It goes without saying that the Xbox LIVE Arcade is a saturated market when it comes to classic arcade games. Nevertheless we regularly get news about yet another classic game re-releasing this time sporting high-definition paint. RayStorm HD is the pinnacle of such statement.
RayStorm was initially released on the PlayStation 1 and has now come back onto our screens dipped in that high definition paint I was talking about earlier. It's almost a direct port bar an extra ship and online leaderboards, which means no more missions, no more frills and nothing to get us jumping out of our gaming seats.
For those unfamiliar with RayStorm, it's a top down scrolling shoot-em up where you take control of R-Gray 1 or R-Gray 2 (little spacecrafts) and your mission in each of the eight levels is to kill as many enemies as possible to reach a boss, then kill the boss using all your skills to proceed. This happens monotonously throughout the eight levels.
While relatively proceeding through these eight levels at speed, the story stays minimal with often just calendar dates to keep you on track. At the start of the game you'll be fighting on Earth; however come the ends of the game you'll move further adrift so much so that you're deep into space. Again this is barely relevant as the game mechanics don't change. What should be seen as a given in this day and age is, unfortunately, not as there are no co-op modes for you to play around with. I think this could have been easily achieved with a little bit of effort. Not only would this have boosted some much needed game time, but no doubt it would actually be quite fun.
Game play wise RayStorm HD is good fun in doses however after a while, a while being 20 minutes, it does feel awfully mundane. Constantly weaving in and out of airspace using the two weapon options trying to avoid the wave after wave of enemy fire will quickly get tiring. The easiest way to kill enemies is to move your cursor over your unsuspecting targets until you achieve a lock-on, and then fire your hyper laser assault weapon. It's the best and most satisfying way to advance.
Overall the splash of HD goodness is nice but in reality doesn’t grant the ridiculous idea that they can sell this game at 1200MS Points. There's already a wardrobe full of games like this on the market and almost certainly at the cheaper end of the price scale. Arcade classic fans may be willing to shell out 1200MS Points to fill their needs, but for the rest of us there are much better, and cheaper, alternatives on the market.