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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:43 am 


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Perikles wrote:
Perikles wrote:
However, I do know I can theoretically beat the game now, have to see how long it takes.

One more afternoon. Image

Added Hacha Mecha Fighter (31)! Thanks to Plasmo for insisting on it, 's not my favourite game, but good to have on the list, regardless. :)


I can only second your assessment. It's about the same range where I would rank it myself probably. It's easier than Zing Zing Zip, that's for sure. Thunder Dragon would rank lower than HMF for me though.

Thank you! Patiently waiting for your 1cc video now. :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:30 am 


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HMF is a pretty badly designed game, but it's too damn adorable to dislike. I'm curious what you think about certain stages in the second loop (2-7 especially), I honestly think they're impossible (so by extension, I'm not sure a 2-ALL can really be done by conventional means)
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:46 am 


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chum wrote:
HMF is a pretty badly designed game, but it's too damn adorable to dislike. I'm curious what you think about certain stages in the second loop (2-7 especially), I honestly think they're impossible (so by extension, I'm not sure a 2-ALL can really be done by conventional means)


The game is severely broken from the second loop onwards. By the time you reach stage 2-4 or 2-5 (and anything thereafter), you cannot destroy most of the enemies anymore because they simply have too much health (not even bombing works!) while they throw everything they have at you in nothing slower than the speed of light.

Since the world record score is a counterstop and ended in the middle of the fourth loop (4-6 to be exact) there is probably a bug of some sort to be discovered. Have you by any chance save stated your way to the third loop once? Does it get even harder?

As you know, I have found a bug in stage 6. Maybe this works in other places as well and lets enemies despawn while you can safely milk the game for points? For now, HMF scoring remains a mystery.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:00 am 


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I thought the same thing, there has to be a different bug somewhere. Let's not forget how we broke Sand Scorpion in trap-STGT. Some of these games have silly bugs that can be a tremendous help. I only savestated to see my way through the 2nd loop, can't remember if I had a look at anything in loop 3... but just seeing loop 2 was enough of a nightmare.

And some more questions to Perikles while I'm at it. There is no denying that you've cleared all these games at an unprecedented rate on this community. Rather than just talking about the games themselves (which is helpful, informative, and sometimes fascinating by the way) I would be curious to know how you go about tackling them. I remember you telling me in the past that you had a great sense of memory, which is definitely the most helpful ability one can hand to tackle so many games in such a short amount of time, but beyond that, how do you do it? You must be playing a lot, what kind of time commitment do you expect is necessary for a relatively hard shmup (say, in the 25-30 range)? what about the toughest clears you've done? I'm thinking in terms of hours rather than days or weeks, BTW. Also how long have you been playing Shmups? Is it right to assume you were far from a beginner by the time you signed up?
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:45 am 


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chum wrote:
[...] I would be curious to know how you go about tackling them. I remember you telling me in the past that you had a great sense of memory, which is definitely the most helpful ability one can hand to tackle so many games in such a short amount of time, but beyond that, how do you do it?

When I started out, I would only play them on a console without any means of efficient practice, I also didn't watch any videos save for a handful of exceptions. I believe that helped quite a bit in learning about various types of classic shmups, even those with awkward hitboxes and whatnot. I made a point out of learning something from every game, even if it is some horrendous Dimension Force or Xenon 2 Megablast. These days, it depends on the game. Hacha Mecha Fighter for example I played two afternoons before we were talking about it here, without any pressure or intention of clearing it. Once it became lucid that I would like to beat it I decided to immediately use the most efficacious tools available for I knew that the game is almost entirely based on memorization/planning. Watched the PCB run on YT which gave me a general idea for everything, then set up savestates to look where I also would have to bomb or perhaps could play in a slightly different manner.

Most games I like to play more natural, though, without immediately resorting to savestates/videos. I would imagine that due to the fact that I've seen a lot, I tend to find viable (not necessarily ideal) solutions fairly quickly most of the time. I also simply enjoy dabbling with a lot of games, even with their higher loops. Having said that, something like the second loop of Image Fight, R-Type II and Xexex I would not even dare trying without proper practice.

chum wrote:
[...] what kind of time commitment do you expect is necessary for a relatively hard shmup (say, in the 25-30 range)?

