Castor Krieg wrote:
I already read that a good strategy is to have no Continues selected and try till I pass the difficult parts. Since Ikaruga has Continues disabled by default that's what I'm doing. I also read how enemy actually has to shot the central point of your ship for the hit to register, but I don't think that's the case with Ikaruga. Anything else that might help me get better?
That actually is the case with Ikaruga. The hitbox is, in fact, one of the smallest of the entire genre. In stage 2, you can position yourself in between crates and pass right through even though it looks like an impassable obstacle. Another tip for Ikaruga: learn to chain! The extra lives you gain from a good score help a lot when you're trying to clear the game. This is true for just about every shmup; always try to learn the scoring system. A lot of shmups become 10x more fun when playing for score as opposed to just trying to survive.
I really can't think of any other tips for you. All of the skills and 'techniques' I use in shmups just come from having experience playing shmups for a few years and building up my reflexes, pattern recognition, alertness, and prediction. My advice is to just play shmups, a lot of them, for a long time. You'll get good just by dying a lot, figuring out why you're dying, and then not doing that again.
edit: I recalled one specific technique that might help, although it also becomes apparent just by playing for a little while. For a lot of bullets that are aimed at you - as opposed to bullets that just create a pattern regardless of where your ship is - you can do something called 'bullet herding'. This is where you quickly move to one side of the screen and climb up the screen a little ways. If you do this quickly, there will be a small gap (or gaps) in the cloud of bullets as the enemies have to re-aim to your new position. When you spot the gap, reverse direction and go through it, and then repeat in the other direction. A lot of the time the gap will only be big enough for your hitbox, so make sure you know where it is in the game you happen to be playing.
This situation rarely comes up in Ikaruga (stage 4 is the only part of the game I can recall where bullet herding is useful) but most games are not as memorisation-heavy as Ikaruga.