Raiden Fighters

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RF1 logo.png

Raiden Fighters
RF1 title screen.png

Title screen

Developer: Seibu Kaihatsu
Publisher: Seibu Kaihatsu
Fabtek (US)
Producer: H. Hamada
S. Mori
Music: G. Satoh
Program: Y. Kasai
T. Saitoh
Art: N. Machino
T. Sasaki
H. Azuma
C. Takahashi
W. J. Seo
Y. Yoshihara
T. Wada
Designer: S. Yano
Release date: Arcade
JP: November 1996[1]
US: December 1996[2]
Xbox 360
JP: March 27, 2008[3]
US: May 5, 2009[3]
iPhone: December 13, 2012[4]
PC: 2013[4]
Previous game: Viper Phase 1
Next game: Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive

Raiden Fighters (JP:ライデンファイターズ) is a vertically scrolling-shooter developed by Seibu Kaihatsu in 1996, being the first game in the Raiden Fighters series. It is known for its soundtrack and several secrets that heavily contribute to scoreplay.

Raiden Fighters was planned to have a Sega Saturn port in 1997 developed by Electronic Arts but was cancelled. An Xbox port titled Raiden Fighters Evolution that would have the first 2 Raiden Fighters games was planned for release in 2003, but this was also cancelled. A few years later, Raiden Fighters Aces came out in 2008 for the Xbox 360 which featured the entire Raiden Fighters series. The Raiden Fighters trilogy along with the original Raiden also made it to mobile phones and PC via Raiden Legacy.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview

Raiden Fighters has 7 stages with a single loop. There are no extends granted at any point.


  • A button (Press): Fires the player's main weapons and slaves' bullets.
  • A button (Hold): Charges the player's special attack.
  • B button (Press): Activates the player's bomb.


The attributes of each ship are represented the following way:

MOV Movement speed
DEF Defensive spread
POW Attack power
RPD Rapid fire-rate

Default ships

The player can collect missile and laser items, which add a secondary weapon and power-up the main shot. Holding the A button charges a unique special attack (how long it takes for the attack to be ready depends on the ship and secondary weapon). The ships start with 2 bombs per life. When used, the player can control the bomb detonation by holding the B button, where pressing it lightly detonates the bomb immediately and holding it for about a second makes it go off at the top of the screen.

Furthermore, "slaves" can be collected, these are option items that follow the player and shoot. Slaves can be destroyed by enemy bullets and collision.

RF1 aegis.png
  • Speed: Medium.
  • Shot: Medium width.
  • Fire-rate: Medium.
  • Missile: Fires missiles forward.
    • Special attack: Fires several missiles forward.
  • Laser: Fires short homing lasers.
    • Special attack: Fires a single burst of lasers followed by several of them.
Beast Arrow
Beast Arrow
RF1 beast arrow.png
  • Speed: Slowest.
  • Shot: Wide 7-way shot.
  • Fire-rate: Lowest.
  • Missile: Fires homing missiles. The missiles have a slight delay before tracking their target.
    • Special attack: Fires several homing missiles.
  • Laser: Fires two lasers forward.
    • Special attack: Fires a large laser. The damage is at its highest when the attack first starts.
RF1 chaser.png
  • Speed: Fast.
  • Shot: Narrow single shot.
  • Fire-rate: Very high.
  • Missile: Missiles are deployed to the sides and move forward slightly tracking targets.
    • Special attack: Fires 6 rows of missiles forward.
  • Laser: Fires a homing curved laser.
    • Special attack: Plasma Laser from Raiden II.
RF1 devastator.png
  • Speed: Slow.
  • Shot: Wide 5-Way shot.
  • Fire-rate: Lowest.
  • Missile: Fires slow missiles forward that release a 3-way explosion upon impact. Only 2 missiles can be on screen at the same time.
    • Special attack: Fires many missiles in a row.
  • Laser: Fires straight lasers that tilt towards nearby targets.
    • Special attack: 4 lasers rotate around Devastator clockwise (when moving left) or counter-clockwise (when moving right) and stick to whatever they hit.
RF1 endeavor.png
  • Speed: Slow.
  • Shot: Narrow twin shots.
  • Fire-rate: High.
  • Missile: Throws slow grenades at a diagonal angle. Their explosion has the unique feature of erasing bullets.
    • Special attack: Throws grenades at every direction.
  • Laser: Fires long lasers at diagonal angles.
    • Special attack: Fires several short lasers in a cone.

