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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:31 am 


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OmKol wrote:
I found Sexy and Gokujou a really tough after Da! arcade 1cc clear, what I did wrong?


Don't play with manual power ups, makes a fair difference on Sexy at least. I agree that Gokujou is tough.

EDIT: I'm talking about clearing Sexy without the Special stage.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:07 am 


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When ignoring the Special Stage in Gokujou in Sexy I would say that those are easier than Da! from a strict survival standpoint. Parodius Da! is quite a bit longer, you don't have Koitsu at your disposal, you cannot equip more than one speed-up without the game going crazy and playing with auto not only doesn't help, but makes matters worse. If you play for a basic clear in Gokujou and Sexy you can ignore regular bells (a lower score results in a lower rank) or power up more slowly, also for rank control, whereas you won't get any mileage out of that in Da! Sexy has a flat-out lower rank progression when playing in auto mode as Mero mentioned (Gokujou does not; not having to learn checkpoints can make life a whole lot easier nonetheless, of course). Another interesting thing is that Gokujou Parodius' final set of stages is not as hard as the mid-game in my opinion, the last two stages are much easier than the outer space stage, for example (cardboard Princess Kaguya is pretty mean, though). Parodius Da! requires you to actually learn all the stages without much guidance, rank control, opportunity to scurry over the finish line after a few deaths by dint of bells or anything of that nature. Special Stages and/or playing for score changes everything, however.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:29 am 



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NTSC-J wrote:
I've always thought that list was really off, but to be fair it's pretty hard to make an accurate ranking like that.

We could try to do our own version, but who here has beaten most of those (maybe Rando?) I think I've beaten about 25% of the list, but it might be a fun project to try to beat them all. Anyone feel like starting at the bottom and going all the way through?


I had a student who recently told me that I was mentioned in this thread. I guess that the student must lurk here, and that she is stalking me on the interwebs, since she knows my nickname. I am quite late, but I am happy that NTSC-J mentioned me (thanks, J!). Jokes aside:

I haven't played shmups in ages, but I have played quite a few of the titles in the list (and beaten some).

I must say that I am wondering if the community behind the ranking follows some specific guidelines for voting (e.g. they need to evaluate average difficulty of patterns, how hard is to recover from a death, and so on). If you have a little bit of experience in teaching/evaluation assessments, you know very well what I mean, I guess.

Said this, and after looking at the list, I need to mention which games' rankings leave me baffled.

1. Omega Fighter (2-all): I see that it is considered a "problem child" (google translation of the page). I remember that this game becomes irrationally hard in the second part of the second loop. I recall people 1-CC it in a finite amount of time, but I recall periodically returning to this game during my teens. In other words, it took me YEARS to reach a a 1-CC. I still believe that all the games within this range (i.e. the 40's) are harder, but I remember that the last few stages are insanely hard (i.e. the ones inside the mother-ship), since bullets are extremely fast/abundant/hard to handle.

2. Parodius DA! and Detana!, as others have mentioned, have second loops that are designed to get the player off the machine. I never went beyond 2-2 on both, and I recall people spending years trying to 2-all them, without succeeding.

3. Game Tengoku: beyond 2-3, I simply found the game too fast (bullets, enemy movement), and most enemies seem to have too many hit-points. It was released in 1995, but it suffered from the problem of its predecessors mentioned above.

4. Twin Eagle: i wish that we could find its development history. I was able ONCE to reach the carrier stage, but for the rest I would simply get slaughtered at any of the previous air chase zones. This game suffers from bad design to pathological levels.

5. Valtric: I recall that I tried to learn how to play this game in '91 or '92, i.e. 5-6 after its release (when I was 10-11), and I could simply not go beyond the second-third stages. Memories are hazy, but I remember it as a very unforgiving game.

So, I would say that the "old school" top-tiers have been voted because of their design faults making them hard to play.

I'd like to split the post for ease of readability, so I will post more soon.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:19 am 



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Ok, in this post I will make some comments "from the bottom up".

1. Side Arms & Thundercade: I can still finish both games on a good day, or lose at the second stage if I enter a death loop in Side Arms. Auto-fire is not so crucial in Side Arms (one of the weapons *is* auto-fire), but I would say that this game could be ranked lower than a 12: once you know what to do, you can destroy any enemy before they even spawn. Thundercade is even easier, as it offers periodic extends, a generous amount of bombs, tons of power-ups, and easy pseudo-manic patterns. Auto-fire renders it a cakewalk. So, I'd say that Side Arms is a 5-7, and Thundercade a 1-2. On the other hand...

