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 Post subject: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:38 pm 


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Bubble boss

Veins

Who knows what else. I'll never pass that. I've got it for the arcade, credit fed past the bubbles, got stuck at the veins. There are parts of this game you just cannot do with your pea shooter. Plus, the rank goes through the roof when your powered up. Bubble boss thousands of times more difficult than crab boss on next level. Crazy difficulty spikes. WTF.
End rant
Game Over I guess I need more practice.

Oh yeah, I was on difficulty "easiest"


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:55 pm 


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You're supposed to one-life Gradius games - losing your powerups makes it hard to recover and get through just using the pea-shooter. With that in mind, though, use whatever means you can to practice how to power-up again after you make a mistake, because even in good runs you will screw up and die at some point. Also, watch superplays - they can give you ideas for tricks that might be helpful.

If you're complaining about the game being too hard for you, that's a problem. The point of shmups is kinda that they're difficult, so complaining about that is really one of the least constructive things you can do.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:34 pm 


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I like hard games. I am critical of the difficulty spikes though. It's just because I love the game and wish I could enjoy it a little more (those spikes seem like obstacles to the enjoyment of further fun difficulties, rather than transitions).

I'm certainly going to turn the continues back off. That's a start. You know, that game has a pretty boring beginning-- that's part of my prob I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:46 pm 


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I feel you there - restartitis is hell.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:00 pm 


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Allthough I havnt played Gradius 4 myself, I think most of us need a little rant now and again when a shmup we're playing is kicking our arses.

Ild like to welcome you to this thread where us pussies can go to let off some steam :) viewtopic.php?f=1&t=33996&hilit=i+suck

Anyway, now im curious as to what sort of game Gradius 4 is. I know it has had a lot of bad press in the past but that was from folk complaining about the game just rehashing old gameplay and not been innovative enough, which is what brought about Gradius 5. I had always imagined it to be ok if you like that style of gameplay but what your saying its actually a shitty game? or atleast annoying to play due to the rank
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:23 pm 


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Gradius IV's the hardest in the series, without a shadow of a doubt. Not only because the stages are more difficult in general and are mired in egregious design choices, but because the groping, stalk-like things in the Cell stage can, on later loops, present something of a brick wall even to quite dedicated players.

You'll certainly 1CC its first loop if you stick with it for a while, though - it's not that harrowing, really. The third stage can take quite a long time to nail, but once it clicks, most of the other levels start to feel a lot more doable. There are a couple that require quite a bit of memorisation (most notably the high-speed stage and the final one), but you could always watch a few videos to speed up the learning process, or use the stage select feature in the PS2 version for practicing, if you can find it on the cheap.

Good luck! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:51 pm 


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Gradius IV is actually one of the Gradius games where it's easiest to recover. With death, the rank drops and sometimes even makes certain sections easier. You WILL have to practice how to recover because one way or another you probably will die in your run. If I'm lucky I'd make it to the cell stage without dying, I think maybe I 1 lifed the whole first loop maybe twice out of 20+ times.

In the bubble stage recovering is kind of tricky especially if you die at a checkpoint that isn't right before the boss. But if you go to bubble boss on a recovery, there are far fewer bubbles and avoiding them and just shooting the core is actually easier than the full rank version. There are some recoveries that are more difficult than others but I'd say it's always possible to make it through. Even in the middle of the maoi stage I devised a recovery route... but I think the best thing is, that you kind of need to spend time with the game and practicing to appreciate that the ability to recover is high in this Gradius. Some of the best thrills of the game comes from those moments, you get these "wow I actually pulled through there?" moments.

It's the Gradius game I've spent the most time with and I think it's highly underrated because people give up too soon, frankly. Just look at the scoreboard here, it's sad. The loop is AWESOME! Rearranged landscapes in stages is so cool but the third loop is when the game truly gets serious. You have to devise a whole new strategy to progress. Unfortunately, the cell stage boss is one of the hardest STG bosses ever. If you manage to get to him with full power, there is a quick kill technique which is so worth it to use. Assuming you're using the mine type. Use the mine type.

