The HBV-05-E Raiden is a playable Virtuaroid featured in Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Operation Moongate. It was one of the very first of the 1st generation Virtuaroids, the other being the MBV-04-G Temjin.
The Raiden is a Heavy Battle Virtuaroid (HBV), featuring heavy-duty armor and extreme firepower. While the defensive mechanisms make the Raiden much slower than the Temjin, it is also far more durable. As for its armaments, the Raiden is armed with a rapid-firing Zig-13 bazooka in its right hand, and deploys moving landmines called Ground Bombs from its left hand. The Ground Bomb slides among the ground like a curling stone before detonating with a low-slung explosion with a wide blast radius. However, the VR's most devastating weapon is a pair of Ali-02r laser irradiator cannons mounted on its shoulders, which were salvaged from 26 battlecruisers. With these high-powered weapons, the original purpose of the Raiden unit was to intercept and destroy enemy spacecraft before they could reach the Earth's atmosphere. In combat applications, the lasers can annihilate most thinner-skinned Virtuaroids or, at the very least, deal heavy damage to them, albeit the recharge time is slow and they have minimal homing ability.
XMU-05 to HBV-05
The Raiden had originally started out as a machine in the XMU (eXperimental Master Unit) project under the model code XMU-05-B. After the V-Project was established, the XMU-05-B was redesigned with the technology of the V-Converter in mind, resulting in the prototype XAV-05-t01. Designed as a fire support Virtuaroid and retrofitted with a V-Converter, the XAV-05-t01's skeletal frame was prudently organized within the scope of the technical level of the Temjin's frame. In the XAV-05-t01's movement test, its cruising time had lasted more than 10 minutes with uniformly numerical results, satisfying DN Corp. officials.
However, a main concern is the Virtuaroid's armament. The XAV-05-t01 was armed with a core-contained beam launcher, whose firepower proved less than ideal for the fire support role. A substitute candidate was discussed for the t01's primary weapon for the fire support role, a pair of Ali-02a anti-ship laser irradiator cannons. The Ali-02a lasers were a compact, spacecraft-mounted weapon used against enemy battleships, possessing immense firepower at short- to mid-range. However, the weapons were too heavy for the t01's skeletal structure, so a new frame had to be redesigned to accommodate the lasers. As a result, the Virtuaroid was re-designated the XAV-05-t02. When fitted with the Ali-02a lasers on its shoulders, the t02's mobility and maneuverability was substantially decreased. In addition, it was top-heavy and the avionics and fire control system, which carried over from the t01, did not correspond with the lasers. The development schedule of the XAV-05 had also proven to be extremely taxing, as well as violently hasty with minimal regard to financial expenses and monetary liabilities which would be racked up in the process.
The XAV-05-t02 was completed on its phenomenally short schedule; it was originally classified as a Support Attack Virtuaroid (SAV-05) in reference to its fire support role. However, a new code was introduced by the tactics division, HBV (Heavy Battle Virtuaroid). This happened following a review of the machine's immense firepower, especially with its Ali-02r (re-designated from Ali-02a) lasers. It was thus that the finalized service code would be HBV-05 and the new Virtuaroid was given the name "Raiden", which would be known as the stuff of legends.
Originally, DN was planning on manufacturing 120 Raiden VRs. However, the officials' eyes widened when the figures for the production budget were accounted for. The massive cost of the Raiden's development schedule, which was kept under a tight lid, had finally surfaced at that point. The production cost of a single Raiden VR is equivalent to that of twenty-one MBV-04 Temjins. Matters deteriorated when the Ali-02r lasers equipped by the prototype Raiden fulfilled their role a little too well. Even worst, Telefunken, the company which produced the Ali-02 lasers, already had its problems in the hands of the DN Corp, which had to acquire Telefunken's remaining line of lasers for the production Raidens. In the first place, there was almost no certainty for immediate production of Ali-02 lasers. It was hopeless, considering the time that it would take to construct a Raiden VR. No matter how early that a customer backs out, a Raiden takes five years (at the very least) to manufacture.
These problems resulted from amateurish work on the part of information management, and the Chief Executive Committee was outraged at this. There was a heavy amount of blame placed on 0 Plant's administrative staff as a consequence. It was decided from there, that the maximum number of Raiden VRs that could be manufactured physically is at 40 units. Furthermore, its ludicrous production costs meant that even fewer could be made. Only twenty-six Raiden VRs, including the HBV-05-D pre-production prototype, were ever produced.
LW: Ground Bomb
- Standing LW - Launches a single G Bomb
- Walking LW - Launches a single G Bomb
- Crouching LW - Launches a single G Bomb
- Dashing LW - Launches a curving G Bomb
- Jumping LW - Launches a G Bomb from mid-air
- Sliding Crouching LW - Tosses a G Bomb in a short arc before it then slides on the ground
- Standing CW - Fires a pair of high-powered laser beams
- Crouching CW - Fires quadruple laser beams
- Dashing CW - Fires two four-way laser blasts
- Jumping CW - Fires a four-way laser blast from mid-air
- Standing RW - Fires a single missile
- Walking RW: Fires a single missile
- Crouching RW - Rapidly shoots two missiles
- Dashing RW - Fires a rapid burst of missiles
- Jumping RW - Fires a rapid burst of missiles from mid-air
- Melee RW - Bludgeons the enemy with the bazooka in a vertical swing followed by a horizontal swing
- The lasers are arguably the most devastating long-range weapons in the entire game...except, of course, for Jaguarandi's spreading lasers and Z-Gradt's particle cannon. As a downside, they have absolutely no homing ability whatsoever.
