JOURNAL

February 14th 2017, Tuesday

After a few quick learning sessions and a couple of attempts I finally unlocked Stage Select on Gradius IV by playing on the easiest difficulty with maxed out number of lives and completing the game on a single credit.

Now the real process of getting to know the game begins! Stage layouts are already familiar due to the previous practice. What lies ahead of me, I wonder?

On another note, last week I tried to get a selfie with my daughter in my gaming room, but she wouldn't look at anything other than the TV running Gradius IV... Is that a sign that she'll want to play with me in the future?



February 2nd 2017, Thursday

Last night I fired up Gradius IV on the Playstation 2 for the first time with a 1CC in mind.

I've been itching to play this game and I've also been warned about how hard it is, so I'll be taking my time to learn it. The little I have of it, anyway.

I'll try to chronicle my evolution here whenever possible.
Let's see how long it takes!


November 29th 2016, Tuesday

So my baby girl is here.
I couldn’t be happier since she’s everything I expected and more.
:)

We’ve already been talking about how she’s gonna join daddy in some co-op shmup action very soon. Of course she still talks in baby-language and daddy in grownup-language, but I know now, more than ever, that true love knows no barriers.


Strangely enough, I got some pretty decent shmup action this first couple of months, basically because both her grandmothers spent some time with us and allowed me to have a few bouts of totally unexpected free daddy leisure. Naturally, after they left I had to step up and fully attend to my new daddy duties, so I predict some unpredictable shmup slump from now on.

Weekly sessions, perhaps? I say this because after a whole blank week I was finally able to have a little fun with XII Zeal last night.

Cheers!


September 6th 2016, Tuesday

Lest I forget, let it be known that my modded European Super Famicom runs on a 220 V rated voltage. You never know when you're gonna have to remember this info again once the console has returned to its box, so that you don't lose an hour trying to figure out what's going on. Right?

Anyway, I have set up my Xbox 360 in the living room, right beside the Xbox One, just for ease of access in the upcoming weeks. The Xbox One is being used almost exclusively for Netflix, but I hope to at least be able to clear my head - if need be - with one of the 360 discs I shoved into the drawer.


July 20th 2016, Wednesday

Rendering Ranger R2 keeps freezing out of nowhere on my US SNES. This means I'll have to dig out my modded European Super Famicom that's been boxed for years. Does it work, I wonder?

And I must be very lazy because I still haven't tested the Dariusburst Chronicle Saviors I purchased on the Steam summer sale. That also reminds me I should try G Darius soon.


June 1st 2016, Wednesday

Last night I dusted off both my Xbox 360 and Ketsui in order to play it alongside some friends from a close online group. I tried to use the Panzer Jager right away, being quickly massacred due to its faster speed and me running into bullets as if they were magnets.

Then I switched back to Tiger Schwert and reached the boss in stage 4 practically twice in a row, kinda surprised by how natural it felt even though my controller isn’t in great shape, randomly making me a sitting duck whenever I had to move diagonally to the right. Both realizations (how far I got + shitty controller) kinda made me eager to go for the Playstation 3 version and try to trigger the easier Tsuujou loop - the one that requires players to die or use bombs no more than 6 times.

Our little contest should run for two weeks, so that’s the time window I intend to loosely dedicate to Ketsui. I’m not going to practice, but I’ll try to find a good replay to see how to better deal with the 4th and 5th bosses.


May 25th 2016, Wednesday

Heh.

Today I finally entered stage 7 of Raystorm on a single life for the very first time. It was all good and beautiful to see that prick mecha boss burning down to pieces, but then I got greedy. And it all fell apart before the stage was over.

Next time.


May 9th 2016, Monday

Coming out of a lethargic period where my shmup stamina was at an all-time low, this weekend I finally had a great time testing some games and practicing Raystorm.

Now I'm gonna try to seize momentum and patiently drill towards finally bending the game's rank. I feel it coming, it's close enough already. Greed, I command you to leave my body! I command you! Leave me be with survival my old friend!


March 2nd 2016, Wednesday

Since a couple of days ago I have started real training on Raystorm for the Japanese Playstation.

By real training I mean proper practice with the aid of an emulator and a few savestates (ePSXe 1.9.25). I can already feel a level of progress I haven't felt at all by exclusively playing on console years ago, an experience that's bound to drive any man pursuing a 1CC in this game virtually insane. Those guys at Taito were evil bastards back then, I'll tell you that.

