Ray’z Arcade Chronology review for PlayStation, Switch

Platform: PS4/PS5
Also On: Switch
Publisher: ININ Games
Developer: Taito
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

The RayCrisis Series is a decent entry into the shoot ’em up genre. Starting from it’s sprite filled 2D debut with RayForce, to the 3D extravaganza RayCrisis, the series has always been a fun a challenging experience. Now with this Ray’Z Arcade Collection (Chronology), you can experience these fantastic shooters with some upgrades and, with the exception of RayForce, an HD upgrade if you desire.

From the very beginning, this collection feels as solid as you can get. You are presented with a very slick looking menu with some details about the games and after you select which game you want, you get a short introduction that gives some information about the titles release. After the game loads with a brief boot sequence you add credits by pressing the left shoulder button and you are ready to play.

Since these are the Arcade versions, there is no restriction on how many times you can continue or how many credits you can enter! Each game has an in game menu will show everything about the game, from a simple manual that explains the basics, and how to use save states if you desire. You can also find all of the achievements you can unlock, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason for them outside of bragging rights as there is nothing to unlock. You can also set the games difficulty and and how many lives you get per credit. You can set these options for each game, including the HD versions, however you want for the best play experience.

The first game, RayForce gives you two primary weapons that can be upgraded with in game power ups. The first is a basic laser that attacks enemies at your level, while your bombs drop down below to take out enemies on the ground. You will be engaging with more enemies on the ground than you will in the air, but there is a decent mix of both to provide a good challenge. Plus, it teaches you to pay attention to all of your surroundings, which is a theme in all of these games. You have access to a screen clearing special attack if you feel overwhelmed, but it only provides a minimal feeling of relief. The sprite work in the backgrounds is top notch here, as well as some memorable music throughout.

RayStorm plays similar to RayForce but has more enemies trying to take you out, along with more levels and giant screen filling bosses. This game takes the action to a 3D perspective and really changes the flow of the action. RayStorm also introduces a new special attack that is much more helpful in stressful situations due to it’s lock on ability. The HD version of this game really cleans up the polygons and animations to make everything look less blocky and blurry than the original. Both versions have amazing animations and really decent music that fits all of the action.

The final game, RayCrisis, takes a slightly different approach to the gameplay and uses a scoring system that is based on hiding from the enemies. It takes place inside a computerized world and the enemies see you as an invading virus. The more cunning you are, the higher the score you receive. Outside of the fantastic graphics and music, this one is the weakest entry out of all of the games presented here, but you can still have fun with it. Personally I prefer more traditional shmups so I’m not really a fan of the gameplay changes.

Overall, Ray’z Arcade Chronology is great collection of some classic Shmups. No matter which game you like best, you will find something to love here. The extra modes, save states and the ability to play the polygonal games in full HD are all great additions that make this package worth your time and money. Even if you aren’t a hardcore fan of Shmups, you really should give these games a try, as there is a little something for everyone. There is a less complete collection available that doesn’t include RayForce, and it costs slightly less, but you are really missing out on a classic without it. I would say just stick to this complete collection and enjoy this fantastic series in it’s entirety.

ININ Games provided us with a Ray’z Arcade Chronology PlayStation code for review purposes.

Grade: A