Ikaruga (Treasure Co., Ltd. (株式会社トレジャー, Kabushiki-gaisha Torejā, 2001)
Publisher: Treasure, Sega, ESP, Atari
Director and composer: Hiroshi Iuchi – Producer: Masato Maegawa – Designer: Yasushi Suzuki
Platforms: Arcade (2001), Dreamcast (2002) , GameCube (2003), Xbox Live Arcade (2008)

I love Treasure. I can’t say all their games are flawless, that’s not the truth, but a good part of them is really damn good, almost perfect. One thing that surely typify this softco is that they don’t love standards and canons. You’ll rarely see a Treasure franchise with a follow-up, for example. Even if the market seems to teach everyone that a good-selling game must have a follow-up, this rule does not apply to the small Tokyo-based developer. This means a couple of small yet very important things: they love challenges and they hate repeating themselves, like some Paganini of the gaming world. Even in game-mechanics Treasure always tries to diversificate itself from the rest. They have explored almost all the existing action sub-genres (platform – shooter – brawler – puzzle and possible contaminations) always adding some new brilliant innovations, soon to become iconic. The controls in Sin & Punishment, the puzzle-integration in Bangaioh, and the color-based Silhouette Mirage and Ikaruga among the others.

What really strikes of the last one is the concentration of genius. Three people and a bunch of coders created a masterpiece of the bullet-hell shump category, able to distiguish itself from any other similar game thanks to the multi-faceted artistry of the three people involved in it. Hiroshi Iuchi is credited as Game Director, but if you do some searches on the internet you’ll see that he is also an appreciated composer, and as a matter of fact he is credited also for Ikaruga’s OST, a striking and powerful piece of music. Yasushi Suzuki is credited as Game Designer, but as a designer he is a true all-rounder being also a famous mangaka and illustrator (and indeed all the best Ikaruga’s artworks and art design come from his mind). And finally Masato Maegawa, Ikaruga’s producer but also Treasure CEO and founder. Three extraordinary people working on a small project could only give birth to a truly unique masterpiece.

These are some Illustrations coming from Suzuki-San website. If you already saw Ikaruga’s Wallpapers, you’ll notice the similarities in style and design.

And now some informations about this very portfolio: I took the screenshots from the XBLA HD version. I downloaded a perfect game from the internet and then recordered it on my PC trying to get the best possible eye-candies. To automatically remove te HUD on screen, I let the Xbox-player play it horizontally. Then I took the pictures and eventually turned them clockwise for a vertical presentation. This is possibly the only portfolio in the internet including all the stages, bosses and main events of the game.

click on the thumbnails for the full galleries