Video Game: Raptor: Call of the Shadows
Raptor: Call of the Shadows
(often called Raptor
for short) is a 2D Vertical Scrolling Shooter
for the x86 PC written for MS-DOS by Cygnus Studios (which has since changed its name to Mountain King Studios). It was published by Apogee Software on April 1, 1994. In 1999, Mountain King Studios re-released Raptor as a native Windows program, and in 2010, the game was re-released again
by DotEmu as Raptor: Call of the Shadows 2010 Edition
, featuring smoother graphics with support for higher resolutions, as well as native compatibility with Windows XP, Vista, and 7. In 2015, it received yet another re-release as the 2015 Edition
, which adds Steam
achievements and partial controller support.
There is not much of a story in the game. Your character is a mercenary flying the super-tech Raptor, sent on interplanetary missions to knock off top competitors of MegaCorps
. Thus, the player does not receive points for destroying enemies and buildings; instead, the scoring system
is ditched in favor of a monetary rewards
system due to working for the aforementioned generically named MegaCorps.
The game is divided into three "sectors": Bravo Sector, Tango Sector, and Outer Regions, all of which have nine sub-missions called "waves", making for a total of 27 levels. The full version of Raptor allows players to start out in any of the three campaigns, though playing them in order will help the player to more easily accumulate money for weapon and shield upgrades.
Not related to animal raptors of both kinds
Raptor: Call of the Shadows provides examples of the following tropes:
- Ace Pilot: You, of course.
- Always Accurate Attack: The laser turret, but only on Airborne Mooks. The autogun works on both ground and air targets, but its bullet spray isn't 100% accurate.
- Always Night: Both Tango Sector and Outer Regions have one level that takes place entirely at night and has a correspondingly chilling music track to accompany it. In this level, you won't get to see the shadows of Mooks that will appear on the screen and it is harder to predict their attacks; this can turn into quite a nasty surprise if a Mook suddenly appears into the screen and fires its Wave Motion Gun on you as you won't be able to tell it apart from the other enemies until it is too late.
- Beam Spam: The Twin Laser. Via Zerg Rush, many of the enemies near the end of the game also use this on you.
- Bottomless Magazines: All your weapons have infinite ammunition, save the Megabomb.
- Cores and Turrets Boss: Most of the end-of-level bosses in Outer Regions, including the Final Boss, are this.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted. When your ship's hull integrity is less than 15%, every hit you take will cause you to lose one of your weapons. Boss ships and components start bursting into small explosions once they are almost destroyed.
- Damage Is Fire: Boss ships will be covered in explosions when they are almost destroyed.
- Death Course: The entire Outer Regions episode is a gauntlet of Demonic Spiders and malevolent ground defenses ready to rip your craft apart. Even on the easiest difficulty, you will lose much of your shields. On Elite difficulty, it becomes Nintendo Hard. Thus, it is highly recommended that you are fully stacked on shields and equipped with the Twin Laser in order to play through this episode, and that you must be swimming in credits if you want to progress. Even Tango Sector on Elite difficulty is considered tame against Outer Regions.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: The most basic weapon in the game (the machine guns that you start off with) is capable of destroying everything in the game given enough time and shields. This might not really apply to mooks since they only remain on screen for a set amount of time, but against bosses, the damage can really add up. This technique is made even easier when you have either the Auto-Tracking Minigun or the Laser Turret, as it lets you inflict your Death of a Thousand Cuts without suffering one yourself.
- Death Ray: There is a weapon you can buy called the Deathray in the DOS version. However, it doesn't always kill everything with one hit. The Windows version calls it a Plasmaray, which is probably a more fitting name given that it is described as a "plasma cannon on steroids" in the Help menu.
- Degraded Boss: Many end-of-level sector bosses appear as Mini Bosses in later levels of the sector.
- Denial of Diagonal Attack: All other equipment except for the auto-aiming turrets can only fire straight, with minimal spread. Yet another good reason for you to equip the auto-aim turrets at certain times. Among enemy equipment, only the tracking flak balls have a diagonal pattern since they are shot towards your plane.
- Description Porn: There is one for the game's Excuse Plot located on page 04 of the DOS version's in-game help; it's also at the very top of this page. A number of the weapons also have lovingly crafted marketing blurbs advertising their strengths at Harrold's.
