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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:53 pm 


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The actually pressing question regarding Psikyo clears is: how would a Sol Divide 2-ALL rank among these? Someone ought to find out the veracity behind that. :mrgreen:

As little as I can contribute to the Psikyo matter, I have the suspicion that a Sengoku Blade 2-ALL with Aine is probably among the easiest of these while one without Aine would rank on the higher end of the spectrum. After just a quick afternoon without any serious practice I've managed to reach 2-3 with Aine which is not something that would otherwise happen without some plan or indeed general inkling. He's probably the most powerful character in any Psikyo game: his main shot, while not terribly powerful, pierces enemies (great for taking out popcorn during boss fights), his sword slash is absurdly strong and has almost no charge time and his bomb covers a lot of space, has panic abilities as well as outstanding offensive capabilities.


Also a handful of additions: one note for the Japanese/checkpoint version of Raiden (which is almost negligible as far as I'm concerned), a new entry for Super Cobra (9) and one for TwinBee Yahhoo! (27). Now, while Super Cobra certainly took me longer than it should've, I shan't complain here - I did curse at some of the design choices such as the narrow tunnels at the end, but it's a fine game for what it is. TwinBee Yahhoo! on the other hand was a veritable nightmare. Had to come up with several specific ploys for rank management since the game uses about all the dirty tricks in the book to kill the player - inescapable laser beams, frantically shifting screen movement that not only prevents players from getting useful bells but also aids enemy bullets, cheap set-ups where the hitbox is way too big etc. With the two console extends it wouldn't be so bad, yet with three lives you simply have to hope for the best in a few situations, you're not going to beat the game with more than one life in stock unless you've spent an ungodly amount of time with it. The only positive aspect is the brevity of it, if this game were 45 minutes long...

This also means that we now have every Irem, Konami and Toaplan game on the list. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:17 pm 



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I get triggered every time someone mentions Psikyo, so here are my two cents on the relative difficulty of those I know. Like pegboy, I quite agree with the Japanese wiki rankings.

Strikers 1945 : lots of randomness in the second loop, mostly during boss fights. It feels like you have to either rely on good dodging skills and improvisation, or absolutely spotless planning and execution. It's also quite short and you can speedkill bosses with some planes, so...definitely hard, but different than expected.

Sengoku Blade : probably the hardest one from what I've seen and my sloppy 2nd loop practice (practiced up to 2-5 with Junis). Randomness is brutal in this one (those fkin midbosses...), patterns look simple but are stupidly hard/counter-intuitive to decipher, most characters are weak af, and you have to resort to crazy/unusual tactics even for a basic clear. You can cheese a lot of the game with Aine, any other character and you're in hell. I can't see myself clearing this nightmare anytime soon.

Strikers 1945 II : harder than it looks, especially when the first loop is quite easy. The main difference between the Strikers and the other Psikyo output, is that you can't go up the screen and kill everything that appears before it shoots. Lots of dodging required here, many stages/bosses that are disgustingly hard (blimp stage, turret wall in 2-5...), and dying before 2-5 means you may as well reset.

Gunbird 2 : very, very, very unforgiving. Not much randomness, but you need spotless planning and execution. Bosses are somewhat easier than in the other games, but some are scary.

Strikers 1999 : with the X-36, probably the easiest of the list. With the other ships (even the less shitty ones), it's probably up there with Sengoku Blade. I practiced the beginning of the second loop with the Raptor, the amount of risky routing required seems crazy.

Dragon Blaze : survival difficulty in this one is waaaay overrated imo. Randomness is insignificant, and you can cheese a lot of the game with careful bomb planning (bomb+dragonshot spam = dead boss). It's quite hard to route though, and you need very precise control because the patterns are tight and timing is relentless. Probably the closest thing there is to a Psikyo bullet hell, you'll have a comparatively easier time if you've played lots of bullet hells before that. It actually took me less time to clear this one than Strikers 99.

Approximate rankings (survival, second loops included) :
Sengoku Blade (not Aine) : 40-41
Strikers 1999 (not X-36) : 40
Gunbird 2 : 37-38
Strikers 1945 2 : 37-38
Strikers 1945 : 35-36
Dragon Blaze : 32-33
Strikers 1999 (X-36) : 31-32

Dunno about Gunbird and Sengoku Ace.
For scoring : everything at 45+...

chum wrote:
(about Strikers 1999) It will require practice to beat, but you can be undiligent and use shoddy routes and play a lot on reaction here and still win.

