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 Post subject: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 12:27 am 


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What's your favourite first stage and why? That one that makes another run from the beginning exciting, and not something you have to just go through to get to the good stuff :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 1:13 am 


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Gradius V, if I picked just one. Hype AF having Big Cores and Zelos Forces as normal enemies.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 1:22 am 


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All shooters should strive to have something as mechanically dense as the first stage in Armed Police Batrider and Hellsinker.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 1:44 am 


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MathU wrote:
All shooters should strive to have something as mechanically dense as the first stage in Armed Police Batrider and Hellsinker.

Batrider is a good one.

R-Type has a very good first stage. Iconic.

I like DDP's and DOJ's first stages as well. They set the tone and let you know these are going to be kick ass games.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 2:10 am 


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Nobody will be surprised to know that I really like Mars Matrix S1. If you're not trying to score at all it's quite easy, it also is relatively easy to learn to chain sections of it, and not too hard to full chain it so it was a very gradual transition from survival to scoring as I was learning the game. I was probably full chaining it by the time I got my first clear. I've also gradually optimized it more and more over time, and there are are still some parts that I haven't figured out how to make the most of. It's also interesting enough (and short enough) that it doesn't drag, but not so hard to full chain that I have to restart it a ton of times.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 4:51 am 


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Cho Ren Sha 68k
Gradius V
Garegga
Armed Police Batrider
Eschatos
Ikaruga
Gundemonium Recollection (on higher difficulties)
Alltynex Second
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 7:22 am 


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I still love DoDonPachi personally. It's just got an immense sense of carnage that makes it fun to blast through no matter how many years it's been since I first played it. R-Type is a little slow, but it's so iconic in shooter terms it's impossible to dislike for me. I always like Border Down's first stage as well. Man it's been years since I played that, gonna have to get me one of those GDemu DC's.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 7:57 am 


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R-Type's first stage, while full of memorable architecture, does kind of get old after a while when you start getting good at the game. The skill ceiling of maximum destruction for that stage isn't too hard to reach and then it becomes uninteresting and routine. R-Type II's first stage, on the other hand, is stuffed full of more things to blow up than the player can ever hope to get all of. This makes it a great first stage because it's always presenting new opportunities for the player to improve in some manner. Something similar could be said about Gradius II's first stage, where if the player really wants to go nuts they can find themselves on the move constantly to milk all the fire dragons and destroy all the enemies that pop up.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 8:03 am 


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Ibara!

Bombing every building and increasing your medal chain throughout the first stage just feels blissful.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 9:50 am 


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Space Megaforce. Not hard at all, but gives a good showcase of the weapons and is super cathartic. Seeing how awesome the circles look or seeing the homing lasers annihilate all sides of the screen while you just chill in the middle of the screen like some malevolent Sky God is awesome. Pure carnage.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 10:34 am 


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Batrider's first stage would definitely be it if not for the fact that 200k on the boss is completely dependent on RNG.
Even if you can limit the sample space by clever routing and execution you can still have runs where you do everything in your power and yet miss out on max points.

For an actual amazing first stage I'd honestly say Ikaruga.
It teaches you the basics of the game through good gameplay design and has a pretty high skill ceiling for optimization.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 11:16 am 


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R-type first stage blown my mind at the time. Probably my favourite first stage to this day. I loved that, that single stage already teaches and tells you so much about the game.
Other iconic to me would be Hellfire. I love STG's that start with the ship leaving the morhership/base. It really pumps me to shoot everything down. Specially if the ost is good. And Hellfire is my favourite Mega Drive shmup.
Actually when i think of it, Toaplan did some fantastic first stages that really set the tone for the all experience.

Also.

Thunder Force 3
Bio Hazard Battle (always enjoyed that free fall entering the atmosphere stage and again, leaving the mother ship).
Raiden 2
Outzone
Musha
DOJ





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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 12:29 pm 


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Joined: 12 Jun 2016
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Sumez wrote:
Ibara!


It also looks absolutely brilliant.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 2:21 pm 


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Takumi games generally require a lot of activity in the first stage, to set up the medal foundation for the rest of the game. Raiden Fighters series for the same reason.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 3:07 pm 


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I'm playing Einhander again and I'm really appreciating that game's first stage. Less "saving the universe" and more stirring shit up in the enemy's capital on earth. The enemy isn't aliens, it's your fellow humans from the motherland. You are the bad guy from the moon colony!

Gameplay-wise, it's also rich in secrets. I have yet to consistently get an x16 bonus on the mid-boss, or grab a second Grenade gunpod before the boss, or get an x16 bonus on the boss. That last one has me counting shots so I can precisely weaken two areas, and then destroy those two areas within a second or two. Very taxing! :shock:

Of course, the first stage is also very pretty but it does make the second stage extremely dull in comparison. Probably the game's only real fault...


