Today I woke up on the right side of the bed and decided to play normal Ketsui after a LOT of Arrange Ketsui(nearly 50 hours). I don't really know what changed since I last played, but something about the way I just...FEEL today is indescribable. Like my head is perfectly clear, I'm better able to just stay focused, I just feel like theres nothing getting in my way making me feel like I'm not at my peak.
Continuing on, I hit Ura loop once, and game overed on Evac. I played again, same outcome. I knew I had to keep playing because Ura comes here and there, and never twice in a row. I had gotten Ura 2 more times and failed because I got mad and made stupid mistakes, and hit my 5th time doing so within 4 hours or so. Tricky parts in the 1st loop felt less tricky after seeing some of the max rank patterns in Arrange Ketsui.
I had been trying to record an inp in 2.2 but for some reason or another it kept crashing so I'm left to measly story-telling that isn't fully understood unless you were here watching. I died on 2-4 boss once but managed to carry the bombs over to 2-5 and no bombs went unspent on my 1st life. Trafalgar is the ultimate troll-king of "I'ma fuck you up unreasonably when you're doing really good and in a real run I'm suddenly 100x troll mode trapper" and took 2 lives. I died once more before evac struggling to stay alive and not lose again.
Evac went down after 1 death, and doom got me once early into the opener so I got scared because that is not a good time to be left with 3 lives afterward. I managed to use the three bombs my 3rd to last life gave me to beat the first 2 forms and leave the 3rd with a small chunk of red health by the time it finally killed me, bombing the 2nd form twice like I always have to and being forced to do hard dodges when my last quickly went away on the 3rd form.
Coming in on my 2nd to last life, Doom's health was so low that I could finish him off without worry of getting hit anymore because of invincibility, so I took in the moment and watched that health bar go down to 0. Sweating like a pig, trembling with ketsui-induced parkinsons, and repeating to myself "calm down," I listened to the credits just in awe.
The truth is that I had been "studying" ketsui for almost 4 years before it became available on mame. I saw the game and immediately loved it but had no way to play it. I watched youtube and nicovideo almost as a habit and hardwired everything about the game into my head so that by the time I finally played ketsui, I knew where every enemy would spawn and a nice amount of how to do some of the patterns. For some reason watching these videos never got old for me and I never really got tired of it by the time ketsui came out. I knew the entire soundtrack before I ever played the game. I hit ura loop within a month when shmupmame came out.
Immeasurable time watching videos, and almost 120 logged hours on mame later, I'm here just amazed that I pulled this off. A very long time ago, I swore to myself that I would never give up playing shmups until I one day Ura 2-ALL cleared Ketsui. Honestly I didn't think it would ever happen, maybe I set the goal for myself so that I would have a reason to keep continuing to play since I wouldn't reach it. But now I'm saying all of this realizing just how long I've looked at Ketsui stuff and how strange it feels to have conquered it. Of course its liberating, but at the same time it feels a little bittersweet.
My only regret is not having an inp, because the evac/doom fight was truly one of the gods and you could really tell on both of them that I had no intention of failing again. Shmups, my biggest shmup goal I've ever set for myself has finally been toppled today. The story can be said to be completely unnecessary, but I don't care. When you topple your biggest goal that you don't even think you can beat, it's worth countless words.
Shoutouts I would like to make are to various people including Nereid, RNG, Ratikal, Aliquant, Erppo, Deca, Jaimers, moozooh, and anyone else out there who at one point or another pushed me to keep playing. For a long time I stopped because I was tired of failing in 1-5 and not reaching ura, but I toughed it out for the better...
Emuser - 330,296,150 - Ura 2-ALL - Panzer Jager - MAME