- Disc One Nuke:
- Aborting a mission after picking up equipment in a level, such as the Air/Air Missile in Bravo Sector Wave 1, the Dumbfire missile in Bravo Wave 6, or the Phase Shield in Tango Sector Wave 4. You lose any credits you gain and any damage you take is carried over, but any weapons, shields or Megabombs you pick up will remain on your ship and you can sell them in the Supply Room for half of what they cost there. Doing this repeatedly will eventually allow you to accumulate enough credits to purchase more powerful weapons.
- If you want to play fairly, you can get the Auto-Tracking Minigun as early as completing the third wave of the first episode. Specifically, you'll at this point have earned about $200,000 in revenue and you can sell off both your air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles (the former which you've most likely picked up during the very first wave and the latter during the third) in exchange for the aforementioned Minigun. Then, you'll be breezing for the next several waves until you've earned enough dough to upgrade to better equipment.
- Dual Boss: The fifth level boss in Tango Sector is this, consisting of two laser cannons hidden underground.
- Elite Mook: Ships that you encounter in earlier sectors or waves may reappear later as either ships that look the same but have more firepower or as re-colored variants with more firepower.
- Featureless Protagonist / Hello, Insert Name Here / Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can choose from four portraits (two male; two female) and must enter a name and callsign. Beyond being used in the Supply Room and saved games, these have absolutely no bearing in the game.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Deathray and Twin Laser. This offsets their ridiculously high damage output, making other weapons more viable on certain occasions. Enemy lasers also fall under this trope.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: Averted. The Deathray, Laser Turret and the Twin Laser are instant-hit weapons.
- Game-Breaking Bug: In both the Mountain King Studios and DotEmu releases of the game, using a keyboard to play will only allow your ship to move at half-speed, while using the mouse will prevent your ship from flying to the extreme right side of the screen.
- Gatling Good: Your regular machine gun, as well as the auto-aiming one.
- Giant Mook: Some waves in Bravo Sector feature a massive vessel that has two smaller mooks attached to it. This ship can survive one hit from the most powerful weapon in the game and, when rammed into, can deplete a full shield bar before expiring.
- Have a Nice Death: When you run out of shields, you are treated to a two-clip cutscene, with the first showing your ship crashing and the second showing you slumped forward in the wreck.
- Holiday Mode: Certain dates, which are the birthdays of some of the developers, give a non-standard version of the Apogee theme sung by said developers and automatically activate the game's Silliness Switch cheat, which is anything but silly in difficulty as it adds lots of extra, very tough, enemies to the levels. These extra enemies are so tough it takes several shots from the most powerful weapon in the game to destroy them.
- Homing Projectile: The orange flak balls that are shot towards you are a quasi-example.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Twin Laser. The game fittingly describes it as "the first, and last, weapon every pilot needs".
- Law of Chromatic Superiority:
- Starting with the fourth wave in Tango Sector until the end of Wave 7, you encounter red-coloured helicopters that fire big salvos of missiles.
- Near the end of the game (Outer Regions), you start encountering many red-coloured units. They have tons of armour and firepower.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Your ship can be equipped with several missile weapons, some of them having insane refire rates. The enemies in the final chapter, Outer Regions, also love to use this on you.
- Made of Explodium: Pretty much all your enemies, as well as your ship if your regular shields drop to zero.
- Made of Iron: Your ship, which starts out with 75 regular shield points out of a maximum 100. The only weapon strong enough to deplete that amount all at once is a constant laser, which few enemies use, or if you fly into a Giant Mook or boss ship. Other shots will only do from 3 (slow, yellow spherical projectiles) to 20 (fast, reddish or blueish teardrop-shaped fireballs like the ones your purchaseable Plasma Cannon fires) shield damage. In addition, you can purchase up to five secondary shields, each of which can take the same amount of damage as your regular shields. And you will need all of them.
