Basically I do this - activate powerup in an area with many enemies coming up, kill them with [what I assumed to be] the appropriate shot type to get the biggest medals and let them break if possible to pick up items that add to the overall counter, get it up to fever and continue doing the same, except with gold crowns.
If you aren't already, what you want to do is activate powerup when there are a lot of bullets on the screen. When you activate powerup, all the bullets on the screen transform into gold crowns, which you can then allow to hit the ground and break up into silver crowns and skulls for a hefty kickstart on your way to fever mode. That being said, it's also important to use powerup when there are a lot of enemies worth killing coming up, as you said you are. There's another thing you can do to squeeze out the points, but I'll talk about that in a minute.
Watching the STG Weekly episode, Tyjet (I think?) mentions in passing that the preferred shot types per enemy changes in this mode, and then again in fever mode.
Kind of. The preferred shot types per enemy stay the same during power up mode, but during fever mode the rules change a little. At the risk of the details sounding confusing, the reason the preferred shot for some enemies change in fever mode is because, during fever mode, every crown or skull item dropped by enemies become gold crowns. This means the quantity matters more than the quality. So let's say for example an enemy drops 10 silver crowns when destroyed with one shot, and 15 skulls when destroyed with a different shot. The 10 silver crowns = 50 points in total, while 15 skulls = 15 points in total, thus destroying the enemy with the one shot is more beneficial when building up the counter or in powerup trying to reach fever mode. However, once you reach fever mode, all point items dropped become gold crowns. Therefore, the different shot now becomes the better option, as it would drop 15 skulls (which become 15 gold crowns in fever) as opposed to the one shot which would drop 10 silver crowns (which becomes 10 gold crowns in fever).
I hope that description made sense, but I apologize if it doesn't. Basically, in fever mode, it's quantity over quality.
Does anyone have the lowdown on this, or at least some basic pointers for common enemy types?
There is a chart somewhere (in French I think, though) that shows which enemies are most efficient to kill with what, and which enemies have different preferred shots during Fever mode, but I don't have it, sorry. Maybe someone else will come along with it?
It seems lock shot starts playing a bigger role once you go into powerup, or are people just using it to control the countdown speed of the counter? Also, the familair seems to have an important effect, which I can't find documented anywhere. Most obviously, holding the fire button (as Rosa) seems to be able to suck a stream of skull items from certain huge enemies without killing them while in powerup mode, but I'm sure there's more to this. Help me out here
Lock shot: A little of both, really. Lock shot is the preferred shot to use against some enemies, so it's used to get more point items to drop. The increased countdown speed can also be beneficial if you're planning to perform a recharge and need to lower your counter to a certain amount quicker.
Familiar: The familiar's role in scoring is quite important. This is the thing I mentioned earlier, about another thing to use to squeeze out points. The shot that comes out of your familiar when you hold the fire button down will, during powerup, milk skulls out of enemies for as long as they're alive and being hit by it (Note: Casper is unique in that the shot her familiar uses to milk is actually the one that comes out when just tapping the fire button). A good strategy for milking skulls out of enemies is to position yourself and the familiar so that the familiar's shot is hitting the enemy, but the shot coming from the girl herself is not. That way, you can milk enemies for longer and thus get more points out of them (this is especially important for Rosa because her laser beam thing is extremely powerful). This is most likely what you're talking about with that "sucking a stream of skull items" part.
Thx for necrobumping this, Sumez
I just recently managed to get my first 1CC in DS and I'm also trying to improve my score. Though I'm way behind you. I'm still only doing eight digit scores
I realize not going death mode won't render any humongous scores but I believe I should be able to do a whole lot better than this.
Btw, do you play PCB or Xbox version? Jitterbug shoots an extra barrier of bullets during the first stage on the PCB version that doesn't seem to be on the Xbox. Really messes with my zen
You can still get some decent scores without death mode, at least. My PB without death mode or Canyon is 250 million. As for the extra bullets from Jitterbug thing, I don't think that's correct. What you might be seeing is a big wall of bullets that Jitterbug will only fire if you get too close to him during the first phase. It's a devastating wall and I'm not sure if anyone besides Casper is fast enough to move around it before it gets too big. The solution would be to just keep your distance from him. If I'm wrong though, then please tell me more about these extra bullets.