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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:27 pm 


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Joined: 18 Apr 2019
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Location: NYC
Ghost Blade HD, Normal, on my third attempt. Not a score even worth mentioning, but my second 1CC of the year.

The hardest part of that game is just finding a way to ignore all the translucent globs continually flying into your ship and focusing only on the actual bullets. It's a bit like those old 3D "Magic Eye" posters. If they just took those out, I'd have some interest in going for a Hard mode clear, but I find them so annoying I'm glad to just be done with Normal and put this one back on the shelf.
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:44 pm 



Joined: 28 Mar 2019
Posts: 13
I've been trying to beat Bullet Soul Infinite Burst for over a year now, and I finally did it last night. Still a lot of room for improvement, but it felt great to finally beat that last boss.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mDcSA9kGmo&t=27s
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:12 pm 



Joined: 25 Jun 2018
Posts: 49
Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu ver 1.0 Counterstop with Power style:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7YLVyKIvPc&t=976s


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:57 pm 


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Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 333
Location: Korea
Just got a 1cc on Crimzon Clover WI Novice difficulty with Type 1. No missed the first 3 stages and for some reason decided to go off plan on Stage 4 and died twice! Died at some some stupid places on Stage 5 too, and had no lives left on Exa's second form. Squeaked through though!

Man what a game. Exhilarating!
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:46 pm 


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Joined: 11 Nov 2019
Posts: 121
Location: Olympia, WA, USA
hell yeah! i'm gonna go for that 1CC soon myself when i'm done grinding DFK. :mrgreen:

the last time i got close, i made it to the TLB on one life and tried to avoid bombing for my own pride, which as you can imagine, made me lose the 1CC. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:17 pm 


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I finally broke 1tril in 1.51!!
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:30 am 


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Posts: 329
Location: Youngstown, OH
It ain't much but I finally beat Sisters Royale on Normal with 2.4 billion on the Switch version, at #12. It felt great to finally nail everything after having some close runs. Makes me want to try and sit down and beat one of the Shikis.

I know this isn't the thread but here's my complete list of 1CCs...

R-Type Final
Thunder Force V
Gradius (NES)
Life Force (NES)
Otomedius (360 US)
Gradius Rebirth
Psyvariar Delta
Sisters Royale
Star Parodier
Silpheed (PS2)

My list ain't much, especially compared to some of you guys, but I'm proud of it.


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:31 am 


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Location: ND, USA
NegativeElectron wrote:
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I finally broke 1tril in 1.51!!


By 513billion! Congrats!
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:35 pm 


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CStarFlare wrote:
By 513billion! Congrats!


Thanks! I was only aiming for 1tril, but the excitement of hitting 1tril carried me through the rest of stage 5! I might aim for top 10 on PC leaderboards, but for now I'm happy with this score.
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:39 am 



Joined: 16 Apr 2018
Posts: 47
It's no 1CC but I finally got S++ on chapter one of Ikaruga, about eighteen months after I first played it.

Link: https://youtu.be/nOVyDvM4ip4

I can't tell you the weight which has finally lifted. This game has flat out ruined several evenings of my life.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:17 pm 


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Location: Chicago, IL
Now it's time for stage 2: Trial and Error 8)

Good job; may your nights be happier from here on out~
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:51 am 


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Joined: 25 Jan 2005
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Location: United Kingdom, Newport S.Wales
PC Engine - Violent Soldier - Completed 1 Life.

Not the best shooter but pretty decent. Pretty easy game at first until the later half of the 3rd stage then it really ramps up in difficulty.

https://youtu.be/7IkDONpMWUE

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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:27 pm 


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Nice job! Violent Storm really ramps it up towards the end. I think this game was designed with the PC-Engine turbo switches in mind, for recovery in the final checkpoint.
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:40 am 


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Zing Zing Zip 1-all
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:34 pm 


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MauCast wrote:
Zing Zing Zip 1-all

Good lord :shock:
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:07 pm 


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Got the 1-ALL for Same! Same! Same! One of the hardest 1st loops I've ever played.

