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The new RAIDEN of the story is now beginning.
Raiden V is the sixthnote  game in the Long Runner Shoot 'em Up Raiden series by Seibu Kaihatsu, published by MOSS, following up Raiden IV released 9 years earlier in 2007. It was first released on Xbox One in February and May 2016 in Japan and North America respectively, coinciding with the Raiden series' 25th anniversary, and was later released as Raiden V: Director's Cut for PlayStation 4 and PC (via Steam) on October 10, 2017 and the Nintendo Switch on July 25, 2019. The Switch release marks the first time a Raiden game was released on a Nintendo console since Raiden Trad on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992.
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Unlike the previous games, Raiden V has an extensive story, detailing the Fighting Thunder project (which created the Raiden ship), the crystal-based enemies, and more. The events of this game take place 17 years after humanity's war with the Crystals began. Taking a cue from Raiden Fighters Jet, there is a non-linear stage progression system in which players advance to different stages depending on fulfilling certain objectives on previous stages.

Each stage after the first has multiple versions, with stage 2 having two versions and stages 3 through 8 having four. The gameplay in each of those stages remains unchanged, but the story changes in each version of the stages.

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Raiden V provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Expansion: This game expands on the details regarding the entire series, from the crystal enemies, to the Raiden and its mothership.
    • The series enemies are identified as "Crystals", officially identifying the crystal-based enemies as the aliens themselves.
    • Research of Crystals were banned due to previous attempts that resulted in "contaminating" military machinery and transforming them in their alien armies. It's due to illegal research that technology for the Raiden and the Airborne Aircraft Carrier you see from the series beginning exist at all.
    • Given a more realistic feel by developing multiple types of Raiden units, each made in different parts of the world. The default one you use is the Japanese "Azuma". This is one of the references to the Raiden Fighters spinoff.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Bellwether.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If your aircraft is damaged or gets destroyed and uses a continue, you won't lose any powerups you have obtained so far. Mostly averting Continuing is Painful trope for the first time in the series.
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  • Apocalypse How: The Crystals inflict a Class 6 (Planetary Scale, Total Extinction) version of this on each planet they go to, contaminating the planet's weapons and altering the atmospheric composition to render it uninhabitable. They do this to a distant planet, it's theorized that they did the same to Mars, and in the worst possible Stage 8 ending, they do this to Earth as well.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Crystals themselves are these.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Cheer system. Activate it to temporarily clear bullets, and an awesome weapon in three flavors: missile barrages that can be homing or straight, or lasers that clear bullets for you! But scoring-wise, it's completely impractical as it stops your score multiplier at x1.0 until the Cheer attack finishes, making it an emergency bullet-clearing Smart Bomb instead.
      • Not Completely Useless: However, in the Director's Cut, scoring in the bonus levels depends on how many medals you can collect and milk out of the target while trying not to get hit thus ignores the score multiplier, so you are free to use a Cheer attack to milk out the target for even more medals.
    • Aside from the recurring Bend Plasma, the Charge Laser can hit everything on the screen when fired... if you are willing to miss some enemies while waiting for the laser to charge up.
  • Battleship Raid: The Stage 1 boss, Platon, is a Call-Back Expy to Vahrstor, the Stage 6 Boss of Raiden Fighters. The fifth stage is a raid on a giant version of the recurring battleship bosses from the previous entries in the series, especially those of Raiden Fighters games, culminating in an intense battle with its improvised command bridge, the Blow of Hornet. Then there's the giant space station boss of Stage 7, Angel.
  • Big Bad: The Crystals. Humanity has been at war with them for 17 years when this game takes place.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Campbell, along with the Crystals.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Campbell, despite his antagonism, he's minor compared to the Crystals.
  • Big Good: Helga Lindenbaum.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The English localization has Engrish gems such as:
    • "The speed of enemy destruction is perfect."
    • "Descend and pursue the destruction of the target!"
    • "Enemy flight battleships are approaching?! Good luck!"
    • "Check that the enemy has suspended action and fallen."
    • There's also "New RAIDEN of the story is now beginning" in the opening movie.
    • Military ranks are inconsistently translated as well, with Max being referred to as a General in the art gallery and a Captain in-game. Campbell also is addressed in different ranks. For those with military experience, it can become difficult to know who is the superior of whom until the story advances.
