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Video Game / Raiden Fighters

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Title screen from the first game
Raiden Fighters is a popular series of top-down Vertical Scrolling Shooters for the arcades by Seibu Kaihatsu. It is a spinoff of the original Raiden series. The series began with the first game, titled Raiden Fighters, released in 1996. It was followed by two sequels: Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive (1997) and Raiden Fighters Jet (1998).

It took a full decade after the release of Raiden Fighters Jet for any of the games to be ported to a home video game console. Raiden Fighters Aces was released in 2008 by Success for the Xbox 360, complete with online leaderboards and player achievements. All three games in the series (along with the original Raiden) are also part of the Raiden Legacy collection for PC, available via Desura, Steam and


  • Achievement Mockery: Aces awards a 0G secret achievement for dying 256 times.
  • Anti-Grinding: Players that milk bosses will find nasty surprises in the form of undodgeable patterns or sudden death waves.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the impressive-looking weaponry is far outclassed by ships with boring-looking but effective weaponry, especially the Slave's. The Flying Ray and Ixion's laser attacks follow a different rule, though.
    • The Hybrid Attack in Raiden Fighters 2 and Raiden Fighters Jet. It is a powerful attack in which two players combine their charged attacks. Both players are invincible during the Hybrid Attack, and it can destroy multiple large enemies. However, the Hybrid Attack is only available if both players are using fighters with charged attacks, meaning if the other player is using a Guest Fighter or the Slave, no Hybrid Attack for you. Additionally, when the Hybrid Attack ends, there is no Mercy Invincibility after it ends without warning, resulting in a cheap death if it ends during a difficult part of the game.
  • Battle in the Rain: The Battleship Raid against Vahrstor takes place in a thunderstorm.
  • Battleship Raid: Some of the stages in every installment is this. Vahrstor, Violet Head, Sand Lobster, among a few are boss examples.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The first two had slightly jilted English but were pretty passable. The English text in Jet features significantly poorer translation compared to the previous two games, bordering on machine translation to the point the briefing text is actually too difficult to understand.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: In Aces, Score Attack mode is locked at 60 FPS (NTSC television speed) and cannot be set to 54 FPS (original game speed). Also, all difficulties beyond Arcade or below Normal are not available in Xbox Live mode.
  • Combos: In Jet, the bonuses such as "Destroyed at a time", "Quick Shot", etc. will have an incrementing multiplier if gotten in succession (before the amount of points from the bonus disappears from the screen), up to x9.
  • Compilation Re-release: Raiden Fighters Aces, the only successful attempt at porting the series to consoles. It took eleven years for it to happen, starting from the first failed Sega Saturn porting attempt in 1997 to Aces in 2008.
    • Raiden Legacy, a new compilation containing all three Raiden Fighters games and the original Raiden, was released in December 2012 for iOS and Android platforms. A PC port was released in May 2013.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: Raiden Fighters Jet recycles graphics (and therefore entire stage settings, such as Level 10, lifted directly from Raiden Fighters 2) and even bosses from previous games in the series.
  • Decapitated Army: For the first and second game. Chances are you kill the so-called "dictators" in the final stages of the games. The enemy starts running away afterwards.
    • However, despite victory in the second game, the ending says the player should still keep watch over the enemy. Cue Raiden Fighters Jet.
  • Degraded Boss: The True Final Boss of Raiden Fighters 2 return as a "normal" boss in Raiden Fighters Jet.
  • Difficulty by Region: The Japanese versions of the original arcade releases have one loop, which has an Expert mode unlocked upon game completion for 2 and Jet. The US and Asia versions have two loops for all of them, and while the first game only maxes out enemy fire rate and bullet speed in the second loop, the second loop of 2 and Jet have enemies that spew out revenge bullets on top of that. The fact you can destroy one support fighter to lower rank instead of having to junk both as in the Japanese version is little comfort, considering how fast rank goes back up in the games.
    • In the Japanese versions of 2, the True Final Boss Red Eye can only be reached if you have 100% Target Destroy Rate on Stages 3 and 6. However, in the overseas arcade versions, you will always face this regardless of your performance.
