ESP RA. DE.

-Atlus/Cave (1998)

 

 

The Story

St. Christmas Night is such a happy time of year; people caring for each other, buying gifts for loved ones, and generally feeling good all over. But not on this murderous day in Tokyo! In the year 2018, three young psychics have been targeted by Yaksa, a psychic organization that “teaches” latent psychics how to use their powers. The head of Yaksa, Ms. Garra, wants these three added to her increasing force of brainwashed psychics. She also controls the army and the police with her advanced abilities. The three teens shall fight the Yaksa and bring an end to Ms. Garra’s plans for psychic dominance over the masses. For these psychics, this day will be a tragic turning point in their lives.

Yusuke Sagami, a 17-year-old “Hooh High School stud,” just saw his girlfriend get kidnapped by a Yaksa raiding party. The leader of the group was Satoru Oumi, once a psychic that attended Hooh High School, but now a Commander in Ms. Garra’s forces. Four of his classmates were also killed in today’s attack so Yusuke fights for revenge. J-D 5th, also known as Black Peter Pan, is an unstable psychic assassin from Russia. Her mission in Tokyo is to assassinate the spokesman of Yaksa who is speaking in the Tokyo Mall today. If possible she will track down Ms. Garra herself and kill her….with mind bullets! J-D 5th kills for the pure joy of it. Irori Mimasaka is a typical young Japanese school girl. A typical girl with super ESP, that is. On this same day Ms. Garra orders a missile attack on her favorite park to lure Irori out and capture her. Irori uses her abilities to protect her friends from the attack that drives her over the edge. The line must be drawn here. She has judged the Yaksa to be destroyed so that the world may obtain the peace Irori is desirous of. 

The three head towards Ms. Garra’s headquarters, the Castle of the Alice Clone. It is home to the army of clones of the evil Ms. Garra that she will use for her global takeover. On this day she shall meet her fate in the “snow illusion of the twinkle night.”                          

My Thoughts

ESP RA. DE. is a pretty original shooter. You have three ESPers to choose from: Yusuke, J-D 5th, and Irori. Each ESPer starts on separate stages, which show a character-specific event at the beginning of the stage. Each has a normal ESP mind/hand bullet attack, a special attack, and one where a shield surrounds them for a couple seconds then sends out a powerful psychic blast. There is no shortage of power-ups as you’ll constantly be collecting them from defeated enemies. For some reason the game tells you that you can only use your special shot once, but there is a small charge meter that depletes after use and it charges right back up a second after. The shield/blast power can only be used four times before it’s gone.

The shield will help get you out of some intense situations because the enemies in this game don’t screw around.  They throw everything they have at you right from the get-go which can really make the game tough. Fortunately, the hit-detection is very forgiving. You will only die if you get hit in the head from an enemy shot; the rest of your body is immune. This lets you snake through the screen-filling attacks discharged from many of the enemies, especially the bosses. The enemies and bosses in this game have some great looking designs. You have small fighter jets, hunter-killer-esque attack bots, large ships, army soldiers, mechs, trucks with gun emplacements, subway trains, future tanks, and evil psychics. Some enemies in the Subway stage are soldiers flying around in a personal attack hovercraft type thing, which looks really cool. The final boss is also very original. Ms. Garra psychically rips the head off an enormous Roman statue, which attacks you as she sits pretty at the top. When you defeat Ms. Garra, she sprouts angelic psychic wings and unleashes Hell.

Everything you destroy has a satisfying explosion, but when you kill the psychics you get a sweet burst of blood that falls to the street below. I think my favorite stage is the final one where you are killing the countless Alice clones. Each clone lets out a high-pitched death scream when they die. It’s funny in a twisted sort of way. The music is good overall, except one of the stages has some weird happy-go-lucky song playing as you kill everybody.

Something that I would have liked would have been a little more explanation to the three psychic’s stories. Between stages you do get a paragraph of text, but it doesn’t have much to do with the story. An example is “The power of ESP. One who has the power is destined for tragedy.” This statement holds true when you look at films such as Akira and Carrie. When you do beat the game you get one short scene showing your psychic after the final battle, but it doesn’t explain much. Overall this game has excellence all around, from its presentation and visuals to its sweet looking enemy designs. Despite the amount of stuff you have to try to avoid, this game totally rocks. 

Score: 9.0     

-Shawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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