The arcade shooter genre has been really close to my heart for many years now. One of my all-time favorites is Ikaruga, an old-school styled shooter that was released on the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Gamecube. The game received critical acclaim from many Web sites and print magazines. Ikaruga became a very hard title to find and many people missed out on the wonderful experience due to the limited supply. That has changed with the release of the Xbox Live Arcade version which is now available for 800 Microsoft Points.
Ikaruga can be summed up in one word — hard. This is easily the hardest shooter I have ever played, but that is what makes the experience so rewarding. The game features an innovative "polarity" system that takes shooters to a whole new level. Waves and waves of black and white enemies come from all angles, and you can switch your ship to match their color. A white enemies fire will not harm your white ship, and the same goes for black fire with a black ship. This system may sound very simple, but it really adds a learning curve to each of the games five levels. The game becomes a blast when you master enemy movements and chain like crazy. The Xbox 360 version comes complete with Xbox Live cooperative play, leaderboards and the ability to save replays.
I simply cannot recommend this game enough. I have included a video below to further whet your appetite. I encourage all Xbox 360 owners to at least give the free trial a whirl. You'll be glad you did.