Let's see how long it takes for me to break it or once again give up.


February 2nd 2016, Tuesday

I’m at a collecting crossroads right now.

The main question is: should I get an Xbox One just for Raiden V? I don’t fancy the idea of having a new console just for a single game, but at the same time my collecting soul itches. On the other hand, I still need to get through all of the Raidens I haven’t played before tackling the fifth chapter, which means it will stay untouched for a while…

Looking back on the older games, I don’t have anywhere else to go to with my collection. Recently I scored a great addition and I see myself finally considering it complete for the systems I own, from the Sega Master System onwards. Plus Super Fighter Team finally released an *official* version of Magic Girl, the only Mega Drive shooter I had without proper box and instructions.

Yeah, I believe I have come a long way since I bought Darius II from Mercado Livre almost ten years ago. :)


December 30th 2015, Wednesday

STGT '15 is done!

Mainly thanks to the great efforts of fellow shmupper Perikles, team Irem Ironics finished STGT in 3rd place. 3rd place was also his personal ranking amongst all players, whereas Macias finished 10th and I was ranked 15th.

More than the competition itself, I guess the most important thing about the STGT is the camaraderie formed or strenghtened between shmuppers from all teams and of all skill levels. Granted, the overall participation waned in the end as usual. That would've happened anyway regardless of the quality of the chosen shmups, that's why we thank trap15 for running the show and doing a superb job despite his dubious taste for games. STGT is great, but playing five tough games during only five weeks is extremely demanding. I was one of the players whose stamina had pretty much dried out by the time people were playing Gunnail, so even if real life wasn't in my way I don't think I'd have performed any better than I did.

2016 is knocking at our door, and so are the new achievements waiting to be conquered. What's in store for us? May we all live up to our challenges. Buildings fall, but we're standing tall where only chimneys remain.

Prosit!


December 18th 2015, Friday

The final game of the STGT is Gunnail.

The good news about it is that this STGT is finally coming to a close. The bad news is that I haven't even played it. In fact, I haven't played anything since Monday.

Sorry team, I am a busy lazy hack.


December 10th 2015, Thursday

After the Strikers 1945 round Irem Ironics recovered a little and ended on 4th overall. I adopted Bf-109 as the plane of choice this time and got a basic 2-1 score, which I intend to flesh out a little in the upcoming days on the Playstation port.

Now we are supposed to have fun with Zing Zing Zip. It's an odd and cheesy mix of Raiden and Taito verticals, mainly Master of Weapon for the atrocious horizontal bullet wobble. It's a 1-loop game that's fairly hard from stage 2 onwards, so let's see how it goes...


December 2nd 2015, Wednesday

We were knocked down to 5th place last week.

Being overloaded with real life and pinkeye (!) also didn't help on my side of the ring. I had only a couple of practice sessions on Bee Storm, so I wasn't able to contribute to the team at all.

In the 3rd week we're playing Strikers 1945. This time I plan on getting more active, and I can also use the MAME practice to finally tackle the Playstation port afterwards.


November 26th 2015, Thursday

STGT goes into its second week with Dodonpachi II - Bee Storm, a game I would never play under normal circumstances. A bastard entry in the most famous Cave franchise, it's actually rather engaging in how it infuses different mechanics into the rearranged graphical assets lifted from Dodonpachi.

While we did finish the first week in first place, I don't see myself performing as decently as I did on Sand Scorpion (reached stage 2-4, fueled by beer!), which is of course a much easier game. So I'm counting on my mates to keep the momentum!


November 19th 2015, Thursday

STGT 2015 has started with Sand Scorpion.

In many ways it looks like Raiden, but unfortunately it lacks the finesse of Seibu Kaihatsu's classic. And I haven't even sat down to play it properly, which I hope to be doing tomorrow so that my team mates in Irem Ironics don't stand the suffering alone.

Heh.


October 29th 2015, Thursday

I need to get a new Saturn back-up battery!

Since I'm now only playing on my Japanese console, I haven't had the need to use the Action Replay cartridge. But last night when I fired it up to have a few more credits on that lovely Fantasy Zone port my previous scores and unlocks were gone. :(

On another note, I'm getting my spirits ready for the upcoming STGT at the Shmups Forum. I felt a little bad for leaving Defenders of Zorgaba, but knowing that I'm teamed with two equally strong partners makes me very happy.

