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series is a trilogy of top-down, vertically-scrolling shooters
developed by Taito
. The series consists of three games, all of which have "RAY" in its title (at least in their original Japanese names). Each game have you pilot a space fighter
that, in addition to being able to fire straight forward, also has special lock-on weaponry that can target enemies and home-in on them
(1993, pictured on the right) is the first game, and is set in a future in which the many nations of Earth assemble a supercomputer called "Con-Human" to govern the Earth's natural resources. As a result of an attempt to fuse Con-Human with the mind of a cloned human
, Con-Human goes apeshit
and starts destroying living organisms all across the Earth and transforming it into what it perceives as a newer, better version of it and its life forms. Humanity attempts to flee to space colonies, only to get hunted down by Con-Human there as well. Naturally, this being a shoot 'em up, it's up to one or two ships
to destroy the Earth
in order to put an end to Con-Human.RayForce
uses the Taito F3 hardware, and eventually ports to the Sega Saturn
and Windows 95
; a re-release of the original arcade game was also featured in Taito Legends 2
for PlayStation 2
, the original Xbox
, and Windows PC. It uses two-dimensional graphics, but because of the game mechanics, the game uses a lot of Mode 7-like graphics to simulate three dimensions. It works very, very well
. A minor quirk of the game, however, lies in its naming; due to copyright problems
, it has no less than four different names
for the Japanese and North American arcade releases, Layer Section
for its Japanese home ports and North American Windows port, Galactic Attack
for the North American Sega Saturn port, and Gunlock
in Europe. On January 13th, 2012, RayForce
was re-released on iOS systems*
A direct sequel to RayForce
was planned, but canceled early in favor of RayStorm
. The footage of the game's early development can be seen the RAY-RAY CD-ROM
promotional disc, which can be seen here
(1996) is the second game in the series, and is the first to use three-dimensional graphics. Set in 2219 A.D.
and in a different timeline from RayForce
, Earth establishes a group of space colonies known as the Star Federation. But at some point, the colonies decide to mutiny, form an alliance known as the Secilia Federation, and strike
against Earth. The player sets off from Earth in order to defend Earth from the rebellious Secilia Federation.RayStorm
runs on the Taito FX-1B board*
, and as mentioned, is the first RAY
game to use three-dimensional graphics, allowing for more varieties in stage scrolling and enemies. Furthermore, unlike the first game, in which you can only fire your homing lasers at enemies below
you, any on-screen enemy is fair game for your lock-on attacks. If you find yourself in trouble, you can launch a Smart Bomb
that inflicts massive damage to all on-screen enemies. The game was later ported to the PlayStation
in all three major regions, the Sega Saturn in Japan (under the name of Layer Section II
), and finally Windows PC in Japan and Europe. The ports each feature extras such as an arranged version of the original soundtrack (the PC version lack this though), an "Extra Mode" with new versions of the stages, and a 13-Ship Mode
in which you have thirteen lives, with every three lives (for the first twelve lives) using a different ship and the final ship being a weaker prototype ship by default with just one credit. The North American PlayStation version, handled by Working Designs
, had a contest for $10,000, and a form of Easy-Mode Mockery
to discourage players from BS'ing their way through the game and calling it a day. RayStorm
also got an exclusive PlayStation 2 release, via Taito Legends 2
, but it's the arcade version and not the enhanced PlayStation version.
An HD re-release
, RayStorm HD
, has been released for Xbox LIVE Arcade
worldwide on May 5th, 2010 and a day later on PlayStation Network
in Japan. The HD re-release features the ability to play as two new ships, the R-GRAY 0*
and the R-GEAR*
, online leaderboards
, and sharable replays. This version loses the Easy-Mode Mockery
(justified considering Working Designs went out business in 2005) of it's previous ports, but also makes unlocking Achievements and Trophies
mostly a moot task in the game due to not being difficulty-specific. Like RayForce
before it, RayStorm
also received an iOS re-release.RayCrisis
(1998) is the third and final game of the series, and is a prequel to RayForce
. Set just before the events of RayForce
takes the fight away from space and Earth and instead puts you in the role of a hacker striving to shut down the Con-Human by using a computer virus. This being a shoot 'em up, said virus takes the form of a ship that flies through an Extreme Graphical Representation
of Con-Human's systems and attempts to destroy it from within. However, you don't completely succeed; by the end of the game, the damage has already been done, necessitating the events of RayForce.RayCrisis
runs on the Taito G-Net arcade hardware*
and, like its predecessor, RayStorm
, uses 3D graphics, and features an "Encroachment Meter" that must be kept to a minimum by destroying enemies. If it maxes out at 100%, you will, instead of fighting the boss of the current stage, face the final bosses
early and get the worst ending
of the game. RayCrisis
is the only game in the series not to get a Saturn port, but it still received a port on PlayStation and Windows. The PlayStation version of RayCrisis
was also re-released with RayStorm
in D3 Publisher
's Simple 1500 series. The home ports of the game lacked the two-player co-op mode of the original arcade game, but includes additional modes that allow you to more freely choose your stage order akin the Thunder Force
This series feature trope examples of:
- 1-Up: Found in the Special Mode of RayCrisis.
