Eastasiasoft are titans when it comes to shoot em up console ports. They are largely all budget titles and whilst some are rough, there are also quite a few gems to be found. RedRaptor is the latest release, inspired by the 90s classics of the genre. Featuring 5 stages and an extensive upgrade system to your ship, there is potential here but it doesn’t quite stick the landing.
Your ship is extremely basic when you start the campaign mode but that’s on purpose. Your single shot gun is your main weapon, with a couple of spread shot powerups you can pick up by killing specific enemy ships. Your ship also has only one health heart (2 hits) and then its game over. Thankfully enemies drop coins which you’ll be immediately putting to good use in the upgrade screen. Here you can buy more health, upgrade the base damage of your weapons and crucially add additional bullets to your main shot. If you are spending your money, spend it here as each bullet makes the shot wider as well as stronger and outside of boss battles with narrow hit boxes, this will serve you well. You can also buy tiny bonus ships that fire mini bullets and upgrade your special laser attack. I personally found the laser attack very underpowered and rarely used it because I’d spent more upgrading my standard attack so it packed more of a punch.
With the upgrade system meaning you’ll be repeating level 1, 2 and 3 quite a few times, you’ll soon get used to the exact attack patterns of the enemy. The first three levels are not much of a challenge and so once you’ve a couple of upgrades on your ship you’ll be blasting through them quite mindlessly. Its the 4th and 5th levels that add a bit of trickery and this is down to barriers that block your fire but let enemy fire through. It means you have to time diving into attack range, firing some shots and getting out again quickly. That said, it only happens a few times in the game so if you muck up, if you’ve bought a couple of heart upgrades you’ll still be fine. Its all a bit pedestrian, safe and by the numbers. Boss battles offer some entertainment as they are all different and offer a few attack phases but once again the upgrade system allows you to dispose of them too quickly so its never much a challenge.
Once the five stages of campaign are complete, arcade mode opens up. This provides an online learderboard challenge for the best scoring run and adds some longevity but by this point you’ll likely be burnt out having to replay the earlier levels to get enough coins for the upgrades. The main problem difficulty wise won’t come from the games enemies specifically – it’ll come from the fuzzy display. Graphically the game is a mixed bag. Some of the space backgrounds are nice but there is a real problem spotting enemy fire. Their yellow bullets get easily lost in the general explosions and metal shrapnel of the exploding ships. Most of my early deaths came from this single issue where I couldn’t tell what was what. Turning off the CRT filters helped a little but fundamentally the enemy fire just doesn’t stand out enough.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with RedRaptor, its just I’ve played this game a hundred times before and better elsewhere. This is one of the weaker ports Eastasiasoft has done to date and whilst it has a lower price point to match, I’d recommend almost any other Eastasiasoft shmup over this if you are looking for a budget quick fix.
Review copy provided by publisher.
There's nothing "wrong" with RedRaptor - its just short, safe, predictable and does nothing to stand out, making it difficult to recommend it over anything else.
Upgrade system is a good idea.
Online scoreboard for score attack adds some replayability.
Samey enemies, levels and feel - you'll barely notice things have changed level to level.
Short but also underwhelming levels make it boring to replay.
Busy visuals make it difficult to pick out enemy fire on the screen at times.
Devoid of character or soul.
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