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 Post subject: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:31 pm 


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Many first levels in shmups are kind of boring or uninspired. What do you want out of a first level? What are examples of the best first levels in shmups?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:41 pm 


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Gradius V has a great first stage, especially on the harder settings. Never a dull moment, just totally awesome.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:55 pm 



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i like border downs first stage quite a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:55 pm 


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professor ganson wrote:
Many first levels in shmups are kind of boring or uninspired.


You think so? Strange, I am more afraid of the opposite. I really feel cheated when I discover than the best parts of a game have been put at the beginning to make big show, and the rest feel rushed. So I find nice when a game start subtle and really get its climax later.

A good example of what I don't like, though no shmup, could be Dracula XX (snes): the first stage has a very cool flame effect on background, and sadly nothing that came in later stages was on par to it.

Anyway, my ideal of great first stage could be Gradius II GnY, it really starts with a bang, awesome music too. Salamander and Axelay's first are classic too.
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:04 pm 


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Turrican wrote:
Anyway, my ideal of great first stage could be Gradius II GnY, it really starts with a bang, awesome music too. Salamander and Axelay's first are classic too.

Though I'm not a huge fan of any of those games, I would have to agree that the first stage of each does draw you in pretty effectively.
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:13 pm 


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BulletMagnet wrote:
Though I'm not a huge fan of any of those games, I would have to agree that the first stage of each does draw you in pretty effectively.


Wait, what does your avatar stand for? Huge Parodius fan? Lover of comedy shooters? Worshipper of a reptile deity?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:24 pm 


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"Utter Goofball." :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:37 pm 


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Turrican wrote:
I really feel cheated when I discover than the best parts of a game have been put at the beginning to make big show, and the rest feel rushed. So I find nice when a game start subtle and really get its climax later.

Problem with relying on gfx and music, even the pretty first stage sucks.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:40 pm 


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I just want a short first level, because usually I'll end up playing it over and over.


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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:54 pm 


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Rob wrote:
Problem with relying on gfx and music, even the pretty first stage sucks.


Hmm. You know, it's not that I rely on them. It's more like I enjoy them.

But yeah, I suppose that a guy accustomed to Thunderforces or R-Types kind of setting, where basically each stage is filled with memorable moments and unique ideas, is harder to please that the, huh, Daisenpuu fan which is given a very bland backgrounds and he doesn't care cause he only finds enjoyment in avoiding bullets.

I just happen to be in the former group, but I don't criticize the other, as lately I've been thrilled by Raiden / Toaplan shmups.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:55 pm 


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Andi wrote:
I just want a short first level, because usually I'll end up playing it over and over.


My advice: Twinbee Yahho-! or Zanac Neo would suit you.
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:06 am 


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Turrican wrote:
Anyway, my ideal of great first stage could be Gradius II GnY, it really starts with a bang, awesome music too. Salamander and Axelay's first are classic too.


I was planning on playing Salamander tonight for the first time, so I'm glad to hear this. I played Salamander 2 for the first time yesterday. The atmosphere was amazing, and I loved shifting from hori to vert. The game really picks up in difficulty and quality of graphics in the third level.

Gradius II is the only game in the series I haven't tried. I think it is on the Konami Antiques collection which PepsimanVsJoe is sending to me. I'm looking forward to that.

Gradius V, Border Down, and Zanac Neo all have really nice first levels IMO.
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:16 am 


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professor ganson wrote:
Gradius II is the only game in the series I haven't tried. I think it is on the Konami Antiques collection which PepsimanVsJoe is sending to me. I'm looking forward to that.


Huh... Good luck with that one. It's hard like hell. :oops:

Anyway, I was talking of Gradius II arcade, Gofer no Yabou, which is an entirely different game. I should probably use its western name to avoid confusion: Vulcan Venture.

(and yes, it is available on PC Engine CD, and since you started a thread asking for buy advice, I cannot recommend it enough!)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:18 am 


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Thanks for clearing that up, Turrican, and for the cool link!
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:28 am 


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Turrican wrote:
Rob wrote:
Problem with relying on gfx and music, even the pretty first stage sucks.


Hmm. You know, it's not that I rely on them. It's more like I enjoy them.

I was talking about the game/developer reliance.

An ideal first level for me is one I wouldn't mind restarting and playing a dozen times in a row, so that limits it to basically just Mars Matrix and Giga Wing Generations for me. Very fast paced, little risk of death and a lot of room for scoring refinements. In Takumi games the first level has a great impact because of the multiplier, so it also feels more important than just playing one level. Those two are two of my favorite stages overall.


