|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Guilti||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Valcon Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are a few interesting aspects to the series and its development over the three titles, though. One is that the controls are arranged well. The A and B buttons shoot and drop bombs, respectively, and the buttons above them (X and Y) are used for turbo fire. This way, you can "charge" attacks by holding the lower buttons (a rare capability in shmups), and shoot rapidly with the upper buttons without wearing your thumbs off.
Another is that you can choose between many different types of vehicles. For the most part, these are just graphical replacements (they won't change your strategy greatly), but they do vary in their maneuverability and weapons. When charged, some fire many projectiles, but others fire a smaller number of homing missiles.
Also, while Raiden Fighters and Raiden Fighters 2 are quite similar, Raiden Fighters Jet has a very weird structure. Rather than fighting through a set series of levels, you have to beat levels whose bosses come from the previous games in order to get to the "real" levels. At first, this is an interesting twist, but of course it opens the game to charges of recycling old material (also of hiding the new stuff buyers of this collection will actually play Jet for). Also interesting is that the levels you play depend on how well you perform; you can skip levels if you score high enough.
Essentially, Raiden Fighters Aces provides three games, a plethora of options, and a ton of fun at a low price. Fans of the original arcade games can perfectly re-create their experience, newcomers who like arcade shooters in general will have a blast, and high-score devotees will dedicate hours upon hours to topping the leaderboards. Because the games aren't terribly innovative, this isn't a must-buy by any stretch, but it's certainly a should-buy.
CCC Freelance Writer