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Ikaruga (GC, DC)
It's a bird, a Japanese Grosbeak. The game revolves around black and white bullets, the bird is black and white. Pretty straightforward. Ikaruga is also a town in Japan.
More or less German for "one handed," referring to the game's star ship that uses a giant claw to steal enemy weapons.
Raiden (SNES, PSOne, PC, Jaguar among many others)
This long-running franchise is Japanese for "thunder and lightning." The name comes up a lot. You might know it better from Mortal Kombat or Metal Gear. Or maybe even Fatal Fury.
Gradius (NES, SNES, PSOne, PS2, PSP, PC, many others)
This well-known series, as far as we're concerned, is a mistranslation of gladius, which is Latin for "sword." Makes perfect Engrish-y sense to us, as the Vic Viper would appear to be a sword cutting through wave after wave of enemy ships. Or maybe we're really reaching.
Salamander (NES, PSOne, Saturn)
Another reach, but this Gradius spin-off is probably playing off the whole salamander/fire relationship so common in the world. Remember Salamando, the mana spirit from Secret of Mana? There you go. Concrete proof. Mystery solved.
Darius (PS2, PSOne, PC, Saturn, SNES, Genesis, TG-16)
A rather common name, perhaps most notably the names of three kings of the Achaemenid Empire. One of them had a son, Xerxes. He ran into some rather trying times with 300 Spartans in 408 BC. In the game, Darius is a planet under siege by a swarm of fish-shaped spaceships. You can see the similarities.
Sol-Feace (Sega CD)
Sol is Latin for "sun," and feace, according to the Urban Dictionary, is slang for poop. Strangely enough, other versions of Sol-Feace were called Sol-Deace, which also has an Urban Dictionary entry, as a combination of deuces and peace. There's no way in hell that's what developer Wolf Team was going for, but it was weird enough to point out.
Misguided box art aside, this SNES shooter came and went with little commotion. Well, its meaning isn't all that exciting either, and you probably already know it - a packed, closed formation of troops, ships or whatever it is that's doing the killing.
Next page - Japanese titles that meant more than "crazy word you don't understand."
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