2. Dragon Saber: no, this game is simply harder (30? 35?). Re-spawn points become quickly unforgiving, hit-box is huge, patterns are hard, etc. I believe that Perikles thoroughly discussed this game: sorry for repeating the point. This is clearly an outlier: I guess that a few players who know it by heart judged it to be easy, and nobody else cared (for the record, I never went beyond the fifth stage, and I adored it). I feel the same about Dragon Spirit, but I played it only a few times.

3. Viewpoint: see previous entry.

4. Border Down: a 6A 1-CC that ignores score should be rather easy (say, 5-8 to their scale). The game is only mildly challenging at 90% rank or more.

5. Darius: the first iteration of the series is very punishing if you die before leveling up, and Fatty Glutton (the fourth boss) is a bottleneck: it can be killed only in one way, and if you do not discover it, you will never progress. I would say that this is a 25.

6. Raycrisis (& Darius Gaiden): these games are much like Thundercade, i.e. they are very easy once you have mastered the basics (Darius Gaiden with autofire is barely a 2, I would say).

There is then the whole group of games ranked 20 to 25 ("hard, but can be solved with method", or whatever the translation is) that makes no sense to me. In no particular order:

1. Homura, Giga Wing Generations and 19xx can be finished with a few days of consistent practice (the 19xx final boss can be bombed to death easily, if you learn to charge bombs). They cannot be as difficult as the first loop of Truxton/Tatsujin, which has a big hitbox, difficult and long stages, and so on. Trigon has the same rank, and the same reasoning can be applied to it (i.e. final two stages are a pain in the ass, etc.). I never went beyond stage 9 on this latter title, and I finished the other four (GWG after 20 attempts or so...).

2. Chariot is considered slightly harder than Espgaluda II (22 vs. 21). I would rank the first at 15 to 20 (the last boss is a challenge, and that's it), and the latter at 30 or so (never finished it).

3. Mars Matrix, Muchi Muchi Pork and Batsugun Special version (the 4-all): Mars Matrix's final stage may be challenging the first few times, but anyone who figures out how to approach it should find it manageable (i.e. this is 15, for me). Maybe the voters considered the basic mechanic difficult, or something like that. I finished Muchi Muchi Pork in 3 days (you might remember this: I was visiting Tokyo for 4 days in 2008, and I went to HEY! for 3 days...), with a bit of knowledge of the rank system (so, 10-15 for me). During the same period, I showed off to locals by 1-CC'ing Batsugun during MMP breaks. I would say that only the fourth loop is really challenging, and even that can be bombed away (15 for me, overall).

Ok, let me split posts again.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:39 am 


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galuda 2 at 21 sounds about right
just abuse kakusei and short bombs


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:05 am 



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I am looking at the titles included between rank 25 to 30, and I am also perplexed by them. Again, in no particular order:

1. Raystorm: Am I missing something? I recall 1-cc'ing this without too many headaches (but the last boss takes some serious practice). I would lower it to a 20 or so.

2. Acrobat Mission: see above. This game cannot be as difficult as Battle Garegga: I 1-cc'ed when I was 10, without auto-fire, and within 3 weeks of practice or so. Bonus: X-multiply, 2-all, is definitely harder. This has to be a typo: maybe they wanted to assign it a 16 or something.

3. P-47: See above. I would give it a 20, though, as it is a bit challenging in the last 2-3 stages

4. Battlantis (2-all): I wonder what Perikle's opinion is, on this entry. I recall that it took me ages to clear both loops (without auto-fire), but I managed to do so in 1997 (yes, I discovered this gem 10 years after its publication!). The second loop is unforgiving (you must quickly "solve" each stage), but a 2-all of Donpachi (ranked 33, one point less) strikes me as far harder (and my best was 2-5, for DP), if only because of the sheer number of suicide bullets.

Bonus: Gradius III: I swear, I found this game impossible, much like R-Type 2 (and the whole family of hori memorizers). Rank is 60 for me.

I would like to add some general reflections at a later time, if nobody minds (eh!).
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:11 am 


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Randorama wrote:
4. Battlantis (2-all): I wonder what Perikle's opinion is, on this entry.

He has his own list here, and Battlantis sits right at the top of it.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:19 am 



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Bananamatic wrote:
galuda 2 at 21 sounds about right
just abuse kakusei and short bombs


OK, but then I still think that Chariot should be lower in the chart.
You indirectly point out one crucial aspect (which must have been mentioned so far, sorry): scores without explanations are hard to understand. I am looking at Perikles' list (Thanks, Shepardus!), and the guide makes it relatively clear how the scores are assigned.

