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Video Game / Radiant Silvergun

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"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 exclusively in Japan for the arcades (on the Sega Titan-Video hardware) and on the Sega Saturn in 1998. It was ported to Xbox Live internationally on September 14, 2011. Roughly 11 years later, a Nintendo Switch port of the HD version was released on September 13, 2022; a physical-copy edition, including limited editions thereof, is set for a late-2023 or early-2024 release by Limited Run Games. Finally, a PC version for Steam was announced for 2023.

The gameplay is rather unique, allowing various combinations of three buttons to fire 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 so results in a near Unwinnable scenario against the Final Boss, as underleveled weapons are ineffective and rendered useless. The game is designed so that there is almost always a 'right' weapon for any situation. Like previous Treasure games, Radiant Silvergun concentrates heavily on boss battles. The bosses in the game are designed so that they have multiple 'sections' which, if all destroyed before the 'core' of the boss, will award the players with point bonuses. Being able to apply the right weapons on any different boss is key to obtaining these bonuses. 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: In July 14 of 2520, 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.

Encountered an assailant: Example List. Be attitude for gains...
1. In-Depth Document
2. Observe Detail
3. Enrich The Life

  • 13 Is Unlucky: The events of the game take place on July 13th.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the home ports, Saturn/Story mode not only makes the player go through all stages as opposed to a mutually-exclusive choice between stage 2 or 4 in arcade mode/version, but also expands upon stage 6 by adding a gauntlet of bosses before you even engage Xiga.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: After the complete annihilation of humanity and the Stone-like goes dormant, Creator 00104 creates clones of Buster and Reana in the far past to restart humanity once again. His name alone makes the allusion even more blatant.
  • After the End: The game begins with the Stone-like causing the apocalypse, with only 4 people managing to survive.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Tetra and its sister ship Penta.
  • 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 Creator 00104's fossilized torso, the prehistoric layer contained what appeared to be ruins that seemed too technologically advanced for the time period. Coincidentally, the EDA HQ is built right on top of it.
  • Anachronic Order: The game starts you off on Stage 3 (Return), then after that you have the option to go to either Stage 2 (Reminiscence), which occurs prior to the events of Stage 3, or Stage 4 (Evasion), set after Stage 3. Then the game continues to Stage 5 (Victim) and Stage 6 (The Origin), culminating in Stage 1 (Link), the first stage chronologically.
  • Apocalypse How: The game opens up with a Class 6 example by the Stone-like. Four humans manage to survive it. Until the end of the game.
  • Apocalyptic Log: All of the ship's logs are this after the ending.
  • Arrange Mode:
    • In the Story Mode added in the Sega Saturn port, instead of choosing from Stage 2 or Stage 4 after completing Stage 3, players do both Stage 2 and 4 in a row. This mode also allows access to a New Game Plus mode where the Silvergun's weapon levels are carried over to another playthrough. On the downside, there are limited continues (or, in the Xbox 360 port, none at all).
    • The Xbox 360 and Switch ports has an unlockable "Ikaruga mode" which switches up the scoring system to that game to more resemble itnote .
  • Attack Drone: A few bosses are supported by drones that can move around freely while firing at the Silvergun. Whether they can be destroyed or not depends on the boss.
  • Big Bad: The Stone-Like is ultimately the prime motivator and obstacle for the heroes, though it is not really evil in the traditional sense.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Stone-like ultimately succeeds in eradicating humanity, though Creator resurrects the species via cloning in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Battleship Raid: Stage 5, "Victim", involves two of these.
  • Border-Occupying Decorations: The HD ports of the game feature decorative wallpapers to occupy the borders of the screen and the option to replace original pixel art HUD with an HD one that also keeps track of color chains and weapons experience. In single player mode, the right side of the screen also features an in-game reference sheet for the weapons and their corresponding buttons.
  • Boss Bonanza: Generally speaking, half the entire time spent in a typical playthrough is made up of boss fights, but Stage 6 is particularly loaded with bosses.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The arcade version of Stage 5 only consists of a single boss fight preceded by a very small level portion, though the fight is a Level in Boss Clothing to compensate. Story Mode adds a second boss to the level.
    • Stage 6 (in the arcade version) is nothing but a fight against Xiga. Stage 1 (in every version) is a "fight" against the Stone-like, where you have to endure its attacks for a full minute
  • Boss Subtitles: Complete with Gratuitous English to give nonsensical advice in place of the nonsensical move lists of Gunstar Heroes! Considering the Stone-Like's understandable English, though, the Engrishy advice is likely intentional.