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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:55 am 



Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Posts: 53
Location: Sweden
That Same! Same! Same! clear is sick.

This is not as impressive, but I am still happy with it. (Futari Original)
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:49 am 


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Location: Minnesota, USA
Congratulations on the Same^3 clear!
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:29 pm 


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Location: South Ontario, Canada
I 1-ALL'd Daioujou Black Label!!! I did it on stream as well!

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/562407234

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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:36 pm 


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Location: Chicago, IL
Congratulations! I can't watch the vid yet... did you play 1-loop mode? That's my favorite :mrgreen:
It's a pretty mighty accomplishment to survive to the end; I can only imagine how close it was by the end.
I haven't managed it but I usually default to Type-B Laser for some reason.
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:11 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Congratulations! I can't watch the vid yet... did you play 1-loop mode? That's my favorite :mrgreen:
It's a pretty mighty accomplishment to survive to the end; I can only imagine how close it was by the end.
I haven't managed it but I usually default to Type-B Laser for some reason.


I played 2-loop mode but I didn't meet loop requirements. I usually go for 1-loop but I didn't feel like facing Hibachi, so I just stuck with 2-loop. :P
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:16 am 


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Location: London, United Kingdom
Jamiers 1CC on Same Same Same aka Fire-Shark was insane. Thought there was only 10 stages on the European version as opposed to counter stop on easier Western version. Puts my recent Striker's 1945 1CC to shame.
Not played the latest update yet. Still trying to 2CC this nonsense. Impossible when using autofire
https://youtu.be/NMInLYkUN9A
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:01 am 


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Just came back to shmups after a very long break (6 years) and after a couple weeks of practice finally got a 1-ALL in DoDonPachi (C-S). Felt great to put in some focused practice and then see it pay off! Espgaluda is next on my list, maybe while I work on a little bit of chaining in DDP.
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:34 am 



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Ikaruga easy!Image


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:37 pm 


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Location: London, United Kingdom
Only a triumph in the sense that I finally found a decent screen recorder (Mobizen) to hopefully put out a solid 2CC run. Used the auto set up on my first 1CC test run. No miss no bomb on Easy difficulty using full screen.
Will eventually re-recorder and delete all my other videos Inc Truxton and upload runs using Mobizen.


https://youtu.be/znhke_OJiHc
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:10 pm 



Joined: 31 Oct 2013
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Futari Maniac - Normal Reco/Abnormal Palm
Took me forever to get the 1CC with Reco. Then I tried Palm and got my 1CC with him in a few tries. Skipping boss patterns and melting the big boys in stage 5 makes it way easier.


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:50 pm 


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Beat Thunder Force III for Genesis on Normal. Neat game. More of a memorizer hell than a bullet hell.
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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:14 pm 


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I've smashed the compromise known as 'peace' in Taito's earth-splittingly psychedelic classic Metal Black.

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In terms of audiovisual experience, it's one-of-a-kind. Metal Black’s surreal backgrounds and setpieces combined with the trippy screen-warping effects make the whole thing feel like a nightmare; the alien invaders command a sense of cosmic shock and awe as they casually defy common sense. So there is a second moon to the Earth which is merely a cocoon housing one of the game's bosses, and so the fourth boss is fused to a giant Titanic Lance-like missile as the background inexplicably changes to ???.

Metal Black's standout mechanic is its Beam system. By picking up Newalone particles (that are continuously spawned during fixed points in the game) you can increase your Beam Gauge up to 5; each level increasing the size of your shots. Press the Beam button when your Beam Gauge over 50% full, and you will release all your energy. You will fire a beam that deals massive frontal damage, or if you fired the Beam when at level MAX, you instead will fire lightning across the whole screen, destroying everything in sight as a panicbomb of sorts. The kicker here is that using the Beam always drains your shot level back to one, putting you in a tough position until you manage to recover enough Newalone. It's an interesting implementation of smartbombs where you have to consider the long-term consequences of when to use your bomb during tricky sections or to use your beam to speedkill enemies, and how to recover from it. On top of that, you can extend your Beam duration by picking up Newalone particles while it's active, or you can leave them after you're done Beaming so you can recover more quickly.

