Phelios makes no secret of Kaijin’s influences – it’s plainly inspired by legendary coin-op shooters from the 1980s like Galaga. Just like in Galaga and other games of its kind, the bad guys assemble in wave after wave of hypnotically interesting formations, and it’s up to you to blow them to smithereens. Some creatures even lay eggs that will hatch into other nasties that you’ll have to destroy. And, occasionally, there’s a big bad boss character you’ll have to take down before proceeding to the next level.
Of course, you’re not totally defenceless. Your ship can blast your foes to bits, and you can pick up bonuses that will provide added ﬁ re power, special bombs, shield recharges, speed enhancements, points and other goodies. You can control the ship with the mouse, instead of the keyboard and move up, down, left or right.
An energy level at the bottom of the screen serves multiple purposes – each time your shield is impacted, your energy level drains by one-tenth. But each time you destroy a bad guy, your energy level increases. The more energy you collect, the more ﬁre power you can use.
Occasionally, you’ll see a creature descend from the top of the screen that sends a tractor beam into your path. Get scooped up and you’ll watch your ship go away but, just like in Galaga, if you then blow up that grabby critter, you’ll be rewarded with double the ﬁ re power as your ship is returned to you.
Kaijin – itself a variation on the Japanese word for ‘monster’ – is very heavy in Eastern inﬂuence beyond just core gameplay. On top of its three difﬁ culty levels, the game features three gameplay variants: The Way of the Eagle, The Way of the Tiger, and The Way of the Dragon. These modes offer different levels of ship mobility and different enemies to attack.
A lovely soundtrack and really beautiful, original artwork, scrolling backgrounds and tons of special effects make Kaijin a thrilling ride. This isn’t cutting edge gaming, but it is a proven, solid idea that’s extremely well executed and quite challenging.
Fans of old-fashioned shooters will love the frantic action found in Kaijin. And if you’ve had fun with games such as Mars Rising and Deimos Rising from Ambrosia Software, you’ll want to play this too.