Hidden ships

The hidden ships have the following differences:

  • No special attack.
  • 3 bombs per life instead of 2 (Raiden mk-II/Judge Spear).
  • Bomb detonation can't be controlled by holding the B button (Raiden mk-II/Judge Spear).
  • Smaller hitbox (Slave).
  • Raiden mk-II and Judge Spear borrow all of their weapons from their respective games. They only have a missile secondary weapon and it doesn't power-up their main shots, instead this is done by laser items, making them take the longest to max out their weapons. Slave doesn't have secondary weapons at all and can collect items in any order.
Raiden mk-II
Raiden mk-II
RF1 raidenmkii.png
  • Speed: Slowest.
  • Shot: Plasma Laser from Raiden II. Starts as a narrow twin shot, when powered-up it turns into a laser that bends to hit multiple targets.
  • Fire-rate: Highest.
  • Missile: Homing missiles from Raiden II.
  • Bomb: Thermonuclear (red) bomb from Raiden II. Very long detonation time.
Judge Spear
Judge Spear
RF1 judge spear.png
  • Speed: Fastest.
  • Shot: Narrow twin shots.
  • Fire-rate: High.
  • Missile: Napalm missiles from Viper Phase 1. Sets of 2 missiles are fired forward that release several napalm explosions upon impact.
  • Bomb: Bomb from Viper Phase 1. Detonates slightly ahead of the ship into a large sphere.
RF1 slave.png


Item Description
RF1 item missile.png
Powers-up the missile weapon, grants 5,000 points when maxed out.
RF1 item laser.png
Powers-up the laser weapon, grants 5,000 points when maxed out.
RF1 item slave.png
Adds a slave, grants 5,000 points when 2 are equipped.
RF1 item bomb.png
Adds a bomb up to a maximum of 7, grants 5,000 points when at full stock.
RF1 gold medal.png
Score item.
RF1 fairy.png
Grants 100,000 points when collected, but drops a bomb item before leaving.


Rank affects bullet speed, enemy fire-rate and the duration of certain attacks. Rank decreases considerably after dying.



There are 3 types of medals that appear depending on how many slaves the player currently has. Medals only increase in value after every one on the screen has been collected, this means it's better to collect them one at a time.

Gray medals appear when the player has no slaves.

RF1 gray medal 1.png
10 points
RF1 gray medal 1.png
20 points
RF1 gray medal 1.png
30 points
RF1 gray medal 2.png
40 points
RF1 gray medal 2.png
50 points
RF1 gray medal 2.png
60 points
RF1 gray medal 3.png
70 points
RF1 gray medal 3.png
80 points
RF1 gray medal 3.png
90 points

Blue medals appear when the player has 1 slave.

RF1 blue medal 1.png
100 points
RF1 blue medal 1.png
200 points
RF1 blue medal 1.png
300 points
RF1 blue medal 2.png
400 points
RF1 blue medal 2.png
500 points
RF1 blue medal 2.png
600 points
RF1 blue medal 3.png
700 points
RF1 blue medal 3.png
800 points
RF1 blue medal 3.png
900 points

Green medals appear when the player has 2 slaves.

RF1 green medal 1.png
1,000 points
RF1 green medal 1.png
2,000 points
RF1 green medal 1.png
3,000 points
RF1 green medal 2.png
4,000 points
RF1 green medal 2.png
5,000 points
RF1 green medal 2.png
6,000 points
RF1 green medal 3.png
7,000 points
RF1 green medal 3.png
8,000 points
RF1 green medal 3.png
9,000 points

After each medal group has been maxed out, they will be replaced by gold medals worth 10,000 points. Gold medals can increase their value as well through different means: when nine 10k medals are on screen at once they will explode, now their maximum value is 100,000 points. This can be done in the train and final stages, though it's easier to achieve by discovering a Miclus as they release 9 medals. Dropping a 100k medal will reset their value back to 10,000 points, though the unlocking method doesn't have to be done again and the player can build back to 100,000 points any time.

RF1 gold medal.png
10,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
20,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
30,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
40,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
50,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
60,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
70,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
80,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
90,000 points
RF1 gold medal.png
100,000 points

Hidden bonus

By performing different tasks the player can trigger several hidden score bonuses. A message appears near the top of the screen when a bonus is done successfully.

