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The Ion Laser, simply referred to as the Laser, is one of the most recognized weapons throughout the Raiden Series and one of the two original primary weapons from the original Raiden, with the Vulcan Cannon being the other. It is a long, blue laser that fires straightforward at incoming Cranassian enemies, some of which it can easily penetrate through.
Unlike the Vulcan Cannon, which is equipped by the Raiden fighter by default, the Ion Laser requires collecting a blue power-up beacon in order for the player to equip it to their fighter. It takes on the appearance as a thin, blue laser that travels straightforward at a slightly faster pace than the Vulcan Cannon. Like the cannon, it can be upgraded to become more powerful, but it requires blue power-ups in order to do so since the red power-ups are associated with the cannon.
Initially, the laser will start out as a thin line that is reasonably longer (and more powerful) than the bullets of the Vulcan Cannon. Depending on the current state of the laser, when it is upgraded by means of a blue power-up beacon, one of two results will occur. The first of these results causes the laser to become notably longer whenever the weapon is fired; this is useful for when the player needs to destroy enemies, whilst steering left or right simultaneously. The second result may be an upgrade that adds an additional laser to the Raiden fighter's firepower, allowing for up to three (four in Raiden X) line to be fired at once. Eventually, the lasers will become thicker as the player continues to upgrade the weapon, eventually maxing out as a single, thick beam, which can devastate even the toughest enemies in its path. Please not however, that should the player lose a life, they will lose all the upgrades and revert to the Vulcan Cannon, thus forcing them to start the upgrade process all over from the beginning.
As one would expect, the Laser is more powerful than the Vulcan Cannon (as well as the Plasma and Proton Lasers in later installments), as it has the highest damage output, making it the fastest of all the primary weapons for eliminating bosses. Unfortunately, with the great power of the laser comes a cost, the laser has the shortest spread of all the primary weapons within the series, only able to being able to fire straightforward, thus leaving the player vulnerable to enemy fire from the sides.