  • 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: It has its moments, but the pace is somewhat slower than your typical shooter of this level.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The Tetra and its crew 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.
  • Charged Attack: The Hyper Sword is of the "collect" type. After swiping away 10 pink bullets with the Radiant Sword weapon, its next usage is a Hyper Sword attack which sweeps two massive blades across the screen and makes the Silvergun invincible for its duration.
  • Climax Boss: The second boss in Stage 5, SBS-33KI. It only exists in Story Mode, and is the last boss fought before half of the crew dies and the final full stage starts.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Most of the bosses in the game have destructible parts such as MIKA-L's weapons, and destroying all of them is required to get the 100% Destruction Bonus for the boss.
  • Combining Mecha: LUNAR-C boss is composed of 3 different parts which join after some time.
  • Continuing is Painful: Continuing preserves your score and weapon levels... however, this will invalidate your score when you go to the ranking screen.
  • Cool Ship: Silverguns are equipped with a total of seven weapons. At all times. You're gonna need them.
  • Cooperative Multiplayer: The game features co-op multiplayer where the second player can take control of Reana's Silvergun.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The game opens with the Stone-Like scouring the Earth in a brilliant white light, annihilating all of humanity except those who happened to be in orbit.
  • Desperation Attack: After Xiga is defeated and the Stone-Like travels back in time, it unleashes an enormous barrage of projectiles with an onscreen countdown. Once it runs out, the Stone-Like is defeated and shuts down, but not before it releases a massive explosion that obliterates Buster and Reana, wiping out humanity.
  • Discard and Draw: The Ikaruga chaining mode in the HD versions lets you switch enemy colors every three kills, but caps the chain bonus at 25,600 points instead of 100,000 as a counterbalance.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The home console version's Stage 1 dialogue is intentional symbolism for Executive Meddling between game retailers, developers, and publishers, with hardcore gamers caught in the middle.
  • Downer Beginning: Nothing like the annihilation of all life on Earth as part of the game's backstory and console-exclusive introductory cutscene!
  • Downer Ending: All of humanity dies, and the "Groundhog Day" Loop the Stone-like enacts is implied to be more of an Eternal Recurrence.
  • Dual Boss: Golets brothers; when flying through tunnels at high speed, the second one will periodically join in.
  • Easier Than Easy: The console ports have a "Very Easy" difficulty. On their own terms, anyway.note  It does simplify or remove a lot of hazards and boss attacks, but a lot of the major obstacles and challenging melee attacks remain.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Walker mid-boss in Stage 4E.
  • Energy Ball: The Silvergun's homing weapon takes the form of rapid-fire balls of plasma. Enemies frequently fire similar orb projectiles.
  • Energy Weapon: Most of the bosses are made up of mechanical parts and debris, meaning that they all have access to energy bullets and laser blasts.
  • Engrish: "BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS" is but the most widely known example.
  • Evil Elevator: UE2A-GAL, the boss at the end of Stage 2. It has the ability to replace its parts as soon as you destroy them.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The game starts with a cutscene showing all of humanity getting wiped out apart from the main characters, and things don't get any better from there. Those still alive die in the end as the Stone-like releases another wave of light and worse, they are now stuck in a time loop of this happening over and over again. It's like they tried to out-Ideon Ideon.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Lives can be gained by getting a lot of points. By default, the first 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 points afterwards rewards extra lives. The home ports gives players the option to change the requirements for extends or turn them off entirely.
  • Excuse Plot: Unusually averted for a Treasure game. It's still mostly in the background, but the plot is far more fleshed out than those in their other games. How else could it be so downright depressing?
  • Experience Meter: Averted in the original arcade version and its Sega Saturn port as they only display the levels of the player's weapons but not their accumulated experience points oh the HUD. The HD ports of the game however gives players the option of using a new high resolution HUD that occupies the sides of the screen and provides experience meters for the Vulcan, Homing, and Spread Shots.
  • Fireballs: Some of the enemies and bosses can fire these. For an example, the first boss.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies, many objects and bosses flash white when hit.
  • Flunky Boss: A lot of the bosses have normal enemies or enemies specific to them accompanying them. The first boss in stage 5 has the most of them.
  • Foreshadowing: In the opening, the two scientists working on the Stone-like discuss about using clones to speed up their work, which is usually done by Robonoids. Itís excatly how Creator manages to resurrect humanity.
