Name: Battle Garegga
Developer: Raizing / 8ing
Publisher in the USA: Fabtek
Publisher in Europe: Tuning
Battle Garegga is a fast paced shoot em up in the vein of games like 19xx: The War against Destiny. Players pick a plane, and then proceed to fly it into a number of highly populated areas of enemy territory. A large amount of enemies wish to prevent the player from taking this course of action, and express this desire by shooting at the player. The player takes offense to this event, and responds in kind by shooting a lot at the enemies.
And that is almost all that the game involves. Pick a plane, fly through a long level filled with hostile craft, and try not to die. This type of gameplay is nothing new - Capcom made an almost perfect version of the genre back in 1984 with 1942. But that doesn't explain why 1942 has had, to date, 4 sequels, with the most recent one released in 2000.
The reason that this genre of games takes advantage of new technology brilliantly. With every new chip or piece of technology that engineers can develop, programmers can multiply the amount that happens at once on the screen. More enemies, more bullets, more cool animations. And with every year, the vertically scrolling shooter has become more and more hectic and frantic.
Which explains why we have Battle Garegga. It's probably the most hectic shooter I've ever played. Most of the time during gameplay there is between half a dozen and 20 enemies on screen at once, and probably a few background details like buildings. All can be blown up, which naturally results in a beautiful burst of pyrotechnics. But the game is not just eye candy. Oh no. It's also incredibly challenging. When bullets start to fill the screen, as they frequently do, I'm quite astounded that there are people that can get anywhere near the end of this game on one credit. I can complete the game, but it takes more continues than I care to count.
The game features many of the common elements of the genre - you start off with a single plane (selected from a choice of 4) which can rapid fire a double cannon weapon. Picking up round brown icons increases the damage and amount of projectiles fired. It is also possible to get the little "riders" which fly to the side of the plane and fire when the player fires. It is possible to accumulate up to 4 of these "riders" by picking up shield shaped icons. The player can then choose the arrangement of them. The riders can be set (pressing button 3 switches between these settings) to:
- Fire ahead, but at diagonal angles. This is useful when there are lots of basic enemies coming in across the width of the screen.
- Fire straight ahead, at the same area which the main plane's guns are pointing at. This is useful for concentrating fire, for example on a boss.
- Fire to the rear. This is useful in the case where it is not safe behind a boss, and so the player flies round in front of him.
- Spinning. This makes the Riders circle round the plane, firing over 360 degrees. If you have 4 riders, this can be devastating to all enemies on the screen. It's effectively a combination of the three settings above.
- Homing. This makes the Riders fly away from the plane to hover just behind enemies. This means that everything dies very quickly, however, it kind of feels like cheating.
Each plane from the choice of 4 also has a special weapon which is usually suitably screen destroying. One plane has a standard bomb which pretty much clears the screen, one plane has a vulcan cannon which obliterates pretty much all ahead, one has a Napalm gun which torches things for a reasonably close radius. The most impressive special weapon, and, indeed, one of the best effects in the game, belongs to the last plane. It releases what I estimate to be close to 50 individual missiles, which float for a second before choosing a target and shooting towards it. This gets rid of pretty much anything short of a very, very big boss.
Speaking of Bosses, well, this game has plenty. All of the bosses are huge mechanical devices bristling with gun turrets and all are reasonably hard. There are a few really cool screen filling babes, but most are pretty standard big planes / tanks etc.
There may be differences between the parent rom (battleg.zip) and the clone (battlega.zip) but they are so small that I can not spot them.
Like all great arcade shooters, this is part of a series. At present the only other game in the series is Battle Bakraid - when I can get hold of the ROMset for it I'll node it.
The game was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1998, so if you have a Saturn I'd recommend looking around for a copy. I have a suspicion that it was probably only released in Japan though.
Overall, I would highly recommend this game. It's incredibly hard, it's incredibly beautiful, and it's incredibly good fun. It emulates pretty much perfectly in MAME and the romset is reasonably easy to find both on the Internet (thanks to there being so many sites with full MAME rom collections) and in IRC file servers and the like. Give it a try!
MAME parent ROM filename: battleg.zip
Parent ROM full name: Battle Garegga Type 2 (Denmark / China)
Parent ROM zip file size: 4.01 MB
Files in Parent ROM:
- rom1.bin - 2097152 bytes
- rom2.bin - 2097152 bytes
- rom3.bin - 2097152 bytes
- rom4.bin - 2097152 bytes
- rom5.bin - 1048576 bytes
- snd.bin - 131072 bytes
- text.u81 - 32768 bytes
- u123 - 524288 bytes
- u65 - 524288 bytes
MAME clone ROM filename: battlega.zip
Clone ROM full name: Battle Garegga (Europe / USA / Japan / Asia)
Clone ROM zip file size: 303 KB
Files in Clone ROM:
- prg0.bin - 524288 bytes
- prg1.bin - 524288 bytes
- 320 x 240 (V)
- 60.000000 Hz
Playing both the parent and clone rom in MAME32 0.67
The startup screen in MAME (for the specifications)
Thanks to TehBesto for a tip on the layout.