That said, these decisions rarely come up in actual gameplay. Metal Black rarely features enemies that pose a major short-term threat which are too tanky to be killed fast enough with your regular shot and should ideally be killed with your Beam (much like how Psikyo games revolve around clever special attack positioning to get rid of the tankier enemies before they cover the screen in bullets). The only enemies you really want to use your Beam against are the bosses at the end of each stage. And even if the game featured more tankier enemies, the Beam system is inherently held back by the fact that it depletes your entire Beam Gauge on use. Because you cannot control how long you use your Beam and thus how much Gauge you spend (like in Metal Black's spiritual successor, Border Down), the game is very limited in how it can test you on your Beam usage. And because your main shot is so versatile to begin with, I only ever ended up using the Beam as a panicbomb.

Another facet to the Beam system is Beam Dueling: bosses can suck up Newalone particles and fire Beams of their own. Should your and their Beam collide, a Beam Duel will begin, creating a ball of energy where you have to rapidly mash the Beam button to push this ball back at the boss for huge damage. Beam Dueling is also rarely ever worth it (the exception being when you don't have the space to avoid an enemy Beam and can only escape through a Duel). Beam Dueling doesn't deal that much extra damage to make it worth sacrificing your shot level, Beam Dueling yields no extra score, and killing a boss through a Beam Duel leaves you at a powered-down state at the start of the next stage. Even so, Beam Duels being a matter of how hard you can mash a button is made moot if you play with autofire or on a cabinet with an autofire circuit installed. Ending a fight by having to mash a button as fast as possible in a contest of might does lend it a sense of climax (see The Wonderful 101's final boss), but there isn't much depth to having to mash buttons hard to win. It also kills my wrists. Dariusburst found a good compromise by having Beam Duels be a matter of timing and positioning rather than mashing.

But the most important mechanic to Metal Black isn't Beam usage, it's utilizing the massive size of your main shot. Your projectiles are so large that they cover the space around the top and bottom front of your ship--allowing you to take out enemies directly above and below you by maneuvering dangerously close to them, and giving your main shot an offensive and defensive usage (only the rear flank of your ship is not covered by your shots). So you can destroy enemies directly above and below you by moving dangerously close to them in order to hit them with your shots (a technique henceforth referred to as ‘skimming’). This allows Metal Black to be more omnidirectional with enemy attack angles, now that you have the means to deal with enemies coming from most angles. Stage 5 is the best example of this, where on top of the regular enemies coming from the front and floor and ceiling, you're constantly buggered by parasites from behind that will stick to your ship and slow you down; requiring some clever maneuvering to get them to collide with your shots instead of your precious rear.

Scoring in Metal Black primarily consists of destroying as many enemies as you can, and Newalone milking. Of milking in general I’m not a fan, especially considering bosses in Metal Black are set to time out after three minutes and are somewhat of a huge pacekiller. Ideally Newalone particles shouldn’t give you any points at all.

However, the worst offender for scoreplay are the bonus stages. There are two of them, at the end of ST1 and 3, where you have to move your crosshair over an enemy to lock-on on them and watch the missiles fly. Killing all enemies as quickly as possible nets you the most points. Problem is that the enemy spawning positions and movement is highly random, as is the score you will net from these stages even after repeated play. Even for survival these start feeling like a waste of time after repeated playthroughs, given that most of your time is spent on waiting watching your missiles hit the target (which also takes a random amount of time) before you get to control your crosshair again. Metal Black would have been better off without these entirely.

...