  • Boss Rush: Boss Mission mode has you play missions where you take on one or more bosses in each mission, sometimes with special parameters like requiring you to pick a specific ship and/or weapon loadout, time limits, and modifying the stats of your ship and the bosses. Each mission has a brief Excuse Plot (like clearing out bosses from a vacation spot for your higher-ups or your XO being slow to inform you of the mission and as a result you only having 30 seconds to beat the boss), although the in-game dialogue doesn't change to reflect it.
  • Bullet Hell: From Great Horn onwards, expect bosses to throw a lot of bullets at you, and a lot of times the bullets are of the super fast variety. Special note goes to Divine Rampart's final phase, which covers the entire screen with ridiculously fast bullets that it is nearly impossible to keep track on what's going on.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • The Azuma is the Jack-of-All-Stats, with evenly-distributed parameters akin to Aegis from the Raiden Fighters games. Its subweapon consists of homing missiles that reliably chase enemies for modest damage.
    • The Spirit of Dragon is the Mighty Glacier, with high damage output and stronger shields, but slower speed than the other two aircraft. Its subweapon consists of missiles that do more damage than the Azuma's but do not home in on enemies. Stats-wise, it's a composite plane of Hell Diver and Death Header from the Raiden Fighters series.
    • The Moulin Rouge is the Fragile Speedster, being the fastest of the three but with the weakest firepower and shields. It fires automatically-aimed lasers for a subweapon, which are fast but don't do as much damage per hit and have difficulty with faster enemies since they do not Lead the Target. It's an equivalent to either Beast Wing, Chaser 2000 or Flying Ray from the Raiden Fighters series.
  • Cool Plane: Like in the Raiden Fighters series, this game has various models of the Raiden ship available for selection.
  • Dead All Along: The planet our heroes launch a counteroffensive against the Crystals has already been annihilated. Instead of a normal alien invasion that Max and Eshiria thought humanity's war was against, they've really been facing the weapons of the planet's original inhabitants, which the Crystals seized for their invasion of Earth.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: You can pick a ship, customizing it with a wide array of weapons from the Catch Plasma (multiple laser beams that lock on to enemies) to the Moving Vulcan (lock-on adjustable spread guns) to the Reflect Laser (a powerful laser that spreads into a star-shaped formation and rotates).
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Reflect Laser weapon. It consists of a decently powerful but narrow laser, and a blue crystal that fires rotating lasers that damages anything it touches. In order to keep the rotating lasers going, one has to be in the same position right under the crystal, thus being able keep track of where the bullets are coming from while being under the crystal is a must. Being able to determine where will the crystal be deployed is a must to in order to ensure good coverage of the rotating lasers, and a well-positioned crystal (and the player) can waste many bosses in seconds.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Your story route changes depending on what percentage of enemies you've destroyed at the end of the stage. In the event that you qualify for a B, A, or S route, you cannot pick a lower route. This means if you want the lower routes to Earn Your Bad Ending, you will need to let a significant number of enemies live. It doesn't matter gameplay-wise anyway, since all that routes influence are dialogue and, if it's Stage 8, the ending.
  • Double Play: As in the home ports of both Raiden III and Raiden IV, there is a mode where you can control both ships on the same controller.
  • Downer Ending: In the bad ending, our heroes return to the solar system after destroying the crystal aliens at the source, but they appear to have accidentally warped to Mars at first. A closer examination reveals that it is Earth All Along, reduced to a lifeless red rock by the Alien Invasion.
  • The Dragon: Valbarossa starts off as this to Campbell, but eventually joins you once her ship is contaminated and you rescue her.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Valbarossa Hawkeye steals the Crystals from the Bellwether, the players know exactly what will happen, but Valbarossa does not know until it is too late that her pirate ship would be contaminated by the stolen Crystals.
  • Drill Tank: The Stage 2 boss, Great Horn. It even fires drills!
  • Dual Boss: Platon starts by sending out its two airships. The Stage 4 boss, Spice Birds, sends its two mounted cannon drones into the VHC facility after its first phase is destroyed.
  • Easy Level Trick: For certain bosses, the Reflect Laser weapon. See Difficult, but Awesome.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: How Max and the rest of the world justifies the banning of research on the Crystals.