Klatrymadon wrote:
the groping, stalk-like things in the Cell stage can, on later loops, present something of a brick wall even to quite dedicated players.


Yeah, the first loop is very doable. From then on, though...
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:46 am 


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dpful wrote:
I like hard games. I am critical of the difficulty spikes though. It's just because I love the game and wish I could enjoy it a little more (those spikes seem like obstacles to the enjoyment of further fun difficulties, rather than transitions).

I'm certainly going to turn the continues back off. That's a start. You know, that game has a pretty boring beginning-- that's part of my prob I think.


That's up to you, but playing the first stage a million times won't make you do any better against Bubble Core, or the cell stage, or the high speed stage, or Gofer's fortress...

I do think the difficulty spikes upon dying are a flaw in the game (and the other arcade Gradius titles). Death should be a punishment to the player, but the stock Vic Viper is just so weak, and it takes a lot of power capsules to get your firepower back up to a respectable level. The customizable power meter from Gaiden would make this game more fair and more fun. Still, it's definitely possible to recover from any of the checkpoints, at least on easiest.

TrevHead (TVR) wrote:
Anyway, now im curious as to what sort of game Gradius 4 is. I know it has had a lot of bad press in the past but that was from folk complaining about the game just rehashing old gameplay and not been innovative enough, which is what brought about Gradius 5.


It's almost a remake of Gradius II arcade, but I'd take IV over II.

I also think Gradius III arcade is harder than IV.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:08 am 


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Gradius III is more difficult, IMO. I have a hard time getting past stage 2 most of the times I try. Gradius IV can be annoying in the same way, but I can get a good bit farther comparatively (stage 5, maybe farther).
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:15 am 


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Mortificator wrote:
I also think Gradius III arcade is harder than IV.

It took 7 replies for someone to say that? XD
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:24 am 


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Gradius IV is by far the best in the series, in my opinion.

Even though it rapes me :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:40 am 



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I don't remember how far I got in Gradius IV, but it wasn't that far. And I don't really care for the game.

Now on the Gradius III comment, I have never been past the bubble stage on the Arcade Version. If only there was some simple strategy to get by it.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:55 am 


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tviks once posted something here, along the lines of Gradius IV being considered the series' hardest not necessarily for the first loop but the higher ones.

edit: oh, here's his post.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:50 am 


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Gradius IV is a game all about adaptation and improvisation. Each type will have a spot in the game where it is awesome, and a spot where it completely sucks ass. It is the suck ass spots that you really have to practice on.

Protip: Don't pick any laser weapons, unless it is Twin Laser on type F. On easiest you can get away with this but on normal and up bubble stage because balls hard with the laser weapon. Keeping the normal shot also helps keep the rank down.

The rank system in Gradius IV is Konami's usual 90's arcade rank: a counter, like in Battle Garegga. A lot of the difficulty comes from Konami's creative (ab)use of this rank system.

The counter is influenced by your current power up status-- the more power ups you have the faster it goes up. I think it also adds to it the longer you have not died, like in Parodius games, although not as extreme as those games.
Unlike all other Gradius games, rank is decreased for EACH death. In all other Gradius games the rank is decreased based on how many powerups you lose, but that's it, it won't go any lower than that, so if you are stuck on a bad checkpoint, you are screwed because it won't get any easier after your first death. In Gradius IV the rank counter is decreased each time. For this reason alone it is much easier to recover than in other Gradius titles.