- 2½D: Your ship can only move and shoot on one plane, but the enemies can attack from the background and foreground. Good thing you have your lock-on lasers!
- Some of the levels in RayStorm has your ship move on a non-linear plane, such as the space fleet stage on Stage 4.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Con-Human in RayForce and RayCrisis.
- All There in the Manual: In RayForce's PC port, there's a two "readme" files (a text file and a document file, although they have the same information) that gives you pretty much all the backstory of how the Con-Human was created, how it became rogue after malfunctioning, and what disasters it caused.
- If you can read Japanese, there's also TONS of information of about series at Curious Cat's website dedicated to the series.
- An Ass Kicking Christmas: According to RayCrisis' true ending, Operation: RayForce took place on December 24th, M.C.0185.
- Attack Drone: Somes bosses in the series uses these.
- In RayStorm HD, the R-GEAR uses them for its lock-on attack.
- Attract Mode: Each game has one whenever you let the game run while you wait at the title screen. RayForce and RayStorm also gives you a baisc tutorial of the game.
- Battleship Raid: Stage 2 in RayForce, as a midboss. RayStorm has more battleships in Stages 4 and 5, with Stage 4's boss being a huge battleship. It's not approaching fast, though.
- Beam Spam: Your lock-on lasers do this. Some of your foes will use this on you, too. Most notable are the Marius battleships in RayStorm's fourth stage (not the missile-launching Nerva battleships), which typically encompass the entire width of the screen, with very little time for you to get between where the beams will deploy. And then Hannibal uses that attack a few times during the boss fight...
- Bittersweet Ending:
- RayForce: after destroying Con-Human, the ship is hit by the blast of Earth's explosion before it can escape. After the credits, the camera pans to the what remains of the heroine's RVA-818-X-LAY fighter and seeing it die out. There's also the matter of the Earth exploding in the first place.
- RayStorm: you crush the Secilian rebellion by blowing up the Yggdrasil core — the chain reaction from which winds up plunging the entire space colony into the gas giant it orbits. While you do neutralize the threat, what's to say that there aren't any innocent bystanders out of its 78 billion inhabitants? To twist the knife in further, many of the Secilian colony's inhabitants were originally Earth's inhabitants who were transferred there among other colonies, which means that you just killed off a good chunk of Earth's population too!
- Boss Warning Siren: "ALERT: GENERATING HUGE ANTIBODY: [boss name]". A different alert is used when you return to the Self-Field to fight the Final Boss.
- Cancellation: R-GEAR was scrapped for RayStorm's place.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Throughout the series' co-op feature (save for RayCrisis' home ports), Player 1's ship is red while Player 2's ship is blue.
- Combos: The basis of Wave Rider 03's scoring system in RayCrisis and the R-GEAR in RayStorm HD.
- Creative Closing Credits: RayCrisis's credits details the events that unfold should you get any ending besides the worst ending. The true ending details the events that takes place before RayForce.
- Cyber Space: The entire setting of RayCrisis.
- Defector from Decadence: In RayStorm, the Barca Section that designed the R-GRAYs were originally Secelian scientists who became disgusted with Secelia's militarism.
- Difficult but Awesome: The R-GEAR in RayStorm HD has homing missiles and average mobility, though in the hands of a skilled player, it has higher scoring potential than the other R-GRAY ships due to its combo-based lock-on system combined with a Super Mode that provides a short burst of speed, invincibility, and temporarily gains infinite lock-on attacks.
- Difficulty Levels: Unusually, you can set the difficulty level of each individual stage in RayStorm, rather than the entire game. This stripped from HD version though.
- The Saturn port of RayForce was somewhat straightforward with its difficulty, going from Very Easy, Easy, Normal, then a few variations of Hard, and finally Very Hard.
- Doomed by Canon: The Earth in RayCrisis.
- Downer Ending: RayStorm's Extra Mode ending seems like it's a Bittersweet Ending, with the enemy forces (and billions of inhabitants, many of which were from Earth) being destroyed by having their capital colony dropped into a gas giant. While your badly damaged ship moves away into the distance. If you're playing on the 13-Ship Mode, the ending goes From Bad to Worse when you see this text after the credits:
Earth and Secilia have vanished. Likewise, those that developed the "RAY" technology and all evidence of its existence have been wiped away. No record of R-GRAY craft was found, and no R-GRAY craft has ever returned.