So, how about having some good and intense MAME shmupping fun? Come and join, registrations are now open!


August 31st 2015, Monday

I'm back!

During my vacation trip to a new wonderful place in this planet called Earth, I have come across one of my most dreaded shmup enemies. Behold!


Somehow it didn't spew those annoying rings out of his mouth, that's why I think it was in some sort of hibernation. Being the gentleman that I am, we both decided we'd settle our differences later, more precisely in Gradius IV.

Make no mistake: good moai is dead moai!


August 10th 2015, Monday

Finally the new game room is ready to receive the video games from the move. I wish I was able to post a picture of it tonight or tomorrow, but it won't be possible because I'm going away on vacation.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks to resume shmupping, writing and everything else about our hobbies that makes us who we are.

Cheers!


June 24th 2015, Wednesday

So many games to bring, so little time...

And you know those days when you wake up and it seems like every drop of blood in your body screams WANT SHMUP? Today is one of those days for me. And all I have at home are a few PC Engine HuCards, a broken CRT and no HD TV for new-gen gaming.

I should probably go practice the first stage of Raiden Fighters on MAME.


June 16th 2015, Tuesday

My 29” CRT is busted. It only gives me a faint horizontal line. I was told it’s an easy fix, so the hardest part now is to find someone who still works with old shit. As a result, I’ve been shackled to Star Force on a smaller TV. It’s the only other game besides GunHed to have come inside its console.

The move is slow for hobbies. I’m finished with DVDs and CDs, but before bringing the video games I need to be done with books and comic books. Hopefully that will happen when my new shelves are ready? Alas! The interesting part of this obnoxious wait is that I’m consistently reaching later levels in Star Force. Last night were Omicron and Xi. Is it possible that I can withstand this 8-bit slaughter a little longer and finally see infinity? That would rule!


May 31st 2015, Sunday

So it's been no gaming at all for me for almost two straight weeks now. Moving to a new home and getting everything back together has taken its toll on my hobbies. And it isn't over yet, since 99% of my video games are still in the old place.

Fingers crossed I have some time to bring them over during the next couple of days.


April 27th 2015, Monday

This past weekend I have just 1CCed the first shmup available to me only through emulation, more specifically MAME. Or shmupMAME 4.2, to be even more specific. I’m not really fond of emulation except when it’s for training purposes, and in my mind real runs are meant to be had on real hardware. That’s why I won’t be writing a post on it.

But hey, I had fun playing Rapid Hero (released in 1994 by NMK, aka Nippon Microcomputer Kaihatsu). It was democratically chosen by a group of shmup enthusiasts as game of the round in the RGF Shmup League, which is in its 5th season and going as strong as ever, even though some key people left. My impression of Rapid Hero is that of a Psikyo-like vert that’s been stripped off the company’s trademark evil rank. As a whole bullets are not overly fast and dodging turns out to be quite fun from the get-go. I had only two brief sessions of savestates on bosses and then hammered the game a bit for the clear, which is very little/unlikely when compared with other arcade shooters of the time. At least for my skill level, that is. I know there are people out there who can certainly clear this game on their first try without much effort.


April 1st 2015, Wednesday

Every once in a while I check the statistics on the blog to see which posts have more clicks and why, and I'm often surprised and disappointed in equal measures.

Have you ever wondered what games are most popular around these neck of the Internet shmupping woods? Allow me to shed some light on that subject. First of all, Blogger seems to rank the most popular posts by applying a ratio between how long they've been published and how many clicks they have received over time (on click merits alone, for example, a game like Hawk F-123 would easily make into a top 10 list).

My text on Arrow Flash is both the most popular and the most clicked post in the history of the blog. I must point out, however, that I'm very suspicious of it being focus of spammers for at least three straight months a few years ago. And as much as I tried to track down the reasons why I just couldn't. The damage is made and it will be hard for any other game to catch up with it, at least for a few years.

The second most popular game so far is Balloon Bomber 2005. Given its obscurity and lacklusterness, the obvious reason for this is the bomber in the title. This is a crazy world, unfortunately.