That really depends on what type of difficulty we're speaking of. It only took me a handful of hours (five hours spread out over two afternoons) to 2-ALL X-Multiply since it is so inclined on memorization, while Thunder Dragon 2's fast bullets thwarted more than one attempt (I think I've had to spend about thrice that time). Consistently clearing, say, Gradius III is definitely much more realistic for me than something with frantic gameplay.

chum wrote:
what about the toughest clears you've done? I'm thinking in terms of hours rather than days or weeks, BTW.

If we're talking about all of my clears, including marathon runs, then definitely my Gradius II 5-ALL, with the Gradius 8-ALL coming fairly close. The first two arcade Gradius games (and probably Gradius III SFC) are the games I've played the most over the course of the years, they were also among the first games I've got at around 2010. Most assuredly dozens upon dozens of hours for all of them. I have the feeling that - in terms of a 1-ALL - Gokujou Parodius with the special stage will be the game that took me the longest once/if I finally manage to beat it, that special stage alone took (still takes me!) an ungodly amount of time, can't get consistent at it.

chum wrote:
Also how long have you been playing Shmups? Is it right to assume you were far from a beginner by the time you signed up?

I've always liked the genre, but only played them in a casual manner back in the day. Around 2010 I got into 1CCs and all that, by the time I've registered here I've worked my way through most 16-bit shmups (started with the SFC, then worked myself through the PCE and MD) and a few NES/PS1/PSP ports/console-exclusives, so I had a bit over a couple hundred clears when I registered.


Edit: added remark for Lethal Thunder (-25 compared to Thunder Blaster).


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:28 am 


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Added a few more games: Daioh (18 for 1-ALL, 27 for 2-ALL), Final Star Force (12), Plus Alpha (9), Thundercade (6) and Varia Metal (2). Have to say that this was mostly a painful experience: Varia Metal is the worst arcade shooter I've ever played; Thundercade is essentially the prequel to Twin Eagle but on a bike, worse (!) and less charming; Final Star Force has more severe slowdowns than any of the SFC shmups you dare mention, it's so bad that even with autofire on the bomb button, you have to wait for several seconds during boss fights (sometimes 5 seconds or more) for something to happen; Plus Alpha could've been average if not for its own considerable slowdowns and cheap shots, it's not as bad as the rest, though. Thank the heavens for Daioh, it took me some time to get used to it, now I utterly love it.

Edit: also added Shienryu (20 for 1-ALL, 31 for 2-ALL).


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 10:03 am 


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Several additions/remarks for 16-bit games:

- Amended the R-Type 2-ALL, as expected with an identical value compared to the arcade game (29). I was unfortunately unable to get any of my passwords for the second part of R-Type's second loop to work (i.e. for stage 2-5/13) and had to use one from the internet. I actually was in a similar situation a while ago but didn't think much of it and figured that somehow, I erred when writing it down. This time, I patiently tried three different passwords, even made pictures of them (see spoiler) to make sure it wasn't my fault, yet all for naught. Passwords for 1-5 and 2-1 work perfectly fine, it's an exclusive problem for 2-5. My guess is that either my configuration causes some problems (fully powered up DNA laser, two bits, two speed-ups, a score above 750,000 points and all lives) or that the guys over at Irem simply forgot to implement those passwords and the one I found was an early test password or something (the score is impossibly low considering the stage, hence it doesn't seem entirely unreasonable). If anyone knows what exactly the problem is, please pipe up!

Spoiler: show
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Image


- I used that momentum to also 2-ALL both the Normal (20) and Arcade (25) mode of Mr. Heli. The second loop in both is so magnificently crafted one wouldn't think the original arcade game didn't have it! Outstanding bonus for an already essential classic shooter, making it one of my favourite 16-bit ports.

- Speaking of Irem et al., I eventually finished the Paranoia 2-ALL (14) which is quite a neat treat for friends of memorizers that don't want to invest too much time into them at the same time. The brevity and succinct stage design as well as a couple of exceptional bosses are remarkable for a console-exclusive, let's not even speak about the trippy art design!