    • The organization SHIFT does not believe so and tries to subvert it by applying their research to the Fighting Thunder project.
    • Valbarossa meanwhile learns this the hard way when the crystals she stole take over her ship, requiring the player to destroy its turret, the Blow of Hornet, and bail her out.
  • Excuse Plot: Downplayed with the main story, which is significantly more fleshed out compared to most shmups, especially previous Raiden games. However, played straight with the Boss Rush mode, where every mission has a few lines of backstory that never get referenced during mission gameplay (the main story dialogue plays instead) and are only there to give you an excuse to fight sequences of bosses.
  • Expy:
    • Richard Maxwell resembles Stacker Pentecost from Pacific Rim.
    • The Crystals contaminating the Earth's weaponry and machinery as well as their goal to reset the entire world makes the Crystals similar to the ELS from Gundam 00 Awakening Of The Trailblazer. They also appear to have traits of the Stone-Like from Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga.
    • The closest resemblance is the Neuroi, featuring black and red colors, red crystallized cores, assimilation of enemy weaponry, toxic pollutants and Bullet Hell spam.
  • Featureless Protagonist: We never figure out who the Raiden pilot is. In this game, you are simply referred to as "Raiden".
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: After the massive contamination of military machinery within Uruguay, which was completely destroyed with few survivors. The Montevideo agreement was made to ban all research on crystal technology.
    • SHIFT is made of those who reject this agreement. They've operated in secret in order to develop the technologies needed to create the Raiden fighters.
  • Fictional United Nations: The International Peace Defense Force, which Helga Lindenbaum works for and the Vanquish Crystal Defense organization answers to. The IPDF also works alongside the United Nations itself.
  • Flawless Victory: Stage 2 and 3 has Eshiria grade you on the amount of damage you sustain. If you managed to get through them unscathed, she will praise you. If you did get hit, she will express concern.
  • Flunky Boss: Normal tanks show up midway throughout Great Horn's first phase and the Blow of Hornet's second phase. Humpty Dumpty summons Attack Drones at its first phase of the battle.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: According to Eshiria's findings in one ending, this is the real purpose of the Crystals. After annihilating the current inhabitants and rendering the planet inhospitable through pollution, they then clean out the pollution to make it habitable again.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game can sometimes freeze in the middle of a stage and crash to the Xbox Home UI. Thankfully, a patch has fixed this problem.
  • Golden Ending: In the true ending, our heroes are triumphant in the battle against the Crystals, but there seems to be no way back to Earth due to damages to the Bellwether. They have at least a few supplies for the month. Max complains that he'll be drinking little remains of his coffee until a rescue ship arrives and picks up the heroes, which happens to be holding a few cups of coffee for Max. Max then concludes that while they are victorious, it is a soldier's duty to remain on guard in case of possible future attacks.
  • Guide Dang It!: How stage routes and unlocking the endings work. There are no in-game hints for how to take a stage route you want. There are requirements to get each of the game's Multiple Endings, but hints are not given to all but the ending received from missing out on fighting the True Final Boss. One ending even ends your game prematurely after Stage 6, but there are no hints to this existing either.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The VCD (Vanquish Crystal Defense), an elite organization dedicated to eliminating contaminated weapons and the crystals that the army can't normally deal with.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Being a later game in the series, this game reduces the ship's hitbox to the size of most Bullet Hell games' ships' hitboxes.
  • Hold the Line: In Stage 8-C, Max becomes injured when the Bellwether sustains a critical hit by the Crystals. Valbarossa Hawkeye then takes over command of the Bellwether and directs the rest of Fighting Thunder to defend the aircraft carrier at all costs. It starts to become a rout on our heroes' side. Just as you are about to reach the end of the stage, Valbarossa orders the Bellwether to land in order to remove any attack threats from below. At this point, it is a matter of the Bellwether and the remaining Fighting Thunder aircraft holding down a desperate defensive stand while you fight Humpty Dumpty (and hopefully Divine Rampart).
  • Homing Lasers: The Homing Plasma weapon.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Fighting Thunder craft is referred to in-game as the "treasures of mankind," since they are humanity's primary counter-offensive against the Crystals since the series beginning.
