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Rayforce logo.png
Rayforce title.png

Title screen

Developer: Taito
Producer: Yukio Abe
Music: Tamayo Kawamoto (Zuntata)
Release date: February 1994 (JP)
Next game: RayStorm

RayForce is a vertically scrolling shooting game developed by Taito for the Taito F3 arcade hardware and released in Japanese arcades in 1994. The game is notable for it's multi-layer gameplay, requring the player to engage with enemies in both the foreground and background layers simultaneously. It has been released in several regions, and under several different names, including Gunlock, Layer Section, and Galactic Attack.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview

RayForce is a 2 button game with 8-way movement. The player pilots the RVA-818 X-LAY craft across 7 stages to defeat the malevolent Con-Human supercomputer.


  • A Button: Fire main shot. Hold for autofire.
  • B Button: Fire laser


The X-LAY fires homing lasers at ground targets in stage 3

Main Shot

The main shot is a linear, rapid fire shot that shoots directly forward, and only hits enemies in the foreground layer. The weapon has 6 power levels, and it can be powered up by collecting red or yellow items during stages. Upon death, the power level of the main shot decreases by 1.

Lock-on Laser

The Lock-on Laser is the central mechanic of RayForce, and is used to destroy or damage enemies in the background layer. By making use of the targeting reticle located directly in front of the player craft, it is possible to lock-on to several enemies at once. Pressing the B button then shoots homing lasers at each of the acquired targets. The player begins with the ability to lock onto 5 enemies at once, but this can be increased to 8 by collecting the appropriate powerups. Upon death, the number of the lasers decreases by 1. If no lasers are fired, lock-ons will expire after 4 seconds.

When locking on to multiple enemies, an escalating score multiplier is applied to each enemy within the lock on, meaning that this mechanic is crucial to both scoring and survival.


Rayforce red.png
Red Shot Powerup
Collect 3 to power up the Main Shot by 1 level
Rayforce yellow.png
Yellow Shot Powerup
Collect 1 to immediately power up the Main Shot by 1 level
Rayforce laser.png
Laser Powerup
Collect to increase the number of lock-on lasers by 1
Rayforce capsule.png
Recovery Capsule
Appears after dying. May contain either a Red shot powerup, or a Laser powerup


Area 1: "Red Power to Pierce Through"

Area Target: Unnamed Battleship

Area 2: "The Gravity of Blue Side"

Area Target: Guira-Sol

Area 3: "The Phantasm of Silver"

Area Target: Giga

Area 4: "The Fissure of Consciousness"

Area Target: G.P.M.S.-2 (Ground Performed Mad Shell)

Area 5: "Toward the Darkness"

Area Target: Odin

Area 6: "The End of Deep Layer"

Area Target: Dynamo

Area 7: "Releasing Infinitely"

Area Target: Con-Human


Laser Multiplier

When the player locks on to multiple targets, a score multiplier is applied to each enemy, according to the following table:

Laser Multiplier
1st x1
2nd x2
3rd x4
4th x8
5th x16
6th x32
7th x64
8th x128

Therefore, the player should aim to always lock onto 8 enemies at a time, and the locks should be constructed such that the most valuable enemies (ie. highest base value) are the final targets to be acquired. The maximum score awarded for a single enemy is capped at 99900.

Once the player has reached max shot power, each additional shot powerup collected will award a point bonus instead. The bonus starts at 2000, and increases by 1000 for each additional powerup collected, up to maximum value of 10000. The same is true of laser powerups, which also increase in value up to 10000. The value of the excess powerups resets when the player dies, so staying alive is especially important for scoreplay.


An extra life is awarded at 1 million points, and then another at 2 million points.


RayForce received a sequel, RayStorm, which was released in 1996. This was followed up by a third game in the series, RayCrisis, released 3 years later in 1999. A more direct sequel to RayForce, entitled R-Gear, was also in development at Taito at some point after the release of the original game, but this project was cancelled in favour of RayStorm.

RayForce has inspired a number of other games since its release, such as Kamui, which also utilises a two-layer system, and the Panzer Dragoon series.[1]


RayForce was ported to the Sega Saturn as Layer Section in 1994. In NA and EU territories, the Saturn port was renamed again to Galactic Attack, although the Windows port of the game retained the name Layer Section.[2]

The entire Ray series was ported to the Nintendo Switch and Sony Playstation 4 consoles in March 2023, in a single collection entitled Ray’z Arcade Chronology.[3]


  1. "Panzer Dragoon Saga: An oral history" at polygon.com. Retrieved 2022.10.26
  2. "Galactic Attack" at mobygames.com. Retrieved 2022.10.26
  3. "Ray’z Arcade Chronology" at taito.co.jp. Retrieved 2023.04.09