Although Eighting's classic 1996 shoot 'em up didn't receive much exposure in the west, we can finally enjoy it on console. Battle Garegga may be a 2 decade old shmup but it's a heck of a lot of fun so let's start shooting!
Battle Garegga plays like most other shoot 'em ups as the controls are super-tight and the gameplay is full of bullet-dodging mayhem. It features basic gameplay in that all you primarily do is fire a stream of projectiles and deploy stocked bombs whenever you're in trouble. As you amass a collection of power-ups, your projectiles become stronger and you'll acquire up to four satellite options. These satellites are essential to your success as they have the ability to seriously tear through enemy forces. You can even alter their formation by the tap of a button in order to optimize their position for your given circumstance.
One interesting component that Battle Garegga incorporates is a rank system that you can monitor via a graph in the corner of the screen. Basically, the better you play; the harder the difficulty becomes. Not all shoot 'em up fans will embrace this system with open arms so thankfully, you can always turn it off.
On top of all this, there are eight characters / ships to choose from that each feature their own distinct array of weaponry. Four of these are available right off the bat while the other four are characters from Mahou Daisakusen and can be selected after toggling a certain option. If you ever get tired of playing solo then you can have a chum join you via local cooperative multiplayer, too. Overall, the assortment of characters is fantastic and the gameplay is tight, challenging, and incredibly enjoyable.
Battle Garegga's visuals are quite detailed and intricate with gritty and immersive 2D environments, hulking boss fights, and a variety of enemy types. However, one thing that I found took away from the fun is the fact that there is a ton of onscreen shrapnel and that the bullets don't look much different to it. Therefore, you may accidentally dodge some harmless shrapnel then fly right into a rocket. There is an option to make the projectiles stand out more and it helps but not a great deal, especially if you're playing on a smaller TV.
On the plus side, the music is just awesome complete with plenty of catchy arcade tunes that fit the action perfectly. Not only that, you also have the ability to change between four variations of the soundtrack: Rev.2016 Perfect Edition, Original Arcade, Saturn Arranged Version, and Remix 2016 Version. It's great to be able to listen to four fantastic soundtracks in one game.
Battle Garegga Rev.2016 includes so many configurable options that it's ridiculous. If you don't feel like tinkering too much then there is a variety of preset option sets. However, if you love fully customizing your experience then you'll be delighted by how many details you can configure. From latency reduction to DIP switches and the ability to edit the stage order to the fall speed of items; there's a lot to mess around with. On the other hand, there aren't really any extra modes. All you get is the arcade game complete with seven stages plus all of these options. I wish there was a variety of modes to increase the replay value like in the phenomenal Dariusburst.
If you're looking to experience a long-lost yet undeniably enjoyable classic shoot 'em up then Battle Garegga Rev.2016 is a must-play game. It may be over 20 years after its initial release but it holds up beautifully.
- + Tight and challenging classic shoot 'em up gameplay that you can enjoy with a pal
- + Great music with 4 soundtrack versions
- + Loads of options add a lot of value
- - Excessive amount of shrapnel makes it tricky to work out what are actual bullets
- - Lack of additional modes
- - Only appeals to hardcore shmup fans