- Added notes for Parodius Da! 2-ALLs (30 total for the PCE port, 34 total for the SFC port). Supreme fun both, especially the SFC port, I definitely recommend it for inveterate 16-bit enthusiasts. Also decided to tackle the two loop mode of Gokujou Parodius which I'm going to rate with a 24, the second loop incarnation of the Special Stage is savage! Without Dracula-kun, this would be quite the achievement. It should be noted that with all these 16-bit Parodius rankings, I'm having full defaults in mind, that is to say roulette capsules, regular checkpoints, manual etc. It would be obviously not nearly as demanding to e.g. beat SFC Gokujou Parodius' loop 2 Special Stage with instant respawns.

- Amended the Sonic Wings 2-ALL (23) and also clarified the rating for the Sonic Wings 1-ALL. My first impression that Rabio is essentially the easy mode character proved to be rather wrong due to the massive increase in rank, a 2-ALL would definitely be harder with him. External autofire is highly advised with Kohful, however. If you're trying to get a clear on real hardware it would be even better if the controller would allow you to move left, up or down instead of not responding at all even though the seller marketed the product as working.

- Got remarks for the higher difficulty settings of a few venerable PCE institutions; not much of a change for Star Parodier's Sugeeze/Hard (+1 for a total of 3), Soldier Blade on the other hand (+12 for a total of 17) receives quite a respectable boost in difficulty, as does Gunhed with its booming God of Game setting (+15 for a total of 21).

- Appended a footnote for a Psycho Chaser 2-ALL (27 total) which unfortunately does not come recommended, unlike the first loop that will be able to convince even the most fastidious 16-bit aficionados (or so I claim).

- Finally have the honour to supplement an annotation for MD Tatsujin's second loop (35 total), that was a long, arduous and consequently rewarding journey.


It should go without saying, but for 16-bit games that have infinite scoring problems which also allow the player to earn tons of lives in the process I'm always assuming you play the game remotely normal, that is to say without resorting to such desperate measures.


Also some arcade entries: added the Sonic Wings 2-ALL (27), that was quite a chore. Furthermore amended the other loops for Batsugun Special (13 for a 2-ALL, 21 for a 3-ALL, 24 for a 4-ALL). Got entries for Asuka & Asuka (1), Fighting Hawk (4), Meta Fox (13), Sky Alert (7), Sonic Boom (14), Sonic Wings Limited (13) and Terra Cresta (4)*, too. Some bottom of the barrel material this time (I'm definitely running out of classic shooters), Sonic Boom is quite solid if a little rough around the edges, fortunately!

*I'm not sure when you can consider one loop of Terra Cresta to be cleared, I'd argue that beating the boomerang-tossing boss qualifies as a 1-ALL since he's the closest thing to a final boss. There is no clear indicator anywhere, but the Japanese wiki also listed this game with the specific goal of clearing one loop, so this is my own guess regarding its ending point.


Since one achievement left the speculation table, I added another one to that: a Gallop 2-ALL, with 35 points. Worked my way through the rest of the loop with savestates, it's extremely awkward due to the added resilience of enemies. It's not even that much harder than the first loop in absolute terms, those small changes make a tremendous difference in practice, though.

Lastly, I've also examined the second loop of Pop'n TwinBee a bit further (set up savestates until the halfway-point of 2-4). There is an interesting challenge somewhere in there, the overall quality and sturdiness of the loop fluctuates too much for my liking for serious attempts at the moment, however. Some sections are really engaging, especially when you are forced to either play pacifistic or to switch between firing sparsely and not doing anything belligerent at all (e.g. in stage 2-2 when the schools of fish come from the left; you'd just wiggle around and slaughter them with the options in the first loop, but you really don't want to deal with all the suicide bullets in the second loop, hence you'd be wise to weave between them). For every such section there is another one where you either have to bomb (sometimes twice or even thrice) or mash the punch button in order to neutralize bullets, muddling the occasionally great impression. It's impossible to deny there's a Gunhed God of Game effect at work which is to say it is your main directive to survive for as long as it takes to reach the next shield and bomb(s) via a group of clouds and thus bells. It also doesn't help that the first loop takes one hour to beat and is so easy by comparison, you're mentally not prepared to face something so much more difficult afterwards. Not something I'm going to recommend, I might come back to it at some point, but I doubt it will be in the foreseeable future.