I don't know...
Watching you play when you were going for the clear gave me heart attacks. You probably can play partly on reaction if you're insanely good at dodging (I think Jaimers did that too) and you'll get somewhat less punished in this game, but it's probably not applicable for many players.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:26 pm 


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Interesting to hear Sengoku Blade is so brutal without Aine. Is it possibly you are also struggling due to it being a hori? I've been toying around with scoring with Hagane but I don't find it fun enough to be honest.

about strikers 1999 I mean that you can get away with more shoddy needless improv than that you would do in Gunbird 2 for example, where I would learn things more exactly before I could clear it.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:08 am 


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Blade is generally considered to be the hardest Psikyo game. It's just that noone plays it so it gets comparatively little attention.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:13 pm 



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chum wrote:
Is it possibly you are also struggling due to it being a hori?

It's definitely a factor. Most people are more experienced with vertical scrolling, and I suck at horis too. I found the first loop very challenging at first while most other players (more familiar with old-school games) ranked it as a quite easy first loop. Someone like Perikles who's more accustomed to this type of games might have a much easier time with it.

Even considering that, Plasmo is right; the game gets way less attention than the other Psikyos, but people familiar with it tend to agree on its difficulty.
I recall that BOS agrees that it's one of their hardest games. Iirc, he puts Gunbird 2 as the hardest, Dragon Blaze as the easiest (not counting Sengoku Aces), and Strikers 2 somewhere in the middle. Didn't really talk about that with him though, so it's a bit fuzzy.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:46 pm 


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Lyv wrote:
Someone like Perikles who's more accustomed to this type of games might have a much easier time with it.

He said that he cleared the first loop on his second attempt while taking a break from Dogyuun. I'm not sure if that's more indicative of the game's difficulty or his skill.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:13 pm 



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Well, he's obviously in the top 0.5% (at least) players in this forum and could most likely get a 2-ALL with a few weeks of dedication.
That being said, there was one decently-good-all-around player on the french forums who nearly cleared the first loop within one hour of play time, only playing full credits, so yeah, the first loop might be quite easy.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:39 pm 


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Shepardus wrote:
He said that he cleared the first loop on his second attempt while taking a break from Dogyuun. I'm not sure if that's more indicative of the game's difficulty or his skill.

The former. While Psikyo games usually have one character or two that are much better suited to the task than their brethren (Yuan-Nang in the first Gunbird, Hayate in Strikers 1945 II, the X-36 in Strikers 1999 etc.), Aine is so much stronger than the rest of the cast he can be considered the easy mode. If you can make it past the first three stages without bombing you have an excellent chance of clearing the first loop. One bomb at close range and a few sword slashes and a boss is dead, you don't have to learn patterns whatsoever. It's not even risk/reward in his case since the charge attack is so powerful that you can kill anything before it ever retaliates. The second loop is obviously much, much more difficult since suicide bullets decidedly thwart such reckless behaviour. But the first loop with Aine doesn't require much knowledge, routing or experience, just bloodlust.

Speaking of easier titles: added Last Duel (10) and Task Force Harrier (12).
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:42 pm 



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Perikles wrote:
Shepardus wrote:
He said that he cleared the first loop on his second attempt while taking a break from Dogyuun. I'm not sure if that's more indicative of the game's difficulty or his skill.

The former. While Psikyo games usually have one character or two that are much better suited to the task than their brethren (Yuan-Nang in the first Gunbird, Hayate in Strikers 1945 II, the X-36 in Strikers 1999 etc.), Aine is so much stronger than the rest of the cast he can be considered the easy mode. If you can make it past the first three stages without bombing you have an excellent chance of clearing the first loop. One bomb at close range and a few sword slashes and a boss is dead, you don't have to learn patterns whatsoever. It's not even risk/reward in his case since the charge attack is so powerful that you can kill anything before it ever retaliates. The second loop is obviously much, much more difficult since suicide bullets decidedly thwart such reckless behaviour. But the first loop with Aine doesn't require much knowledge, routing or experience, just bloodlust.

Speaking of easier titles: added Last Duel (10) and Task Force Harrier (12).


