Game: Shienryu Explosion
Release Date: October 23rd, 2003 (Original Release), August 4th, 2005 (Re-release)
System: PlayStation 2
Shienryu Explosion is a sequel to the arcade game "Shienryu" which was also released for the Saturn and PSX (in Japan). The word Shienryu means "Violet Flame Dragon" in Japanese. Keep in mind, those of you who study Japanese, that 'shienryu' isn't a real word per se so don't use it when speaking Japanese if you ever have to describe a purple dragon on fire.
You have three different attacks. A "weak" attack that has a wide spread of bullets, a "normal" attack that has a moderate bullet spread and "strong" which has a narrow, concentrated bullet pattern. Your ship's speed is affected by the strength of your attack. Your ship moves swiftly with a weak attack and slow with the strongest attack. Not an original idea, but it works with this game.
There are three different ships in the game. Each ship has a different style of attack. One uses bullets and missiles, one fires lasers and missiles, and the last one is equipped with a laser and bullets, but no missiles. All ships are have a "bomb" attack which will not obliterate everything onscreen, but will fire your weapon at its maximum power destroying even bullets while making your ship invincible. There are six characters in the game but they have no effect on your ship's abilities. I don't know why the developer even added characters since the only difference between them during gameplay is the color of their bullets and lasers. Other than that, choosing a character is not important.
This game shares absolutely nothing with the first game other than its name and that it's a vertical shooter. This game could have been called something completely different and it wouldn't have made any difference. It plays a lot like a watered-down version of Triggerheart Exelica, which was also developed by Warashi. If you have played Triggerheart then this game would be a step down and you won't break new ground here.
The game came available on the Simple 2000 Series in Japan in two forms. One is called "Simple 2000 Series Vol. 37 THE SHOOTING: Double Shienryu" where the first game and Shienryu Explosion are available on the same disc. The other one is of the same Simple 2000 Series as "2-in-1 Vol. 5" which comes with a game completely unrelated simply called "THE HELICOPTER".
Great graphics and good music. This is also one of the few vertical console shooters that is widescreen. This means an even larger play area and no bars on each side of the screen. This game's graphics and feel is very reminiscent of Raystorm, only not as good.
This game is easy. Too easy. You don't get a real challenge until the last boss, but even the last boss isn't really that difficult. If you've been trained by Cave's bullet patterns then the last boss is a walk in the park. The characters in the game add no depth so there is no reason for them to exist.
If you're a collector of shoot-em-ups definitely pick this game up. It is not horribly bad, it's just horribly easy. If you are looking for a challenge, look elsewhere. On the same token if you want to get into shoot-em-ups and you're a bit intimidated this is a good game to get you acquainted with the genre.
The game came packed in with another game called "The Helicopter". With an inspired name like that I had to try it out. The game is as simple and as bland as the title. "THE HELICOPTER" is a very simple game where you control an RC Helicopter and use it to complete simple missions inside a home, around town, etc. I have no idea why it came packed with this game. I'll assume they were just finding a quick way to get rid of the discs.
No backups, pirates, or emulation. My copy: