Great Arcade Style Action And Cheap Enough For Just About Anyone!

Gekioh: Shooting King [Vertical Shooter]

Gekioh: Shooting King A.K.A Shienryu

U.S. Game Front

Japanese Version

Japanese Game Front "A"

Japanese Version from Hamster

Japanese Game Front "B"

Picture of the original arcade Shienryu...

This Is A Flier Of The
Original ST-V Version Of Shienryu.

The characters

These Are The People Who
Will Go Up Against The
Mighty Shienryu...

The characters

If You Like Gekioh,
Try This Game Too!

-General Information-
Version: U.S.
Year: 2002
Publisher: Natsume
Developer(s) and Others: Warashi
ESRB Rating: Everyone
# of Players: 1 or 2
# of Blocks: None (can't save)
# of Discs: 1
Estimated Market Value as of 01/28/2008: $6 - $12 (USD)
Other Info: This game could be bought for $10 the very first day it was released. This game is also sublicensed by Four Winds Incorporated. This game is also known as "Geki-Oh Shooting King: Shienryu" and "Arcade Hits: Shienryu (MajorWave Series)". Shienryu ST-V picture and picture of the characters is from Arcade Flyers, a site that is an outstanding tribute to old arcade games and gamers.
Quick Game Overview: Available HERE.

As the years fly by, it seems that 2D shooters have become a rotting corpse in the gaming industry that we just won't let rest in peace...After playing Raiden III for the PS2, I just sat down and asked myself: "Man...where the heck is my copy of The Raiden Project at?" I was actually quite disappointed with Raiden III, but I absolutely loved The Raiden Project. However, When I looked through a random stack of Playstation games, I didn't spot The Raiden Project, but I spotted something just as good. That "something" is the game that I will discuss now; Gekioh: Shooting King.

Published by Natsume and developed by Warashi, GSK was released in the U.S as one of those last minute games in 2002. Natsume has published and/or developed many wonderful games such as Ninja Warriors, Wild Guns, and others...and their motto isn't "Serious Fun" for nothing! Warashi is a company that is probably lesser known amongst North American gamers, though hardcore Dreamcast fans might remember Warashi for "Trigger Heart Exelica", a Dreamcast title made long after the Dreamcast was deemed "dead" by many (Trigger Heart Exelica was also released in Japanese arcades). Thanks to the mysterious powers of the old-school gaming gods that exist, GKS actually made it to North American shores somehow.

GKS was originally titled "Shienryu" and released back in arcades and on the Sega Saturn back in 1997...according to Warashi's page here. It (GKS) is a re-release of Shienryu with additional game modes and it is the only Shienryu game to receive a western release. You control two teams that make up the "Burn Dragoon Crew" that must protect the Earth from the wrath of Shienryu; A mechanical monstrosity created by advanced technology that is run by a regime that is invading Earth. Shienryu resembles a purple dragon in shape and can shoot massive beams of destructive energy. Each team in the BDC has a pilot and a trusty navigator. Player one controls the tough-as-nails pilot Herrenlose Katze (woman with revealing clothes and pony tail). Katze's navigator is Felis Catulus (woman with glasses), a woman who is calm and sensible...even when the action is intense. Together, they pilot a red fighter plane. Player two uses the clever pilot, Kluger Hund (man with darker skin complexion). Hund's navigator is the pretty boy, Chien de Chasse (has blond hair color). These four individuals must break through enemy lines and ultimately battle Shienryu in the dark depths of space.

While the general plot of Gekioh: Shooting King has been stated, it's worth mentioning that the plot during the actual game is nonexistant...which should come as little surprise when it comes to old-school shooters or most shooters in general. However, the manual for GKS makes no mention of the basic plot or even the pilots! Still, since GKS is a re-release of Shienryu, the plot is the same. The visuals are mostly the same as Shienryu as well, though GKS is said to lack the transparency and depth effects that the Sega Saturn version had (according to this). The game has "borders" to the left and right of the screen, leaving your eyes focused in the center. This methodical setup is used in numerous classic 2D shooters, but it can take some getting used to if you aren't accustomed to it and are more familiar with shooters that use just one border on either the left or right (to display your score and such).

Beyond the screen setup, you have a game that looks arcade perfect. Enemies possess outstanding animation and the environments are solid with numerous background details such as scorched Earth left behind from ground enemies that got annihilated and an enormous octopus robot making waves in the water with every movement from its tentacles...Flying enemies meet a glorious end by bursting into flames and crashing into the ground below...and all of this happens at blistering speeds. The game also combines sharp colors and generous special effects when you use your bombs...You had better believe that there is a lot of action to go around. Unfortunately, the audio is less than stellar, with some pretty generic sound effects and unremarkable music. The music isn't bad, but it consist of simple rock/metal war and battle tunes that just felt stale in stark contrast to the visuals and constant action.