    • This is averted in the port, as the US version is just a text patch on the Japanese version.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: The blue-colored Player 2 versions of the ships from Raiden II and Viper Phase 1 appear on the roster starting with Raiden Fighters 2. In the source games, these ships do not have any differences between each other except for colornote  In the Raiden Fighters games, the blue ships are given their own names (Raiden mk-II Beta and Blue Javelin), their own unique stats, and their own weapon loadouts to become completely different ships from the Raiden mk-II and the Judge Spear.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The first game was called "Gun Dogs", but the name didn't quite gel with market tests so it was changed to "Raiden Fighters" . The ships from Raiden II and Viper Phase 1 were added to justify the name, almost leaning the series to Mascot Fighter of all scrolling shooters.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: or else the Dynamic Difficulty goes apeshit on you. Of course, you can also just not care.
    • Also, the requirements for some stages in Jet; for each lower-tier stage; many require deliberately dying in the stage before or not activating the gold medal mode (and thus missing out on millions of points).
  • During the War: The series in general takes place in the middle of some war against an enemy dictatorship, with you as the decisive factor in ending it.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: In stark contrast to Battle Garegga, scoring well is a surefire way to drive it up.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Played straight and inverted, as far as leaderboards go. Difficulty levels below Normal cannot be used for ranking mode...and neither can difficulty levels above Arcade (Arcade being one level higher than Normal).
  • Energy Weapon: Lasers are one of the mainstay weapons of the series. And the Plasma Laser (first unleashed on the world in Raiden II) remains one of the coolest-looking attacks in the world of Shoot Em Ups, though in Raiden Fighters, it's limited to the Raiden mk. II (but the other lasers still look cool in other ways).
  • Evil Laugh: Can be heard in the BGM for Simulation Levels 35 and 50 in Jet. Since reaching either of these stages disqualifies you from getting to Real Battle, the laughter may be an allusion to this.
  • Fake Difficulty: Aces lets you run the games at 60 FPS. While this seems like the logical thing to do if you live in NTSC territories (where the vast majority of screens refresh at 60 Hz), keep in mind that the original arcade versions run at 54 FPS, meaning that the 60 FPS setting causes the games to run 11% faster than intended.
  • Featureless Protagonist: As in the main series, the player pilots are never given any details.
  • Guest Fighter: The Raiden mk. II and Raiden mk. II Beta from Raiden, and the Judge Spear and Blue Javelin from Viper Phase 1.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Micluses and Fairies require either fulfilling some obscure requirements or hovering in a certain, seemingly nondescript spot to uncover them. They're also vital for maximizing your score. In short, don't attempt a score attack run if you don't have a Miclus guide.
  • Harder Than Hard: Expert Mode maxes out the bullet speed of enemies and gives them revenge bullets upon death.
  • Homage: Jet's campaign is more or less taken out of Image Fight.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In Jet, fulfill the conditions for the bad ending (continue in Real Battle 2, or die at least once in Real Battle 1) and you're told that nuclear materials have been stolen because you didn't arrive on time and as the screen fades, an explosion is heard. It's implied that whoever the force that stole it, used it to make a nice city-sized crater.
  • Joke Character: The Raiden Mk. II ship, despite being the slowest and weakest to start with, is a subversion of this when powered up, but any ship with the word "Beast" slapped on to it plays it straight with the biggest hitbox (bigger than some patterns' holes!) and worst, longest-to-charge weaponry.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Several ships' charged Missile weapon attacks, most notably the Chaser series' charged Missile attack.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four in Raiden Fighters Jet:
  • Musical Spoiler: In Jet, if you hear this music, you're on a stage leading to a bad ending.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • The Viper Phase 1 ships are nameless in their original game. In the Raiden Fighters games, they were given the names "Judge Spear" for the red ship and "Blue Javelin" for the blue ship.
    • In Raiden II, the ships were not explicitly named, but here, they've been named "Raiden mk-II" for the red ship and "Raiden mk-II╬▓" for the blue ship; the model numbers indicate these are the Raiden II versions of these two ships, as opposed to calling the ships by their insistent in-series names, "Fighting Thunder". This was later canonized in Raiden IV: Overkill where they were named "Raiden mk-II" rather than "Fighting Thunder mk-II".
