Welcome to the latest edition of Co-Op International. Here I discuss co-op games that have not been released in the US. This will include current gen games as well as classics. We hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Japanese games – please let us know in the comments section!
My first installment of Co-Op International featured a region-locked Japanese Xbox 360 game: Onechanbara Z: Kagura. Since then I’ve focused on region-free imports, but this month we’ll be discussing another game that only plays on Japanese or Asian Xbox 360s. Radirgy Noa Massive is the sequel to Radirgy (short for Radio Allergy for some reason), a game that actually made it to the Wii in North America as part of the Ultimate Shooting Collection. Let’s examine how distressed you should be that Massive is difficult to import.
Radirgy Noa Massive’s story is something of a mystery to me, as it’s told entirely with Japanese text and a handful of still pictures. Normally I’d look up a synopsis but the game’s Wikipedia page is just a stub and there is practically no English coverage on the interwebz. Suffice it to say, players control a couple of anime girls (2P, the brunette, is cuter) and fly around shooting robots and ships in a futuristic city setting. At the end, they’ll confront a crazy purple-haired otaku lady. Compelling stuff!
Massive plays a bit differently from other vertically-scrolling shmups. Players have access to both a long-ranged shot and a short-ranged sword attack. Hold both buttons (all of which are thankfully configurable) and you’ll perform both attacks repeatedly. Melee attacks naturally increase the risk that you’ll get hit, but they’re essential both for dealing sufficient damage and for charging your shield meter.
That meter ties into the game’s big twist: the ABS system. As you damage enemies, the shield meter constantly climbs. Once it fills up, unleash it and you’ll enjoy a few seconds of complete invincibility. This also starts a temporary combo multiplier. Activate the shield again before it wears out and the multiplier jumps – from 2x to 4x the first time, and so on, up to a maximum of 16x. Once at 16x, you can lay off the sword button for a moment and then unleash a charged sword attack for 32x – tough to do in the thick of battle, but at least there’s an Achievement for it.
While Massive is a fun shmup, nobody will be impressed by its artistic and technical shortcomings. Like Radirgy before it, the polygonal graphics are extremely simplistic, resembling a low-end Dreamcast game. Even for a 2010 Xbox 360 game, I’d call them downright amateurish. Massive doesn’t sound much better than it looks; generic tunes and practically no voice samples fail to delight the ears. Given the low-budget nature of the audiovisual design, the loading times between stages are longer than they need to be. Finally, while the game does have online Leaderboards, you can’t sort them by Friends, greatly reducing their usefulness. Basically, the shoot-em-up makers at MileStone come across as smaller and less adept than genre leaders CAVE.