In third comes Zero Wing for the Mega Drive, and here is where the list starts to get reasonable and in line with what I believe the game's quality deserves. Just to have an idea, a few months ago I fired it up again just for the pleasure of playing it with my speakers at max volume on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Further down in the list are Raiden II, The Flying Hamster, Deathsmiles, Super Stardust HD, Raiden, Rayxanber II and Mushihimesama for the Xbox 360. Most people click on Hamster to seek information about the secret stage, even though the secret stage is very easy to find. It also seems to be a very popular game with French shmuppers, being a French game and all. As for the others, I guess they're just popular enough to warrant the clicks.

By far the least read posts are those dedicated to the Master System and the indie games released for the Xbox 360 (XBLIG). NES titles fare a little better overall, whereas the SNES tends to be get clicks faster than the Mega Drive. Both consoles stabilize after a while.

On a closing note, I do what I can to spread awareness but I wish some lesser known but excellent shmups would get more exposure than they actually do. I'll revisit the list some time in the future to see how it stands.


March 12 2015, Thursday

You know that feeling of punching a wall and making no effect on it whatsoever? The notion that no matter how hard you try (relatively speaking) your efforts just seem useless and you're left feeling like an incompetent fool as you veer away to other diversions?

Then something just magically "clicks" in a completely random test or practice run, suddenly renewing the drive and giving you new stamina to get back inside the ring and resume the fight. I have been doing several things wrong with PSX Dodonpachi, but I feel its time has come. Finally.


February 24 2015, Tuesday

Gonna dig out the PC Engine today for some old school action on Cloud Master. And maybe connect to Xbox Live to play a twin-stick shooter.

I'm that lazy as of late.


January 31 2015, Saturday

I must practice my detachment abilities, and though that might seem easy for some people, it's really not for me. Case in question: Dodonpachi on the Playstation. I have indeed verified that the chaining system in this port is seriously compromised, which makes sustaining a full 2nd level chain nearly impossible. Moreover, the screen ratio when in TATE keeps the vertical chain meter off the screen so it's impossible for me to keep track of how I'm chaining from one enemy to the next. I tried playing on my two CRTs, but this happens on both TVs. I don't remember this ever happening with the Saturn port.

That brought me to the decision of playing PS1 DDP with the type B-S ship, admittedly the one nobody wants to play with. I'll stick to TATE and aim at the "all bees in 4 stages" achievement to access the loop, but a rough 1-ALL should suffice. I know it will be hard to detach from chaining and pursue survival only... Do I want to end up hating the game? Alas!

And today the PS2 scared me a little... It wouldn't recognize the controllers at all! I opened up the console and messed with the flat ribbon cable but the problem persisted. Then I noticed by close inspection that the upper left lid (not the ones within) in controller port 1 was sunken inside, so I did my best to straighten it out. The problem was solved and Astro Boy booted up finally, but I don't get why a simple latching contact could've rendered the controller useless (metal is only present on the center latching surface).


January 23 2015, Friday

I have just started to add extra tags on this blog's posts, after thinking about it for a while. Shmup types will be first, then maybe developers if I feel like it. It will make it easier to sort out my achievements, I guess.

Last week I was talking to a friend about co-op gaming over PSN, as he suggested I downloaded Resogun. Then we found out that a few old titles that would also be great in co-op, such as Heavy Weapon, have been taken down from the service. Somehow I feel that the titles that disappeared won't come back at all, and while this sucks in lots of levels I'll make an effort and refrain from drifting back to my once strong resistance to games in digital media.

So here's a word of warning: if you haven't downloaded the games you always wanted to have from services like XBLA and PSN, do it now before they vanish completely. I have already lost the chance to get After Burner Climax from XBLA... :(


January 15 2015, Thursday

How interesting. My whole attention was diverted to G-Vector a few days ago. I was planning to try it somewhere this year, but a post by a fellow shmupper instilled me to play it sooner. Or perhaps it's just my gripe with Raystorm playing tricks on me?


January 5 2015, Monday

A new year ahead and lots of shmups to play!!

I had to take a break from Söldner-X 2 because my nephews have seized the PS3 in the living room to play stuff like Assassin's Creed, Sengoku Basara and Bulletstorm, so I probably won't get near it again for a couple more weeks...

I switched to the Saturn port of Goku Paro because I was full of that random extend bullshit of the PS1 version. Plus I have finally gave up the other characters and I'm also going with Koitsu, so I'm starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. The Saturn port is so much nicer after all: automatic save function, better sound, reliable extend routine and possibly better graphics (though I might be biased by the S-video connection of the Saturn).

