Video Game / ESP Ra.De.

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"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

ESP Ra.De is a Bullet Hell Shoot 'em Up by CAVE 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 series.


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.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In the ending of Yusuke's storyline, the spirit of Yusuke's murdered friend flies to heaven since his death was avenged (by Yusuke killing the person responsible for killing said friend, and the person responsible for ordering the attack that led to Yusuke's friend being murdered).
  • Bare Your Midriff: J-B 5th's outfit exposes his navel and a portion of his stomach.
  • Barrier Warrior: In Irori's storyline, she protects her friend in an orphanage from a missile barrage by using her psychic powers to shield them both. At the same time, the guard barrier mechanic allows all three playable characters to shield themselves before launching a super attack.
  • 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.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Yusuke, who wears dark blue sports clothes, and is one of the three playable heroes of the game.
  • Bullet Hell: What this game is.
  • Charge Attack: The guard barrier can be charged for great effect.
  • Code Name: JB-5th's alias is "Black Peter Pan".
  • 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.
  • Downer Ending: Obtaining the "Secret Ending" while playing as Irori results in Irori collapsing in the snow after fighting and defeating Ms. Gaara. The people nearby don't care to help her, and as a result the girl freezes to death.
  • 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, who is slender and more feminine compared to Yusuke's and his outfit would be something a girl would wear. He also wears 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.
  • Flight: Presumably the three playable characters are capable of levitating themselves with Psychic Powers. How else are they able to fly around and shoot things?
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Alice clones are hybrid mice. They squeak when they die, and it is not cute at all.
  • Hair Decorations: The Alice clones were a single large pink bow in their hair.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Seems a bit of a stretch to call JB-5th a "hero" since he's an assassin, but he's dedicated to stopping Ms. Gaara as much as the other two playable characters are. His assassination of an important figure secretly connected to Ms. Gaara attracts the police, and while he's able to stop Ms. Gaara and her Yaksa organization, he is forced to go on the run for the rest of his life.
  • 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.
  • Little Miss Badass: Irori, the youngest of the three playable characters, is a powerful psychic capable of laying waste to every single enemy onscreen.
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat: The adorable Irori wears a bright red beret.
  • Parental Abandonment: Yusuke's parents died shortly after the awakening of his psychic powers when he was seven. Irori's parents were
  • Playing with Fire: Yusuke shoots at his enemies with continuous beams of fire.
  • Psychic Powers: Both the three player characters and the enemies have psychic powers.
  • Replicant Snatching: Ms. Gaara's plan is to replace everyone with Alice Clones.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Yusuke's storyline can be basically summed up as this trope, given that it all started when one of Ms. Gaara's men was responsible for his friend's death. When he sees the man responsible (Satoru Oumi) doing the deed, Yusuke's Psychic Powers fully awaken and he proceeds to destroy everything in sight.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Ms. Gaara spends most of her time casually lounging while watching the heroes battle her minions and weapons.
  • Snow Means Death: In the final boss battle with Ms. Gaara, it's snowing, and Ms. Gaara is defeated and killed by the player character. Meanwhile, all three of the playable characters' endings have snow falling, and every time, someone dies. Yusuke's ending has him carrying Ms. Gaara's body and gently laying her on the ground, while his murdered friend's spirit ascends to heaven. JB-5th's ending has him murdering a group of police officers who were chasing him for his crime of assassinating an important person. It's narrowly averted in Irori's normal ending where a bystander saves her from freezing to death, but it's played straight with the hidden ending, with Irori collapsing from her battle with Ms. Gaara and freezing to death while the same bystander ignores her.
  • 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.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Yusuke's power had already awoken when he was seven, but he kept it hidden. It wasn't until seeing his best friend be murdered by Satoru Oumi in front of him that his power manifested fully.
  • Tykebomb: JB-5th had to go through brainwashing and memory-wiping in order to become an assassin for the Russian government at a young age.
  • Wicked Cultured: Ms. Gaara is very well-dressed and has a nice mansion.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ms. Gaara. She looks like she's in her 60s, but she's actually in 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."
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