Raiden III review

A great top-down space shooter from the old school - nothing more, nothing less

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    Two ships

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    one controller

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    Classic shooter style

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    You can save replays


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    About 10 bucks too costly

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    Looks at least 10 years old

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    Only seven levels

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You know that somewhere, in a hidden underground hangar invisible to radar, Air Force engineers and strategists are looking at Raiden III and crying themselves to sleep. "If only," they think, "if only we could devise two space-capable aircraft, one red and one blue, that could vomit forth huge, endless swaths of deadly plasma, missiles, and laser fire, picking up bits of the enemy to make themselves even stronger, and then convince all of our enemies to gather together and stand in a line, taking turns attacking us and then just giving up if we fly over and fail to blow them up... then we could truly bring peace to the world."

Okay, so it's a pipe dream of military foreign policy. It still makes for a fun video game. It's not remotely complex, mind you: you've got a space plane, sometimes two, plowing constantly upward, dodging hordes of enemies and laying waste to anything inyour way. At any given time, you're laying it down with one of three main weapons - spread-shot bullets, a strong straight ahead laser, and a weaker beam weapon that can curve around - and one of three possible sub-weapons (each a type of missile). All of which get stronger as you collect more power-ups. Again, this is an ages-old paradigm, but it still feels rewarding.

There are seven levels and five difficulty settings, though even the easiest can be challenging - this is a serious bullet storm. And as always in a Raiden game, you have both single-player mode and a co-op multiplayer mode, which can add life and also make you hate your buddy for hogging the power-ups. Graphics are okay at best - there are some nice blur effects during the big explosions, though.

More info

DescriptionYou know when people say "old school"? This vertically-scrolling shooter, in which two planes with ultra-powered weaponry take on an entire planet's army is what they're talking about.
US censor rating"Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Eric Bratcher
I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.