Edit: now with a remark regarding the second loop of PCE Detana!! TwinBee (36 total). Also for the second loop of PCE Tatsujin (25 total). Furthermore created an entry for the MD Grind Stormer 2-ALL (28). Lastly, a remark for Pop'n TwinBee's second loop (32 total).

Edit edit: now with a Flak Attack 2-ALL (25).


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 12:53 am 


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@Perikles
Have you tried Gulf War II yet? It is a very good game with a fascinating soundtrack.

Good war simulation.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 8:43 am 


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No, the extent of my knowledge is that it is a rather blatant Kyuukyoku Tiger epigone, but from what I just witnessed via skimming through a video, the soundtrack is fascinating, indeed. :mrgreen:

Added the Air Duel 2-ALL (28). The Japanese wiki currently has that in the evaluation section with a colossal 38 (41 without autofire), interestingly enough, I guess they really can't approve the awkward, severely punishing gameplay. Edit: now with the Trigon 2-ALL (33), as well. Also got the Gallop 2-ALL (28), also dropped the 1-ALL of said game to 17, if you know exactly what to do it becomes significantly easier. Lastly, the Gokujou Parodius clear including the dreaded special stage is also finally on the list (37).


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:22 am 


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I'll allow myself to bump this - several updates since the last post. Some of those I've done quite some time ago (particularly notes/entries on higher loops for 16-bit titles), but I was also diligent over the last few days and cleared a bunch of stuff which is of course also incorporated here (Andro Dunos, Captain Tomaday, Double Wings, Explosive Breaker, Gyrodine, Operation Ragnarok...).

While there are still some white spots on the map, I have to confess that I'm rather pleased with its current status. Looking at the original Japanese wiki, I've got the vast majority of classic shooters congregated here, and surprisingly many that aren't listed there as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:56 pm 


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And one more update: I was productive in the last weeks and filled a lot of gaps. While I am aware of the scattered desiderata (curse you, Turbo Force!), the list is now frighteningly close to being complete. Almost every classic developer is either entirely finished or has one, maybe a couple of games left at best. I even got a full set of Dooyong games, Korean Psikyo imitations, Hotdog Storm and Stagger 1, talk about dedication.ImageThere's of course a good chance some more entries will follow eventually, but I can say with the best conscience now that this little project is in a great shape as is. I also want to use this opportunity to thank everyone for their past and future inputs, doubts, critiques, affirmations etc.! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:40 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
I even got a full set of Dooyong games, Korean Psikyo imitations, Hotdog Storm and Stagger 1, talk about dedication.


:shock: My sincere condolences on having to play those. Hotdog Storm and maybe 1 or 2 Dooyong games are somewhat enjoyable though.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:39 pm 



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Query: what about Tokyo/Scramble Formation, ASO and ASO II (or Alpha Mission and Alpha Mission II)?
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:46 pm 


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I've not cleared them (outside of a single credit in ASO II, I've yet to play them, actually!), so I can't say anything about them.


On another note:
What I can say with certainty now is that SD Gundam Neo Battling is about as hard to clear as Argus, those two are without a doubt the hardest classic (1-)ALLs I've stumbled across. The last few stages in SD Gundam are like the loop 2 penalty area in Image Fight except with adorable little robots. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:09 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
I've not cleared them (outside of a single credit in ASO II, I've yet to play them, actually!), so I can't say anything about them.

Tokio is apparently not properly emulated yet, both ASO games are horrendous as far as I'm concerned, hence we might not find out soon, or ever. :mrgreen:


I'll allow myself to bump this one more time - in terms of quantitative growth, this simply has to be the last time where it is worthwhile, for those reasons:

- Outside of the aforementioned SD Gundam Neo Battling, I virtually cannot think of another classic shooter (not speaking of a few scattered 2-ALLs here and there) which I fervently want to clear. I'll probably find a handful more and/or endure a few games I absolutely despise, but we're talking about a fugaciously small minority here. I've dared try titles even experienced veterans probably have never heard of, such as 4-D Warriors, Dog Fight and Repulse. Granted, you'll find a few more gaps pre-'87, but most of those are either terrible games, borderliners, don't properly end etc. pp. ad nauseam.

