The History of Lewd: Lightning Warrior Raidy

This probably doesn’t need to be said, but we’ll say it anyway: there are very NSFW images ahead.

As we’ve seen quite a few times over the course of this column, erotic games don’t necessarily have to be visual novels. Indeed, there have been many great examples of games with erotic content that don’t have any story at all, let alone it being the main focus of the experience.

There’s an argument to be made, however, that just like with real sexual encounters, erotic entertainment is simply more enjoyable if there’s a certain amount of “connection” there, rather than being pure animal lust. This isn’t to say that pure animal lust doesn’t have its appeal, of course — but sometimes you want something a little more.

Lightning Warrior Raidy

That doesn’t necessarily mean every eroge has to be filled with dramatic love confessions, dark secrets for each and every one of the love interests and the looming threat of unexpectedly violent bad endings. No; sometimes all you need to take an eroge from “passively arousing experience” to “genuinely enjoyable game” is some lightweight dungeon crawling RPG mechanics, just enough characterisation to be interesting, and some stakes to the sexual content.

Enter Lightning Warrior Raidy, then, which first appeared in 1994 for Japanese MS-DOS computers, before being ported to FM Towns and PC-98 in the same year, and Windows 95 in 1996. It was then remade for Windows XP in 2005, and this version was eventually localised for English-speaking audiences in 2008 by JAST USA affiliate G-Collections.

Lightning Warrior Raidy is the work of ZyX, a company probably best known for its eroge Do You Like Horny Bunnies? and The Sagara Family; they’re also the company who brought us the distinctly “love it or hate it” violent lesbian wrestling of Ring-Out. Many of their works feature the distinctive artwork of Masahiro Yamane or Keiji Mutou, though Lightning Warrior Raidy’s art was designed by Kaneko Mitsuharu for the PC-98 version, and Kazuma Muramasa for the more recent versions.

At times, Muramasa’s art seems to be channelling Yamane and Mutou’s styles somewhat; perhaps it’s simply that ZyX had a “house style” they preferred and Muramasa was attempting to fit in with that. Regardless, Lightning Warrior Raidy — or the version you’re most likely to stumble across today, anyway — remains a nice-looking game, even with its age confining it to 800×600 resolution in either windowed or full-screen mode.

So what’s it all about? Well, you take on the role of the titular Raidy, a female swordswoman who has been travelling the land, doing good and attempting to figure out exactly why she has some sort of command over the power of lightning. As part of her travels, she reached the unfortunately named village of Sadd, which has been suffering a bit of a monster problem.

It seems that the monsters from a nearby ominous tower have been snatching away young maidens, and any time the menfolk of the village have attempted to rescue them, they’ve ended up very dead. Despite some misgivings about whether or not the same thing is about to happen to her, Raidy nonetheless steps courageously into the tower and begins her adventure.

Lightning Warrior Raidy

What follows is a simple first-person dungeon crawler — and I mean simple. Raidy explores and fights alone, and combat against the monsters in the tower is one-on-one. Your options in combat are limited to attacking, defending, using an item or spending half of Raidy’s current MP for a lightning blast — with said blast’s power corresponding to the amount of MP she used, and outside of combat it’s a simple matter of exploring each labyrinthine floor of the tower until you find said floor’s Important Stuff.

To Lightning Warrior Raidy’s credit, the Important Stuff on a floor isn’t just a boss and maybe some treasure; from time to time you’ll come across “adventure” scenes where you’re able to interact with characters, look around and, most importantly, obtain information. More often than not, the boss for each floor cannot be defeated without having obtained the inside gossip about their weak point — and that information often requires acting on before you charge in.

Another interesting twist on the usual modern dungeon crawler formula is that Lightning Warrior Raidy doesn’t have an auto-map. Instead, hidden somewhere on the floor is a map item, and locating this reveals a full map in the corner of the screen as well as showing your position.

Without this, you’ll still have access to your X and Y coordinates in the level map to get a vague idea of where you are, but it’s worth having pen and paper (or a suitable app) on hand to map out the levels as you go — particularly as the game starts introducing dungeon crawler mainstays such as illusionary walls and teleport traps from the second level onwards.

Being a dungeon crawler with its origins in the mid-90s, there isn’t a lot of environmental detail in the dungeons, either, so you can’t really navigate via “landmarks”, unless you have a particular eye for arrangements of corridors. That said, the fact that certain rooms trigger “adventure” scenes, as noted above, can be used as a means of keeping track of your position.

So what of the lewd content? Well, there’s lots of it. Not only is it made abundantly clear from the very first scene that Raidy is adventuring in an extremely snug leotard (and has a very nice bottom), but every time you defeat a monster, they’re stripped naked.

Oh, did I not mention? All the monsters are girls. Cute girls. Cute monster girls. It’s interesting to see that this trope — which remains popular in more modern games like Moero Chronicle/Crystal, Dungeon Travelers 2 and plenty more besides — has been around in gaming since the mid-’90s.

It’s not especially surprising, mind, since cute non-human girls, be they monster or alien, have been part of anime and manga for many, many years — Urusei Yatsura dates back to 1978, to name just one — and, moreover, have been part of worldwide popular myths and legends for centuries.

Lightning Warrior Raidy’s take on monster girls still feels pretty fresh and modern, though; the enemies you’ll encounter in the game wouldn’t look out of place in a modern Switch title. Apart from the titties and vag on display. Well, actually maybe even with the titties and vag on display, these days.

More significant lewd content comes around the time you encounter bosses in the game. At the centre of each floor is a room where you encounter the enemy of the hour, and they’re inevitably engaged in some sort of non-consensual sexual act with a female prisoner. When Raidy shows up, you have the opportunity to survey the situation, talk to the boss and finally engage them in combat; either success or failure in this battle will result in an erotic scene, though in the latter case you’ll also get a Game Over, requiring you to reload a saved game. No auto-saves or checkpoints here!

The lewd content will, on the whole, be a matter of taste. It’s all yuri, but there’s also a fair amount of violence and non-consensual stuff going on. Simply defeating trash monsters around the dungeons puts them in a provocative pose with torn clothes, which most eroge fans likely won’t have much of an issue with, but the boss scenes will likely be another matter.

The first boss scene involves non-consensual bondage and whipping, with visible welts on the victim’s body — and Raidy wastes no time in educating said boss on why what she was doing was wrong upon her defeat. The second involves non-consensual tentacle play — I’m sure you get the idea of the sort of experience you’re in for here, given the subject matter. The game doesn’t cross a line into anything outright truly “guro”, but there is a significant amount of rape and BDSM-style content along the way; be prepared for such things!

Assuming you’re on board with the nature of the content, Lightning Warrior Raidy is a solid and enjoyable game that is still worth playing today, despite its age. Yes, it’s very simple from a mechanical perspective, but the few little tweaks it makes to the traditional dungeon crawler formula — most notably the requirement to track down information on the boss’ weak point — helps set it apart from its contemporaries, and indeed from many dungeon crawlers that have come since.

And then there’s two more to enjoy when you’re done! But those are a tale for another day, I feel.

Lightning Warrior Raidy is available digitally from JAST USA, and in physically packaged form from J-List.

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Pete Davison
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