What is unique about the rank in Gradius IV is that almost everything in the game is affected by the rank. And I mean EVERYTHING, such as:
-Enemy scramble hatches: How many enemies come out, how often they are released, how many bullets dispensed enemies shoot
-Stage 2: Aggressiveness of plant roots, aggressiveness of seed pods near the end, speed of boss tentacles
-Stage 3: Bubble speed, endurance, ice floe speed, number of bubbles released by boss
-Stage 4: Volcano eruption debris count, number of enemies spawned by boss, laser spread of boss.
-Stage 5: Moai ring count, ring size, ring speed. Boss attack pattern is different on low/high rank
-Stage 6: Turret shot frequency on blood vessel network, blobs spawn count at blood vessel network, aggressive of tentacles in midsection, number and aggressiveness of tentacular cells at the end, boss aggressiveness
-Stage 7: Speed of obstacles (rotation speed, doors open/close speed)
...and many other things

Here's a video of me playing on hardest difficulty. Note how I get stuck on the Moai stage, and how much easier it gets, to the point where the enemy hatch doesn't even drop anything.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kogSBcfHgdg

You can do it. On my first time beating the game on easiest, it took 72 continues. I have yet to beat it on normal or higher either :D.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:25 am 


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BIL wrote:
tviks once posted something here, along the lines of Gradius IV being considered the series' hardest not necessarily for the first loop but the higher ones.

edit: oh, here's his post.


Aye, I definitely wasn't going by the first loop alone when I said it's the hardest, although personally I did find IV's first harder than III's first. Nothing in III takes quite as long to get used to as dealing with bubbles that are indestructible while they're splitting into two more bubbles. *sob*

Ed: you should try for a Normal 1CC, Seahawk. Having watched your Gradius III replay a few times, I can tell you're more than up to it. Again, it's not that bad after a while. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:56 pm 



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When my PCB was working, it only took me about 30 days of practice to Hard 1CC Gradius IV. Some of the restarts are brutal, but not impossible, especially the oft-mentioned Bubble stage restart right before the boss. Executed correctly one can get 1 Option, 2 Speed and Missile there, which is WAY more than enough firepower to beat that boss if you're patient enough.

Although I will say this: I did have to change the fire button twice on my cabinet due to the play of this game, you might consider an Auto fire circuit or using an auto fire button if you're playing on the PS2/PSP.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:33 pm 



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But is autofire even allowed for the scoreboards here? I've never actually used it for this series of games.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:43 pm 


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Of course. The only game I can think of where I'd try to split tables over autofire would be games like Lethal Thunder Blaster.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:08 pm 


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How does the PS2 port compair with the PCB in terms of accuracy and difficulty?


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:21 pm 


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The PS2 port has no wait (no slowdown) and the PCB does, as I recall. This makes some parts of the game more difficult.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:24 pm 


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The PS2 port allows you to manipulate wait with a few different levels, and I think the intended slowdown is replicated as it should.
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:25 pm 


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Despatche wrote:
The PS2 port allows you to manipulate wait with a few different levels, and I think the intended slowdown is replicated as it should.


so it has a slowdown setting in the configuration?


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:27 pm 


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I just remembered that only Gradius III has it. Gradius IV has a screen setting instead.
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Last edited by Despatche on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:28 pm 


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antron wrote:
How does the PS2 port compair with the PCB in terms of accuracy and difficulty?


The gameplay is exactly the same.

There are some cosmetic changes compared to a PCB:
On PCB the next stage starts up immediately after a boss explodes, on the PS2 there is some load time despite the CD spinning at double speed.
The PS2 defaults to a stretched fullscreen (640x448), however you can change it be unstretched (512x384), but then it won't fill the entire screen.
The sound is a bit fuzzier on the PS2, using the digital output helps a lot on this.
Graphics are slightly less crisp than the 24kHz mode on the PCB.

antron wrote:
so it has a slowdown setting in the configuration?

Only for Gradius III, on Gradius IV there is no option. Gradius IV doesn't really slowdown on arcade except for some boss explosions so this isn't a big deal.