And with the PS1 free I have hooked it up on TATE for Dodonpachi. I have spent more time with it on MAME though, practicing my chains on the first two levels. I've already noticed a few odd aspects of the port, more on that later.


December 23 2014, Tuesday

I'm not feeling Goku Paro. Like, not at all. I'm not even finding it fun, mostly because all the best stages are in the second half of the game and that's where I often die (more like "get raped") in the most painfully ways imaginable. Checkpoints or no checkpoints - I was really surprised to discover the auto power-up option does way with them - it doesn't matter, I just suck. Or the game is just too difficult for me after all. Despite that I'm gonna try a bit more, perhaps switching characters a little to see if any of them strikes a different chord.

Damn.

My FM Towns Marty almost died on me a few days ago. Initially I got sound bits failing here and there, then the clipping became worse. There came a point where I had either no audio or only weird noises, and then I couldn't even boot a game. I opened the console twice, unsuccesfully checked for failed capacitors and cleaned it, letting it rest for a couple of nights. I can't explain why, but the thing got back to normal as I was saying goodbye to Beams. Then I shelved it, in the hopes that a new hibernation period will cool off its rebel behavior.


December 10 2014, Wednesday

Vacation time and lots of extra diversions, but I'm still gaming for great justice. One that has given me some trouble is Gun Frontier on the Playstation 2, from one of the Taito Memories compilations. Not only is the game vicious as hell, but the not-so-optimal autofire of my turbo controller fails to help me at times (MAME autofire is great though). Oh well... I got tired of it and revisited Verytex, but I'm also having a little side fun with Esp.Ra.De on MAME.

My first real Nintendo DS shmup arrived last week: Nanostray. Now I must start building up a DS and 3DS list to include in my collection page!


November 21 2014, Friday

After a hectic day yesterday, in which I couldn’t actually do anything decent in Armed Police Batrider for the 9th round of season 4 in the RGF Shmup League, I just went home and wanted to play something familiar with the little time I had before going to bed. I gazed upon my collection, skimmed the shmup buffet and took out Pop’n TwinBee for the SNES.

I remember the game being easy, but I was really surprised to loop it again on my very first try and score over a million above my previous best. I guess it was just my mind relying on whatever there was still lingering in my memory...  And I was happy but at the same time a little angry to see how awesome Konami once was and how shitty a company it actually is today. As far as cute’em ups go, Pop’n TwinBee is simply outstanding. It makes you believe companies once strived to deliver superbly designed video games.

On another note, here’s a recent capture of my new baby:



November 6 2014, Thursday

One happy and one sad collecting news for me recently.

The happy one is that I’m the newest owner of a Nintendo 3DS, which should be at my place as soon as I find the time to go to my hometown and pick it up with the seller. I got a few 3DS and DS games already coming my way in the mail, so my dear readers can all expect some DS/3DS content in the near future. As of now I have absolutely no idea of how this little thing plays, so I’m pretty excited about it.

The sad news is that my NES is apparently broken. A few days ago I took it out of the box to test a recently arrived Pooyan, but I kept getting a graphic error at the start screen where the player select icon gets shifted to the left side of the image. The actual game was unplayable. There was no success after thoroughly cleaning the cartridge, so I tried Insector X and Zombie Nation (which I intended to start playing) to check for similar problems. Unfortunately they also showed gamebreaking glitches, which prompted me to open the console and try to check for problems. I found none, and then I cleaned everything. Twice. But unfortunately the problem persists.

Alas, I don’t know if I can find someone who’s able to fix that. I’m gonna give it a few tries, but I’m kinda preparing myself to purchase a new unit.


October 28 2014, Tuesday

Who would guess Wonder Boy III - Monster Lair was so unnerving? The game seems to be so childish, yet it has a knack for screwing you in the most unexpected, subtle, infuriating ways. I hate level 8 as a whole: stage, enemies, boss. Yuck!

When toying with my HD capture set I recorded a 1CC run of XBLIG's Sky Ninja War. I think I will upload it. It's cute but it's not such a pushover.


October 8 2014, Wednesday

Last night I noticed I finally unlocked "free play" on Judgement Silversword, so that means I'll have unlimited shots at practicing the TLB. I can 1-life his first form, but the second and the third definitely need some extra training. Not that I think I'll be able to 1-life them as well, I just want to get good enough so that I don't lose too many lives there.


