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Box artwork for Ikaruga.
Japanese title斑鳩
Publisher(s)Atari, Infogrames
Distributor(s)Xbox Live Arcade
Release date(s)
Arcade icon.png
Sega Dreamcast icon.png
Sega Dreamcast
Nintendo GameCube icon.png
Nintendo GameCube
Xbox Live Arcade icon.png
Xbox Live Arcade
System(s)Arcade, Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox 360
ELSPA: Ages 11+
Neoseeker Related Pages
TwitchIkaruga Channel
YouTube GamingIkaruga Channel

Ikaruga is a 2D vertical scrolling shooter made up of 3D sprites. Ikaruga is famous for its high paced action, its original shooter gameplay features and the massive amounts of projectiles on the screen.

In this title, you are the pilot of a vehicle called the Ikaruga (斑鳩, named for the Japanese Grosbeak) that has the special ability to switch elements between white and black (light and dark). As one element, you're invincible from that same element while being able to deal double damage to an enemy of the opposite element. Thus by switching to the opposite element of an enemy you increase the difficulty of the game, the speed at which you can defeat your enemy and thus your overall score.


Several years ago in the small island nation of Horai, one of the most powerful men of the nation, Tenro Horai, discovered the Ubusunagami Okinokai—the Power of the Gods. This energy emanated from an object he dug up from deep underground and granted him unimaginable powers. Soon after, Tenro and his followers, who called themselves "The Divine Ones", began conquering nations one after another. "The Chosen People" carried out these conquests in "the name of peace".

Meanwhile, a freedom federation called Tenkaku emerged to challenge Horai. Using fighter planes called Hitekkai, they fought with the hope of freeing the world from the grips of the Horai - but all their efforts were in vain. They were no match for the Horai and were eventually almost completely wiped out. Miraculously, however, one young man survived. His name was Shinra.

Shot down near a remote village called Ikaruga, inhabited by elderly people who had been exiled by the Horai's conquests, Shinra was dragged from the wreckage and nursed back to health. Shinra regained his health and pledged to defeat the Horai, and the villagers entrusted him with a fighter plane that they had built themselves, called the Ikaruga.

The Ikaruga was no ordinary plane, designed by former engineering genius Amanai with the help of Kazamori and the village leaders. Hidden in a secret underground bunker and launched via the transportation device called the "Sword of Acala", it is the first fighter built that integrates both energy polarities, and is capable of successfully switching between the two.

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