Called Gunner’s Heaven in its native Japan, Rapid Reload is a run-and-gun scrolling shooter with amazing 2D graphics, massive amounts of destruction, and lots of tough boss battles. It was developed by Media.Vision and published by Sony.
Rapid Reload was first released for the PlayStation in 1995 and made an immediate impression with gamers, predominantly because of the action-packed gameplay and the sheer amount of on-screen carnage. Outside of arcades, little had been seen on this scale before – at least in terms of the amount of stuff going on on-screen. You only have to play the first level to know what you’ve got in store when you play Rapid Reload.
You can choose to play as either Axel (male character), or Ruka (female character) and must blast your way through six different levels, each with their own graphical theme and sets of enemies.
Each character has their own set of different weapons and you can switch between them at will. The basic blaster is good enough for most common enemies, but if not you can resort to electro beams, multi-shot lasers, and flamethrowers. And if they’re not good enough you have a limited number of smart bombs that will hurt anything on-screen when you let one rip.
The basic idea on each level is to run and gun your way through waves of enemies, to survive everything they throw at you, then to take out each boss as you encounter them. Each sector has two area bosses and one final boss that must each be beaten to continue, and the key with these is to work out their attack patterns so that you can avoid getting pummelled by them. You have a limited number of continues if you find yourself being beaten.
A unique feature of Rapid Reload is the points system. Points are dropped by destroying enemies, and collecting them will increase the points counter at the top of the screen. As you collect more points the shots from your weapons become more powerful, but these eventually wear off as time passes. Occasionally you might even find a booster item that temporarily increases your weapon strength to massive levels.
Rapid Reload is a lot of fun to play and the presentation is top notch. The only disappointment is that there is no two player co-op mode. It seems like a missed opportunity to have two playable characters and no two-player mode, but it is what it is.
If you’ve never played Rapid Reload before I recommend that you look it up and give it a go.