Spoiler: show
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Metal Black’s Stage 1 is one of the most depressing and memorable stages to any shmup. If the intro didn’t hammer the message home enough about the Earth dying and entering silence times, then this stage will. You will find a totally deserted landscape, a city in ruins, and sand everywhere. Abandoned ships in the desert tell you that there once used to be a sea here. Some excellent use of parallax scrolling lends the scene a larger sense of depth to convey just how far the desolation has spread.

It is only unfortunate that such a beautiful stage isn’t remotely engaging at all. There’s only like five or six enemies that will actually shoot back. Other enemies are easily shot down before they have a chance to ever collide with you. All there is to do is sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

The only thing that can sucker punch new players is the Hermit Crab’s shell (a massive carrier vessel), which if you stay on top of the screen instead of moving to the bottom left will crush you against the imaginary ceiling. It is definitely misleading by making it appear like you can avoid it by staying in the top right of the screen (before getting crushed). In any case it’s not clear how you’re supposed to avoid it at first. Compare this to the closing gates in the last stages of any Gradius game where they clearly nudge you towards the center and front of the screen by having gates close from the top and bottom of the screen.

The boss for this stage, Apartheid, isn’t much to write home about other than his looks and the trippy Listerine-colored tsunami background. Just keep shooting his head, its projectiles can be canceled by yours, and if it fires its Beam you can easily avoid it while continuing to deal damage (by positioning yourself right under the Beam because it does not move up and down anyways).

One interesting tidbit about the bosses is that they too have to grab Newalone particles before they can fire their Beams. This also means you can actively prevent bosses from firing their Beam by nabbing all Newalone before they do, and in theory they could do the same to you; potentially adding an element of RTS-like resource control to each boss fight. Stage 2’s boss is the best example for this where the boss’ movement pattern depends on where he can find Newalone to gobble up, so you could control his path to stay away from you by leaving some Newalone for him at certain places. Problem is that most boss Beam attacks are easy enough to avoid on their own, so stealing Newalone before them isn’t that worth it (outside of scoring purposes). Not to mention, some bosses can shit out Beams without even having to bother pick up any Newalone to begin with.

Another thing that should be talked about is the autofire rate. It’s an unusual system where your rate of fire decreases the longer you hold down the fire button, so you want to tap the fire button at a slow regular rate to avoid tiring yourself out. But even with this ‘manual autofire’, it will take very long to kill most of the bosses and some of the destructible projectiles they fire to the point of feeling drawn out. On the other hand, having (30Hz) autofire enabled will completely wreck them. Save for the third and final boss, all other bosses feel like complete pushovers with or without autofire. Being able to get those over with faster is a pro for using autofire in my book. That, and using the highest autofire setting is essential for scoreplay (for milking certain respawning enemies more efficiently). It’s unfortunate that the game wasn’t balanced around a fixed autofire rate.

Stage 2 feels like a difficulty spike, but after the breeze that was stage 1? Anything would be. This is also where the game starts spawning enemies from behind you. Enemies coming from your back can add a lot depth to stage design. But considering you will often be hanging back by default rather than at the top/right in a shmup, having to deal with surprise rear duty requires some additional care to not frag the player by surprise before they could even react; which feels like an unfair gotcha moment otherwise. Metal Black doesn’t use any lube here, which is especially misleading considering you could hang back for the entirety of stage 1 without having to deal with any rear duty. Outside of dying by surprise, you just have to be lucky enough to not be where the enemies will come from behind, or you have to possess enough meta knowledge that you’re better off sticking to the center in horizontal shmups from this era. The most reliable method of warning the player that enemies will appear from sides of the screen other than the front is with a visual warning indicator. Cho Ren Sha 68K had another approach where it would draw you to one part of the screen by spawning an enemy there and forcing you to move there if you want to hit it, so the enemies coming from behind where set to spawn from a position where you were likely not to be in.

