Armed Police Batrider - Raizing/Eighting

Armed Police Batrider

Main Review and Screenshots by Michael Miller
Second Player Review by Simon [Felix the Cat]

"I LOVE IT!!!"

You ever get the feeling that some game companies just do not want you to see the end of a game? I think that was the entire point of Armed Police Batrider (from here on referred to as APB). I just finished reviewing DonPachi for this website, and I thought that was insane. I have seen insane. It is NOT DonPachi. APB is quite possibly the single craziest example of a manic shooter. The screenshots DO NOT demonstrate the psychotic levels to which this game goes to keep you from beating it. You simply must see this game moving to fully understand it. I've seen some pretty crazy games (Batsugun, DonPachi) but THIS is just mean! To start with, the game is faster than any other shooter I've ever played (I'm sure there are speedier, but I haven't seen it), it has more bullets than any other shooter I've ever seen, AND it has better graphics!

Oh, the graphics! If this was any other genre I'd go on about how great it is to just sit and stare at them. You do that in this game, you blow up. A lot. This game falls into the same category as Batsugun as far as power-ups are concerned. Many times, you can't tell where your shots end and your enemies' begin. HINT: The ones moving AWAY are yours. Sometimes, that's the only way to differentiate between them, and even then it's difficult. Only Batsuguns' power-ups can touch these, and APB throws out that level of gun-sanity on a whole slew of ships. I haven't bothered to count them, but there are a lot (if you play on the third game setting, more on that later). One of these is the weird wolf-bat-guy from Shippu Mahou Daisakusen, Miyamoto. All of these have their own guns and their own bombs. Considering the amout of ships, this is pretty impressive.

You can select from three different levels of play. In the first you only play through three levels, the second five, and the third through all seven. There are also three different ways of selecting your ships. In one you select pre-set "teams". The other you can select any three from a short list of available ships. The final one has a whole lot of ships, but they are selected randomly. If the machine is set up for it, you can also select the order you take the middle levels in. So, how does it play? Very well. The control is spot-on, the ships are fast and maneuverable, and the large variety of enemies are all fun to skoosh. It doesn't have the same feeling of controlled chaos as DonPachi does, but it isn't supposed to. This game is meant to be one of those that will make the most hardcore shooter fans curl up in a ball and cry to their mommies. If you're trying to go for a continue limit, it probably will. If you don't care about that, it's not a problem. Personally, while reviewing DonPachi I used about 14 LIVES. Since I set it up for five men per credit (I was doing screenshots and didn't want to be reaching for the start button too often) that comes out to two continues plus four lives. Not bad for someone playing on a keyboard, if you ask me. Anyway, I probably used up 14 CONTINUES in the final boss encounter of APB alone. I wouldn't say I'm a great shmupper, but I'm no slouch. This game is just plain MEAN. Not mean in the rude sense, mean in the spiteful way. This game DOES NOT want you to beat it.

I can't tell you what the sound is like, I had it turned off. My speakers suck and I think it would actually be unfair to review it with my current audio setup. Sorry!

Overall, this is a great game. It's got the graphics, it's got the bullets, it's got the speed. It has it all! I'd suggest everyone check it out. Although I prefer DonPachi, this game is more than worthy enough to be put in the same sentence.

I've always enjoyed the many compilation games released by the soft-co's of today. I have loads of compilation packs, such as Thunderforce, Capcom Generations and the Image Fight/X-Multiply packs released, as well as things lie Super Mario Allstars and Sonic Jam. However, although they are compilation packs in name and in look, they don't really have much to offer besides the 'loads of games in one' theory. Batrider on the other hand is a more intersting compilation...

For starters, if you've played EVERY Raizing game out (like me) then you might be familiar with games such as Mahou Daisakusen, Battle Garegga and Kingdom Grandprix. Well, when you sit down and watch (don't play) Armed Police Batrider, you may recognise many things from many of the Raizing games, as well as some things from some of Toaplan's games. It seems like Batrider is a 'shove everything together and make it a new thing' game. And it works too!

You can actively pick from many new ships from the first two ship select options - the first one being Team Select, and the second one being a pick-and-mix customisation. However, pick the third ship select option - Random Select - and the game will pick from nearly twenty ships - the first nine plus eleven or so extra craft pinched from other games, like Garegga, Miyamoto and Gain from Kingdom Grandprix, and even one from Tatsujin 2! It's fun just going into the Random Select screen and getting a custom team to test your skills with.

This game doesn't half throw the firepower at you! However, there is serious limitations with the bullets on screen. It seems that, unlike the Cave games, Batrider's firepower is more Batsugun overwhelming, and can often obscure on-screen action at times. With Cave games such as Donpachi and ESP Ra.De you can see the bullets clearly, as they are very bright and chunky. In Batrider, the colour pallette looks like it was dipped in mud, melted chocolate and the dark selection of paints at the local DIY store, it's very dark and dreary, and the bullets often reflect the pallette. You can hardly see some of the shots at times, the firepower being so thin and dark, or covered over by your own insane firepower.

Control-wise, its very precise. Your ship is fast, nippy and agile, and can sneak through the barrage of bullets with ease. Holding down the fire button is your basic rapid-fire shot, while not shooting at all charges up your special attack, which usually consists of your side-arms staying in place and firing independantly for a small moment, which is handy for attacking baddies and hiding in the corner at the same time. You also have your smart bombs, huge screen-filling affairs which destroy enemy shots and damage all on-screen enemies at the same time. Someone e-mailed me a while ago, about Batrider, and he said that the game was so difficult he game up firing and set the smartbomb button on auto-fire. Not a bad tactic at times!

Overall Batrider is a commendable game which could be improved in certain areas - the bullet graphics for one - but all round it's a fantastic game to play on. Just using all sorts of ships from other games gets my vote. A brill game, improve it in areas, and it could be a top flight game sitting at the dinner table with R-Type and Gradius...


Levels 1 & 2:
Destroying carparks, flying past skyscrapers and lovely cloudscapes...

Levels 3, 4 & 5:
An arms factory, Palm Beach ruckus and the mecha battles!

Levels 6 & 7:
Another factory and the final stronghold!

<< Here's where you select your ships. It's not many shooters that will give you nine guys to choose from (and some girls).

There are even more when you select the other game type.

Excellent detailed review by Michael there! I wanted to review Batrider myself, but since Mike did a fantastic job of it, I just thought I'd stick my comments up on it too!

Batrider is a game worthy of playing, but unlike the Cave series of blastathons, Batrider's dreary pallette makes the manic setting a little more cheapo, and you will often get killed by something you didn't see. It bothered me a bit, but not enough to stop me playing the damn thing to death! - Felix


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