Half-assed strategy guide...anyone have improvements, speak up!
When the game is first started, only Anchor and Bomb shot, Easy and Normal difficulty are available. Clearing the game on the highest available difficulty with or without continues will unlock new shot and difficulty modes.
Your ship's hit box is the white pixel and black circle at the center of the cockpit. The game does feature a grazing effect, but this doesn't add to scoring.
Normal & Secondary Shot
Holding C (button 3) will fire your normal shot while keeping your normal speed. Holding Z (button 1) uses the same shot at the same power, but slows your movement by half. Pressing X (button 2) will fire your secodary weapon (Anchor, Bomb, Circle or Device) and depending on how each is used will lock-on to a target.
Blue & Red Crystals
Enemies destroyed by normal shooting will produce blue crystals which are used to fuel your secodary shot. As long as you are locked-on to something, damaged enemies produce red score-crystals.
Medal Bubbles & Rank
Destroying enemies while locked-on will produce medals as red crystals in bubbles. Then, depending on how many were produced, destroying the original locked enemy will spout many more medals.
Using the secondary shot while the blue crystals are at zero will start the rank counter spinning which begins at 0.000 and quickly increases to around 0.125 or slightly higher depending on difficulty before rolling over to the next whole number. Of course the higher the rank the more and faster the bullets...I have not survived beyond rank 40 to say what the max is. Dying will lower the rank by a bit depending (ex. 40 to 35, 6 to 5), and continuing resets the rank to 0.000.
Anchor & Device
These two are similar in that Anchor shot fires straight from your ship to lock-on, but Device uses an Option that follows you and targets the nearest enemy. Pressing the button again will release the lock and cancel any bullets on screen. Now depending on which enemy or which parts of medium sized and boss enemies you anchor to, your normal shot will usually weaken but gain a sub-shot in one of 18 varieties:
Near - a bit like Ketsui, your ship shoots straight while angled shots auto-target anything nearby
Wide - spreads some of the straight shot wider than normal for extra coverage
Strong - twice as wide normal shot
Straight - shoots ahead, as wide as the ship, with a nice twisting effect
Homing Shot - a constant barrage of small homing missiles
Homing Laser - a constant barrage of small homing lasers, a'la Darius
Long Laser - four screen-length beam sabers a'la SI: Infinity Gene
Missile - a constant barrage of small straight-shooting missiles
Sword - fire is focused into sword points that reach two ship lengths ahead and one behind
Put Laer - holding shot plants an electro laser pod that fires following your movements
Ice Shot - fires angled inward in the opposite direction of movement
Fire Shot - shoots juicy fireballs straight ahead that pass through enemies to damage beyond
Mirror - a shield that reflects enemy bullets back as weak player bullets
Napalm - shots explode, splash-damaging nearby enemies
Homing Plasa - stronger homing lasers that circle the screen until they hit
Trace - four options slowly trail your movement but retract when you stop
Decoy - creates a shadow decoy that enemies will shoot instead, used with Z (button 1)
Beam - four straight lightning shots streak wildly after hitting, damaging enemies beyond
Bomb & Circle
The Bomb shot detonates around your ship causing any nearby enemy bullets to explode in a chain reaction, cancelling them and damaging enemies in the blast. Each bullet in the chain depletes your blue crystals by more or less depending on its size. Tougher enemies that survive the blast will be locked-on to and cannot be disengaged.
The Circle shot raises a forcefield that repels enemy bullets, and like Anchor and Device, it quickly drains blue crystals while bing used. Regardless of crystal stock if the shield passes over an enemy it will lock-on.
Fixed shot arms you with a reticule about a ship length ahead that swings with your movement. For 32 blue crystals per shot, use this to gain the lock-on sub-weapon until you change locks again. Bullets fired by enemies locked-on by this turn to red crystals, and bullets can be cancelled by shooting them with the Fixed shot..
Hidden throughout each stage are several (not sure how many) invisible penguins. Shooting through one will make it flicker, and you'll need to hover over them or shoot at a locked enemy through their position until a circle of triangles appears to collect it.
During the end credits, a number of penguins equal to how many secrets you found in the game will swim past the screen.
After the stage 6 boss, a black ball of energy suggestively moves in the background...could this be a true last boss? Maybe a 1CC or finding all secret penguins will make a difference.