Klatrymadon wrote:
Ed: you should try for a Normal 1CC, Seahawk. Having watched your Gradius III replay a few times, I can tell you're more than up to it. Again, it's not that bad after a while. :)

I've gotta do it on hardest. I know I can. If I start on stage 7 (speed) with stage select I can make it to the end. It's just the damned Moai/Cell stages that always get me, the game just absolutely freaks out on hardest if you haven't died by there.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:08 pm 



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Aquas wrote:
The PS2 port has no wait (no slowdown) and the PCB does, as I recall. This makes some parts of the game more difficult.


Wrong. The PS2 only runs at 15khz resolution, as opposed to the original that will run at 15k or 25k.

The PSP port lets you change the hitbox size and the amount of slowdown.

The PSP and PS2 ports have HUGE stageload delays where you can go to the kitchen, make a sandwich, get a bag of chips, grab a soda out of the fridge, walk to your neighbors house, eat all that, take a dump, come back and you might still see the loading bits. the Arcade version loads immediately because it runs from high speed ROM.

The PS2 port is also a whole lot less expensive, and doesn't have a suicide battery of sorts -_-

Otherwise the games are the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:49 pm 


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Quote:
The PSP and PS2 ports have HUGE stageload delays where you can go to the kitchen, make a sandwich, get a bag of chips, grab a soda out of the fridge, walk to your neighbors house, eat all that, take a dump, come back and you might still see the loading bits. the Arcade version loads immediately because it runs from high speed ROM.


That's a wee bit of an exaggeration don't you think? It doesn't load like a neo geo cd.

Was the PCB at 480p? Progressive in other words?
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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:03 pm 


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Strider77 wrote:
That's a wee bit of an exaggeration don't you think? It doesn't load like a neo geo cd.

Was the PCB at 480p? Progressive in other words?


diekatz has very high standards for his arcade ports. Don't mind him.
There is about 3-5 seconds of empty screen time between stages.

PCB runs at 512x384 on 24kHz mode, 512x192* on 15kHz mode. Progreessive scan in both cases.

*This is according to MAME, but it looks wrong on MAME, so this could be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:21 am 



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Seahawk wrote:
Strider77 wrote:
That's a wee bit of an exaggeration don't you think? It doesn't load like a neo geo cd.

Was the PCB at 480p? Progressive in other words?


diekatz has very high standards for his arcade ports. Don't mind him.
There is about 3-5 seconds of empty screen time between stages.

PCB runs at 512x384 on 24kHz mode, 512x192* on 15kHz mode. Progreessive scan in both cases.

*This is according to MAME, but it looks wrong on MAME, so this could be wrong.


Its true. Kinda. Yeah I do have a high standard, but Gradius IV was great, and the port was just... bland. Its the only game in the series that doesn't have a good excuse for being ported so lazily, so its kind a shame.

Still every Gradius IV I've seen goes for 400 to 800 bucks, so yeah, the Port is a better deal by far.

Edit: thats also the wrong resolution for 15khz. I'm not sure what the real 15khz mode is using on the PCB, but I can say that it looks awful and if you have a multisync monitor, you should run it in 24k.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:51 am 


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dieKatze88 wrote:
Its true. Kinda. Yeah I do have a high standard, but Gradius IV was great, and the port was just... bland. Its the only game in the series that doesn't have a good excuse for being ported so lazily, so its kind a shame.


It's ok. I think the Gradius III port on the disk is trash. The lag is nowhere near accurate, it's too much on Wait 2, and too little on Wait 1. The game goes at a snail's pace once you are powered up.
And the sound is completely mangled, listening to it is torture.

But hey, it runs at the original 320x224p resolution right? Good luck running it on a modern TV with component cable........
(On the other hand if you run it on a CRT with component it is as close to an arcade screen as it gets)

Konami just sucks at their ports.


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 Post subject: Re: Gradius IV: the hardest game I've ever played In my life
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:58 am 



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How accurate/inaccurate are the ports on the PSP Collection?


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