  • It Can Think: After exploring the cave full of crystals in Stage 2, Max comes up with a hypothesis that the Crystals are actually an intelligent lifeform that can communicate with one another mutually. Max's suspicions are confirmed when he made an SOS call to a French port, where the Crystals were for sure staging an attack, as that is where Max sent a shipment of the crystals he retrieved from the cave. Upon meeting Kraken, Max's concerns grow even more as it showed the Crystals can upgrade the machinery they contaminate. Later on, Max orders a mission to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) facility, where the shipment of crystals from the cave ended up. As Max expected, there was a massive amount of contaminated machinery invading the LHC. Max then hypothesized that the Crystals had a sort of commander giving orders, as the LHC invasion was organized as if it was a precision military operation. Again, Max was proven right. With the help of Valbarossa Hawkeye after her flagship was contaminated and the information from the SHIFT facility they destroyed, Max and Eshiria were able to determine that all of Max's hypotheses were unfortunately true, with Helga confirming that the information stored on one crystal is shared collectively with all the others. This necessitates Helga relaying the order from the council for the Bellwether and Fighting Thunder to launch a counter-offensive towards the Crystal's homeworld in order to put an end to their threat once and for all.
    Helga (regarding the Crystals' intelligence): I've heard that even among terrestrial lifeforms, if an individual learns a new way to hunt, the same method of hunting was suddenly acquired by other individuals all around the world. This may be like the collective unconscious that Jung talked about.
    Max: It's hard for me to understand difficult things, so can you explain it in more layman's terms?
    Max: I see. So they are making it as unclear as possible as to where they're heading.
    Helga: That's correct.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Campbell calls out the pointlessness of the treaty that prohibits research of the Crystals. If it weren't for SHIFT, the Raiden and your main aircraft carriers of the series would never have existed.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: This game deviates quite a bit from past Raiden games:
    • Instead of being a One-Hit Point Wonder with multiple Video-Game Lives, your ship now has only one life per credit and a Life Meter. Furthermore, your ship never powers down anymore, even if you take damage or use a continue.
    • There are multiple ships available, somewhat like in Raiden Fighters but not like in past main-series games.
    • There's an actual plot and a lot of voiced dialogue with faces to go with those voices, unlike past games which just have an Excuse Plot and no characters to speak of.
    • This game has social RPG Elements: When performing certain actions (such as reaching a target score, clearing a stage, or beating your personal best score), you may receive "cheers" from other players, and likewise you may "cheer" on other players doing the same. When the Cheer meter is full, you can perform a special attack by summoning an aircraft, similar to the Slave systems used in the Raiden Fighters series.
    • There are various widgets on the sides that show things like the text log, your weapon levels, and a histogram of your score.
    • There is no vertical-orientation mode; past Raiden games in arcades are vertical by default, with console games having it as an option (in addition to horizontal pillarboxed mode, the only screen orientation V offers).
    • While previous Raiden games and the Raiden Fighters games have arcade releases, V gets a straight-to-console release, skipping the arcades.
    • There are no missile powerups. Instead, your ship comes with missiles right out of the gate, and the type of missile depends on the model of ship you choose.
  • Life Meter: In a first for the series, the game eschews One-Hit Point Wonder and Video-Game Lives in favor of giving the player only one life per credit, but in return giving them a flexible shield meter.
  • Lightning Gun: The Plasma class of weapons is this.
  • Limit Break: The Cheer system can be used to summon an aircraft to perform charged attacks, and removes all bullets on the screen when triggered, at the cost of reducing the score multiplier to x1.0 until the Cheer attack ends. Unlike Slave system in the Raiden Fighters games, it needs to be charged beforehand, by cheering at other players or shooting down stage enemies. Which attack the player gets to use is random, depending on what type of aircraft that appears when the Cheer system activates:
  • Marathon Level: Clocking in at about ten minutes, the final stage of Raiden V is arguably the longest stage in the Raiden series, aside from the Training Stage from DX.
  • Mini-Boss:
    • The recurring giant jet bomber in Stage 2. It reappears as the second midboss for Stage 8 as the player traverses into the deepest section of the Crystals' home planet.
    • A large multi-turret cannon serves as one in Stage 5 while navigating around Valbarossa's battleship.
    • The fortress in Stage 8 before entering the deeper sections of the Crystals' home planet.
  • Mission Control: Eshiria Portman.
