Games of Summer: Radiant Silvergun

We continue our stretch into the final weeks of summer by talking about a game that, until recently, was buried deep within Japan, a shmup (shooter) classic that, for the most part, was only discovered by brave importers.  I’m talking about Radiant Silvergun, one of the finest games ever delivered by the lunatics over at Treasure.

Let me talk a big about Treasure first, if you’re not quite familiar with them.  This is a team of former Konami programmers who were fed up with working on sequel after sequel, and decided to set out on their own and make hardcore efforts that they knew fans would appreciate.  They got off on the right foot with the legendary Sega Genesis release Gunstar Heroes, and haven’t looked back since, producing a number of wonderfully offbeat games.


Radiant Silvergun stands out because of its ridiculous gameplay set-up.  You have access to a number of unique power-ups in the game, which you can use at any time.  These include random missiles that fire around your ship, lock-on lasers that wave around like light beams, and typical shooting shots that can do a lot of damage to whatever they hit.  Having variety of this type is really nice.

On top of that, you have access to a sword, which you can wave around to absorb incoming shots.  Obtain enough of these and you gain access to a super attack, where two gigantic halves surround your ship and crush anything within their range.  This also stood out at the time from other games, and was truly phenomenal.  Still is, actually.


The graphics, for a Sega Saturn title, are quite mesmerizing, as you’ll fly through all sorts of terrain, real and digital, as you battle vicious enemies.  The boss designs are sweet too, ranging from crazy gunships to a retro-fitted craft made up of blueprint colors to a mother of a final boss, who whips you into shape while looking a bit like the old-school Ultraman.  It’s something else.

As for music, an epic soundtrack was put together by Hitoshi Sakimoto, containing some thrilling compositions that really kept you upbeat as you entered each new battle.  It was so good that I bought the CD soundtrack.  You can probably hunt down some MP3’s online now.


Now, for the longest time, Radiant Silvergun was only available on Sega Saturn, and it never got a US release due to lack of interest by Sega and other publishers.  That bumped its price to an insane $500 at one point on eBay.

However, Microsoft wised up and, a few months back, convinced Treasure to release a special version of the game for Xbox Live Arcade.  Earlier this year, it finally arrived on our shores, and while it wasn’t quite a best seller, fans were thrilled with its arrival, especially with online leaderboards and other goodies.  You can get it for $15 now, and discover just what kind of depth can go into a shooter when the right team puts their minds to it.  We need more.  And not just Ikaruga, mind you.

See you next time on Games of Summer!