Even though I’m complaining about Metal Black not telegraphing its rear duty well, I do wish it would use its rear missile enemies more often for this stage. Two-thirds of this stage involves dealing with zako waves from the front predictably alternating between spawning from the top and bottom of the screen, which are easily dealt with by slaloming up and down. Having the rear enemies have more of a constant presence would shake up the strategy required to deal with the frontal waves, and so make things more interesting. It also helps that the rear missiles have a neat scoring trick to them where you can quickly destroy the top of the missile for extra points instead of going directly of the body. So you can have a missile spawn from the top left and an enemy wave from the bottom right, where you’re trying to position your shots to take out the rear missiles while dealing with enemy shots from below making it trickier to hit the enemies from behind.

As it is, there’s too much time between enemy waves where you’re just waiting for the next to show up (something that could be covered up with bonus enemy waves on speedkills), the waves repeat themselves for too long with little variation, and there’s never enough enemies or bullets on the screen to the point of actually having to shake up your slaloming strategy. The exception to this are the pink balls spawning from the top of the bottom of the screen which move up/down in a random sinusoid wave and require careful application of skimming so you don’t accidentally have one colliding with the rear of your ship, but like the rear missiles, these pink balls are used too sparingly, despite making things more interesting by having you also keep track of the top and bottom of the screen on top of everything else.

This all changes on the final third of the stage, which compared to the rest is borderline overwhelming. A new enemy type gets introduced, where a wave of them will appear from the left or right of the screen, stop around the middle of the screen, and then fire two backwards diagonal shots in a V-spread. You get two frontal waves to get to learn them, until the game then suddenly overwhelms you by spawning them from the back and front simultaneously while adding in a rear missile for good measure.

It’s overwhelming because you’re not given adequate time and preparation to get acclimated to having to deal with intense enemy waves like these which are out of the ordinary compared to what you had to deal with up to this point. Not only do you have to deal with trying to not collide with the enemies coming in from behind and squeezing through their waves, you also have to take in account of not standing in their path of their fixed diagonal shots, which gets very tricky when you have to do the same for multiple waves coming from both sides.

You can kill these enemies before they fire their shots, but the problem here is that you don’t know where from behind the enemies will come from, which makes it impossible to plan around without memorizing their spawns. Here having the enemies come at you from behind so quickly poses the largest threat, because your hitbox is fairly large and your ship speed fairly low. I do like this part of the stage on paper, but it’s very difficult to make any sense of it without memorizing a good route. Most players will probably panicbomb their way through here since this part of the stage doesn’t last too long and you can safely recover most of your gauge before the boss appears, which ends up being the most consistent and safest option in terms of survival and scoring anyways. If the enemies didn’t move as fast, were telegraphed better, and had a better challenge curve, then this part would have been great.

The boss of this stage, Feeder, fills in the quota for Obligatory Snake Enemy In A SHMUP. It also has one of the coolest introductions of any shmup boss, where it breaks out of the second moon like it’s a cocoon. Much like Apartheid it is a pushover, you just have to take care to not collide with it when it’s moving around the screen trying to eat Newalone. In terms of attacks there isn’t much to it. There is a potentially interesting one where it deploys three small rocks and then fires a continuous beam which rebounds through these rocks in a random path to get to you, but the beam itself is too slow to pose a serious threat. If the beam was faster and if the rocks themselves could reposition around the screen more quickly to keep you on your toes guessing how the beam is going to rebound (like Devil Engine’s ST3 boss), this boss would be much more interesting.

Stage 3 has a neat intro, showing you the wrecked remains of a space colony and other human space stations, implicitly telling you that there’s no escape from the alien menace at all. But the rest of the stage isn’t much to write home about.

This stage does introduce some good enemy types. They just don’t get utilized as well as they could have been. The waves of enemies at the start tend to spawn from behind and fire constraining spreadshots at you if not immediately taken care of, posing a time-sensitive challenge. Sadly these enemy waves rarely get mixed with other enemy types and don’t appear past the first part of this stage.

The pink shells that spawn from behind are interesting because of their movement, where they move unpredictably for the first three second and then move in a straight line. You want to skim them, but because of their movement it’s very risky to do so. And you can’t just wait for them to move into your shots by hanging in the back, because usually more pink shells will spawn in from behind who will crash into you. You have to predict where towards they’ll end up moving in a straight line, which gets tricky when you have enemies in the front to deal with as well. Only the game rarely creates such a situation.

