Raimais is a special game to me.
A constant throughout my life is loving the hell out of games that few other folks seem to. No, I’m not talking about kusoge, here – I’m talking about games that are actually good, but which are unknown and unpopular. Case in point: my enduring love affair with Fighting Vipers 2.
That’s far from the only obscurity that really stokes the flames of burning game love within me, however. Over the years, I’ve come to have a deep appreciation for Taito’s late-80s and early-90s catalog, with a few titles in particular standing out as treasures that have gone most unrecognized by even devoted retro fans. But while one of my favorite lesser-known games, Night Striker, has seen a recent resurgence in popularity — well, in Japan, anyway — there’s another Taito title that wormed its way into my heart that remains mostly buried in their sprawling back catalog: a little game called Raimais.
Raimais, at first glance, doesn’t seem like the sort of game somebody would develop a deep affection for. It looks like a fairly standard-issue dot collection maze game — a genre that had mostly fallen out of favor when the game hit in 1988 and seems even more dated now. But there’s a lot about this game that’s interesting, from how it aims to modernize one of the earliest gaming formulas to its rather unusual-for-the-time cutscenes and surprise ending… along with how its tendrils crept into another Taito title we’ve covered on this site. Not to mention its strange console offshoot…
Yeah, there’s a lot to cover here. So much, in fact, that I’ve actually had to separate this into several smaller pages. (Yes, the biggest article on gaming.moe so far is for a Taito obscurity that even Japanese players don’t discuss much. Is that really a surprise?) So, without further ado, let’s brave the labyrinth!
- Story and Gameplay Overview
- Gameplay Highlights and THE ENDING
- Odds and Ends: Unused stuff, the World version, the secret story continuation, and more
- Extra Credits: Youmais/Yuu Maze
UPDATE: The Raimais 30th anniversary tribute doujinshi, RAIMANIAX, is now available to buy! It features lovely hi-res art of some of the color images below, as well as all-new artwork from a variety of artists! I’ve got a very limited supply of other Raimais doujin goods as well, so grab them while you can!
Rika and Organizer by Ashley Riot
Mspaint Rika and Organizer by Ant.
Art by Nina Matsumoto
Art by Hayame
Art by Keeterz
Send me more Rika fanart! I’ll post it here!
Special Thanks to: Zekuu, Ant, Tom James, mauve, Suddendesu, mountainmanjed, and Mark J