~ KIAIDAN 00 ~
RIOT / Alfa System / Telenet
Kiaidan makes me feel like I'm in an old Tranzor Z episode. It's a Cinderella-story shoot 'em up that tells of how a goofy young lad assumes control of a giant robot...
...and defeats a cold-hearted crew of master pilots and their monstrous mecha. As you might expect with a premise like that, the boss fights are the highlights of the show. You square off against two-headed dragons, enormous swordsmen, and plenty of other steel behemoths and put them out of commission with special charge attacks that set the whole screen aglow upon connecting. The battles make for extremely memorable and exciting spectacles. I wish the game included a "Kiaidan Alpha" mode in which players would be able to fight only the bosses, one after another.
That's not to say that the stages themselves are unenjoyable. One of them has you fly over a gorgeous snow-covered forest as you contend with families of metal mammoths and armored, hoversled-riding axemen. Another pits you against troops of swift ninjas and caravans of gigantic demon-head tanks.
Admittedly, some spots are somewhat "flat," both visually and action-wise, but those stumble-steps are few and far between.
Here's a bit of a warning: there's a learning curve here, as it takes some time to get comfortable with the rather unusual set of weapons, and trial and error will be required in order to figure out which weapons work best in each location. Also, the game gets pretty hard as you near the end of it. The last level's midboss in particular presents quite a challenge.
You don't have to be a super-pro like me or anything, but you should at least be a decent shooter player if you're going to take this one on. But hey, if you aren't any good and you purchase the disc anyway, at least you'll get to see one of the coolest Game Over screens ever.