There are also the robot-walkers which walk along the floors and ceilings of the stage. They will fire a burst of three large and fast projectiles at random angles. You can only reliably skim them if you move in inbetween their firing intervals. For this reason the walkers are best used in conjunction with uneven or covered terrain where you can’t just shoot them right as they spawn, or in pairs split between the floor and ceiling. Stage 3 doesn’t make good use of them, but they do see better use in later stages.

On the other hand, the role of the flying turtles is absurd. They don’t fire back or even try to crash into you. The only ‘threat’ they pose is firing lasers in all four diagonals if you shoot them, but because you can only hit the turtles by being horizontally lined up with them to begin with (and because the bullets they fire are too fast to pose a long-term threat by virtue of staying on screen for so long), their bullets pose no threat at all.

The boss of this stage, Daio (and Giishiin), is one of those aquatic dungbeetles, and also happens to be the hardest boss in the game. It has only one method of attacking: it builds up a ball from the space trash, carries it up the hill, and then tosses it right in front of you. Meanwhile this trashball is constantly firing a spread of shots at you. Despite having only one attack, it is surprisingly effective. The moments during which the trashball will fire isn’t 100% static, and if you want to be in a position to hit the dungbeetle as it carries the ball up the hill, you have to keep putting yourself in the shot trajectory of the trashball. What’s especially dangerous here is when the beetle tosses the ball at you down the hill to the bottom left of the screen. Because it has a lot of HP and constantly fires spreadshots, it will certainly hit you if you try to skim it with your shots given your large hitbox, and leaving it alive firing at you from behind is very dangerous. You can only reliably destroy it from the front, but it will be thrown forwards so far that you’ll have to dodge its spreadshot at point-blank range if you try and get in front of it. You have to be able to predict when it will fire its next shot and tap dodge it to not get hit by the central bullet in its spread, which is one of those random unpredictable challenges that remain interesting each time you deal with it.

On top of that, the trashball can also fire a Beam, and the dungbeetle will throw the ball down the hill while it is still firing its Beam. You can avoid this by squeezing between the ball and beetle as it’s thrown, but this requires you to be close enough to the ball (and therefore its spreadshots) as it gets thrown, because your ship isn’t fast enough to squeeze through in time if you were hanging back to the left of the screen. While it’s not very obvious that this is the best solution for evading having a Beam dropped on top of you, you do have a back-up option by Beam Dueling your way out of it, so it’s not like this can be called unfair.

Unfortunately autofire does break this boss, as it lets you destroy the trashball before it can land down the hill and fire a spreadshot in your face, or even before it can get to fire its Beam, which are the most interesting parts of this fight. On the other hand, without autofire the boss is so tanky that it overstays its welcome too much.

Stage 4 is where things start to get more interesting. The game starts throwing enemies from more than 2 sides from the screen at you (as it should) and the enemies inject a healthy dosage of RNG to keep you on your toes. One new enemy includes blue fishes that come from the top of the screen, which are similar to the pink shells in their erratic movement, except these guys move faster and fire beams in a V-pattern, which will really ruin your day if you don’t have the top of the screen under control.

This stage introduces bubbles which home into your ship and try to encase you if they collide with you. It won’t kill you, but it will prevent your shots from materializing--putting you at a temporary disadvantage now that one of your main defensive measures is disabled. The bubbles are fast enough that outrunning them isn’t an option, so you have to shoot them down before they get to you. Or if they don’t come from the front, you have to let them capture you so you can destroy them from the inside before other enemies join in to take advantage of you being in a weakened state. The only unfortunate part is that with autofire enabled, you can destroy these bubbles in half a second before other enemies even have a chance to take advantage of it.

