.

Excellent Ideas

  • Polarity adds amazing amount of difficulty and fun into game play.
  • Design of the stages allows new players to stick to mainly one polarity at the beginning, and eventually require polarity switch to get past certain points of the stage.
  • This version is better looking than any other versions I've seen. The design and theme has a touch of buddhism influence (the symbols, etc.) that creates strong visual connection between the stages and bosses. Slow-downs still happen at the same places, I think. But maybe they are preserved to remain a faithful port?
  • Skill of a player is easily judged by the score and a grade at end of each level. There is nothing to collect that will bump up your score. In fact, there is no upgrade to your weapons either.
  • Xbox 360 version has a global leaderboard, and you can download replay files (about 22kB) of any player on the leaderboard. This is a great way to see how the top players are able to finish the levels quickly with many chain combos.
  • Auto-fire. Shouldn't make players work so hard like some other shooting games.


  • So many button presses to download replay. Some of the buttons confused me at first. For example, buttons A is always confirming/entering and B for canceling/exiting, but A is used to confirm exiting save file dialog.
  • Somehow I am not very comfortable with the default button layout. My score has improved since I changed them, really!

Other Notes

  • Article about a top-rated player not liking 360 version because it is slightly different from the arcade/Dreamcast version.
  • Video of one player controlling two ships at once with his left and right hands (chapters 3, 5 and more is available, go search for Ikaruga).
  • The button layout for the arcade version, from left to right is fire, polarity change, and missile attack.


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