Interesting about Sengoku Blade, I've never played it before but I might try for a quick cheese 1-ALL clear to see if it's really that easy lol.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:47 pm 


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Added Atomic Robo-Kid (9), Mercs (8) and Viewpoint (25). I'll hasten to amend that I am specifically talking about Mercs, Senjou no Ookami II's enemies are obnoxiously resilient which makes the game a lot harder. Where you can kill a truck or tank with one bomb alone in Mercs, they sometimes survive two bombs and quite a bit of firepower in Senjou no Ookami II. Also: Viewpoint is a game whose difficulty will vastly differ from player to player due to its isometric perspective, I find it pretty tough (and physically exhausting by dint of the constant charge shots), others may not.

In other directly related news, I'm almost finished with my arcade to 16-bit port comparison thread, I'm currently at 23 pages of text. The things I do for you guys... Image :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:02 pm 


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pegboy wrote:
Interesting about Sengoku Blade, I've never played it before but I might try for a quick cheese 1-ALL clear to see if it's really that easy lol.


If you play Aine, a cheese 1-all is pretty low effort. Everyone else is more typical Psikyo level of challenge and routing. Have not tried second loop.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:34 pm 



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Perikles wrote:
Added Atomic Robo-Kid (9), Mercs (8) and Viewpoint (25). I'll hasten to amend that I am specifically talking about Mercs, Senjou no Ookami II's enemies are obnoxiously resilient which makes the game a lot harder. Where you can kill a truck or tank with one bomb alone in Mercs, they sometimes survive two bombs and quite a bit of firepower in Senjou no Ookami II. Also: Viewpoint is a game whose difficulty will vastly differ from player to player due to its isometric perspective, I find it pretty tough (and physically exhausting by dint of the constant charge shots), others may not.

In other directly related news, I'm almost finished with my arcade to 16-bit port comparison thread, I'm currently at 23 pages of text. The things I do for you guys... Image :mrgreen:


I just want to say thanks, your contributions to this forum are incredible, and will be used by many, many players for years to come!
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:11 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:34 pm 


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Added Galmedes (12).

I was also thinking about appending a separate list with all the 16-bit shmups in the first post. I created such a list before, but with a different, less fine-grained rating system - maybe there's interest to see how those would directly compare with arcade games?
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:43 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
maybe there's interest to see how those would directly compare with arcade games?


Absolutely, for my part. :smile: Whenever a port's difficulty equals or surpasses the AC source, I like to know about it - particularly whether it's more to do with conscious design changes, or just questionable translation.

Not sure if you meant to imply including console originals, too, but I'd be interested in seeing your ranking of those as well. Again, home titles that approach arcade intensity will always pique my interest.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:17 pm 


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- Added Sexy Parodius including the special stage (28), was a bit easier than expected and great, great, great fun besides!


Aaaaaand I added a second table for all the 16-bit games! Had to tweak a few values here and there, especially on the lower end of the spectrum. I really have to reiterate that a 4 could just as well be a 6 and vice versa.

BIL wrote:
Whenever a port's difficulty equals or surpasses the AC source, I like to know about it - particularly whether it's more to do with conscious design changes, or just questionable translation.

Ports that are about as difficult as the original arcade game are usually fairly close to them (see R-Type, Side Arms, Xevious), for those that are harder:

- Both Aero Blasters/Air Buster ports annihilate the arcade game on account of lacking extends on the one hand and the sometimes slightly, sometimes noticeable higher general difficulty on the other hand. The PCE port adds the maddening screen shake in the final stage to murder you on top of that. I wouldn't call any of those changes questionable, it's definitely a confident corroboration of the game itself.

- Area 88 is significantly harder since it's a completely different and much better game.

- MD Daisenpuu on Hard is tougher than the arcade Daisenpuu by dint of a smaller resolution and needlessly resilient enemies. Not a change for the better, it's more in line with the arcade Twin Hawk, unfortunately.

- Dragon Spirit would've been easier if not for that outrageous final stretch that will kill more than one credit. Such a tragedy.

- Hellfire MD on Hard is a bit harder and much better than the arcade game.

- PCE Image Fight I definitely find harder than a 1-ALL of the arcade game by virtue of the criminal hitbox. Some of the bosses with handy safespots are now rather brutal, as is stage 7 with the huge battleships coming from behind.

- Insector X is quite a bit harder and, strictly comparatively speaking, immeasurably better than the original arcade game since it has bullet patterns that aren't entirely static.

- MD Raiden with special stage is harder than the arcade game because said special stage is damn hard.

- Senjou no Ookami II's arcade mode is somewhere between arcade Mercs and arcade Senjou no Ookami II, finding an admirable balance.

