"The power of ESP: one who has the power is destined for tragedy. What are we fighting for? We cannot even find the answer, but we keep on running... because of this ability we have."
—Stage complete text
is a Bullet Hell Shoot 'em Up
with artwork by "Joker" Junya Inoue
. Ms. Gaara, a powerful psychic woman who leads the organization known as Yaksa, is using her resources to take over the world. This ends up drawing attention from the three psychic heroes, each of whom has their own reason for opposing her:
- Yusuke Sagami: This high schooler had latent abilities since he was seven years old and had been hiding them for a while. Then the Yaksa came in, dragged one of his friends out onto the roof of his school, and slit his throat to make a point. Yusuke got so angry that he unleashed his full psychic potential.
- J-B 5th: Also known as the "Black Peter Pan," this Russian assassin was raised from an early age to develop his psychic powers. He is now tasked with assassinating Ms. Gaara and will do whatever it takes to complete the mission.
- Irori Mimasaka: She was an orphan who was barely aware of her abilities when the Yaksa decided to launch a barrage of missiles at her orphanage. She was able to shield another person from one of the missiles, and set off to find out what was going on.
One gameplay mechanic, the theme of superpowered people flying around and blasting stuff with Psychic Powers
, and the Alice Clones were carried over to the Espgaluda
ESP Ra.De contains examples of:
- Alice Allusion — The Alice Clones. One piece of artwork has the line of text, "Alice in Fear land."
- All There in the Manual — Has a surprisingly deep backstory and characterizations, for an arcade shooter. You can catch some glimpses of it from the newspaper clippings that fly by.
- Anti-Hero — J-B 5th introduces himself by crashing a press conference, stomping a table, killing an important person, and wrecking a shopping mall.
- Bare Your Midriff — J-B 5th
- Big Damn Heroes: Irori's intro has missiles descending on her orphanage, with her friend tripping and curling into a fetal position as a bomb drops directly on her... then the dust clears to show Irori shielding her, then taking off to fight.
- Bittersweet Ending — J-B 5th's ending shows that he will never be free of the police trying to capture him, and thus he will have to blow them up for the rest of his life. In Yusuke's ending, he's gotten his revenge, but his friend is still dead.
- Black Eyes of Evil — The Alice Clones. On the other hand, considering what the original Alice did to herself, it may be that they don't even have eyes, and those black blanks are just empty cauterized sockets.
- Charge Attack — The guard barrier can be charged for great effect.
- Creepy Child — The Alice Clones. They have blank black eyes and appear to do nothing but eat, wear dresses, and shoot at the player characters with their Psychic Powers. They make truly horrifying noises when killed.
- The Dragon — Satoru Oumi, who also has dragon wings and wears armor meant to look like a dragon.
- Driven to Suicide — The original Alice, some time before Yaksa ends up on the loose.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady — J-B 5th, complete with eyeliner.
- Eye Scream — The original Alice, implied to be another product of the same project that made J-B an esper, apparently did this to herself before Gaara took her in.
- Half-Human Hybrid — The Alice clones are hybrid mice. They squeak when they die, and it is not cute at all.
- High-Pressure Blood — All psychic enemies let out a lot of blood when killed, especially Satoru Oumi and Ms. Gaara.
- Humongous Mecha — The boss of stage 4
- Laser-Guided Amnesia — J-B 5th was brainwashed and had memories erased so that he would be a cold efficient killing machine.
- Magical Girl — Irori Mimasaka, complete with upbeat theme song.
- Meaningful Name — "Yaksa" are quasi-demonic entities from Hindu lore (not as bad as rakshasi, but still not fun to be around when they're mad), better known in Japan as yasha. Gaara convened this lot to take vengeance on the world that would not judge the espers who killed her husband.
- Monumental Damage — No real monuments are involved, but Ms. Gaara does pull up the head of a gigantic Artemis statue that fills up most of the screen. To use as a warm-up weapon while she relaxes.
- No Export for You — Has never been released outside Japan or ported to a console, due to tangled rights issues between Atlus and Cave.
- Peter Pan — One of JB-5th's codenames is the "Black Peter Pan"
- Psychic Powers — Both the player characters and the enemies.
- Replicant Snatching — Ms. Gaara's plan is to replace everyone with Alice Clones.
- Slouch of Villainy — Ms. Gaara spends most of her time casually lounging while watching the heroes battle her minions and weapons.
- Spider Tank — The mid-boss of the high school stage is the biggest one, and there are a number of smaller ones as well.
- Story Breadcrumbs — The newspaper headlines that flash by between levels.
- Take Over the World — Ms. Garra's goal.
- Tank Goodness — The boss of the shopping mall stage is the biggest one, and there are many smaller tanks that can also be seen in various places.
- Wicked Cultured — Ms. Gaara is very well-dressed and has a nice mansion.
- Younger Than They Look — Gaara. She's not in her 60s, but her early 40s. This is because she's been horribly overexerting her body with far more constant psionic activity than can hope to be good.
"Protect the world, even if the future of the world is uncertain."