- Dynamic Difficulty: Survive long enough in RayForce and the difficulty goes batshit. Notice a parallel with the story?
- In RayCrisis, you have the Encroachment Meter, described in the North American manual as "determining the amount of suckage". The lower it is, the more enemies will pop up.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The goal and ending of RayForce, due to Con-Human fucking up Earth beyond all repair.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: The North American PlayStation version of RayStorm by Working Designs, setting the starting lives to more than 5 or setting the difficulty of any stage below 4 will force a "Training Mode" which terminates your game after Stage 4. This function is absent from the Windows port (being released only in Japan and Europe) and the HD version.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Area 5 in RayForce, Area 7 in RayStorm.
- Eldritch Abomination: Con-Human, and a man-made one at that.
- Engrish: The stage names in RayForce (e.g. "The Gravity of Blue Side"). Also, the background sound clip that plays at the start of the game and periodically throughout: "This is the control tower. Make a left turn. Over".
- Every 10,000 Points: Only seen in RayForce. You gain extends for every 500,000 points.
- Extreme Graphical Representation: Con-Human's systems in RayCrisis. All of the enemies are defense programs and Infinity, the True Final Boss, is Con-Human's core.
- The Federation: United Planets Space Defense Corps (UPSDC) in RayForce.
- Floating Continent: Area 4 in RayForce features parts of the Earth high above its surface.
- Gratuitous English: In RayCrisis, you have English-spoken lines during the intro and true ending over the Japanese ones.
- Guest Fighter: The R-GRAY appear as a playable ship in Space Invaders Get Even; the final boss of RayStorm also makes an appearance.
- The Heroine Dies: The ending of RayForce.
- Homing Lasers: The lock-on weapon of the RVA-818 X-LAY from RayForce, R-GRAY 1 and 0 from RayStorm, and Wave Rider 01 from RayCrisis.
- Homing Projectile: Homing laser beams, homing missiles, homing lightning bolts. This series loves this trope!
- Humongous Mecha: Each game in the series has one (or more) as bosses, while other non-boss mechs serves as cannon-fodder. Some of them even transform.
- Hurl It into the Sun: The ending of RayStorm has you do this to the main Secilian colony, preventing any further Secilian attack but dooming many innocent lives in the process.
- Justified Title: Working Designs added the "Series Termination" subtitle to RayCrisis, the last game in the series. In the Japanese version of RayCrisis, the game bore the subtitle "-The End of RAY-".
- Lightning Gun, Chain Lightning: The R-GRAY 2's and Wave Rider 02's lock-on attack.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The titles already suggest this, starting with the mighty RayForce! A number of the bosses do this too, especially after turning red.
- Market-Based Title:
- RayForce (JP and NA, arcade and iOS), also known as Gunlock (EU, arcade), Layer Section (JP, Saturn), and Galactic Attack (NA, Saturn).
- RayStorm's Japan-region PS1 and Saturn ports are called Layer Section II, but the original name is kept in all other versions.
- Odd Name Out: RayCrisis is the only game in the series that wasn't named Layer Section in Japan, although fans sometimes refer it as Layer Section III.
- Meaningful Name: Q.E.P.D., the ending piece that plays during the end credits of RayForce, is an abbreviation for the Spanish words "que en paz descanse", which translates to "Rest in Peace". Think about the fate of the heroine who piloted the RVA-818-X-LAY fighter.
- Many of the stage names in RayStorm are references to places with an antagonistic history with the Roman Empire (Albion, Gaul, Palmyra, Carthage, Juda), with most of the bosses following suit (in order: Pendragon, Vercingetorix, Zenobia, Hannibal, Genseric, Alaric, Spartacus). Secelia is a bit of an outlier, though. While it could be seen as a misspelling of Secilia, it may also make sense as an attempt at "outer heavens". The gas giant it orbits? Seraphim. Now the forced quelling of the other colonies' protests at Secelia's intent to obliterate the Earth after yanking out all the denizens makes sense. Secelia ultimately wants to be the new emperor, with divine approval at that! You get even more layers when you realize that one reason for the antagonistic relationship between the late Empire and the Goths was religious — Rome followed Athanasius, the Goths usually followed Arius. Three of the enemies in the seventh stage are named for Verdhandi, Skuld, and Urdhr, the Nornir of the Goths' original belief system. The namesake of the last boss is Yggdrasil, from the same lore. Genseric and Alaric were Arian Goths...
- Mook Mobile: Most of the enemies you shoot down.
- More Dakka: Most of the mechas in the series. Alaric, RayStorm's sixth boss sprays bullets from it's machine gun, especially when turning red.
