First of all many thanks for all the input! I'll add a few notes later (such as the no checkpoint version regarding Raiden etc.) and might think about a handful of ratings. As for a few points (and I want to expliclity point out that when I'm "disagreeing", I'm merely trying to describe how I perceive things, I'm not "denying" any of your arguments!):
- Master of Weapon is nowhere near that hard, you just have to get drunk and ignore the background. I'd drop it at least 6 points, probably more.
That's one of those games I find indeed hard to place. On one hand, it is not quite as consistently hard as Raiden II or DX. However, it is the only tough vertical in that difficulty range where you don't get any bombs at all (the one-time bomb sub-weapon doesn't count). You'll have to survive everything just by dodging the entire time, no panic button or anything. Combine that with the bullet wobble and the fact that deaths can be extremely punishing (I don't think you can really beat the final boss without at least a few power-ups or at least not easily) and you end up with a brutal game.
-Raiden: I would remark that it's the no checkpoints version, since the one with checkpoints is probably as difficult as Raiden 2/DX.
The checkpoints themselves aren't that important since you want to beat the game on your first life in any case, so I'm going to assume that the difficulty of the Japanese version is just so much higher (by means of bullet speed etc.)? I should check that out for sure!
-Scramble: I would add that multilooping it would be like +10 points, the game reaches max difficulty at loop 3 or 4 and even then it's easy to master (I cleared 10 loops without much practice), the only difficult part is that you only get one extend.
I'll add something along those lines, I've cleared a bunch of loops myself but wasn't sure just how/when the difficulty is at its highest.
-I remember Baron Rojo told me that Thunder Dragon was easier to clear than TD2, mainly because the extends help a lot.
I'm a bit mystified by the first Thunder Dragon to be honest. On top of the general problems with it (colossal hitbox, visibility, some cheap tricks) there're also some occurrences I haven't figured out (yet). For example, it seems like only the first extend is guaranteed, the others may or may not appear. I've also seen in Baron Rojo's replay that he was able to just hug the lower borders of the screen to take out the incoming popcorn enemies in the final level, when I do that in my savestate I just get shot in the face from enemies that aren't even on-screen at that point. Maybe it has to do with rank or some other factor.
But Gradius III more difficult than IV? That's the first time I hear about such a view.
Yes, certainly. IV has a few spots that are arguably tougher than their equivalents in III (crystal/bubble stage, moai stage, cell stage), but due to the dynamic rank you're always able to recover from every spot in the game without extreme prior knowledge. A death in III in the wrong spot is an instant game over if you don't have the necessary arcane knowledge - and for all intents and purposes you're better off starting a new credit and playing for as long as it takes to get past tricky spots instead of learning those checkpoint recoveries which would take much longer. III is also about twice as long as IV (depending on how many times you die on the cube rush) and has a tendency to sap away your concentration by the time you reach the dangerous final stage. It additionally has nasty bouts of slowdown that love to subside all of a sudden, thus tossing unaware players into walls and whatnot.
And a question: where would you rank Hacha Mecha Fighters? Would be cool if you try it out if you haven't already.
Haven't played much of it, but from what little I've actually experienced and watched via videos it has to be way up there. When I'm feeling brave enough I'll took a closer look.
the higher numbers seem pretty inflated on the whole[...]
Feel free to point out other examples if you have anything specific in mind.
It's always good to have more input from an expert player such as yourself! What games (in general, not just from the ones I've listed) would you put in the highest spots (say, from 36-45)?
maybe this is just me, but bee storm is not a hard 1cc bya ny means, and gun.smoke is hands down one of the hardest to beat shmups i have played, i would put it up there as high as tatsujin ou which is mildly overrated.
I'm decidedly terrible at anything bullet hell, that's why Bee Storm is so high up there. Gun.Smoke is overall a tough game, but there's not much of a penalty to dying. You also earn many extends which furthermore eases the pressure. The margin of error is just overall considerably bigger which is not the case in most games above it. I will say that the final boss is a veritable jerk, though.
there are some other things i would change around as well, strikers 1-alls are easy for example (why is ii so much higher than 1?)
I'm also quite horrendous at Psikyo.
II has a lot more fast bullets and patterns than the first one or so I find. I had not much of a problem memorizing safe routes for the first Strikers while the second one threw me off quite a bit.
BTW what counts as classic? seems like there's some stuff missing here (if bee storm can pass as classic then + more psikyos, garegga, and more, which should be easy enough to get input on)
I've just added what little I've played of Psikyo and those DDP games to have a contrast to the other, mostly "classic", games. I'm very interested to hear how seasoned Cave/Psikyo/Raizing/... players would fit in those respective games in a comprehensive list. Maybe we should create another thread where we compile a list with all the arcade games together, as a community project? That way, particularly high/low numbers might get corrected by others, creating a more balanced list overall.