"Now that it's done.... I've begun to see the reason why we are here."
Radiant Silvergun is a vertical scrolling shooter by Treasure, released in arcades (on the Sega Titan-Video hardware) and on the Sega Saturn in 1998. It was ported toXbox LIVE Arcade on September 14, 2011.The gameplay is rather unique, allowing you to use any of seven weapons at any time, as well as a charged attack. Weapons gain in strength as you score points with them, and destroying a chain of enemies that have the same color gives higher and higher bonuses as the chain continues. Thus, you'll need to use a variety of attack methods to level up evenly, as well as NOT destroying enemies of other colors so as to not break the chain. Failure to do results in a near Unwinnable scenario against the Final Boss, as underleveled weapons are ineffective and rendered useless. Like previous Treasure games, Radiant Silvergun concentrates heavily on boss battles. The infamous boss warning screen appears about two dozen times and bosses take numerous different forms to try to annihilate the player.The story is rather bleak and depressing: a strange crystalline structure called the Stone-Like is found in an ancient ruined city, and then proceeds to kill everyone on Earth. The player takes control of a pilot in a small crew that escaped the Stone-Like's blast, helming the eponymous Silvergun and returns to the planet to discover the secrets behind the artifact. Things are just getting worse from this point on.See also Ikaruga, the Spiritual Successor to Radiant Silvergun. Not to be confused with Radiant Historia or Radiata Stories.
Tropes used in Radiant Silvergun:
Action Bomb: Kamikaze ships that hurl towards the player in stage 5A, not to mention the Silverguns on the Penta after exhausting all their other attacks on the player.
All There in the Manual: There's additional backstory in Igarashi's journal, which put more focus on the researchers' findings. As it turned out, in addition to the Stone-Like and the Creator robot, the prehistoric layer contained what appeared to be ruins that seemed too technologically advanced for the time period. Coincidentally, HQ is built right on top of it.
Anachronic Order: Stage progression is as follows: Stage 3 (Return) -> Stage 2 (Reminiscence) and/or Stage 4 (Evasion) (depending on version) -> Stage 5 (Victim) -> Stage 6 (Stone-Like) -> Stage 1 (Link). The numbers indicate their chronological order.
Boss Warning Siren: The game has the entire screen taken over with the word "WARNING", as well as the warning "NO REFUGE" and the memetic "BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS" before every boss fight.
Bullet Hell: Radiant Silvergun has its moments, but the pace is somewhat slower than your typical shooter of this level.
But What About The Astronauts?: The Tetra's barely able to escape to an orbit around the Earth at the end of Stage 2. Stage 3 starts with them returning to Earth after a year because they had exhausted their food and energy supplies.
Chain Reaction Destruction: When the core part of the boss goes down, they make sure that they will go down with more than one explosion.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: If (or "when", if you're playing Saturn mode) you go to Stage 2, you flash back to 1 year before the events of Stage 3 (the previous played stage). Somehow, your weapon levels and lives remaining go back with you in time.
The Goomba: Drones: they're small, they're weak, they don't attack much (unless on very hard difficulty) and they're everywhere. They're mainly used to get the chain meter high and to collect pink bullets.
Meaningful Name: Creator's name is both a reference to what he does at the end of the game and that he's an Author Avatar of the game's designer, Hiroshi Iuchi.
Most of the boss names also mean something, slyly disguised as random letters and numbers:
UE2A-GAL - Ue ni Agaru ("Going Up")
NASU - Aubergine (Eggplant)
DAIKAI10 - Daikaiten ("Giant Spin")
DAN-564 - Dango Mushi ("Pillbug")
CA2-EKZO - Kani Ekzo ("Crab Ekzo")
SBS-133 and SBS-33KI - Space Battle Ship
Marathon Boss: When you fail to get combos and upgrade your weapons, you'll be fighting some of the later bosses and especially the Final Boss for a long time.
Mirror Boss: Penta and its Silverguns, which use modified versions of your own attacks.
New Game+: Over the course of the game, the Silvergun's weapons level up as more points are earned. Saturn Mode in the Saturn version (or Story Mode in the XBLA version) of the game saves these levels and lets you start the game over again with them. Eventually, you'll be able to start the game from the beginning with maxed-out weapons. On the downside, you have limited continues (initially none at all), and have to unlock more by playing Arcade Mode. (The XBLA version changes this to no continues at all, with playing Arcade Mode giving you more lives on your single credit instead.)
Nintendo Hard: Oh lawd, is this game TERRIFYINGLY hard. If you're not a hardcore gamer, setting the difficulty to easiest is a must. In most shmups, players tend to use their first continue by the time they reach the second stage. In this game? By the time most players come out of Stage 3, the digit in the score that tracks the number of continues used is already maxed out! And let's not get started on the chain scoring system...
