24 November 2016

Review: Ibara (Playstation 2)

The year is 2000. Raizing is folding in to 8ing and their shoot 'em up division is dispersed. One of their programmers, Shinobu Yagawa, is approached by Cave and they want him to make another Battle Garegga but for Cave. With a little Cave sprinkles on top, so to speak. Five years later, in 2005, Ibara hits the market. Another year later it arrives on the PS2. This is what I have been playing for the last week or so.

Those of you that remember Battle Garegga might agree with me that the things that defined the game was three things. The rank system (complete with suicides), the sheer difficulty and the enemy shots that often blended in to the background and became very hard to see if you did not pay attention. These treats are very much present in Ibara as well. 'Wait a minute', one might say, 'the enemy bullets in Ibara is colorful!'. That is correct, but so are the backdrops and many of the enemy projectiles are still very sneaky and easy to miss. The rank system is like before, the better you do the harder the game gets and the only way to lower the difficulty is to die. Yeah, that is right, die on purpose. Victory through suicide. Nice. The music is great, the UI (user interface) is some of the prettiest I have ever seen in a shoot 'em up (bright pinks and greens and roses in different colors everywhere) and the voice calling out powerups is strangely compelling. So serious in all the chaos.

Anyway, Ibara is no walk in the park. I will be completely honest here, I have yet to see the later stages. I think my record is the fourth stage. I am by no means a good shoot 'em up player but I do enjoy the genre immensely and I will keep trying to beat Ibara for a couple of weeks before moving on. Sometimes I get that lovely 1cc (one credit clear), sometimes I do not. The important part is that I have fun and challenge myself to always improve.