  • QUICK SHOT! (10,000 points - 100,000 points)
    • Quickly destroy a large enemy.
  • DESTROYED AT A TIME! (100,000 points)
    • Destroy two specific targets under roughly 1 second.
  • DISCOVERED THE FAIRY! (100,000 points)
    • A fairy will appear when achieving multiple bonuses in a row, stalling the destruction of a large enemy, or other tasks. The fairy can be collected for 100,000 points, but drops a bomb item before leaving.
  • DISCOVERED FAIRIES! (100,000 points)
    • Similar to the above, but no bombs are dropped.
  • KILLED THE FAIRY! (10 points)
    • Fairies can be killed by the player's weapons when damaged too much.
  • DISCOVERED THE MICLUS! (100,000 points)
    • A Miclus appears when flying over a specific spot or by doing other tasks. They release up to 9 medals when shot at and subsequently explode granting 100,000 points.
  • DEFENDED THE HOUSE! (100,000 points x 4)
    • Forest stage only. Prevent the boss from destroying the houses.
  • DESTROYED HOVERSHIP FIRST! (10,000 points x 2)
    • Stage 3 only. When the two hovercrafts at the beginning are destroyed, some of the tanks will be worth 10,000 points if they weren't destroyed before.


When a bullet makes contact with the player's grazing hitbox points will be granted per frame, starting at 10 and increasing by 10 points every frame until reaching the max of 1,110 points per frame.

Mission bonus

Raiden Fighters is divided on 3 missions: Mission 1 (stages 1 through 3), Mission 2 (stages 4 through 6) and Final Mission (stage 7). At the end of each a special bonus is awarded, the total amount of points is calculated by the following formula:

Target Destroy Rate * Earned Medals * 100

Clear bonus

There is a 1,000,000 points bonus for finishing the game without using a continue.


Stage order

Normally, the order of stages 1-2 and 4-5 is swapped at random. However, by holding Up, Down, Left or Right when starting a credit the player can set them to a fixed order.

Direction Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 Stage 7
Up Forest Airship Battleship Arctic Train Flying Fortress Final Mission
Down Forest Airship Battleship Train Arctic Flying Fortress Final Mission
Left Airship Forest Battleship Arctic Train Flying Fortress Final Mission
Right Airship Forest Battleship Train Arctic Flying Fortress Final Mission

Unlock the hidden ships

Depending on the machine configuration, Raiden mk-II and Judge Spear may already be available to select. If they aren't and the player has access to the Service Mode they can be unlocked the following way:

  1. Enter the Service Mode.
  3. Go to RAIDEN & VIPER and set it to ON.
  4. Press Start to exit.
  5. Go to EXIT.

Otherwise, if Raiden mk-II and Judge Spear aren't available:

  • Highlight Endeavor and hold Right then press the A or B buttons, this will select Raiden mk-II.
  • Highlight Chaser and hold Down then press the A or B buttons, this will select Judge Spear.

The Slave can be selected by holding any direction when highlighting a ship and pressing Start+A+B at the same time. If Raiden mk-II and Judge Spear aren't unlocked, the method to play as their Slaves is similar to the one described previously.

  • Highlight Endeavor and hold Right then press Start+A+B at the same time, this will select Slave of Raiden mk-II.
  • Highlight Chaser and hold Down then press Start+A+B at the same time, this will select Slave of Judge Spear.

Slave formations

The slaves assume different formations depending on the sum of lives and bombs the player has. The formations are active for a limited time when using the special attack, but activate immediately and are permanent for the hidden ships since they don't have one. To trigger a formation, the player simply has to collect a surplus slave item.

This system is also present in Raiden Fighters 2 and Raiden Fighters Jet.

#Lives + #Bombs Formation
0, 4, 8 Slaves positioned ahead of the player fire spread twin shots.
1, 5, 9
  • Fixed position (default ships).
  • Slaves slowly follow the player (hidden ships).

Both fire narrow twin shots.

2, 6 Slaves move sideways and fire 3-way shots.
3, 7 Slaves home-in on enemies and fire at pointblank range.

Development History

Seibu Kaihatsu was developing the game under the working title of "Gun Dogs" before changing it to Raiden Fighters as a last-minute decision for wider appeal. Remnants of this original title are present in the final game and prerelease material. During the opening sequence, the Aegis has "GD-1" painted on its back, "GD" standing for Gun Dogs. Furthermore, the Gun Dogs logo can be seen in the background during the score ranking and mission briefing screens.

Version Differences

US version

This is an international release published by Fabtek. It has the following differences:

  • Raiden mk-II and Judge Spear are available by default.
  • A second loop has been added. The second loop must be finished in order to see the credits and receive the clear bonus.
  • Upon continuing after losing all their lives, the player can select ships instead of respawning with the one they first chose (this option is present in the Japanese version but is disabled by default).


References & Contributors