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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:38 am 


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Rob wrote:
I was talking about the game/developer reliance.


I still don't understand what you were saying... Yeah, it's late and I'm slow ^_^;

Rob wrote:
An ideal first level for me is one I wouldn't mind restarting and playing a dozen times in a row, so that limits it to basically just Mars Matrix and Giga Wing Generations for me. Very fast paced, little risk of death and a lot of room for scoring refinements. In Takumi games the first level has a great impact because of the multiplier, so it also feels more important than just playing one level. Those two are two of my favorite stages overall.


Cool, perhaps you would like Zanac Neo intro stage, although Compile. It's very short, but also it needs to be mastered well. That is, it's better to go through it without ever using your main shot, trying this way to get rare bonus that improve your fire rate... They appear accordingly to a cryptic score rule that Zach Keene explained well in his FAQ.

Another game with very short stages I do remember now is Raystorm. All the stages in this one are pretty short, but I guess you have to like lock-on gameplay to enjoy it (and even then, widespread opinion is that Rayforce is better).
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:42 am 


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I want a stage that has some little things to do once you've played a million times. Like-

Gunbird 2- coin chaining gives you something to do even in the first level. If USA comes up I can always play better, do more even now.

Batrider- lots of scoring opportunities that require a good plan to get the most out of the stage.

Dragon Blaze- I can always get more gold coins. Tech bonus too.

Raiden DX- lots of little score tricks and secrets.

Raiden Fighters Jet- even here it can get tricky going for the maximum value.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:44 am 


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cigsthecat wrote:
Raiden DX- lots of little score tricks and secrets.


Yes, I second that very much. Amazing, especially lovable the novice course.
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 1:09 am 


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professor ganson wrote:
Turrican wrote:
Anyway, my ideal of great first stage could be Gradius II GnY, it really starts with a bang, awesome music too. Salamander and Axelay's first are classic too.


I was planning on playing Salamander tonight for the first time


OK, now I've played it, and this game is nothing but fun. Salamander is my new favorite toy, with Salamander 2 not far behind.
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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 1:21 am 


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professor ganson wrote:
OK, now I've played it, and this game is nothing but fun. Salamander is my new favorite toy, with Salamander 2 not far behind.


Salamander is pure gold. And I don't think I go against the forum rules If I recommend you to pay a visit right now to www.slightlydark.com :wink:
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:41 am 


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My favorite is Garegga's: quick and not dull.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:45 am 


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Hmm, can't really say that I have a favorite, but the first stage in Mars Matrix is nice. :)
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:52 am 


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Nemo wrote:
My favorite is Garegga's: quick and not dull.

So long, Gradius Gaiden!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:42 am 


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Ikaruga is my favorite example of a great first stage. It has that "attract" value in its choreography and presentation, even though the rest of the game doesn't disappoint in comparison. The difficulty curve is also perfect, clearly introducing every fundamental aspect to the play. It's passive enough that a beginner can complete it without dying after a few tries, yet has huge scoring opportunities for advanced players, being as "legit" of a stage after extended play as any other.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:34 pm 


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Rob wrote:
Nemo wrote:
My favorite is Garegga's: quick and not dull.

So long, Gradius Gaiden!


Oh no, GG is still the best, but I was looking at it more from the perspective of a manic shooter where you're forced to play it over and over when trying to go for a clear or high score.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:50 pm 



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Irem`s original R-TYPE.

Never been THAT amazed by any first level again.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:07 pm 


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Last Resort first level, ultra techno city


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 Post subject: Re: your ideal first level in a shmup
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:17 am 


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Turrican wrote:
Anyway, I was talking of Gradius II arcade, Gofer no Yabou, which is an entirely different game....(and yes, it is available on PC Engine CD, and since you started a thread asking for buy advice, I cannot recommend it enough!)

It's also available on the Gradius Deluxe Pack for either Saturn or PSX, if you want to pick it up there.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:41 am 


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castle shiki 2 first lvl on extreme 200%.

personal fave = gradius lvl 7 or 8 i forgotm, walking leg complex (plenty cores) trying to 1cc.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:59 am 


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I want the first level to amaze me, but not too much. I wouldn't want the first level to be THE MOST exciting level in the game. That would be dissapointing. For me, it helps for the first level to show off the game's special talents, or original ideas (if any), but not overdue it. Also, the backgrounds have to be eye-candy.

Here are some examples of first levels that made me go... :shock: the first time I played them.

Thunder Force V
Ikaruga
Border Down
Psyvariar 2
G Darius
Gradius V
Einhander
Layer Section
Salamander 2
Gradius Gaiden


Last edited by J-Manic on Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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