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Portabliss: Raiden Legacy (iOS)


This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.

You can't beat a good shmup, and easily one of my favorite series is Raiden. I fondly recall playing Maverick to my dad's Goose for so many hours on the PlayStation port as a kid. With great relish I accepted the challenge of trying Raiden Legacy on my iPad.

Gallery: Raiden Legacy (iOS) | 5 Photos

Raiden Legacy bundles together the original 1990 Raiden, Raiden Fighters and Raiden Fighters 2, plus Raiden Fighters Jet, in one $4.99 package for iOS 4.3 and higher devices. While Raiden originally focuses on the battles of a super-jet built by Earth as the last and only defense against the "Cranassians," the Fighters series is more about some kind of intra-Earth squabbles in which you fight against an unnamed dictator's army in military vehicles.

I had a concern about touch-based controls going in, and sadly my fears have been confirmed: Raiden Legacy is not the ideal way to experience these classics.

The problem with the touchscreen controls is they aren't sensitive enough. There's no virtual analog stick at play – you slide your finger across the whole surface to move your plane. But your plane is nowhere near as fast as your finger.

You can place your finger directly over your plane and move it around that way, but there's the inherent problem of blocking things on the screen. As is the case with most shmups, being able to see everything at any given moment is pretty important to not dying in a fiery wreck.

Auto-fire and button location customization make the experience a bit less frustrating, though. Auto-fire is a necessity, because there's no way to hold the iPad, move your ship around with one hand and use your other hand to reach the fire button at the same time. I just couldn't really make it work without auto-fire on.

You're able to move buttons around, a neat UI tweak that lets you set custom locations for the bomb and fire buttons. It's a simple implementation, but appreciated nonetheless.

Playing each Raiden game on the iPad may not be the ideal way to experience these games, but they're emulated really well regardless. As a cheap collection of four great shmups from the '90s, Raiden Legacy isn't a bad prospect – so long as you can overlook the shortcomings of its control quirks.

This Portabliss is based on an iTunes Store download of Raiden Legacy, available now for $4.99. Raiden Legacy requires iOS 4.3 or higher devices and is optimized for iPhone 5.

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