Scenes from the opening and character select screens of Soukyugurentai (unofficially also known as Terra Diver), a 1996 Raizing shoot-em-up. This is one of Raizing’s more visually striking games, with a top-down, 3D feeling world composed of bitmaps and sprites, not polygons. Because of the added depth, it isn’t quite as crisp as Taito’s Rayforce, but it also looks less muddled than their polygonal RayCrisis.

Unfortunately, the version of MAME that I’m running crashes entirely upon any attempt to actually play a level of the game, even watching the in-game demo. Since during this entire chronological journey I have skipped over other games entirely that were not compatible, I made the executive decision to not try a later version of MAME to play the game for screenshots. So, you get these images.

Even here, though, it’s interesting to note that while the character and ship designs appear original, the presentation method borrows very heavily from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the original anime broadcast of which had begun a year before this game was released. (Yes, that’s right, Evangelion is almost 20 years old; let the lamenting about our ages begin.)