Game Review: Ray’Z Arcade Chronology (Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5)

M2 are considered the kings of official emulations for retro themed compilations and here, they deliver the goods again with this collection of three arcade titles from Taito’s to make up the Ray’Z Arcade Chronology.


This compilation comprises of three Taito arcade games – Rayforce, Raystorm and Raycrisis. The latter two also have HD remasters. This is not the first time they have been ported to home consoles – in the mid 1990s, Raystorm was also released on the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation.

In the games, humanity has expanded it’s reach into space but one rebel colony threatens to overthrow the government and destroy Earth, so in typical gaming fashion, you are sent in the top secret prototype R-Gray fighter to deal with these idiots.

Familiar Ground

The game plays the same over the three games – you get six to eight levels to play through depending on the game, each finishes with a tough boss fight. You have three different weapons – a standard laser, a weapon to shoot things on the ground plus a special smart weapon you can use when you press two buttons together, but you have to wait for it to recharge before using it again.

As you fly through each stage, the primary weapon deals with the enemies in the sky. Your secondary weapon hits targets lower than you. There is a crosshair near the front of your fighter, which will enable your weapons to lock onto the enemy below you – a maximum of eight targets can be hit. Pressing the secondary fire button will shoot at any locked targets.

At the end of each level, there is a boss you will need to destroy before moving on. These can be very tough and in the arcade, would be the main cause of the games being ‘money guzzlers’.

Series Progression

The first game, Rayforce is your standard 2D fare, with a look of Galaga and Galaxian to it, but it’s also the first to have the two tier firing system, where you aim at enemies with the express purpose of using a secondary weapon.

Both Raystorm and Raycrisis take the games into 3D but the course through these environments are automatic – you only control your fighter moving around the screen and firing on the baddies. Even with the HD remasters, the 3D graphics haven’t aged well, although they are a product of their time.

Old School Gaming

The sound is very dynamic – the music is very good and the sound effects are equally good and there is even some speech in the game.

The game has a very high difficulty level – I found myself losing lives very quickly and having to continue the game after losing them. People would have been spending a fortune on these games in the arcade. When you start a new credit, you can select one of two different fighters, both of which have different weapons and also an automatic mode for the lower targets – as soon as you’re locked on, it fires for you. As the game plays, you can pick up floating diamonds in order to increase your firepower. When you lose a life, it goes down to the previous crystal collected – it’s a nice touch not losing all the power ups upon losing a life, but you do lose them when you lose all the lives in a credit.

Enhanced Presentation

M2 haven’t just tacked the games with barebones presentation – the borders of all the games feature fantastic graphics that link to the game itself, with scores, details on how many enemies you’ve locked onto and even tells you what stage you’re on with some information about it.

There is an achievement system built into this trilogy by M2 – you can get achievements for finishing levels, the game, getting certain power-ups among others.

All three games are reasonable, and I did find myself continuing the game after the inevitable Game Over and I was thankful I could keep adding credits. But sadly, despite the achievements built into the game, I couldn’t see myself wanting to play the games again after finishing, well, maybe not for a while.


Despite my misgivings about the replay ability value of the games after you complete them, and my lack of experience with the original games, M2 have done another sterling job brining another group of retro games to modern hardware. It’s well worth playing if you’re interested in this sort of game or you’re already familiar with the series.


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