- For our Psikyo enthusiasts, I've cleared the first loop of every game of theirs that is properly emulated in MAME (that is to say all but Pilot Kids and the two Zero Gunners). Some were approximately enjoyable and might be worth closer examination for a 2-ALL, who knows.

- I've smuggled a few moreso modern games into the list! A bit of CAVE, even (Dangun Feveron, Espgaluda, Progear 1-ALL). Would you look at that. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:20 am 


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Perikles wrote:
Outside of the aforementioned SD Gundam Neo Battling, I virtually cannot think of another classic shooter (not speaking of a few scattered 2-ALLs here and there) which I fervently want to clear. I'll probably find a handful more and/or endure a few games I absolutely despise, but we're talking about a fugaciously small minority here. I've dared try titles even experienced veterans probably have never heard of, such as 4-D Warriors, Dog Fight and Repulse. Granted, you'll find a few more gaps pre-'87, but most of those are either terrible games, borderliners, don't properly end etc. pp. ad nauseam.


I've heard of those listed! Regarding Dog Fight, Orca made some interesting games. There's also Funky Bee, Espial, Zodiack, The Precursor(?), Sky Lancer, and Vastar. I only really know about them because they're Toaplan's predecessor and have been mentioned in interviews. I wouldn't consider the games high-quality (in fact '82 and '83, minus Xevious, did not seem to be good years for shmups), but they have some redeeming aspects. Sky Lancer is a really bizarre game, for example, but LordBBH recently played it for his MAME roulette stream and had some fun with it.

I hope that eventually you'll do some videos for these older games, since there tends to not be much footage for them on YT. I personally would like to see a clear + scoreplay for SRD Mission.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:38 am 


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Good to see Argus on the list. 8)

Also, I like how you had to add "also terrible" to Sol Divide. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:42 am 


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Out of curiosity, why is Bakraid Normal so high? Honestly, that's one of the easiest clears I know of, provided you use Flame Viper. I'd also say you've got the Pachis a bit low, but I tend to suck at Cave, so that may just be me.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:24 pm 


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Shepardus wrote:
Also, I like how you had to add "also terrible" to Sol Divide. :lol:


That game is such an utter mess. But it layed out the basic frame-work that later went on to become GunSpike/CannonSpike.
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:54 pm 


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OmegaFlareX wrote:
I hope that eventually you'll do some videos for these older games, since there tends to not be much footage for them on YT. I personally would like to see a clear + scoreplay for SRD Mission.

I have to admit I'm not even entirely sure what shmups are out there pre '84, I got most of my inspirations by perusing our excellent Chronology of Shooting thread (which incidentally starts with '84). I'm always open to try things out, though, there is a possibility I might start to look into this a bit further at some point.

Obscura wrote:
Out of curiosity, why is Bakraid Normal so high? Honestly, that's one of the easiest clears I know of, provided you use Flame Viper. I'd also say you've got the Pachis a bit low, but I tend to suck at Cave, so that may just be me.

It's not just possible, but very likely I played it wrong since I didn't even took a look at any guide/video prior to playing it - for example, I only found out afterwards you can change your autofire rate in this game. I used a different ship and lost a few runs on the final boss, meaning it wasn't quite as easy as some of the games below for me. I'm sure it should/could be placed lower, though.

The reason I find the first two Pachis to be the easiest Cave games from what I've played is because they provide you with so many bombs. DDP in particular is so generous I bombed almost non-stop in the last two stages, it's a bit silly.

Kiken wrote:
Shepardus wrote:
Also, I like how you had to add "also terrible" to Sol Divide. :lol:


That game is such an utter mess. But it layed out the basic frame-work that later went on to become GunSpike/CannonSpike.