  • Multiple Endings: To go along with this game's Story Branching.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The English voice acting sometimes pronounces "Raiden" as "RAY-den" (as in the Mortal Kombat character) instead of the proper "Rye-DEN." Valbarossa's name is pronounced as "Val-ba-ROW-sa," "Vahl-ba-ROW-sa" and "Val-ba-RAW-sa."
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Featured prominently in Raiden V's soundtrack, most notably the final stage theme, Crystal of Abyss.
  • One-Woman Wail: The Stage 6 theme "Fortress of Philosophy" has this.
  • Pirate Girl: Valbarossa Hawkeye, whose name is an Engrish version of Barbarossa ("red beard").
  • Production Throwback: The game borrows some elements from MOSS's other shmup Caladrius:
    • The Catch Plasma, which consists of tethered orbs that instantly snap onto enemies, behaves a lot like Noah's Life Stalker attack.
    • The Swing Vulcan, which fires a rapid-fire spread that turns with the player's movement, is similar to Layis's main shot.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: Maxwell cares more about his coffee than mission duty.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Stage 8 boss, Humpty Dumpty. Destroying its first phase while getting past its attack drones will reveal its core.
  • Ship Out of Water: The Stage 3 boss, Kraken. It starts out as a submarine, then transforms into a hovercraft for its last phase.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Yoshimi Kudo's soundtrack has been compared to a Hans Zimmer movie score. A couple of songs have very slow and calm sections, but the game action remains as intense as ever in parts of the game that use more intense music. Most notable is the song used in the final stage, "Crystal of Abyss". At around 6 minutes and 20 seconds into the song, the song does a slow and melancholy Last Episode Theme Reprise of the first stage's theme, "Unknown Pollution". The action remains intense as expected for the final stage of the game. There's even a midboss fight thrown in in the slowest part of the song, which chills players with the juxtaposition of the game action and calmness of the music at that point.
  • Space Colony: The Stage 7 boss Angel/Engle was formerly a space debris removal colony, but is contaminated by the Crystals into a Kill Sat.
  • Starfish Aliens: As it turns out, the series' Big Bad are the red Crystals.
  • Story Branching: This is the first Raiden game to have story branching (let alone a story), akin to the Darius series and taking a cue from Raiden Fighters Jet.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Design-wise, Moulin Rouge brings striking resemblances to Ixion from Raiden Fighters Jet.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of the dialogues in Stage 5.
    Maxwell: You don't intend to weaponize the crystals, are you? I'll report this to the council.
    Campbell: I'm not doing that! I wouldn't even do that in the weapons division! Look it up, if you doubt me.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: May cross with Time-Limit Boss: If Humpty Dumpty is not destroyed quickly in its final phase, it will close its core with its impenetrable shield and sends out a barrage of insanely fast bullets.
  • Teleport Spam: Divine Rampart does this when it's close to exploding in its final phase.
  • Traintop Battle: The last part of Stage 6 and the boss, Campbell's railroad tank Messiah, and the second part of Stage 7.
  • True Final Boss: Divine Rampart. To reach it, you must clear all the stages from start (any rank and difficulty settings are possible), reach Stage 8-S, and fully power up your Vulcan, Laser, and Plasma weapons before you confront the Stage 8 boss.
  • Under the Sea: Director's Cut includes a bonus stage after Stage 3 that takes place underwater to fight an aquatic boss in order to collect medals.
  • Updated Re-release: Director's Cut, which adds two bonus stages, voice acting, and two-player play.
  • Water Is Blue: The blue crystals found in an underground canal in Stage 8 are hypothesized by the Bellwether crew to be water. Indeed, in the best possible ending, when the Crystals are defeated, these blue crystals melt into water.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The standard blue laser and the bend plasma laser powerups are present. The game also introduces the Charge Laser, which can cover the entire screen when the player doesn't fire for a certain amount of time. Also, Valbarossa's Crystal-contaminated ship fires a larger one on its third phase of the boss fight. Angel fires one if not destroyed quickly during its second phase.
  • Wolfpack Boss: In Messiah's final phase, two similarly sized Messiahs appear to assist it. Divine Rampart detaches its three crystalline battleships during its second phase.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: This appears to be the Crystals' goal, since most of them are contaminating Earth's machinery and using it against them.

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