September 25 2014, Thursday

As I was deleting the pictures from my cell phone I came across this totally random photo taken by accident:


I liked it because it kinda captures the atmosphere around me as I was playing something on the big TV, I just can't be sure what it was exactly.

My new *tough* assignment is Judgement Silversword, and I just had another go where I exhausted all continues in the TLB. I can reach him consistently in my runs, although without the necessary amount of lives to beat him. I totally need to iron out my approach on Divine Flow, that thing is pure evil.


September 13 2014, Saturday

I wanted to punch myself in the face at this very moment:


Lousy run with lots of stupid deaths, but I almost got it. Next time...


September 4 2014, Thursday

I always avoided PC gaming, but with the recent influx of cheap shmups on Steam I finally caved in. Soon I realized (once again) why I wasn't fond of PC as a gaming platform: most of the time the game I want to play won't run correctly, demanding lots of tweaks here and there. It sucks.

Then I found out Windows 8.1 makes half the games run at half their correct speed (at ~30 FPS). I tried everything imaginable to correct that, but that's a native Windows 8.1 issue. It sucks. Half the games I purchased on Steam suffer from inadmissible slowness. I can't even run freeware stuff like Blue Wish Resurrection in fullscreen because of this, it only works in window mode.

I'm really disappointed right now.

On Gradius III: there's a pesky ghost that materializes every time you spend lots of time with a game, and the name of the ghost is greed. Those hatches that release cannon fodder that shoot lots of bullets? When you start avoiding to kill them just to get more points then you know greed is all over you. There's also going for all capsule power-ups because each one is worth 300 points, never mind the minimal strategy that normally allows me to get to a boss shielded and with an extra shield in stock.

And then you start dying in the most stupid ways, kinda falling backwards in the 1CC objective. The good point is that my consistency got better in the cube rush, and the boss rush boss is now a lot less troublesome. I should've watched saucykobold's run earlier but alas! The harder the sweeter. Victory, I mean. Impending for now.


August 26 2014, Tuesday

With a little influence and a few hints from my brother I have finally hooked my new PC to my 43 inch HD TV via HDMI. Then I fired up Steam, tested Crimzon Clover World Ignition briefly and kept thinking why it took me so long to do it...

Behold:


So many games to play, so little time!


August 18 2014, Monday

This last weekend the Mrs. and I were relaxing in Campos do Jordão.

As usual, I took my PSP with me and spent the whole waiting time in airports with Gokujyou Parodius. I was inspired by a recent Facebook disgust-thread (someone hated Parodius games for whatever reason). Anyway, it didn't take long for me to remember why I wasn't so fond of Goku Paro when I tried it a while back: the obnoxious bell-based scoring system. That gameplay can drive any shmupper nuts in no time.

I feel that by ignoring the scoring system to a certain extent the 1CC isn't that tough to get. I'll check some expert runs to see what I can adapt and then go for the clear.


July 27 2014, Sunday

:(
During a switch to a new, more powerful computer I tried to move the video capture board from one computer to the next. However, the new computer had a different slot type, and when I tried to get the board back to the old one it just wouldn't work, now matter how hard I tried.

Until I figure out which new board to get I won't be able to finally record that Gradius III loop. At least I got this little bit recorded during practice...


July 14 2014, Monday

I just got cravings for Mushihimesama, so I'll probably fire it up tonight for great nostalgic justice. 1.5 MAX mode, maybe? Meanwhile I hope to get past that bottleneck boss in Gradius III any time now, it's just a matter of getting in the zone since everything else is pretty much figured out.

As for Uridium, all I can say is that it's not going to get much love from me. At least today. And tomorrow. And probably the day after tomorrow. :)


July 5 2014, Saturday

I am ripe for Gradius III!


June 23 2014, Monday

I'm really excited to have reached the cube rush on a normal run and unlocked the boss rush from practice sessions. Does that mean that suddenly Gradius III seems to be within 1CC reach? That boss rush boss seems to be pretty intimidating... I need more practice!


June 16 2014, Monday

There hasn't been much time to play with the World Cup going on, and on top of that I'm also the admin of the predictor challenge at work. That doesn't mean I won't try to squeeze some gaming action in the next days, after all reaching the cube rush seems more and more likely as credits go by. :)


June 8 2014, Sunday

So now I'm consistently reaching the fire stage in Gradius III. It's a pretty nasty level, but I guess it's at least generous in that it allows you to properly recover if you die. In between credits and practice I've been in a streak of Thunder titles. Thundercade NES is down, let's see what I'm picking up next.


