Played through Raiden Densetsu [Super Famicom].
Raiden was a staple of early arcade shoot-em-ups, which can sometimes translate to console ports with clunky controls and merciless “quarter-munching” difficulty. Luckily, Raiden Densetsu on the Super Nintendo manages to steer clear of these pitfalls, offering smooth maneuvering and easy settings with adjustable lives, bombs, and credits (at least on the Japanese release).
I had a lot of fun with this game - it’s one of the most straightforward space-shooters I’ve yet encountered on 16-bit hardware, while still offering fun variations in powerups, enemies, and stage layouts. But my affinity for Raiden Densesu ultimately lies in the small details - the satisfying firecracker sound effect that triggers when enemies take damage, the brevity and consistency of the stages, the bright red ship design that suits both the earlier terrestrial levels and the later space levels, and of course the incongruous fairies flying around the otherwise “War of the Worlds”-esque game to randomly grant powerups.
Raiden Densetsu is a fantastic pick-up-and-play game in the same vein as Strike Gunner, which likely found its inspiration from the aforementioned arcade title. And that’s where its true strength lies - not as a deep and memorable gameplay experience, but as a quick, mindless romp for anyone itching to blow stuff up with an overpowered spaceship.