- Task Force Harrier EX is slightly harder than the arcade game, for the better - popcorn enemies try to snipe you in later stages instead of dying right away. You get more extends and bombs yet lose a few of the weapons in the arcade game and have to fight a real final boss. It's all around more exciting.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:27 pm 


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^ Excellent, thanks - that'll make a superb quick reference guide. :smile:

And ohshi, nice - you included the console exclusives in the 16-bit table after all! This thread just gets better and better. :o Time to finally give Metamor Jupiter a look, I completely forgot about that one.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:35 pm 



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I've got some additional ratings for the higher difficulties of a few of these. Generally, the ones near the top are very long games that are also pretty hard.

Super R-Type (Hard->Pro 2-ALL): 29
Strike Gunner STG (Level 4/Otaku): 27
Raiden Trad (Hard + Special Stage): 26
Phalanx (Funny): 25
Space Megaforce (Wild): 24
Axelay (Hard, 2-ALL): 21
UN Squadron (Gamer): 19
Aero Fighters (Super Hard): 18 (Using Keith)
Imperium (Hard): 17
MUSHA (Hard): 16
Blazeon (Hard): 16
Super EDF (Hard): 13
Darius Force (Hard): 12
Gradius III SNES (Arcade difficulty): 12
Thunder Spirits (Maniac): 4
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:51 am 


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Quote:
Area 88 is significantly harder since it's a completely different and much better game.

i've beaten UN squadron port on normal and it wasn't easy, but arcade just kicks my ass and you get just 1 life, barely made it to stage 3 after half an hour of trying(which is a lot of credits since i died so quickly), batsugun special 1-all is so much easier for me, but they are on the same position. i played without autofire though and maybe i just suck at horis.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:13 am 


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BIL wrote:
^ Excellent, thanks - that'll make a superb quick reference guide. :smile:

Forgot to mention Strike Gunner S.T.G - even outside of the dreadful Otaku difficulty setting, the port's length has a somnolent effect while the arcade original is much shorter, making it effectively easier despite the higher genuine challenge.

BIL wrote:
And ohshi, nice - you included the console exclusives in the 16-bit table after all!

What do you mean, "after all"?
Perikles wrote:
I was also thinking about appending a separate list with all the 16-bit shmups in the first post.

You didn't think for one second I would just leave it at a partial list, did you? :mrgreen:


pegboy wrote:
I've got some additional ratings for the higher difficulties of a few of these.

Thanks a lot for your impressions! I added a note for Gradius III's highest difficulty setting, I actually cleared that one myself (with a slightly lower value than yours; you probably have a more exciting, yet less efficient setting in mind which would explain the discrepancy, I definitely agree with your rating for some of the other edits/types). I'm not even going to bother playing Super R-Type beginning with Hard, but I've no problems believing that the value is correct, given just how awkward it is on Hard (the second loop starting from Normal is minimally above that). Tweaking it even slightly more must really exacerbate the shoddy programming, let's not even speak of the checkpoints.

Your list of games with higher difficulties also got me thinking of a few other second loops/highest difficulty setting for 16-bit games that would definitely make for a good challenge:

- 2-ALLs of some of the usual suspects from Konami would rank very high, surpassing even most arcade games. It is much more feasible to beat the Parodius Da! ports or Detana!! TwinBee on this format (the console-exclusive Pop'n TwinBee joins that roster), but the impressive amount of suicide bullets still drastically increases the difficulty. The leap from Pop'n TwinBee's first loop to the second in particular is simply colossal, it goes from one of the easiest to one of the hardest games. Really wish there was a way to start with the second loop, might actually play it on an emulator at some point to set up some savestates.

- Likewise, Grind Stormer's second loop is remarkably tough. While MD V-V has at least durable shields, Grind Stormer only has bombs that save you from a few situations, but not from the generally awkwardly resilient foes. Not as hard as the above games (I got fairly close to a 2-ALL), yet still harder than almost everything else in this demesne.

- PCE Aero Blaster's second loop is savage; the overall difficulty is fairly similar, yet some enemy formations are virtually invincible, occupying large portions of the screen. Don't know just how bad it is in the last two levels, but it could potentially end up in the same league as the games in the first paragraph.