May 30 2014, Friday

Almost two hours was the only time I had to play this week, dedicated to Sengeki Striker for STGT '14. Good game, as with all things Warashi. I just wish I could play a little more over the weekend, but things aren't looking too good at work...


May 15 2014, Thursday

Taking a break from Gradius III at the moment, and only practicing the fire stage on MAME when I feel like it. Meanwhile, the little time left to play is being spent on Raiden Fighters for this year's STGT and Sengoku Blade in the 4th round of the RGF's Shmup League.

I suck at so many levels in Raiden Fighters it's not even funny, and I just remembered why I didn't like the game in the first place. Well, maybe if I seriously sat down with it things would be different, but in no way is this game fun to play unless you devote an obscene amount of time to properly learn its secrets.


May 7 2014, Wednesday

As I type this I'm listening to the whole soundtrack to Zero Wing MD. In two words: absolute masterpiece. <3

Status report on Gradius III: on console, getting progressively better at consistently reaching moai. On practice, giving some attention to the organic and fire levels. The 4th stage of Rayxanber II is a pain, it's probably one of the most gamebreaking levels I've ever seen in a shmup - breaking in the sense of disorienting, disheartening, pace killer stuff.


April 26 2014, Saturday

So once I found a suitable version of MAME with no graphic glitches on savestates (thanks, Jorge!) I finally started to give some proper love to Gradius III. After a few practice sessions I went to the PS2 and managed to reach the moai stage. The slowdown sounded abusive, so I set wait to 0 and made it halfway into the volcano level. I might be wrong here since I have just started, but I think once everything is figured out a NO WAIT clear is possible. Let's see.

Two-Tenkaku went down quicker than I expected, so now it's time for Rayxanber II.


April 16 2014, Wednesday

Now that I have cleared both main modes of Galaxy Force II on the PS2 I'm kinda craving for a Nintendo 3DS. I need to try it in 3D! The problem is that I'm a total noob about the 3DS and still need to research a little to decide on a region.

And now starts what I assume will be quite a hard task: learn and try to clear the first loop of Gradius III!


April 10 2014, Thursday

I scored over 50 million on Caladrius, but man...
I really wish my last stage hadn't been such a wreck. It's really an embarassing closure to an otherwise good run. I guess the death on the 5th boss took its toll on me, but at least the run is recorded. If I don't manage to top it in the couple of sparse plays I intend to do that will be the one going up on YouTube.


April 7 2014, Monday

Rail shooters are intriguing. They seem to be impossible, but at their core they're probably some of the most pure practice-based shooters. Last night I was able to sustain good energy amounts in the first levels of Galaxy Force II, so I'm *starting* to think I have a chance at beating it. I just need to refine my approaches on the plant and desert areas.

I also unexpectedly cleared Caladrius with Kei. The score didn't register though, as I had restarted the credit on the first stage. Next time I'll be smart, and online smart so that I can see how I stack up on the online leaderboards.


April 3 2014, Thursday

I really enjoyed Hana Tahka Daka!?. Lovely, lovely game, even though I suppose the scoring system is broken (will check that later). And Caladrius is on the verge of being beaten. I'm totally ready for stages 1 through 5, I just need to practice stage 6.


March 28 2014, Friday

Progress report on Caladrius: settled on Kei as my character of choice; stage 1 nailed; still need to fine-tune phases 2/3 of the 2nd boss to get the cutting breaks; 3rd boss is pretty much figured out; currently reaching the 4th boss.

Question: how do you keep track of your high scores? I have my own system, but I'm very fond of other web-based options as well, such as Restart Syndrome and High Score.com. Restart Syndrome is a little more hardcore and is targeted at shmuppers, whereas High Score.com embraces all categories of gaming. Check them out if you feel like being more active in the competitive gaming community. I'm sure the guys behind these sites would also love to receive some constructive feedback.


March 23 2014, Sunday

Red October on the NES is done, so now I'll be moving on Caladrius again. A few weeks ago I finally dipped my toes on Steam, and after I created an account the first game I downloaded was Satazius. From a few test credits I thought it was a nice homage to old horis.


