Major Miclus Moments

I just don't think that kids today know enough about Miclus. I'm sure they're familiar with video-game mascots like Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, Jack Frost, Wonder Boy, Randar, G-Mantle, Disk-Kun, and the internationally famous duo of Rei Misazaki and Chris [LAST NAME NOT TRANSLATED YET], but Miclus remains obscure. That's understandable, though there was a time when you could find Miclus in just about every arcade worth visiting.

Miclus is a mostly blue dragon devised by Seibu Kaihatsu. Apparently without an official gender, the creature first appeared as the final boss in Wiz, a 1985 side-scrolling arcade game with a pointy-hatted protagonist and an unbearably repetitive soundtrack.

Miclus had more exposure in Raiden, Seibu Kaihatsu's landmark vertical shooter. By the early 1990s, Raiden was everywhere: full-blown arcades, mini-golf centers, bowling alleys, Chuck E. Cheeses, knock-off Chuck E. Cheeses, laundromats, 7-Elevens, and anyplace else that needed a decent coin-eating attraction wherein a lone jet dodged and blasted several hi-tech armies. Miclus appears briefly as a bonus icon; the player usually grabs medals (which always looked like stubby bombs to me) for points, but Miclus shows up for an extra score boost at times. You'll usually see it by the second level, but it'll appear on the first if you explode too often.

Later Raiden games give Miclus bigger roles. Raiden Fighters 2 and Raiden Fighters Jet make it a playable character that sweeps the screen with fiery breath. There are other ships to choose, but Miclus is clearly the best.

That aside, my favorite Miclus appearance comes in the Japanese manual for The Raiden Project.

While it's not a highlight of the PlayStation's first year, The Raiden Project was comforting at the time. Many early PlayStation games showed us fancy 3-D effects that would age rapidly, but The Raiden Project revealed a more enduring advantage of Sony's new system: letting us play nearly perfect renditions of older arcade games. The Raiden Project offers the original game and Raiden II in arcade-faithful style, aside from some loading times. Its default presentation puts big borders on the screen to show all of the vertical playfield, but you can turn your TV on its side to get a more accurate full-set look. That's where Miclus comes in.

The manual's last pages find the fat little dragon delivering a warning about flipping your TV for  arcade mode. On the left, Miclus turns away in disgust from an anthropomorphized and improperly rotated television. On the right, Miclus looks on in approval. Or maybe it's inspecting that humanoid TV for genitalia and other Videodrome-like abnormalities.

This Miclus comic wasn't necessary for the North American version of The Raiden Project. Sony technically left in the full-screen mode, but with only side-scrolling controls. They didn't want customers damaging their TVs. And yet I think Miclus could've given Sony airtight legal exoneration. If a tiny dragon cautions you about rotating your set, it's your own fault if you don't listen.


  1. Neat, I never knew what the dragon in Raiden Project was about--now I do!

    The bit here with the screens says not to turn your TV on its side unless it is a TV specifically designed to do so, or else the TV could be damaged. Neither image depicts correct rotation!

  2. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Hey man, always great when you write a new post, but when are you going to review another game or anime again? There's got to be something out there with artistic merit worth your while?

    Furthmore, I found your site but looking for reviews of a certain anime.

    In particular, I'd love to see your views of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, considering you've reviewed several other of Kawajiri's other works.

    - Terramax

  3. Well, most of my game reviews go to a place that pays me for them; right now that place is Anime News Network.

    Anime reviews, though... yeah, it's been too long since I did one of those.

  4. Bratwurst1:26 PM

    The illustrated caution of rotating CRT televisions is probably referring to cheaper sets that don't have the proper structural support inside to keep the tube (or chassis) from cracking when they're not upright, or sets that don't automatically degauss themselves. In such cases you'd leave the television off for a while before changing its orientation to preserve its color calibration, relative to the earth's magnetic field.

    Lil' dragon guy's neat.

  5. sometimes we forget how hard this can all be for a small child. Thanks for this insightful post. We have not had to move countries, but my kids do attend an immersion school.

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