- Multiple Endings:
- In RayCrisis, you have three endings, depending on how many credits you used (thankfully a 1CC not a requirement). You get the worse ending if you let your Encroachment reach 100%.
- There's two in RayStorm for the home ports, one for the Arcade Mode and the Extra Mode.
- Ominous Music Box Tune: The first version of "All is Shut Down", the ending theme to Ray Crisis.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: "Root of All Evil", the True Final Boss music from Ray Crisis.
- Palette Swap: The stages and enemies of RayStorm's Extra Mode are colored differently from the Arcade Mode though some stages also have different scenery. The same goes for RayCrisis' Special Mode. RayCrisis also give players the options to swap color palettes of their Wave Rider before starting the game by pressing the shoulder buttons.
- Power-Up: As per shoot 'em up tradition, and they are conveniently-color coded too. Red power-ups requires three to level up your main weapon while yellow levels up your weapon instantly, and green power-ups raises the number of your lock-on attacks. There's also a rare blue power-up in the two later games that maxes out both your weapon's firepower and lock-on attacks.
- Reactor Boss: Yggdrasil, the final boss of RayStorm. Destroying it causes the Secilian colony to become badly damaged and drift into its gas giant.
- Remixed Level: The first segment of Intelligence's Part in RayCrisis is very reminiscent of Albion D.U. from RayStorm.
- Self Plagiarism: The rail shooter Zeitgeist (a.k.a. Jupiter Strike) isn't set in the same universe but the plot, art style and enemy design all are very similar to RayStorm and the player ship in that game use the same lock-on lasers.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: RayCrisis, due to the game being a prequel to RayForce.
- Also in RayStorm's 13-ship mode. You stop the Secilian rebellion by destroying the colony itself... only for The Stinger to reveal that Earth has been destroyed too.
- Smart Bomb: Introduced in RayStorm. This was also featured in RayCrisis.
- Space Fighter: You pilot one in each and every game.
- Space Zone: Areas 1 and 2 from RayForce, and Stages 4 and 5 from RayStorm.
- Spider Tank: Pro-Tor from RayCrisis, as well as a couple of others.
- Spread Shot: R-GRAY 1's and Wave Rider 01's main weapon. Some enemies and bosses can shoot bullets in spread too.
- Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Right before the final boss of RayForce, the game gives you a lot of harmless pods for you to lock-on and destroy, all of which contain enough power-ups to power both characters to full multiple times. You're so gonna need them.
- Also in RayStorm in the Extra Mode of its home ports, just before the boss of the second to last stage of the game, there are also pods that can be destroyed for items. You can also see the health status color of Spartacus on the only place to damage it.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In RayCrisis, respectively you have Wave Rider 01 and Wave Rider 02 as to RayStorm's R-GRAY 1 and R-GRAY 2, which are also unlockable ships in home ports of RayCrisis.
- In RayStorm HD, there's also the unlockable R-GRAY 0 fighter redesigned after RayForce's RVA-818-X-LAY fighter. It even features sound effects from RayForce as well.
- Tank Goodness: Pendragon from RayStorm.
- Theme Naming: The bosses of RayStorm are named after enemies of the Roman Empire.
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: In home ports of RayStorm, there is an unlockable 13-Plane Mode where you must go through using a total of thirteen ships under one credit, and every three ships changes to a different ship for the first twelve ships. By default, the thirteenth ship is a prototype ship that lacks Hyper Attacks and a Special Attack.
- Not to mention that the R-GRAYs themselves were reverse-engineered from thirteen wrecked alien ships discovered on Secelia.
- Transforming Mecha: Genseric (Stage 5) and Alaric (Stage 6) from RayStorm, and Consciousness Part's Sem-slut (or Sem-strut in the North American PlayStation version) from RayCrisis.
- True Final Boss: Infinity in RayCrisis. It's a... spherical... thing with pretty golden patterns on it. Accompanied by Ominous Pipe Organ.
- Turned Against Their Masters: The Con-Human in a nutshell.
- Turns Red: Most bosses.
- Video Game 3D Leap: RayStorm is the first game in the series to go from 2D sprites of RayForce (and R-GEAR to that extent) to 3D polygons.
- Warm-Up Boss: DUAL-LANCE from RayForce, Pendragon from RayStorm, and any boss from the first stage selected in RayCrisis.
- Wave Motion Gun: In RayStorm, Zenobia (Stage 3's boss), Hannibal (Stage 4's boss in Extra Mode), and Genseric (Stage 5's boss) use them.
- Weaponized Exhaust: Used as an attack by GIGA (third boss of RayForce) and Vercingetorix (second boss of RayStorm in the Extra Mode).
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In RayStorm, you stop the hostile Secilian Rebellion by destroying the colony of Secilia, including billions of potentially-innocent lives.