- Money for Nothing: Subverted. Most players who can at least get through Bravo Sector on Rookie difficulty will eventually accumulate so many credits that re-stocking on Megabombs and normal and Phase shields will barely make a dent on their account—the only real money sinks are the Deathray and Twin Laser; once the player buys them, they are unlikely to buy them ever again unless they have a tendency to run their shield levels down to critical. However, due to the nature of the game on Elite difficulty, especially in the last few waves of Tango Sector and the whole of Outer Regions, having credits by the barrelhead may sometimes be necessary if the player messes up a wave and completes (or aborts) it with almost no shields or weapons left for the next wave.
- Money Spider / Rewarding Vandalism:
- Justified. Mega-Corps pays you for the destruction of every enemy and building that you come across. You are not expected to know how they can somehow keep track of that despite you being a one-person air force on every wave.
- Some Airborne Mooks not only give you money when destroyed but also drop orange orbs explanation for you to collect that increase your total credit count by $50 per piece.
- Never Say "Die": In the Windows version, the Deathray is renamed the Plasmaray, and the shop is renamed from "Harrold's Death Emporium" to "Harrold's Weapons Emporium".
- Nintendo Hard: If you plan on actually beating the game on any difficulty higher than Rookie, you'll be spending a lot of credits on regular shields and Phase Shields, especially while playing through Outer Regions. Even then, this is rather tame when compared to other contemporaries in its genre.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Averted, see the Made of Iron example.
- Only in It for the Money: The top of the trope page explicitly refers that you are working for MegaCorps in dreams of wealth and you answer the only way you know how. Even the epilogue of the Outer Regions episode states that you have taken solace in the fact that you have finally pursued your dreams of getting rich that have eluded you for so long and that no other competitor can lay a claim of triumph that is greater than yours. This could be both an In and Out-Of-Universe justification of why the game forgoes the scoring system.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: The Deathray may be devastating and all, but why bother buying it when you can wield two at one go?
- The Paralyzer: The Power Disruptor. Sort of. It can stop some enemies from firing, including some bosses, and it can also kill enemies over a fairly lengthy period of time.
- Ramming Always Works: You will take severe damage from any ramming attempt, but with enough shields, you can destroy even bosses by ramming them.
- Recurring Boss: Many of the earlier bosses appear in later levels as mid-bosses.
- Regenerating Health: On any difficulty except Elite, your ship's regular shields will slowly recharge as long as you do not fire or get hit. This is less than useful, however, as the regeneration rate is very slow and you will probably take more damage from mooks by holding off your fire than you would have regenerated in any time frame. The only exception is certain bosses, which have blind spots that will allow you to park your ship in one spot and go have a sandwich while it heals up.
- Shout-Out: A couple of subtle ones in the terrain for levels, including something that looks suspiciously like a Monolith in a dig site.
- Silliness Switch: On Birthday Mode, special enemies are added to some of the levels. These include monkeys throwing coconuts, cows with built-in lasers and what appears to be the USS Enterprise. These enemies are so difficult to kill, they could rival some of the bosses in Outer Regions!
- Smart Bomb: The Megabomb is a quasi-nuke that can destroy almost everything on the screen when it explodes, save a handful of buildings, some really tough mooks and most bosses if they have at least half their health left. It also clears all enemy projectiles from the screen. While it is purchasable from the Emporium, you can occasionally pick one up in a level by destroying either the distinctive power-up crates or the cargo ships that appear into the screen. You can only carry up to five of these at a time. However, it will not explode until it is at the center of the screen. Depending on how close your point is, if you're too far, it will take a few seconds to reach the screen until it explodes; if you are close enough to the center, it will explode almost instantaneously.
- Stuff Blowing Up:
- Almost everything you fight is either a machine or a structure (that always blows up when destroyed). Even the little people in Tango Sector explode when you get the drop on them.
- A few levels have buildings taller than the screen. Blow them up, and they will continually explode as new parts scroll in.
- Ironically, one of the few things that don't blow up is your ship upon crashing, instead simply wrecking it. In real life, a fighter jet crashing could cause it to blow up.
- Subsystem Damage: "Fortress" bosses made of massed ground-side antiair emplacements can be destroyed weapon by weapon, slowly reducing the storm of enemy fire directed at you.
- Updated Re-release: The 2010 Edition, featuring a few aesthetic changes as well as XP/Vista/7 compatibility.
- Wave Motion Gun: Any laser weapon. Not surprisingly, they hurt a lot.