RayStorm From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search RayStorm is a scrolling shooter developed by the Taito Corporation (now part of Square Enix). Originally released in Japan as an arcade game in 1996, it was later ported there to Sony's PlayStation game console in 1997, to the Sega Saturn (under the name Layer Section II) in that same year, and to Windows-based personal computers in 2001. In North America, it was released for the PlayStation by Working Designs in June 1997. The PlayStation version was also released in Europe by SCE Europe. It was re-released in 2010 with improved graphics, as RayStorm HD, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game is set hundreds of years in the future. Players must pilot their "R-Gray" spacecraft through eight vertically scrolling stages and shoot down enemy ships and vehicles to prevent the forces of the Secilia Federation, a rebellious group of colonies, from destroying Earth. The arcade versions let each player choose one of two ships; home ports include additional ships and features. RayStorm is one of three "Ray" games, all featuring similar gameplay, released by Taito. RayForce was released before RayStorm, and the RayForce prequel RayCrisis was released after the others. The plot of RayStorm, which is minimally revealed in the game itself but further described by the game's instruction manual and "Extra Mode" in home releases, is not connected to the "Con-Human" storyline of the other two games. Its PlayStation versions were generally well-received by American reviewers, but criticized for short game length and similarities to other games such as Xevious 3D/G+. Plot RayStorm consists of eight stages taking place between August 4 and August 7, 2219 AD; the first three stages take place on Earth, the last three at the fictional planet Secilia, and two between them in the orbits of Earth and Secilia, respectively. Whereas RayForce players must head toward Earth to destroy it, RayStorm players start at and move away from the planet. The plot of the game is exposed minimally during play, with only dates and place names given at the start of each of its first seven stages. An "Extra Mode" included with home versions of the game displays maps before the first seven stages and a closing crawl after completing the game, which further illustrate the plot; the map for the fifth stage, for example, shows that a "gravity catapult" at the Moon is used to travel from Earth orbit to Secilia orbit. The game manual for the North American RayStorm release describes the plot even further, depicting a future where space travel has existed since 2119. Humans explored space, and within 100 years Earth established a twenty-colony Star Federation extending to Orion, with each colony kept under martial law. The colonies then mutinied against the Federation: they took control of the major colony Secilia, formed the Secilia Federation and defeated Earth's forces after many battles. After Earth's surrender, all of its inhabitants had been transferred to the colonies. The Secilia Federation suppressed colonial opposition and sent out a force to destroy the planet completely. However, by then the R-Gray, a craft made with parts salvaged from 13 different Secilia ships, is completed and deployed to carry out "OPERATION RAYSTORM", a desperate attempt to defend Earth from the Federation. After the R-Gray(s) destroy the final boss, the ships try to escape the exploding "Juda Central System" (as the seventh stage is called) through a tunnel. What occurs afterwards differs between the game modes. The original arcade ending shows several R-Grays flying away from Secilia, through a fleet of destroyed enemy ships, towards Earth. The Extra Mode ending shows the player ship(s) enveloped in the tunnel explosion, then a view of the "Juda Satellite colony" exploding, and a view of a heavily damaged R-Gray using its remaining engines to drift from the Moon towards a large debris cloud; the crawl shown as Juda explodes explains that the colony is pushed from its orbit toward the nearby gas giant Seraphim by the explosion, at least "70% of the seven billion inhabitants" of the colony die from the explosion, the "Secilian empire" is no longer a danger, and the mission is complete.  Gameplay A one-player game in progress RayStorm is a shoot 'em up. The player views their ship from a distanced perspective while gunning down enemies in the game's vertically scrolling stages. At the beginning of the game, the player must choose one of two ships; a third secret ship is available in ported versions. The player uses a vulcan-like laser weapon as their primary offense, and a missile weapon which can lock onto multiple targets and gain a combo multiplier, accumulating into a point total. Additionally, each ship has two special maneuvers. The Special Attack is initiated when the player fills a bar to the maximum by engaging in multiple lock-ons. When full the player can unleash a massive screen wide attack with a brief period of invincibility afterwards. The second, the Hyper Laser Assault, executes a special attack unique to each ship, and is performed by setting all available lock-on attacks on a single target and firing. The ships have slightly differing methods of destroying enemies and attaining a big point total: The R-Gray 1 uses a basic single laser cannon with shots that spread out. By moving the reticule over various enemies, it can lock on and fire multiple missiles. This ship is best suited for beginners. The R-Gray 2 uses twin lasers, and its attack power is considered superior to the R-Gray 1, but the width and range of its fire is decreased. However, its lock on maximum is 16 targets, meaning its point accumulation is much higher.