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 6:04 pm 



Joined: 03 Jun 2008
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R-TYPE's first stage is definitely the most memorable to me. Lots of spectacle and great music for the time. Plus some great strategic shooter gameplay that preps you for the rest of the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 6:47 pm 


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I’d say,

1. Gradius V
2. R-Type Delta
3. Ikaruga
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 7:21 pm 



Joined: 23 May 2019
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Batrider :mrgreen: welcome to violent city! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 8:53 pm 



Joined: 14 Jun 2019
Posts: 91
Ibara no doubt [FISTED HAND SIGN]


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2021 11:10 pm 



Joined: 07 Jun 2020
Posts: 71
Salamander

You know it by heart. Even if you've never played it.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 5:39 am 


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Not sure if it counts since you can change the stage order, but "Strite" from Thunder Force IV is the default first stage and probably one of my favorite stages in any game. The actual enemy patterns aren't anything to write home about, but the art and music are exceptional and the scrolling effects + transitions + battleship chase transition into the boss really push it over the top. Everything about it is top-notch.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 11:00 am 


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Location: Finland
Ibara - All the havoc and destruction, so sweet.

Ikaruga - Music, atmosphere and way it looks, excellent.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 4:22 pm 


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Joined: 25 Jan 2005
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Location: Nebraska, USA
Triple Lei wrote:
I'm playing Einhander again and I'm really appreciating that game's first stage. Less "saving the universe" and more stirring shit up in the enemy's capital on earth. The enemy isn't aliens, it's your fellow humans from the motherland. You are the bad guy from the moon colony!

Gameplay-wise, it's also rich in secrets. I have yet to consistently get an x16 bonus on the mid-boss, or grab a second Grenade gunpod before the boss, or get an x16 bonus on the boss. That last one has me counting shots so I can precisely weaken two areas, and then destroy those two areas within a second or two. Very taxing! :shock:

Of course, the first stage is also very pretty but it does make the second stage extremely dull in comparison. Probably the game's only real fault...


Yeah, the opening stage of Einhander is quite a series of interesting set pieces. The first time the perspective shifted, and you started to fly by the buildings where you could shoot down the neon signs, it blew my mind.

I think this is somewhat dependent on the subset of shooters you want to approach, but in general, I think a great opening stage should teach you about the game. It shouldn't be overly difficult, but give you an opportunity to learn about the game's mechanics, and how to play it, without immediately trying to break your will. There's definitely a balance you have to strike between the opening level being too busy, and too boring.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 2:13 pm 



Joined: 25 Aug 2017
Posts: 39
endali wrote:
Salamander

You know it by heart. Even if you've never played it.


This is what came to my mind.

It's perhaps not the best stage (or game!) to play in 2021, but there are so many ideas packed in there that were new at the time. The organic graphic-style split over three distinct sections, the walls building up around you, the moving teeth, the spores that soak up your firepower and grow before exploding, the regenerating walls you have to shoot through (including the long section before the boss). It was very creative for its time.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2021 9:54 pm 


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Location: Sweden
Espgaluda, the music gets me so pumped everytime!


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2021 10:20 am 


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LordHypnos wrote:
Nobody will be surprised to know that I really like Mars Matrix S1. If you're not trying to score at all it's quite easy, it also is relatively easy to learn to chain sections of it, and not too hard to full chain it so it was a very gradual transition from survival to scoring as I was learning the game. I was probably full chaining it by the time I got my first clear. I've also gradually optimized it more and more over time, and there are are still some parts that I haven't figured out how to make the most of. It's also interesting enough (and short enough) that it doesn't drag, but not so hard to full chain that I have to restart it a ton of times.


Always loved that you can chain stage one, hit level five or six, abandon scoring, and still be in a great spot for a clear.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2021 6:58 pm 


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Joined: 09 Mar 2014
Posts: 1896
Location: Mars Colony, 2309
Stevens wrote:

Always loved that you can chain stage one, hit level five or six, abandon scoring, and still be in a great spot for a clear.

Absolutely. You might even end up getting up to level 7 or 8 with very little effort between the gold cube waterfall, the gold cube fountain, and the S5 bullet-cancelling enemies. L5 is enough for anything the game throws at you, as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2021 12:10 pm 


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Joined: 25 Apr 2021
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Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser! Original OP on Astro Port site requires Flash player but it was uploaded on nicovideo:
https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm5163105

This is also the music theme for the first stage and if anyone is into karaoke to play through even better, here are the lyrics:
http://nc-paradise.littlestar.jp/vulkaiser/vulkara.html


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2021 12:22 pm 


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Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Finding it hard to think of a 1st level that stands up to the battering.

DFK maybe? There's the branch off to the Ura route to let you mix things up a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Best shmup's first stage?
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 6:56 pm 



Joined: 15 May 2021
Posts: 17
DenimDemon wrote:
Bio Hazard Battle (always enjoyed that free fall entering the atmosphere stage and again, leaving the mother ship).

Funny, I really think this is one of the all time worst first stages to an otherwise good game. Just not much going on, nothing in the background... I really think BHB is underrated but it makes a bad first impression.


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