One really dickish part of the stage is the moving cavern floor, where it opens up to let you pass when it barely passes one-fifth of the screen from the right, and then closing when it passes two-fifth. It’s barely telegraphed that it is a closing gate-type hazard, and by the time you realize what has happened it already closed and you can’t do anything but wait and get crushed to death by the scrolling screen. One of those gotcha moments that you only fall for once.

The Stage 4 boss, Amazo, is HUGE. His intro excellently conveys this by taking up 80% of all screen space when his body passes by and forcing you to the bottom/top of the screen if you don’t want to get hit (though I wish it didn’t take so long). If you know about Titanic Lance from Darius Gaiden, this guy is basically its precursor.

That said I’m not a huge fan of this fight because it just wastes a lot of your time. You can only damage Amazo from the front, but you only have a limited time window to do so before you have to make a roundtrip around its entire body. It’s frustrating because on repeat playthroughs you cannot do anything to speed this up and are forced to wait over 20 seconds. On the first cycle when it sheds its screws you can just sit at the bottom right/top left and never get hit (except for the surprise homing missile burst halfway through the cycle), and on consequent cycles you can bomb your way through and recover easily what with the amount of Newalone spawned during this fight, and sit at the top of the screen killing any enemies spawned by Amazo without having to move much. Once you know how the boss works, it doesn’t pose much of a threat. With autofire enabled you can kill Amazo in only two cycles, which for this guy I don’t feel much shame in doing.

Stage 5 is my favourite. It’s the most challenging stage, and it’s the one which uses the game systems and enemies the best as well. The aforementioned parasites that slow you down are constant threat you have to worry about and play around. Walkers are more effectively placed behind uneven terrain which you have to fly over before you can skim them, giving the Walkers time to attack.

Two new enemies get introduced here for your daily dose of RNG to keep things interesting. There’s these blue lamps which quickly hover around either the ceiling and floor and then fire a straight vertical laser after passing your ship, cutting you off from a large part of the screen. On top of that, blue lamps spawn either up and down by random. Perhaps not ideal for scoreplay, but it’s sure nice for survival.

The other enemy is a pink starfish, which spawns in at a pseudo-random location on the screen (they don’t spawn at the very edges of the screen, that would have been a problem otherwise). Thankfully this is telegraphed by them flickering one second and being unable to collide with you until they phase in, so if they decide to spawn on top of you you have some time to react and get out of the way. After they phase in they will move straight in a random distance and then fire a random amount of lasers in random directions. This obviously throws a lot of chaos in the mix, so you want to shoot them right as they phase in.
While I do like the additional amount of RNG it adds in a game that’s for the most part a memorizer, the RNG on the amount of lasers fired and their firing angles is a bit extreme. It has led to situations where I only survived because I was lucky enough that I didn’t happen to be in one of the firing angles, and vice versa gotten unlucky in the same way. Ideally the starfish should always fire at fixed angles, but alternatively the starfish could fire a fixed amount of lasers from random angles that get telegraphed for a second before they fire, giving you the necessary time to react with that slow-ass ship of yours.

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The boss for this stage, Ghost, is nothing to write home about, as it’s just an Apartheid palette-swap that flies around. The flying around is more of an annoyance, as its head keeps drifting off-screen and prevents you from damaging it, but its head being off-screen also mean the bullets it fires get canceled, so all it does is waste your time. Only noticeable differences it has is that it can fire several spreadshots at you, but these should be easy to dodge. At least the Jupiter background and multiple parallax layers of moving asteroids in the background makes this fight look fairly dynamic.

Stage 6 is somewhat of a mixed bag. Half of it does have the omnidirectional RNG-infused frenzy that made stage 5 so good, but the rest takes it too easy for what is supposed to be the final stage of the game. Especially during the junkyard part it’s easy to destroy most enemies before they can fire back, even without autofire.