Out of Order: In the scene during which the Stone-Like's explosion destroys the world occurs at exactly 9:38 PM according to one scene in the game. However, in Stage 2 (which took place on that same day,) the player does not reach the beginning of Stage 2E until 9:58 PM, exactly 20 minutes AFTER THE EXPLOSION SUPPOSEDLY TOOK PLACE. The player still has a little ways to go by this point until the end of the stage, too.
Poor Communication Kills: The Boss Subtitles actually do provide useful information about the boss you're about to encounter, but it's intentionally made so cryptic the average gamer won't figure it out before the fight...or even far after the fact. That is, until you hit the Final Boss, where you get three easy-to-follow hints:
As an example, take the boss DAN-564, which is a giant pillbug. One of the items listed is a move name, "6464-q". The Japanese often use numbers (and letters, here) to represent certain words or sounds: "64" is shorthand for "mushi" or "bug"; "q" in this case means "kyuu" or "ball". You know it's coming, but do not taunt Bug Bug Ball.
Recurring Riff: Almost every song in the soundtrack uses the same recognizable motifs; those of "Feel Invisible Matter" and "The Stone-like".
Scoring Points: Killing 3 enemies of the same color results in "chain" bonuses, which get higher as you score more successive chains. No, unlike in Ikaruga, which at least has the mercy to let you change colors between chains, shooting a single enemy of a different color will result in losing your chain. Ignoring this trope is not recommmended, as your weapons need points to level up, and if you are scoring poorly, your weapons will become outdated by the later stages.
The Scourge of God: The Stone-Like, but it's also pretty close to a Gaia's Avenger because after everyone else dies, Creator tells the player that not only is the Stone-Like the guardian of Earth, it is the Earth.
For those who thought the Stone-Like's actions hypocritical, keep in mind that it's said to be the guardian of Earth, not the guardian of humanity.
Shout-Out: Most bosses in Radiant Silvergun are a reference to something else. It goes hand in hand with the Eternal Recurrence and Subtext commentary on the state of the gaming industry; some of these bosses are implied to both be man-made creations from previous cycles as well as other gaming titles.
The Gallop you face off against in Stage 3C is a direct reference to the R-Type series. The name references Armored Police Unit Gallop, which is set in the series and takes place around R-Type Delta. Gallop itself has three Attack Drones that behave just like the Force Device and Bits (and that includes launching the "Force" at you!), as well as a Wave Motion Gun like the R-Type fighters.
Igarashi: "On other matters, I recall that today is the last day of your tests! Our superiors have placed a lot of expectations on these new models, so please, do your best!" Guy: *tsk tsk tsk* "C'mon, pops, you don't need tests if you've got the guts!" Igarashi: "So, Tengai, just how is my son doing on the tests?" Tengai: "... Heheh... HE'S THE WORST DAMN PILOT IN THE HISTORY OF THE ACADEMY!" Guy: *screams in anguish*
Sprite/Polygon Mix: Ships, smaller projectiles, smaller enemies and lots of background is rendered in 2D while the rest of the background, larger enemies, larger projectiles and bosses are rendered in 3D.
This Is Gonna Suck: Every boss in Radiant Silvergun (well, maybe except for the first boss) is preceded by a warning screen with three pieces of cryptic advice. The advice for the Final Boss is to simply pray, repeated three times.
Timed Mission: Bosses will self-destruct if the player spends too much time fighting them, resulting in less points.
Transforming Mecha: Second Golets can be seen transforming from a high-speed vehicle into a wider one. DAIKAI10 seems to change itself between being a cross or being a dodecagon. There are also other bosses which change their shape.
Unwinnable: If you don't power up quickly enough in the early stages, don't expect to be able to win without exhausting all of your continues. If your weapons are low-leveled at the end, you'll just have to survive as long as possible against the bosses until they self-destruct, especially the Final Boss.
Among other obvious additions, there was an extra option thrown in for those that had Ikaruga's XBLA rerelease and got any achievement in it: The ability to use Ikaruga's multi-color chain system instead of being forced to always hit the same color to sustain a chain, although to compensate, the maximum chain only gives you 25600 points per enemy, as opposed to 100k you can get with the normal chains.
Unfortunately, the Options+ menu (which let you make hitboxes visible or alter the Silvergun's speed) was lost in the mix — even after ninety hours of play, people haven't been able to make it appear. Another issue is that the game is presented in a 16:9 pillarboxed screen, even on non-16:9 displays, resulting in a significantly reduced game window — a problem for players who don't have HDTVs or want to play on a CRT.
Warmup Boss: The first boss, AKA-O. Well... except when playing on the hardest difficulty, in which case it's a Wake-Up Call Boss and can easily kill any unsuspecting player.