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 Post subject: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 1:42 am 



Joined: 25 Jan 2021
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I'm thinking of something like Akumajou Densetsu or D&D Tower of Doom/Shadow over Mystara's stage system, where the path occasionally splits during play and whatever stage you don't pick is cast away from the run.

I may have played a few shooters with such feature before but nothing comes to mind right now. I can only think of linear ones, which is the majority.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 1:51 am 


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Darius series is the obvious one most famous for this. Most of them let you choose a stage after each boss, but G Darius also let's you choose a branching path within each stage.

Raiden Fighters Jet has a system where your performance is graded at the end of the stage and the next one you get sent to will be automatically chosen based on your performance in a bunch of areas. Enemies killed, survival, bonuses collected etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:02 am 


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Well, the obvious one is the Darius series with its branching stages as stated above. There are some other games that have a similar system in place, Neogeo Heroes for example.

Then you have games with Semi-random stage order, most of Psikyo's stuff is like that.

And finally you have a number of games where the paths change depending on player actions. A really famous example would be DFK's secret paths, but there are other examples like Triangle Service's Delta Zeal (G-Stream G2020).
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:24 am 



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Oh right, Darius. I've only beaten Darius Twin on SFC long ago (which seems to be among the weaker entries in the series), but had completely forgotten about it.

It's a series I've been neglecting for a long time but will want to play properly eventually.

By the way, I just remembered another one with that feature: Twilight Refrain (doujin shooter).


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 2:25 am 


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I've never played it, but does Technosoft's Blast Wind on the Saturn fit this category?


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:10 am 


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Choutetsu Brikin'gr (on Neo-CD) borrows Darius' selectible branching path system. Radiant Silvergun's arcade mode has the player choose between either doing Stage 2 or Stage 4 after clearing stage 3.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:57 am 


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Kingdom Grandprix has you picking between two levels (3 for the final) with the levels you didn't pick being playable in the second loop but only if you make the loop requirement.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 5:45 am 


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The most recent example is certainly R-Type Final 2, where you pick one of three pairs of final stages at the end of stage 5.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:35 am 



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Sonic Wings 3 does this also (shoot left/right side of the ship at end of stage to select branch)

edit: Border Down is another one


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:36 am 



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Not quite the same, but Borderdown lets you choose from three different routes through each stage.

Edit: The edit above wasn't there when I posted :)


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:21 pm 


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Garegga / Batrider / Bakraid have a stage edit feature, where the first and last stages will be the same, and the player choose which stages in which order will be played between them. RayCrisis also lets you select the same stage multiple times in the same run, difficulty increasing each time.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:32 pm 


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Great Fairy Wars has you choosing from multiple possible stages. Can't remember the details as it's been way too long.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 1:02 pm 



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Border Down. The stage slightly changes if you lose a life.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:26 pm 


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Does random count? Because I remember Strikers 1945 II handing the first four stages to the player in a random order.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 5:23 pm 


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If just choices of single stages are admissible, Tengai/Sengoku Blade's final level lets you choose two distinct routes which produce different endings.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:19 pm 


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OP was asking about games where you won't complete the all levels in one playthrough ie Akamajou Densetsu. If you were talking about games with variable stage order ie GB Castlevania 2 Belmont's Revenge that would likely be a much larger list and kind of a different topic. Psikyo games, Thunder Force III and IV and so on.

I'm a big fan of the branching path style as far as replay value so I'm also curious what other shmups are out there with this feature.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:31 pm 


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Star Fox and Star Fox 64 of course.
Space Invaders Extreme 1 and 2.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:39 pm 


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Not exactly a different stage altogether, but there are branching paths within stages in Panzer Dragoon Zwei, which means you won't be able to see everything a level has to offer in one run.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:05 pm 


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Minishoter RS Delta (yes, shoter) has you covered. Prolly even named Delta for that to begin with. Each stage has an A and B version and a square next to the level shows you which route you're entering by changing color. Prerequisites vary greatly, from collecting an item to killing certain or all enemies, to just being on the upper or lower end of the screen after the boss dies. Because the game is full of unlocks it's really nice to go through it the first time, unlock all the ships and minigames, and see all the possible stages.

Free starter tip: don't kill the white face enemies on stage 1 for the first alternate one to trigger.

Also it's free. And if the screen size bothers you there's other free programs that fix it easily.
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Last edited by PerishedFraud ឵឵ on Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 8:06 pm 


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Fantasy Zone II DX has light and dark versions of each stage. You can go back and forth between them or just stick to one or the other. I believe there's a separate ending for if you complete all stages on the dark side, but I never made it that far. Very fun game, too.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:51 pm 


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Majestic 12 (japanese version of Super Space Invaders) lets you pick what stage you go to next.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:30 am 


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I believe the MS-DOS shooter Tyrian has some points where you can choose to go to one stage or another, which has an effect on what levels you actually play during any given episode. Then there are hidden bonus levels as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:52 pm 


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Tyrian's secret levels are pretty much the golden standard for such things in shmups. The first level famously has three different secret levels leading form it. There's also a chain of three secret levels you can take later on if I remember correctly. Finally depending on your gameplay at a later chapter's boss you can go down different level variants.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:24 am 



Joined: 25 Jan 2021
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Rastan78 wrote:
OP was asking about games where you won't complete the all levels in one playthrough ie Akamajou Densetsu. If you were talking about games with variable stage order ie GB Castlevania 2 Belmont's Revenge that would likely be a much larger list and kind of a different topic. Psikyo games, Thunder Force III and IV and so on.


Yeah, I meant it exactly like that. It's even better if there's also a 2 loops feature, so you can play one side of the stages in the 1st loop and the other in the 2nd. I'm wondering what games out there have this combination. I know Darius Twin doesn't, but what about the other titles in the series? I have yet to play them.

Thanks for all the info so far guys, I'll want to look into those when I have time.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:50 am 


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Hazuki wrote:
Yeah, I meant it exactly like that. It's even better if there's also a 2 loops feature, so you can play one side of the stages in the 1st loop and the other in the 2nd. I'm wondering what games out there have this combination.


I referenced Tengai/Sengoku Blade having two different final stages earlier. It does have a second loop, where you'll be pushed to the stage you didn't pick on the first loop. One of the two stages is harder than the other, meaning if you take the easy way out on the first loop, you'll get pulverized in the harder one at the end of the second loop.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:20 am 


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Raiden Fighters Jet and Image Fight I&II have performance based level progression. In the former you can reach the real battle stages sooner by not dying (iirc), in the latter two you get sent to an extra penalty stage if your enemy kill ratio is too low.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:13 pm 


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Homura (arcade/ps2) is probably closest to the indicated games; a little ways into each stage you pick which path to take. Also Blast Wind, as was already mentioned.
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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:08 pm 


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If I understood correctly what OP is asking, then Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Arrange (I believe?) does this if you meet certain criteria.

IIRC before the midboss you get teleported to a parallel stage with a different midboss.


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 Post subject: Re: Shmups with an alternate stage system?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:54 am 



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Apart from the unusually simple kill and timeout requirements, Tyrian secret levels are also notable because some contain exotic special weapons that can be collected and retained forever (including the next loops).


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