Then, the final boss appears: this giant translucent dolphin-thing called Omega Zone. Its main mode of attack is spawning orbs which move snake-like towards you, leaving a trail of static bullets in their wake which slowly cuts you off, especially once the boss starts dropping four of them at once. Thankfully they do not continue forever. If they extend too long they will quickly retrace their steps back to the origin and cancel all left-behind bullets before chasing you again. If they never stopped it would have become increasingly impossible to be able to hit the leading orb and destroy the entire chain if the snakes covered most of the screen space.

The challenge here is to destroy the leading orb and avoid getting entrapped by the multiple snake orbs chasing you, which does involve some macro planning so you don’t get boxed in and can create enough space to skim the orbs in case they are coming at you from above or below. The only thing is that with (30Hz) autofire they go down too fast, but without autofire they take forever to kill.

In terms of presentation this fight is another level, and an excellent climax for the game. There is no unique final boss theme, instead it plays most of the songs in the soundtrack in a medley. Each time you damage the boss enough, the background image and theme changes. The sequence of backgrounds appear to represent the history of the universe, first beginning with the Big Bang, then showing dinosaur fossils, the first humans, the first humans in an industrial age, and then a WW2-era soldier. The last two backgrounds are the most ominous of them all. The second-last background shows an infinite trash heap with human dolls sticking out, apparently signifying the ruin or devastation of human civilization. Then the final background is that of a cat with strange eyes looking at the viewer, the rest of the background being showing abstract monochromatic things. What the hell was meant with the cat? Does it imply some kind of mass insanity that breaks down the remainder of mankind, everyone succumbing to paranoia and their inner demons? While what it actually means is anyone’s best guess, it being the final image in a sequence of mankind’s history has some very vague but haunting implications that just sticks with you. Perhaps it’s precisely because it’s so abstract and vague that your mind will fill in the blanks with your personal idea of a worst case scenario for humanity.

The true ending of the game is no less haunting. Omega Zone is destroyed, but the Earth is shown to be split in half as a consequence. The naked pilot of your ship is shown crawling into a fetal position, asking himself if he truly defeated the beast or whether it was all just a dream. Then, one final shot of the Earth’s revived sea at sunlust. Was this for real or were you dreaming? Nobody knows yet, but a memorable ending this is for sure.

Born to be Free’, really stands out because it’s not your usual peppy first shmup stage theme. It’s slow, but also hopeful; excellently setting the tone for the suicide mission you’re embarking on. ‘Dual Moon’ and ‘Dancing Horming’ are some of the more memorable tunes, energetic songs that feels like you’re really taking the fight to the aliens. For stage 4 you are miles away from home, stuck in some foreign wormhole where nothing makes sense, which ‘Waste Days’ encapsulates well through its somber poignancy. Stage 5 is the hardest in the game, and so ‘Doubt’ is aggressive, harsh and uncertain, complementing your never-ending struggle. The first two boss themes, ‘Visitor’ and ‘Yueez’, create a sense of awe and mystery which perfectly suit your first encounters with the horrible alien lieutenants. The final stage theme, ‘Time’, is just great. It builds up slowly, then cascades into bombastic heroism, reflecting back on journey up to this point and your determination to finish things once and for all. But my most favourite theme of them all is ‘non-fiction’, more specifically its arranged version as the staff roll theme. I actually consider it my favourite of anything Yack ever made; its mighty sax commands a sense of power like no other; it’s so goddamn powerful when it plays. Its arrange in the Metal Black - The First remix album did it a massive disservice. This was Yack’s third (?) soundtrack he got to work on, and he seriously knocked it out of the park with Metal Black.


In conclusion, Metal Black is one hell of an unique game qua presentation, but gameplay-wise things are half-baked. It has some cool ideas, but they would eventually see better use in G-Darius and Border Down. Still, the game is easy enough that you can clear it in a few days of practice.
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chum wrote:
the thing is that we actually go way back and have known each other on multiple websites, first clashing in a Naruto forum.

Liar. I've known you only from latexmachomen.com and pantysniffers.org forums.


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:18 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: I DID IT! Share your latest 1CCs/other triumphs here...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:18 am 



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