Said this, I believe that a more objective system of evaluating difficulty could be built up, even if it would take some time. Basically, it would need a group of game features to be scored (e.g. speed of bullets, difficulty to recover from death, etc.), and a group of players who assign scores to these features, and who can also be scored with respect to strengths weaknesses (e.g. ability to handle fast bullets, memorize routes, etc.). I am not saying that it would be a trivial matter: a proper study would be something that could be published on a social sciences/game design journal. I would be interested to quantify different experiences, since we have been playing this stuff for a while, now.

Any thoughts?
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:57 am 


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Randorama wrote:
(e.g. ability to handle fast bullets, memorize routes, etc.)

memorizing anything shouldn't be included in the rating at all
as far as I understand it, the rating is for pure survival, meaning how hard the game is to just clear if you entirely ignore scoring (which already assumes you have the strategies available and know them)
it makes perfect sense that if a game is clearable without routes, it's going to be even easier with having any kind of strategies so those are naturally ranked lower

they should be ranked according to:
-how hard the survival strategies are to pull off
-how closely you need to follow them or recover if you go off route (this makes games that don't require routing rank lower)
-how forgiving the game is if you screw up and die

espgaluda 2 is pretty easy once you realize how many safespots the bosses have and how many attacks are just aimed at you
after that, you can kakusei anything that is threatening or if you screw up on stages, bomb if you're out of gems and die if you're out of bomb gauge and fail to dodge
also remember to max out the kakusei over rank in stage 1 for more gems so you can cheese bosses to death even more
the game should end before you run out of lives
low 20s easily


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:11 am 


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Bananamatic wrote:
as far as I understand it, the rating is for pure survival, meaning how hard the game is to just clear if you entirely ignore scoring (which already assumes you have the strategies available and know them)

I'm pretty sure that some games are meant to be played under certain conditions. For example, Ako mentioned that the reason Twin Eagle is this high has to do with the fact that they expect you to play with a high autofire rate, thus increasing the difficulty of the game drastically. It's unfortunately not immediately apparent where (and how) this is the case. I would surmise the guess that e.g. Omega Fighter's high ratings (both 1-ALL and 2-ALL) signify you're supposed to play this for score, the ratings are inordinately high otherwise.

Randorama wrote:
1. Raystorm: Am I missing something? I recall 1-cc'ing this without too many headaches (but the last boss takes some serious practice). I would lower it to a 20 or so.

For what it's worth (not having cleared it yet), I do think it is a tough game. Only three lives, a nasty rank system, constant "drifting" that makes it difficult to maintain your position on the screen in order to evade tricky attacks, a sometimes confusing perspective etc. Definitely up there with other demanding clears as far as I'm concerned.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:27 am 



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Bananamatic: OK, thanks. Do you happen to know if people have to score a game for each of the three parametres, according to a value (e.g. 1 to 10 or something)? (I must try the Esp.Galuda 2 tips, too, cheers).

Perikles: OK, I forgot everything about Raystorm, then! At any case, I would like to ask you a few more questions, but I will do that in your own thread.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:21 pm 


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Bananamatic wrote:
memorizing anything shouldn't be included in the rating at all
as far as I understand it, the rating is for pure survival, meaning how hard the game is to just clear if you entirely ignore scoring (which already assumes you have the strategies available and know them)
it makes perfect sense that if a game is clearable without routes, it's going to be even easier with having any kind of strategies so those are naturally ranked lower

they should be ranked according to:
-how hard the survival strategies are to pull off
-how closely you need to follow them or recover if you go off route (this makes games that don't require routing rank lower)
-how forgiving the game is if you screw up and die


Agreed 100%


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:21 am 


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I have no idea how it works and it's probably not accurate either, plus some games like sdoj expert are missing for years


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 10:31 pm 


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#3 should be a separate ranking entirely. Survival without considering resources is raw difficulty. Raw difficulty is important because absolutely having to use a resource to get out of a situation, in games that are not specifically very carefully designed around using resources (Garegga, G Darius), is bad design.

Now that Omega Fighter has been discovered to be pretty different from what most people here have played, the ranking for it makes more sense.

