Back in 2003, Espgaluda was released to arcades and it quickly gained a fan following. This vertical scroller was considered one of the best shoot ‘em ups and was ported to the PlayStation 2 in the same year. Even tougher levels were introduced in the console versions.
This game even saw a port to iOS, which received mixed reviews. Key to these games success is to have real buttons to push than a touch screen. Coming soon is a version to the Nintendo Switch!
Anyone new to this game may think of it as angels versus demi-gods; with boss levels taking its influence from Greco-Roman lore like the Moirai, Siren, Heracles and the brothers who founded Rome (Romulus and Remus). They’re the names of spaceships, and just why they’re battling the world of Shinra is explained as players delve into those tougher levels where the narrative unfolds. From the Shmups Wiki:
Once upon a time in the kingdom of Shinra, there was a queen who passed down magical powers to her descendents, and a king, Jakou, who did not. In a period of rapidly advancing alchemical technology, Jakou became overcome with ambition, and sought to use alchemy to exploit the queen’s powers to the fullest extent. He subjected his children, Ageha and Tateha, to a super-soldier program, known as Project Galuda. The queen, appalled by his actions, sealed herself and her essence away in spirit gems, but Jakou and his alchemists found a solution – to harness the stones to create a spirit engine, raise an army, and begin to conquer surrounding nations.
Hiodoshi, an elderly alchemist who was key to Project Galuda, had a change of heart, and was moved into action. He took the king’s children under his wing and fled, in hopes of giving them a chance at a normal life. Years passed, but Jakou’s army eventually tracked them down. Hiodoshi refused to surrender. The soldiers, in response, mercilessly slaughtered him in the children’s presence. Bearing witness to Hiodoshi’s death, Ageha and Tateha’s latent powers emerged. Wings sprouted from their backs, and the soldiers were destroyed instantly in a burst of energy. The siblings took flight, guided back toward Shinra by a mysterious force that neither of them understands. And this is where our story begins.
The sequel promises to get crazier and the official website is live.
Espgaluda II offers a tutorial and novice mode for those new to this franchise. Once they’ve mastered that version, they can fully go into arcade mode for a total onslaught to the senses. There’s also an “Arrange Mode” which changes the game rules around. It’s safe to say that players are better off engaging the battles on a big screen, and this product will arrive before the release of the OLED model due October. This update has enough of a difference with its bigger screen to make this game look a bit better on the go.
This work includes a “Black Label mode” that allows you to handle the enemy character “Seseri” as your own machine. Plus, there’ll be new game rules and a special ending for skippers to find.
Now if only there was an anime or manga attached to this release so those wanting more story than gameplay have something to enjoy…