- The highest difficulty setting for some of the iconic PCE console-exclusives (Gunhed, Nexzr, Soldier Blade, Star Parodier (not so sure about this one), Super Star Soldier) is formidable. Certainly not as demanding as 2-ALLs from arcade ports, nonetheless respectable.

- The second loop from both modes in Mr. Heli becomes mean at the end, probably rivalling the arcade game (if a bit more problematic conceptually due to technical issues).

- The highest difficulty setting in Wind of Thunder (PCE version, not the easy MCD equivalent) throws quite a few suicide bullets at you. Unfortunately, the game is really not designed around that, making this mode more of a chore than a legitimate challenge.

- I seem to recall that Sol-Deace/Sol-Feace has an impressive highest difficulty, have to check that out at some point in time.

- Kiaidan 00's higher settings spew out more and more suicide bullets, the last setting probably has the most amount of suicide bullets from any 16-bit shooter unless I'm mistaken. You can work around that by not killing some enemies and neutralizing bullets with one particular charge attack, it will still provide some tricky constellations. Also something I should invest more time in later.


wizkid wrote:
i played without autofire though and maybe i just suck at horis.

The former is definitely the reason. Arcade Area 88 is one of those games that becomes much, much easier with external autofire, it is comparable with Darius Gaiden, even.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:52 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:26 am 


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Perikles wrote:
- The highest difficulty setting for some of the iconic PCE console-exclusives (Gunhed, Nexzr, Soldier Blade, Star Parodier (not so sure about this one), Super Star Soldier) is formidable. Certainly not as demanding as 2-ALLs from arcade ports, nonetheless respectable.


I'll definitely vouch for Super Star Soldier and Nexzr's respective Sugeeze and Hideeze difficulties. Brisk, relentless action in both - glad to see you give these your blessing! Soldier Blade's Hard mode isn't as striking, but it does make things far more interesting with its deceptively lethal revenge bullet drifts. Takes some finesse Option maneuvering and judiciously aggressive bombing to not be promptly fenced in.

Final Soldier's hardest difficulty gets a dishonourable mention in this context - it just inflates enemy HP to ridiculous extremes, to the point killing even zako formations is a struggle. Textbook bad shooter design, deftly sidestepped by the three games in the previous paragraph.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:18 pm 



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perikles wrote:
Thanks a lot for your impressions! I added a note for Gradius III's highest difficulty setting, I actually cleared that one myself (with a slightly lower value than yours; you probably have a more exciting, yet less efficient setting in mind which would explain the discrepancy, I definitely agree with your rating for some of the other edits/types). I'm not even going to bother playing Super R-Type beginning with Hard, but I've no problems believing that the value is correct, given just how awkward it is on Hard (the second loop starting from Normal is minimally above that). Tweaking it even slightly more must really exacerbate the shoddy programming, let's not even speak of the checkpoints.

Your list of games with higher difficulties also got me thinking of a few other second loops/highest difficulty setting for 16-bit games that would definitely make for a good challenge:


For Gradius III SNES, I'd actually bump it down even more if you are using the optimal reduce + f-option, that should be like a 4 or 5 on normal difficulty. The other types are all harder to use because the force field really sucks (even worse than the arcade game as it only lasts 3 hits and will vanish almost instantly if you skim against a wall). The standard options don't spread out as nicely as in the arcade game either. Reduce + F-Option is so OP in SNES Gradius III, you basically just hold down the button and win the game with almost no effort (first loop at least).

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- Kiaidan 00's higher settings spew out more and more suicide bullets, the last setting probably has the most amount of suicide bullets from any 16-bit shooter unless I'm mistaken. You can work around that by not killing some enemies and neutralizing bullets with one particular charge attack, it will still provide some tricky constellations. Also something I should invest more time in later.


Even more bullets than Phalanx on Funny? Even the lasers shoot their own set of bullets in Phalanx lol.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:44 pm 


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Added Akuu Gallet (19), what an amazing game!

pegboy wrote:
For Gradius III SNES, I'd actually bump it down even more if you are using the optimal reduce + f-option, that should be like a 4 or 5 on normal difficulty.

That's possibly true, it also raises an interesting point: checkpoint recoveries. As far as a 1LC is concerned, SFC Gradius III with the right set-up is a tad bit easier than the value here. However, if we assume for a moment that a novice plays the game who might crash into terrain (the high speed stage would be a good example) or dies for other reasons (regenerating cell walls in the final stage), he's going to have to overcome checkpoints that still aren't very difficulty in the grand scheme of things, yet considerably tougher than comparable situations from that range of difficulty. I'm not saying this particular point of view is more valid than to just postulate a flawless 1-ALL, I thought that general idea to be worthwhile, though.

pegboy wrote:
Even more bullets than Phalanx on Funny?

