SNES Reviews
SNES Sanctuary
Obscure SFC Hub
Planet SEGA Saturn
Magazine MADNESS
Retro Fire

Publisher: WarashiReleased: 6.27.97
Developer: WarashiWritten: 6.12.03

The Saturn had, and still has, one hell of a library as far as shooters go. I remember when I was first getting into the system that's all I ever heard about: its fighters, and its shooters. Here's an old review I wrote nearly five years ago... one of 5,972 Saturn "shmups"... I give to you... Shienryu

Bet 'cha a hundred bucks you'll be seeing this fella again...


The Saturn is home to many
shooters (AKA ''shmups'').
The general consensus on
Shienryu seems to be mixed.
Many believe it's average and
nothing special. Others will
contest it's ''underrated, under
appreciated and well, damn
  I fall somewhere in the
middle but more toward the
latter than the former

               Many folks feel Shienryu is reminiscent
               of the old vertical shooter Raiden. There
               are definitely some similarities between
               the two. While Shienryu doesn't possess
               dazzling graphics or mind blowing game
               play, it is a pretty damn solid shooter.
               Besides, it has one of the best covers
               on the Saturn, bar none

               In December 2002, Natsume released
               this on the PlayStation under the title
               Gekioh: Shooting King

But c'mon, ya gotta have the Saturn version ;)

                                                                                The intro is pretty hot

Ship looks like the one from Galactic Attack

                                                                                   Remember intro? HE'S BAAACK!

Love that statue head lying around

                                                                                    This gun option is the cheapest

Lots of turrets to dismantle

  • Graphics: 8.5

Early on the graphics may not
jump out at you much, but later
on things get rather eye-catchy
and impressive. In one of the last
stages, there's a giant white ship
that appears almost cel-shaded.
My brother was playing with me
and said, ''Whoa, check out the
cel-shading power of Saturn!
Albeit first generation...''

The bullets often times appear in
the blue hue. Enemies are well
animated. You can see damage
on bigger enemies before they
blow up... very cool stuff

  • Sound: 7.5

The sound is nice; explosions are fairly meaty with nice oomph. Music however is a bit bland
for my liking -- loads of generic guitar riffs that are OK. Nothing to write home about in that department

  • Control: 9

As in most shooter games, great. Controls are very basic (shoot, bomb). Ship speed feels about right which is something you should never take for granted

  • Gameplay: 8.5

Solid. Just solid. Although you only have one ship (some other shmups give you a choice between 3 or 4) the gameplay zips along at a nice pace; it never gets TOO frustrating (on the easier difficulty levels, anyway) and yet, it always manages to keep the pressure on at all times, especially in the later levels. There are lots of bullets to dodge and lots of turrets to destroy. It's just well done. One small gripe though: if you lose a life, the action stops and you either go back to a certain segment, or go forward. It depends on how much damage you did to the enemy ship(s) before you died. Say you're on stage 5. There are increments to each stage, such as 5-2, 5-5 and so on. Say you're on 5-4 and badly damage a mini-boss but he ends up killing you. Instead of going back to face him, in this case the game automatically takes you
to 5-5 even though you did not ''earn it''

  • Longevity: 7

I know I'll come back to it someday. Not a game I'll play every week but I'll break it out every
once in a while. It's not as replayable as other shooters in my book, but without a shadow of
a doubt I'll come back to it more than just once because it's solid good challenging fun

  • Fun Factor: 8.5

It's something I can get down for and just have a blast with. One thing about Shienryu that is extra special in my book is the incredible arcade feel it has. [Well... maybe that's coz it WAS an arcade game -Ed.]

When I'm battling the stage 3 end boss -- that red robotic octopus -- I can almost smell the aroma of cheese in the air and hear the joyous laughter of children as they're scampering about downstairs...

Love this boss... good times

                                                                                            Lots of big bad ships...

Can you survive this demon? Good luck


  • Loading times are quick!
  • Yes, you have the all-mighty Bomb
  • The bosses are all pretty cool
  • The last stage and last boss is very difficult
  • The CG intro is well done, putting you in the right mood to blast baddies and save the universe
  • 2 Player simultaneous play is a go!


Shienryu's a good, solid shooter.
Unfortunately, it finds itself in a
crowded genre. Saturn's shooter
library runs deep and rich. From
the superb (Radiant Silvergun,
) to the ho-hum
(Gekirindan, Sol Divide) it's hard
to get recognized in the crowd.
Shienryu falls a bit short of being
a superb shooter, but then again
few are

 is not a ''front-of-the-line''
shooter but regardless, it gets my
seal of approval. I hope that once
you finish buying and playing the
likes of Soukyugurentai and Battle
, that you give Shienryu a
fighting (or should I say shooting)


Special thanks to:

Mike B. from Destroy All Monsters for Shienryu cover

Kent Rittenhouse, as usual, for his generous Saturn screenshots