YMMV / Ikaruga

  • Breather Level: Chapter 5 "Metempsychosis" is substantially easier than the previous two chapters and has extremely simple chains. Even the Fake Ultimate Mooks that appear before the boss firing massive bullet storms only fire in one color, allowing players to easily build up the Homing Laser attack to finish them off. Of course, this is simply to give players time to relax before the sequentially-tiered Final Boss.
  • Broken Base: The Xbox Live Arcade, Steam, and NESiCA×Live ports. Many enjoy these versions for keeping the game easy to buy or play without having to spend a fortune while giving the game an HD facelift. Some top-level players, however, have a hard time enjoying them due to the altered chain patterns.
  • Catharsis Factor: Chapter 5, the Breather Level. Enjoy your constant MAX CHAINs before you take on the final bosses.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Practically the entire soundtrack, though the boss Leitmotif "Butsutekkai" is the one most people fondly remember.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Due to a programming glitch in the Nintendo GameCube port, it's possible to trick the game into giving an extra continue on "No Continue Runs" by unplugging the controller from the first slot into the second controller port during the last credit of a continue.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • WARNING: The big enemy is approaching at full throttle. According to the data, it is identified as "Butsutekkai". NO REFUGEExplanation 
    • Ikaruga is a puzzle game.Explanation 
  • Most Annoying Sound: 1 CHAIN. 1 CHAIN. 1 CHAIN. 2 CH—1 CHAIN.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: MAX CHAIN. MAX CHAIN. MAX CHAIN.
  • Polished Port: Twice; first the Xbox Live Arcade version giving it a graphical overhaul (which the GameCube didn't take advantage of), then the PC version adding a host of new features.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Zigzagged; the memorization-based chaining is back yet it's fortunately easier (changing the color after each successive chain isn't a penalty) and optional (score is no longer tied to weapon power because the latter doesn't exist in Ikaruga).
  • So Cool, It's Awesome: Like Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga is considered by many fans to be one of the best Shoot Em Ups of all time.
  • That One Boss: The Chapter 4 boss due to a claustrophobic "arena" with little moving space for players, all the while the edge of the "arena" fires beams of opposing black/white colors to deter movement and/or force players to take a misstep into one of the beams that will likely destroy their fighter. In order to attack the core, players must shoot down the "gates" leading to the core (of opposing colors, again). Note that throughout the fight the core is rotating, forcing players to rotate along with it, lest they hit the corridor leading to the core. After the first rotation or so, the core fires a laser down the corridor where players are (assuming players have opened all corridor "gates", making the core vulnerable), and since enemy lasers push back the fighter, it becomes another obstacle for players to ensure the fighter stays within the confines of the corridor without hitting the sides that could lead to the loss of life.
    • Similarly, first-time players might be slightly overwhelmed by the Chapter 3 boss, though this is mitigated by the fact the boss only fires lasers once half of the turrets that comprise the boss are destroyed. This can be easily circumvented by destroying all turrets of one color first, allowing players to concentrate on navigating through the small "gates" that are rotating in the "arena", since they can have their fighter stay in the same color polarity as the remaining same-colored turrets and absorb their fire.
  • That One Level: Chapter 4 "Reality", though from a scoring run perspective. Not only is the environment an obstacle (at least in the first third of it), but high scorers must carefully navigate through this Battleship Raid level to destroy the appropriate colored enemies and earn consecutive chains. Meanwhile, the chains don't stop counting during the mini-sections where the turrets are firing, forcing players to place their shots carefully to ensure their chains don't get cut for misfires.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Conquest Mode, a practice mode that lets you play stage segments one at a time instead of starting from the beginning of the stage, was added as part of the GameCube port, but was not brought back for subsequent consumer versions.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The chapter titles - "Ideal", "Trial", "Faith", "Reality" and "Metempsychosis" - represent man's struggle towards enlightenment, with the aura-enveloped Ikaruga and Ginkei symbolizing the human soul.