1) Whether or not the “chain” formation increases per-frame rank or not.
2) Differences, if any, in how rank works in 2-player games.
Checked this with fba-rr, and there are no difference in how rank works in 2P. Unlike what one would think, the per-frame rank increase is not doubled, and otherwhise all rank interactions work as expected.
Also a funny fact: the per-frame rank increases start not at the first stage, but directly at the ship select screen. This means the more time you spend at the ship select, the higher rank will be when the game starts. This actually proves a slight disadvantage if you wait for timeout when selecting an ABC ship rather than pressing A, B and C.
Rank is adress 0010C9D2 in FBA-RR. Note that endianness is inconsistent, so adresses between ram search and ram watch are 'different'.
While the game is switched on but not being played, like most arcade games it will cycle through an “attract mode” which shows the title screen, gameplay demonstrations, and the high score list: every time it does this, the rank counter will rise slightly (around 65,000 points) and thus the next game played will start out at a slightly lower difficulty level. The more times the attract mode sequence is allowed to run, the higher the rank counter goes and the easier the game gets (though, again, it never gets easier than the default starting amount).
Also this is untrue. The rank counter increase for each attract demo still stands (around 65,000). However, there's a critical point about this: while the game is played during the demos, the rank is still affected. This means that even if the rank counter is inrceased drastically, it will reduce a bit. In most replays the 65k offset is enough to not modify rank drastically, but there are some demos that are long enough that the rank will actually be slightly lower (and as such, the game will be slightly harder
) as a result: the biggest example of this is the Plateau demo where the rank ends up a whooping 60k units lower than the rank was before that demo, even with the offset. The best demo to get before starting a game is the nose lavagghin demo, where the rank counter increases the most. This is providing we are just starting the game with normal rank and letting attract run; if you just got out of a game, for example, then just letting run the attract demos over and over is still the best to decrease rank, because most demos are still profitable in terms of rank counter increase (and rank decrease). Also because of this oddity it's impossible to go back to normal rank after the first credit unless you hard reset.
There is an advantage to this, however; it's that you can offset the small enemy chain this way, as most people probably know here. THis means there is a risk-reward choice even outside of gameplay..
Now we know why there are so much suicides in the demos