March 1 2014, Saturday

Progress on the games I'm playing is slow as of late, and besides that lots of things at work and other tournament diversions (Darius, Tatsujin) took most of my time. Haven't touched Caladrius since my last update, fired up Red October in an emulator to check the three initial stages and still no real momentum on Galaxy Force II. An unexpected title that came across my path this week was XBLIG's Pester, whose 20 waves were a lot harder than what I expected. I did manage to get the loop, so that will be my next write-up for the blog.

The write-up is going to take a while though. I'm off on vacation starting tomorrow and will be away for at least two weeks. :)


February 24 2014, Monday

Did a bit of practice on Caladrius this weekend, memorizing the location of the elemental recovery crystals in stages 1/2/3 and playing only stage 3 for a while (great music there).

I also fired up Hunt for Red October on the NES. Got a strong Captain Planet vibration from it. Later that night I watched the movie on Netflix for the first time, but I don’t think this will change the way I experience the game. The few credits I played on Tatsujin were a disaster. Dying with a full bomb stock sucks.


February 20 2014, Thursday

So last night I took a break from what I was doing and fired up Zeit2 on a whim. That thing sucked me into its 4th stage and made me go to bed later than I expected - it’s fun but I just wish it had more substance to the graphics. I’m undecided on which DLC title to tackle next, if it should be this one, Astro Tripper (last time I was relaxing with it I reached the last area, iirc) or Söldner-X 2 (the favorite co-op pastime when other people are around but too tired to play anything seriously).

And who’d have guessed, Tatsujin (JPN) is really harder than Truxton (US) on the Mega Drive! I’m 99,99% certain I must have beaten it on a Sega Genesis back in July 2009. The cartridge switches regions automatically (yes!), but I don’t know if I’d be able to repeat the feat on my Japanese MD in time for RGF's round 4-1.


February 18 2014, Tuesday

A brief diary starts now with ongoing remarks on my general gaming routine.

I'm currently trying to learn how to play Caladrius. I had to leave the 360 in the living room for an upcoming gathering with friends, so the gaming environment has changed a bit around me.

I don't think I'll be too involved with wolfman24's  Shoot Em Up Tournament this week since Sel and I were pitted against jaimers and Erppo on 19XX - The War Against Destiny. Of course I never stood any chance from the start, but jaimers already posted a 16M score. Holy fucking shit!
And the 4th season in the RGF Shmup League just started with Truxton, Japanese version. Let's see what I can do with it till the weekend.

6 comments:

  1. don't forgot if you lose you still are in it you will play squire bear or Cynicaster Offender

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    1. a chance to redeem ourselves from failure?
      sure thing :)

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  2. Edward, I'm curious, what are your favourite shmups? Which shmups do you think are the best, however you wish to define that? What are the most difficult shmups that are still well-designed and potentially beatable?

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Favorite as in nostalgia favorites? Defining the best ones is a tricky question because it's always a mix of intensity + aesthetics + scoring. I tend to like them all, but I have a hard time dealing with non-intuitive scoring systems, such as in Raiden Fighters. As for difficult shmups that are well-designed and potentially beatable, I guess you can't go wrong with any title from Takumi, Cave or Toaplan. Taito and Konami are also very good, even though they never entered into bullet hell territory.
      Personally I feel very strong connections to Mars Matrix, Mushihimesama, Darius II, Axelay, Gradius V, Raiden II, Zero Wing MD, Choplifter SMS. These are always favorites! :)

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  3. K, time to reply what I was going to say;

    - I'm a tad disappointed, Edward... I expected a lot more reading. :D
    - so you finally got you PC gaming rig connected to a TV so you can play from the comfort of you own living room/game room. Something I consider a must if PC gaming. Now all you need is retro USB gamepads that replicate them classic gamepads of them olden days. I've very recently found some for NES, SNES, Genesis, Saturn, N64, and some Arcade Sticks for MAME/NEO GEO games. And I've bought quite a few spares as backups, cause all PC gamepads break down way too fast. So yeah. Playing these PC games on a TV with the proper gamepads makes it feel like I'm actually playing on the console itself. It's really great and I can't go back to anything else.
    - was going to say if that last section of Gradius 3 AC ever did screw up one of your runs? Glad to see it did. :evilgrin: It's the Gradius 3 AC experience, and I wouldn't have it any other way for anyone.

    Now go add more things to your Journal. :)

    - Sinful

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  4. Every time I forgot to check the updates.

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