Basically all of the 3D sequels, like Ray Storm, R-Type Delta, G Darius, etc, are way harder than previous games in their series. Except for Ray Storm, I don't think it's the visuals, as these games would be just as hard with entirely 2D graphics, most likely. As mentioned earlier, G Darius gets even harder if you're crazy and try to play it without captures. There's a challenge for people, I guess.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 8:24 am 


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"survival without considering resources" is nonsense ranking
DDP kinect hibachi is a good example, you fight the regular hibachi at the end with kinect controls which makes the "raw difficulty" basically impossible
however he has no bomb shield in the kinect arrange so you throw 4 bombs at him and it's gg


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:31 am 


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Bananamatic wrote:
"survival without considering resources" is nonsense ranking

Have to agree here; why should "resources" be considered a separate thing any more than, say, shooting?
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 11:36 am 


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You do realize you're talking about the shmup genre, where resources trivialize a lot of any game's design? Like, the whole point of a bomb is to make entire patterns and enemy formations go away, and without punishment in nearly all cases. There are tons of games that raise difficulty specifically based on what resources you have, in order to threaten the player with a more challenging game. To not consider raw difficulty is to act as if Garegga and the like are the only kind of shmups that exist. To not consider raw difficulty is also to buy into the whole "impossible quarter munching arcade games" bullshit, and I know you two are better than that.

Kinect DDP is not a good example, because Kinect DDP is not a good example of anything.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 11:43 am 


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to not consider resources would put dojwl, sdoj inbachi, kinect ddp, futari ultra and mushi ultra 1.5 into the same group despite inbachi being the only one completely immune to resources (from what is known so far)
like you say, it wouldn't be a raw difficulty ranking but a shit design ranking


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 11:51 am 


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I'm not so sure those particular choices are so equal, unless you literally only care about the TLBs, of course. Do that a little less, man. Think of the little people. Yes, I'm aware of who I'm replying to.

Actually, this is another problem with the wiki page and with most difficulty lists: they don't really talk about why the game is as difficult as it is, and they don't break the game down into its parts. CAVE and CAVE-like (cavelike?) games get turned into "which TLB is the dumbest", and I don't think anyone really cares about that discussion. (the answer is shin aki obviously)

Well, I mean, that's correct. They're the same thing. If you're stupid high on the list, you're probably a stupid game. Same goes for the wiki. Friendly reminder that DOJWL is a dumb game and people need to fetishize it less.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 12:09 pm 


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I'm not sure I fully understand what people mean by "resources".

Does things like bombs, Galuda's time slow and Batsugun level up count as "resources"? If so, then I agree with banana on this one.

It's just dumb, it would be like trying to beat dodonpachi without ever powering up your ship.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 12:10 pm 


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Quote:
"which TLB is the dumbest", and I don't think anyone really cares about that discussion. (the answer is shin aki obviously)

1.0 shin aki is not all that dumb and very doable to no miss with 2-4 bombs depending on movement rng
1.5 shin aki is garbage though

Quote:
I'm not so sure those particular choices are so equal, unless you literally only care about the TLBs

because it's a 1cc difficulty list and if the TLB (which is mandatory for the 1cc) is 100x harder than the rest of the game because you insist on not using any resources then it indeed turns into TLB ranking which further degenerates into shit design ranking

Quote:
Friendly reminder that DOJWL is a dumb game and people need to fetishize it less.

it's a good game with unfortunate TLB design
the fact that the TLB is mostly resource throwing and hyper gauge adjusting doesn't ruin the rest of the game


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 12:22 pm 


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Are you saying... that TLBs are shit design? Even in these trying times, you get this basic fact. Checkmate, atheists.

1.0 Shin Aki is dumb precisely because of your entire description. 1.5 Shin Aki is just more dumb, because 1.5 is an extremely dumb game in every possible way.

The rest of the game ruins the rest of the game. DOJWL is still a gigantic leap from DDP, but there's just no point in playing it when DOJBL exists. Even vanilla WoW makes more sense.

donluca wrote:
I'm not sure I fully understand what people mean by "resources".

Does things like bombs, Galuda's time slow and Batsugun level up count as "resources"? If so, then I agree with banana on this one.

It's just dumb, it would be like trying to beat dodonpachi without ever powering up your ship.

Just lives/bombs. It's not dumb, because a lot of the challenges in these games are designed specifically so that you can beat them without wasting resources, and many games reward you for it. Dodonpachi is a fantastic example: bomb or die once (until you get to the TLB because of the weird way bombs work) and your run is over.