  • Nintendo Hard: Aside from the usual barrages, there are no penalty cancel for you. You cannot trigger bombs while being hit and on top of that, bombs doesn't clear screen.
    • Jet ramps it up with the branching path prerequisites. Inarguably the hardest game in the entire Raiden series in general.
  • No Fair Cheating: Think you can overlap tank bosses to shoot them, while they can't shoot you? Think again! Trying to point-blank many tank bosses and some aerial bosses will result them going insane on you and releasing punishment attacks that catch many players off-guard.
  • No Final Boss for You: In Jet...
    • Failing to meet certain conditions in the Simulation stages (usually "not continuing") shunts you to Simulation Level 35 or 50. At the end of either, you're told that you didn't qualify and the game ends with No Ending.
    • Reaching the Real Battle section but dying in Real Battle Phase 1 causes the nuclear weapons ship you were supposed to destroy to take off before you get a chance to reach it, causing it to nuke an entire city for a bad ending.
  • Off the Chart: A few ships have attributes that go beyond the end of the bar chart on the ship select screen, like the Judge Spear's speed, or Raiden mk-II's rapid fire rating.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: One hit and you die. Subverted with the Slaves (when they are accompanying your fighter, not as a playable fighter), which take several hits until they got shot down.
  • 1-Up: Almost entirely averted; the only way to get 1-ups is to complete a loop in a multi-loop difficulty setting. This has the effect of making, for instance, Jet's Simulation Level 50, impossible to reach on one credit without fulfilling a different, counterintuitive requirement.
  • Schizo Tech: The games' overall aesthetic combines Diesel Punk with much more modern elements, with propeller planes and armored trains co-existing with futuristic-looking flying warships.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Stage 6 of Raiden Fighters 2 has you fight Sand Lobster in a Battleship Raid fashion.
  • Shows Damage: Bosses and larger enemies start to lose parts (wings, turrets, etc.), catch fire, and flash red the more damage they take.
  • Smart Bomb: Several
    • The tornado-like bomb that explodes and causes shrapnel to fly around the screen (default ships)
    • The delayed-detonation bomb (Raiden mkII)
    • The cluster bomb (Raiden mkII Beta)
    • The enormously powerful Dimension Mine (Judge Spear, Blue Javelin, Dark Sword).
    • The flamethrower for the secret Miclus and Fairy playable characters.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The usual upbeat ending theme that plays in Jet also plays in the bad ending where the bad guys implied to be able to launch the stolen nuclear missile.
  • Super Prototype: The plot of Raiden Fighters Jet centers around the "XTF Project", which is both the Ixion and the final boss, a larger one made to carry nuclear armament.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Take too long in boss fights, and it will self-destruct with a dangerous barrage.
  • Traintop Battle:
    • The fourth stage in the first game doesn't have traditional traintop battles, but you're fighting the enemies on railroads.
    • Stage 3 of 2 is this, as you fight the colossal combat train Violet Head.
  • True Final Boss: 2 and Jet have them, but the criteria for the latter is a bit difficult to reach normally. See Difficulty by Region for the True Final Boss of 2.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: In Jet, all Simulation Levels after 1 are in multiples of 5. Furthermore, the number doesn't necessarily indicate the order in which you'll do the stage, as there are a number of Simulation Levels that are exclusive to one branching path or another, and in one instance you will go back in number (specifically, failing to put in a sufficiently good performance on Simulation Level 40 will take you to 35, one of the two early-ending stages).
  • Video Game Caring Potential: One stage of Raiden Fighters allows you to block a tank boss's shots from hitting some houses; doing so nets you a "DEFENDED THE HOUSE!" bonus. In Raiden Fighters 2's airport stage, you can do the same with a trio of friendly tanks, and the pair of friendly fighters that show up if you choose the airport stage as the second one.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Shooting Micluses until they blow up to yield 100,000 points.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Shoot a fairy down and you get 10 measly points and the message "KILLED THE FAIRY!", as opposed to the 100,000 you would've gotten by collecting it.