^ Excellent, thanks - that'll make a superb quick reference guide.
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.
And ohshi, nice - you included the console exclusives in the 16-bit table after all!
What do you mean, "after all"?
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?
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.
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.