Batsugun level up is definitely not a resource. Galuda time slow might... arguably be. You can totally beat a Galuda without time slow if you really[i/] want. You can even beat it in full red mode. But this is like trying to beat Garegga [i]without resources; it's technically possible, but very much goes against the game's design.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 12:57 pm 


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actually, shin aki is beatable without bombs or deaths, you just have to get lucky for roughly 5-9 seconds of the final attack
meanwhile trying to NMNB dojwl hibachi is nonsense and ultra larsa is just not happening, you'd run out of lives without bombing before even getting to the tlb

Despatche wrote:
Are you saying... that TLBs are shit design?

good ones (like DDP hibachi or the one in rolling gunner) at least give you a fighting chance while making a NMNB extremely unlikely, DDP hibachi is very possible to beat without bombs or deaths or insane luck but it's extremely hard
stuff like 1.5 aki's final or dojwl washing machine that is basically "you're fucked, don't even bother trying" is not good design


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 1:08 pm 


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Despatche wrote:
You can totally beat a Galuda without time slow if you really[i/] want. You can even beat it in full red mode. But this is like trying to beat Garegga [i]without resources; it's technically possible, but very much goes against the game's design.


I don't know that it "goes against the game's design" so much as the game was designed to be quite reasonable to play without kakusei (I've cleared it this way including skipping the 1up, not too bad). So there's no point in the game where you're screwed if you have no gems stocked for a decent length kakusei.

A better example is Giga Wing imo - Stage 5 in particular has several enemy waves that fire waves of bullets that are essentially walls (the things shaped like sperm with spiky tails). If you attempt to beat the game reflectless, you have to seriously route to speedkill them, as well as plan a few bombs. Even then it's quite brutal, as the game was designed around the assumption that you'd have a reflect charged every few seconds, and the last few stages are brutal if you do not use reflect at all.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:02 pm 


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Despatche wrote:
DOJWL is still a gigantic leap from DDP, but there's just no point in playing it when DOJBL exists.

This is what I thought 5 years ago. I played DOJBL since it was "obviously" the improved version, cleared it, didn't like it that much, and had no desire to ever play it again. Then I watched some DOJWL streams and kept thinking how much better it looked, so I eventually started playing that. The only reason I went back to BL is because I wanted something different, but was too lazy to start learning a new game from square one.

Both versions have their advantages and disadvantages. I think the only really bad thing about DOJ that Black Label fixed was Type B's XL hitbox. It's kinda funny reading the interview with HFD where he complains about how bad Type B is. It's still not as good as Type A, but clearly he never used it in WL.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:12 pm 


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a good difficulty ranking should only consider pure one credit survival through however many loops using whatever resources necessary.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:14 pm 


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I'm not very good at DOJ so I don't know 100% what you're referring to, but I'm really curious: what were the differences between them that made WL look better? The only think I know is BL adjusted how lives in loop 2 work, hypers are easier to obtain, and rank starts lower but apparently caps out higher than WL (?). What are you referring to about Type B's hitbox being fixed, does it have a bigger hitbox in WL than in BL? Is Type A the same in both versions?
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:21 pm 


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WL has bigger hitboxes overall, you can bullshit a lot of stuff in BL like washing machine, if you get lucky you can just flail through the entire thing
in WL you die in 3 seconds


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 6:10 pm 



Joined: 04 Nov 2013
Posts: 736
Location: Washington
mycophobia wrote:
a good difficulty ranking should only consider pure one credit survival through however many loops using whatever resources necessary.


Exactly, I think some people are overthinking this.

Once you try incorporating scoring, using or not using certain resources, etc, it just becomes impossible to quantify and compare from one game to another. Virtually every STG (or at least most of them) approaches "max difficulty rating" when you are trying for the highest possible score.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese STG Difficulty Wiki
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 6:20 pm 


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Joined: 01 Nov 2010
Posts: 1734
Location: Massachusetts
BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
I'm not very good at DOJ so I don't know 100% what you're referring to, but I'm really curious: what were the differences between them that made WL look better?

I don't even remember tbh, but it's probably just the difference in stage strategies, the max bomb bonus being far less valuable, and the way lives are earned in the second loop that made it more appealing to me. I still think WL has better score balance.

BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
What are you referring to about Type B's hitbox being fixed, does it have a bigger hitbox in WL than in BL? Is Type A the same in both versions?

https://i.imgur.com/vS5RpBu.jpg

At first I thought some bullets also had their hitboxes reduced in BL, but now I'm not 100% sure. It could just be the ship itself that makes some things a lot less dangerous. The 2-3 boss in WL for example sometimes moves and shoots in a way that practically 100% guaranteed to kill me (and end the run), but it hasn't been an issue in BL.
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