I honestly don't mind the early stretch of Sol Divide since you can adequately prepare for the boss fights and ration your magic for the stages. What really kills the game for me is the combination of wanton RNG and absurd damage output with the final bosses, losing three quarters of your health bar to an almost unavoidable attack is incredibly cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:39 pm 


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Ah, ok; using a different ship explains a lot on Bakraid, since the ships in that game aren't even remotely balanced. The difference between Flame Viper and an average ship in Bakraid is probably bigger than the difference between Strawman and the worst ship in Batrider.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:08 pm 


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Perikles, have you played or considered Chimera Beast? I'd be curious to know what you think about it, in general and where you'd rank it's difficulty.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:06 am 


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GGA_HAN wrote:
Perikles, have you played or considered Chimera Beast? I'd be curious to know what you think about it, in general and where you'd rank it's difficulty.

Gave it a few tries upon your post and managed to clear it shortly thereafter which should speak volumes about its difficulty. :mrgreen: The boss in the underground cavern and the final creature can be fairly nasty, but once you know what you have to do, the game is pretty lenient for the most parts, which is of course necessary due to how it handles.

As for its quality... Well, it resembles the weekend's project of a few particularly passionate Micronics employees that tried to combine UPL's Uchuu Senkan Gomora with the SNES/SFC action RPG E.V.O. - I'm not seriously complaining since this is an unreleased game, after all (which is also why I haven't played it prior), but it is pretty poor. I understand what they were trying to achieve, and I will admit that it's surprisingly gruesome at parts (when you eat humans in stage 6, your DNA changes to "meat", which makes the act all the more appalling, and let's not mention the dour ending!), the unfinished nature of it seems transparent to me, though. You constantly have to take damage since your omnivorous snout cannot possibly cancel all the bullets thrown your way, some of the bosses move way too erratic and don't leave you enough space to dodge, meaning you're better off to aggressively point-blank them and get a refill at the next stage instead of playing conservatively. Roughly 2/3 of your score comes from the final boss. You constantly change to weaker forms if you use the game's main mechanism, which ironically doesn't even matter whatsoever. The fourth boss refrained to spawn in one run so that I had to reset the game. It's not the worst game I've ever played by a long shot, but outside of the presentation (including the neat if somewhat blatant allegory of going through several evolutionary states both as a creature and in the context of the stages, thus neatly mirroring structure and function) there is nothing remarkable in it. I'd honestly recommend Uchuu Senkan Gomora in its stead, despite the horrendous final stage & boss (the MD port has a more tolerable difficulty curve there!).


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:54 am 


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Fantastic list, thanks for the effort. :wink:

Having played the FC and GB Gradius titles recently, I was wondering: have you considered extending the list(s) to 8-bit titles/ports (assuming such a list doesn't already exist somewhere else)? I know the difficulty is quite lower on average, but there are some interesting system exclusives out there, and you've probably cleared most of them already. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:42 am 


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Outside of playing Solar Striker over 20 years ago, I have virtually no experience with the GB as harbor for shmups whatsoever, I'm afraid. :mrgreen:

I have cleared 40 NES/Famicom titles, but I wasn't sure whether such an incomplete mosaic would warrant its own list - granted, it's difficult to even properly pinpoint how many shmups there are on the system what with a veritable cornucopia of unlicensed games, borderliners and hybrids, not to mention all those games which just loop forever without a distinct cut, making their "difficulty" impossible to gauge. But if there is interest, I could certainly add another list for those.


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:44 pm 


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40 titles (and I'm assuming STGs), is a pretty substantial amount nonetheless, in my opinion. :lol:

I mentioned system exclusives more as an incentive to compile such a list, but I'm equally interested in how you'd rate the ports as well, and there are plenty of those. Of course, most are considerably easier, some are terrible (1942 comes to mind :) ) but there are those that have their unique differences from the originals.

As for GB titles, I don't have much experience either, and only cleared both the Gradius games (on the GBC Konami compilations, though I'm fairly certain the games are exactly the same as the GB original, except with the added color).
They are both quite easy, though G2 is slightly harder than the first, and would most likely be a 1 on your difficulty scale. For reference, I've no-missed 2-ALL in Gradius, and no-missed the first loop in Gradius 2 (still working on the 2nd loop on this one :wink: ).