Yes. Larger enemies in Kiaidan-00 release ~25 suicide bullets upon their demise, even smaller enemies retaliate with 6 to 12 bullets or so. The sprites (including the bullets themselves) are also considerably bigger than in Phalanx. You do have the ability to work around that more easily than in Phalanx, but the quantity is without a doubt higher if you constantly shoot enemies down.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:44 am 


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I am still genuinely interested where you would rank Hacha Mecha Fighter. Awaiting your 1cc replay on your yt channel with excitement! :D
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:32 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
pegboy wrote:
For Gradius III SNES, I'd actually bump it down even more if you are using the optimal reduce + f-option, that should be like a 4 or 5 on normal difficulty.

That's possibly true, it also raises an interesting point: checkpoint recoveries. As far as a 1LC is concerned, SFC Gradius III with the right set-up is a tad bit easier than the value here. However, ...


Seems to me the difficulty should be based on the player trying to do good things, so essentially the min difficulty. You could also do a lot of stupid things with your powerups...


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:30 pm 


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Added Game Tengoku (17) - the second loop is definitely Psikyo 2-ALL material, at least on the original arcade format, seems like the Saturn port considerably reduced the difficulty. More on that later & elsewhere.


Plasmo wrote:
I am still genuinely interested where you would rank Hacha Mecha Fighter. Awaiting your 1cc replay on your yt channel with excitement! :D

Jeez, looks like I'm not going to have the choice to surreptitiously leave that open forever, huh? Image :mrgreen:


rjosal wrote:
Seems to me the difficulty should be based on the player trying to do good things, so essentially the min difficulty. You could also do a lot of stupid things with your powerups...

You've skipped the important part of the quote. :wink: I am of course trying to assess the games by the most efficient way (that I know of) to beat them when coming up with these values; difficult scoring, specific challenges (pacifist run) or intentional tomfoolery are not part of the equation.

What I meant in the above post was checkpoint recoveries in spite of general difficulty. To give an example: I've rated the first loop of the first R-Type slightly higher than the first loop of R-Type II even though I think that the latter is a bit harder in a broad sense (meaner traps, more bullets, a considerably tougher final stage). The reason for that is the fact that you can always recover in the first loop of R-Type II while dying after stage 4 in the first R-Type means that you have to face the final boss with just one bit. I know of one awkward strategy to win that fight in such a manner (which requires a bunch of speed-ups), I'm not aware of any simple solution on the other hand (much less for the scenario that you arrive there without any bits whatsoever). Thus, even though the likelihood of you dying in R-Type II might be higher, the consequences are not nearly as severe as they are in R-Type. One could postulate that R-Type II is nonetheless more demanding, but I would argue that it takes longer to clear the first one because you have to play consistently better (again, first loop only!). Something similar applies to SFC Gradius III: it might be a tad bit easier than other games in that bracket, yet the penalty upon dying is harsh enough to where it affects the rating.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:41 pm 


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Totally agree about the R-Type/R-Type II comparison. My gut says R-Type II is harder, but that logic makes sense to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:55 pm 


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Added Last Resort (9 for 1-ALL, 13 for 2-ALL) and Terra Force (1); if you are ever in dire need for just another clear and Insector X has already fallen prey to your endeavours then I may suggest Terra Force. The only "threat" in this game is a bit too much flicker and graphical assets that are annoyingly in the foreground instead of the background. Harmless on its own, I still hold a grudge against it for it clearly inspired Battle Squadron. For shame, for shame!

Plasmo will also be delighted to hear that I dared looking into Hacha Mecha Fighter. You're all calling it a resource 'em up, which, while undoubtedly correct, is only half of the truth. It's as much hitbox management as it is resource management, if you even tap slightly too fast to dodge incoming projectiles you're going to be inevitably cornered after a while, having to bomb or die to get out of this predicament. However, I do know I can theoretically beat the game now, have to see how long it takes.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:07 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
However, I do know I can theoretically beat the game now, have to see how long it takes.

One more afternoon. Image

Added Hacha Mecha Fighter (31)! Thanks to Plasmo for insisting on it, 's not my favourite game, but good to have on the list, regardless. :)
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