  • 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.
  • Ghost Planet: Stages 3-6. EVERYONE except the group on the Tetra dies when the Stone-Like goes berserk.
  • The Goomba: Drones: they're small, they're weak, they don't attack much, except on very hard difficulty, and they're everywhere. They're mainly used to get the chain meter high and to collect pink bullets.
  • Go Outwith A Smile: Creator, after having successfully cloned Buster and Reana, is shown to look at them with joy before he finally collapses and breaks apart for good.
  • Gratuitous English: Used deliberately in the Boss Subtitles, to contrast the impeccable English of the Stone-Like.
  • Heroic BSoD: Reana has a breakdown at the end of Stage 5, when Guy sacrifices himself and Tengai rams the badly-damaged Tetra on the Stone-Like.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Guy and Tengai sacrifice themselves to save Creator and drive away the Stone-Like at the end of Stage 5.
  • Hold the Line: The Final Boss cannot be harmed at all; you have to survive its attacks for 60 seconds.
  • Homing Projectile: The Silvergun has three types of homing weapons: a standard homing shot that fires very fast but deals low damage, plasma lasers that lock onto targets and repeatedly zap them, and spreading lasers that strike enemies within range of the Silvergun. While rare, enemies also have access to homing projectiles and they tend to be some of the most dangerous attacks in the game.
  • Hot-Blooded: Guy to the point where he Kamikaze attacks the beam weapon the Stone-Like tried to destroy the Tetra and the EDA Headquarters with.
  • 100% Completion: When destroying bosses bit by bit instead of hitting their weak spot first, you'll get an extra destruction bonus.
  • It's Personal: Guy has a deeper conflict with the Stone-Like than the rest of the Tetra's crew, as it killed his father, EDA commander Igarashi, along with the rest of humanity.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The game starts off fairly lighthearted, with the pilots joking around. Then once the Stone-Like is unearthed, the plot quickly turns upside down and it only gets worse from there.
  • Laser Blade: The Radiant Sword, which extends out from the player's ship and swings to the opposite direction of the player's movement.
  • Last Stand: The entire game is one against the Stone-Like. It doesn't work. The best that happens is giving humanity another shot via Stable Time Loop. Again and again.
  • Limit Break: Hyper Sword, triggered by collecting enough purple bullets with the Radiant Sword, and then using the sword. It's a pair of BFSes that swing from back to front, doing massive damage to all enemies that they touch.
  • 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.
  • Marathon Level: What the game lacks in terms of number of stagesnote , it makes up for by making them very long. Stage 3, the first stage in the game, takes about ten minutes to complete. The longest stage in the game is Stage 4, which takes twice that long!
  • 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 seemingly random letters and numbers:
      • AKA-O - Aka Ō ("Red King")
      • 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
  • Mirror Boss: Penta and its Silverguns, which use modified versions of your own attacks.
  • Mood Whiplash: The opening of the game starts as one would expect some standard Super Robot anime with everyone getting ready for whatever threat they are about to face. Then cut to a bright light enveloping the earth with the narrator stating in a somber tone that all of humanity has been wiped out.
  • New Game Plus: 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 HD versions) 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 HD 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, and even then the game carries no mercy. 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...
  • Oh, Crap!: Reana and Buster can only react with ardent terror as the Stone-Like unleashes a new wave of light, a terror that only get's worse as they desperately try to outrun it.
  • Out of Order: In-universe example. 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.
  • Outrun the Fireball: After the Final Boss, the Stone-Like once again unleashes the same bright light that annihilated humanity forcing Reana and Buster to try and outrunning it. Unfortunately it catches up to them.
  • The Phoenix: One of the forms the Stone-lke takes in Story Mode's Stage 6 is Ohtrigen, a phoenix that attacks with bullets from its wings.
  • Plotline Death: At the end of Stage 5, Guy and Tengai sacrifice themselves to destroy the Stone-Like's beam cannon. At the very end, Reana and Buster are incinerated when the Stone-Like is defeated (Buster is vaporized onscreen).
  • Poor Communication Kills:
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: Bosses spout fiery explosions and then implode into a tiny ball of light.
  • Primary-Color Champion: The Tetra's Silverguns are blue (Buster), red (Reana) and yellow (Guy), and the ship itself is blue and white.
  • Recurring Riff: Almost every song in the soundtrack uses the same recognizable motifs; those of "Feel Invisible Matter" and "The Stone-like".
  • Remaster: The HD ports of the game features optional high resolution mode with true alpha transparency effects, bloom lighting, and a new HUD that also keeps track of color chains and weapons experience. The anime cutscenes in the Story Mode was also remastered using higher quality sources.