- Flush your opponent from cover with a G Bomb or the Bazooka, predict where he will show up and let loose with the lasers!
- To play as the HBV-05-D Raiden in the Sega Saturn version of the game, there is a cheat code; At the title screen, press up on the D-pad, and then L and R. If done correctly, you will play as the HBV-05-D when you choose Raiden on the VR select screen.
- As with Dorkas, use plenty of dashing attacks. But, watch out for his lasers, especially if you're using a thinner-skinned VR like Viper II or Fei-Yen!
- Should you choose the Temjin and perform the Gliding Ram, the enemy Raiden will simply stand still and wait for you to collide with something. If he's directly in your path, he will hilariously absorb the full impact without any issues!
- XAV-05-t01 (XMU-05-B) - The earliest form of the Raiden, armed with a beam launcher that did not prove powerful enough for the fire support role.
- XAV-05-t02: The upgraded form of the XAV-05-t01 with a new skeletal frame to accommodate the Ali-02a laser cannons.
- HBV-05-D Raiden - Raiden pre-production prototype. It is distinguished by a white and yellow color scheme. Seen in Operation Moongate's tutorial sequence alongside the MBV-04-E6 Temjin prototype.
- HBV-05-E/k2 Raiden (Unit #189) - A customized version piloted by Sgt. Dash Pronger of the S.H.B.V.D. It features lighter armor for higher mobility, and the fire control system was modified for improved accuracy. Its set of armaments is the same as the standard Raiden. This VR is featured in the Hobby Japan doujin Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: One Man Rescue.
- HBV-05-F8S Raiden (Unit #207) - A modified variation piloted by Chief Warrant Officer Mimmy Salpen of the S.H.B.V.D. Originally, it had the standard Zig-13 Bazooka Launcher during the events of the drama CD, Cyber Troopers Virtual-On: Counterpoint 009A, and was later retrofitted with the two-barreled D.B.L.-11 Mk.4 Flat Launcher as of One Man Rescue.
- HBV-05-J22 Raiden (Unit #156) - The machine of Flight Sergeant Stephon Ivory of the S.H.B.V.D. Originally designated the HBV-05-J12, it was repurposed as a flight training machine. It has a problem with unstable flight characteristics, but the engagement program for the remote control systems remained intact. It is also armed with a beam saber for its Right Weapon and a Zig-13 Bazooka Launcher for the Left Weapon. Featured in Vol. 02 of One Man Rescue.
- HBV-05-SR4 Raiden (Unit #205) - This blue-colored Raiden was piloted by L'Den L'Tow of the S.H.B.V.D. Modified for high mobility combat, it is most distinguished by its blue coloration and a belt-fed minigun-type weapon, the CGS-9009 (Chain Gun System 9009 "Damned"). At one point, it was equipped with the rocket-powered Death-Gigant battle axe and Bolt Gotch shield for close-quarters combat, as well as having been piloted by Stephon Ivory. Featured in One Man Rescue.
- HBV-05 Raiden "Black Onyx" (Unit #234) - A Raiden VR painted in black and gold that was piloted by Kuroki Daichi of the S.H.V.B.D. in Counterpoint 009A. Although it is not specifically altered, this Raiden's potential is drawn out to its absolute maximum when piloted by a machine child whose Virtual-On Positive rating is optimized.
- Craig Blago's Raiden (Unit #127) - Mentioned only in name. This unit combined the HBV-05 series' firepower with an impregnable and bullet-proof defense. This unit was used for reference in VR development guidelines in the context of firepower. It, alongside Stephon Ivory's machine, were destroyed in battle, but details remained unknown.
More images to come!
- The Dorkas was also originally to be developed as a Support Attack Virtuaroid, under the XAV-10 code, before extenuating circumstances in the development process lead it to be re-classified as a Heavy Battle Virtuaroid.
- The Raiden's name comes from the Japanese word for "thunder".
- The developmental history of the HBV-05 Raiden series is strikingly similar to that of the SPARTAN-II super-soldiers from the Halo video game franchise.
- There were plans for both to be deployed in large numbers. The Raidens could not be manufactured on a large scale because of the paucity of the amount of Ali-02r lasers. The SPARTAN-IIs were originally supposed to number in 300, presumably a reference to the Battle of Thermopylae, but this was halved and then further reduced to 75 final candidates due to various complications in the UNSC. Out of these, some of them were either killed or rendered combat-ineffective during the demanding augmentation processes.
- Virtual-On artwork on The Video Game Art Archive's Tumblr page
- Raiden page on Sin Tama's site (Japanese)
- VR data for One Man Rescue Vol. 1 on the official One Man Rescue site
- VR data for One Man Rescue Vol. 2 on the official One Man Rescue site
- HBV-05 Raiden page on Virtual Century (Wayback Machine)