Also curious, do you have any experience with the MSX/2 titles?


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (now with 16-b
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:03 pm 


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Added what I got at the bottom of the first post. A few notes:

- This is even more vague than some of the other values - I'm e.g. honestly not entirely sure with some of the additional loops (might be that there was a minimal increase in difficulty or nothing at all etc.). It is worth noting that both Salamander and Life Force start to horribly glitch in stage 5 of loops 3 and 4, respectively, resulting in awful deaths, probably leading to rather catastrophic results.

- Couldn't use autofire for 1942 and Exed Exes on account of them being true Micronics ports, and we all know how much of a Protestant work ethic these guys contained within themselves.

- The reason Chuka Taisen is the highest entry on the list is due to godawful performance: your little guy is entirely hitbox, later stages start to massively flicker, there is a ton of lag (also negating your autofire) and checkpoint recoveries are really unfair. I would describe myself as fairly frustration-tolerant, but I was close to hurling my controller at the screen with this one. Sky Shark is similarly problematic.

- I want to say the Xevious port is almost the same as the arcade game, but I subtracted one point just to be safe. Had a bit more problems with the Fantasy Zone port for some reason than with the arcade game, though! Same with Insector X.

- I probably played Crisis Force wrong, but it took me a handful more attempts than some of the games below it. It's also possible Over Horizon should be lower on the list, that was one of my earliest clears, there's a good chance I remember it being a little bit harder than it actually is.

- I haven't played it myself, but I know that Kollision considers the hybrid Captain Planet and the Planeteers to be one of the toughest shmups on the platform, and I have unwavering faith in our maestro, so it's going to be true.

- Of those shmups I have played yet not cleared, Star Force has to be the hardest one by a long shot, it's probably the same as the arcade game, which is to say much, much harder than anything else on the list. The Gyrodine port is also a real bastard and much harder than the arcade game, albeit not for good reasons.

__SKYe wrote:
Also curious, do you have any experience with the MSX/2 titles?

I have tried the revised Nemesis 2 on the PSP (as well as its Parodius counterpart) and even with all the ameliorations, they were insufferable to me. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (also 8/16-bit
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:24 pm 


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Fantastic, thanks for the effort to put this together. :wink:

Perikles wrote:
Couldn't use autofire for 1942 and Exed Exes on account of them being true Micronics ports, and we all know how much of a Protestant work ethic these guys contained within themselves.


Indeed. :lol:
At one point I played a fair bit of it (cleared some 10+ stages) and considered attempting the 1CC, but the game is pretty bad -- especially the player's bullets, which sometimes fire and other times don't -- that I just gave up on it.

I think I'll start playing through some STGs using your lists as reference. Already cleared Gradius FC (besides the GB games) and nearly cleared the PCE port, so that gives me a decent reference point of what to expect from games above and below that threshold.

Perikles wrote:
I have tried the revised Nemesis 2 on the PSP (as well as its Parodius penchant) and even with all the ameliorations, they were insufferable to me. :lol:


Shame, I had some hope that they would be decent, but I always had some touble enjoying the MSX1 STGs, due to the tile-by-tile scrolling. Plenty of other games to try anyway. :lol:

I am looking forward to trying Nemesis '90 KAI (X68000), though, as it looks pretty damn cool, and given the hardware is probably is on par with the rest of the series (hopefully so, at least).


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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (also 8/16-bit
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:58 am 



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Thanks for NES/Famicom addition!
I've noticed there is no Silkworm - it's a decent shmup with two very different vehicles to use. Do you have plans for this game?
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 Post subject: Re: Classic arcade shooter difficulty ranking (also 8/16-bit
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:36 pm 


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Looking back this thread, still excellent as ever :)

BTW I'm surprised that you include Dodonpachi Daioujou black label, given you said to refuse play modern shumps maybe this game still count as classic to you. Which ship did you 1-ALL? My guess is Shotia since she carry more bombs.

19XX being 19 might seems too high imo. If you know the secret of charge bombs it could handle many deadly situations and you can cheese final boss by spamming Lv3 bombs alone.
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