With sweet chip tunes and an amusing tongue-in-cheek presentation Rad Raygun offers a nostalgic albeit brief adventure presented the cream-spinach coloured palette of the original GameBoy. Rad Raygun’s visuals are both hideous and beautiful. Nostalgia fuels the fun here as the game looks and plays like it came out decades ago. Initially this makes it charming, but even after the novelty wears off it remains simple and amusing platformer.
Our hero, who’s a GameBoy shaped robot named Ryu, starts off with little more than the ability to jump, but rapidly learns new abilities. Ryu quickly leans to dash forward and back and over time gets refinements and expansions to these abilities. Each new power adds to the experience and it quickly feels natural to take advantage of reverse air dashes and Ryu’s other newfound abilities. Occasionally I wasn’t sure what objects were in the foreground and which were in the background so I found myself either jumping over false obstacles or strolling into walls, but this was a rare occurrence and I soon learned what was what.
The game pays frequent homage to Mega Man in both style and gameplay right down to the story taking place in the futuristic world of 198X. This choice meant I immediately felt at home in the world of Rad Raygun so making awkward jumps and fighting reappearing enemies was intuitive and rewarding. The story is deliberately ridiculous with the president sending newly created Ryu off to fight the communists. Bosses are inspired by celebrities and stereotypes of the 80s and are usually good for a chuckle, as are the cut scenes between levels.
The look and feel of this game instantly takes me back to the gameboy era when Sega was at war with Nintendo and released some hilariously memorable attack ads. My favourite (and the inspiration for the title of this post) was a GameGear commercial flaunting the then impressive full colour visuals of Sega’s GameGear.
Above all else Rad Raygun features a wicked chip tune soundtrack composed by FantomenK. FantomenK has a reputation for exceptional chip tunes and his work on this game certainly reinforces that reputation. At around a buck there’s no question this game is worth the investment. There’s little doubt that when I’m feeling nostalgic or I just want to hear some awesome chip tunes I’ll return to Rad Raygun for another play through.