To bring about the traditional arcade shooting experience, GSK has you go up against waves of mechanized terrors where bullets fly and only the strong survive. You have "Geki Mode", which is just the ordinary game under normal difficulty. You also have an easy and hard mode as well. The game has separated the difficulty modes because there is no options mode...which means you also can't save your game (there is no auto save) and any high scores you obtain cannot be recorded. If you are a competitive type of gamer looking to finish the game without losing a continue and saving your high score, the lack of a save feature may be a big turnoff. Also, the challenge varies since the game allows you to get extra continues with the push of a button...which might be another turnoff, though you are not forced to do that. GSK consists of eight stages. As you progress through these stages, you will pass checkpoints to start off at a certain point when you die.

You generally get three primary weapons and each can be powered up. Each weapon also has a different bomb. First, you have the Vulcan (red orb) that fires in a wide radius when you power it up. When you use a bomb with the Vulcan, your ship charges a powerful plasma cannon that sweeps from the sides of the ship and quickly gets thinner and thinner. Next, you have the Lightning shot (blue orb) that fires a form of chain lightning that automatically targets the nearest enemies and circles them, inflicting damage. When you use a bomb with the Lightning, your ship summons enormous energy beams to fire outward. Unlike the red orb's bomb where the bomb moved when you did, this bomb only fires beams near the proximity where you used the bomb. The last weapon is homing missiles (yellow orb) that lock-on to the closest enemies. When you use a bomb with the homing missiles, You create an explosive shockwave that surrounds your ship and destroys enemies that get near you. It doesn't move when you do (it's stationary) and it has limited range, but if you use it when close to a boss, you can inflict major damage. Like in other arcade-style shooters, bombs can get you out of a bind by destroying enemy projectiles to give you some much needed peace of mind. You can grab items for points, a speed power-up to enhance speed, items to upgrade your weapons and replenish your bombs, an item to bring weapons to max power and give you a shield to withstand an additional enemy attack, and extra lives.

GSK isn't like many typical old-school shooters that thrust you into the game...only to finish it in an hour or two then stop playing. GSK's strongest feature is in its replayability. Why is that? GSK offers a variety of other interesting and less traditional modes to the player in the "Bonus" Mode (which is available from the start). These modes allow you to play the game in different setups. I'll briefly explain each one below...


POCKET MODE: This mode allows you to play "Jienryu", an altered version of GSK done entirely in PocketStation graphics! If you are unfamiliar with PocketStation, let's just say that the graphics are the equivalent of those old Tamagochi pets you had to take care of...or a REALLY primitive Game Boy game. Jienryu is monochrome, has very limited music and sound effects, and basically you just shoot stuff. When you pause the game, you can even change the contrast (like you would on a PocketStation game) and images will "burn-in" as you destroy enemies and the like...just like a PocketStation game. Not even any backgrounds or anything...very interesting.

COMICAL MODE: Honestly, I hate this mode. It's the same as the normal game, though the music is mostly nonexistant and ordinary sound effects are replaced with that corny "audience laughter" that you tend to hear in old T.V. shows as well as other annoying sounds. The sounds can get annoying really quick. I found it to be mostly pointless...surely there could have been another way to produce the comedic effect that they were looking for?

STINGY MODE: As the name implies, the game is stingy on everything. You get one life, no bombs, and no power-ups...Each enemy also only yields one point when destroyed. There are only two stages in this mode and when you die, a percentage shows up to tell you how far you've gotten. Great for shooter fans looking for practice beating games without losing any continues and/or lives.

NO MERCY MODE: This mode is friggin' EVIL. Enemies shoot with unbelievable accuracy and speed. You get to use power-ups though...

SLOW MODE: This mode causes you and the enemies to move at only half your original speed and bullets are also slowed down. You can practice your dodging skills here though...because the enemies shoot more bullets to make up for the lack of speed. Enemies scream in agony when defeated and this mode uses a darker mix of foreboding sounds (Halloween-esque music) and colors to appeal to Goths and industrial rock fans. Pretty interesting.

ANCIENT MODE: Same as the normal game, though presented with an aged look. The screen is monochromatic, the sound is made to sound as if you were getting a bad connection from your speaker wire, there are T.V. scanlines AND dancing lint on the screen. To top it all off, it's difficult to know what power orb you are grabbing because they all look the same in color! The idea behind it was to give the game an antiquated feel, which is why the mode is called what it is called.


GSK's bonus modes add an interesting spin on the typical arcade style shooter and is fun with a friend, but if you've played other fine arcade style shooters like The Raiden Project, you might not think too much of this game. However, there is good news. This game only retailed at ten dollars.......TEN FRIGGIN' DOLLARS. You are getting all of that for ten dollars. I don't think I need to explain why that rocks. Even on eBay, you can score this puppy for less than ten dollars. The normal game plays like a traditional arcade style shooter and may not seem like much, but if you can't afford The Raiden Project (since it can easily go for 30 dollars on eBay), GSK is a DAMN good alternative to tide you over until you get more money in your wallet or purse.

- Written by Vyse the determined -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen Another Title Screen Top: Herrenlose Katze | Bottom: Felis Catulus Top: Kluger Hund | Bottom: Chien de Chasse Gotta love old-school shooters where tiny ships have the firepower of an entire nation armada... CARNAGE!!!!

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