  • Roar Before Beating: NASU, the robotic snake, roars before battle.
  • Scoring Points: Killing 3 enemies of the same color results in "chain" bonuses, which get higher as you score more successive chains. However, unlike Ikaruga and its mercy of allowing a change of colors between chains, shooting a single enemy of a different color will result in losing the chain entirely (unless players are attempting to hit the "secret" chainnote ). Ignoring this trope is not recommended as the Silvergun's weapons need points to level up; score poorly and weaponry 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.
  • Sentry Gun: A few types of enemies are wall turrets.
  • Sequential Boss: Many! There's also different variations of sequential bosses, too. For example, all the components of UE2A-GAL except the core are sequential.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Pretty much the entire game was all for naught.
  • 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.
  • Sinister Geometry: The Stone-Like's particular perfect diamond shape is used to highlight how unnerving it is.
  • Skippable Boss: W(—)W in the Saturn version.note  However, beating it can reward the player with bonus points.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Guy. This bit from the option cutscene explains it all:
    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?
    Guy: *screams in anguish*
  • Spectacular Spinning: The dodecagon DAIKAI10, the centipede DAN-564, the walking fortress CA2-EKZO, and Xiga, the avatar of divine wrath.
  • Spread Shot: A large part of your arsenal.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The Silverguns, 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. In cutscenes, the Silverguns switch to 3D models.
  • Stationary Boss: Most of the larger bosses never move from where they first appear and only aim towards the Silvergun to attack.
  • Starfish Language: When the Stone-Like appears in-game for the first time, its "speech" is portrayed as a series of unintelligible noises.
  • Super Prototype: The Silverguns are experimental fighters, but still prove highly powerful with their wide weapon variety.
  • Tank Goodness: Large tank miniboss in Stage 2.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: The whole soundtrack has a recurring motif in almost all its songs.
  • 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.
  • Threatening Shark: Varas, a mechanoid shark.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Bosses will self-destruct if the player spends too much time fighting them, resulting in less points. See Hold the Line for an inversion.
  • 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.
  • Updated Re-release: One of Microsoft's Tokyo Game Show 2010 announcements was an Xbox Live Arcade version.
    • Among other obvious additions, there was an extra option thrown in for those that had the Xbox Live re-release of Ikaruga and unlocked any achievement in it: the ability to use the latter's multi-color chaining system instead of being forced to always hit the same color to sustain a chain in Radiant Silvergun. To compensate, the maximum chain will be 25,600 points as opposed to 100,000 that is possible normally. The Switch version changes this requirement to simply beating the game at least once.
    • Unfortunately, the Options+ menu (which let players make hitboxes visible or alter the Silvergun's speed) was lost in the mix: even after ninety hours of play, players 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, this results in a significantly reduced game window — a problem for players who don't have HDTVs or want to play on a CRT.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Common action game logic would dictate you kill every enemy you see. Not so in this game, where due to the system of rewarding destroying enemies of one color, you'll have to let roughly half of the enemies live in order to optimize your score and weapon levels.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Gallop in Stage 3C is the first boss where the player has to use weapons other than the basic Vulcan weapon, because its frontal pod blocks attacks from the front.
  • Warmup Boss: The first boss, AKA-O has relatively simple attacks, has relatively little health and is on a shorter timer than most other bosses. However, when playing on the hardest difficulty, in which case it's a Wake-Up Call Boss and can easily kill any unsuspecting player.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Many bosses have huge beam cannons whose shoots can cover a good chunk of the screen.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Penta, a massive carrier ship, uses the fire from its engine jets as an attack partway through its fight.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Stage 2 takes place one year prior and covers what happened leading up to the Stone-Like wiping out all of humanity.
  • Where It All Began: Two instances
    • The return to the Earth Defense Army Headquarters during Stage 5, where the Stone-Like unleashed its Depopulation Bomb in Stage 2.
    • A broader one happens in Stage 1, where the protagonists are sent back in time 100,000 years by the Stone-Like. Not so coincidentally, this is roughly when modern humans, genetically speaking, first appeared.


Video Example(s):


Radiant Silvergun (Stage 1: Link)

Warning! No Refuge! Data Install. Encountered an assailant. "The Stone-Like" Be attitude for gains...

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HoldTheLine

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