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 Post subject: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:51 pm 


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Voting

Discussion Thread

Once again, no major structural changes to report. I do, however, have something else I need to bring up: This does take out a sizable chunk of time near the start of every year, and my biggest problem with this isn't so much the workload itself as it is that the T25 just hasn't been getting the numbers. I'm fully prepared to run it again right now, but assuming this pattern follows again, my preference would be to take a break next year and see if the extra time might revitalise interest a bit.

I don't really want to stop running it as such yet, and even if I do have to bow out one day I'm distinctly aware of the workload I'd be handing over. Between writing new calculation code, making sure all the names are recognised properly, double-checking historical lists to make sure the results post information is right etc, I feel like I'd end up doing nearly as much work anyway just making sure the whole thing held together during the transfer. This wouldn't really change whether I only took one year off or not, hence the proposition of a break/perhaps switching to bi-yearly eventually. My primary concern for the moment is the quality of results and the increasing investment it's taking to get them.

oh yeah also talk about shmup voting here

Past results:
16th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2018
15th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2017
14th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2016
13th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2015
12th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2014
11th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2013
10th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2012
9th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2010ish
8th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2009
7th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2008
6th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2007
5th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2006
4th Annual Top 25 Results: through 2005
3rd Annual Top 25 Results: through 2004
2nd Annual Top 25 Results: through 2003
Inaugural Top 25 Results: through 2002

Nifty wrote:
incognoscente wrote:
To link directly to your ballot (or any other post):
  1. On the post in question, look at the upper right where the date stamp is. (I hope this is consistent across all themes.)
  2. Right-click on the little sheet of paper to the left of the Posted: text and copy the link address.
  3. Make a link in your commentary post using that destination.
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Last edited by Nifty on Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:13 pm 


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I never got to thank you for running the vote/results last year. :oops:

With all the M2 Cave ports, I am sure we will see an upswing in votes for Ketsui and ESPRaDe (I doubt this will be the case for Mahou Daisakusen, though). I wonder if Plasmo's recent achievements in Pink Sweets will cause some more attention towards it and Ibara, as well. I expect more changes to my ballot this year due to ever-changing tastes, as well as diving down deeper into particular games and discovering (or rediscovering) their virtues.

As for encouraging more participation, maybe the vote needs to be signaled or advertised more across different platforms. There may be members who only check in sporadically and spend the majority of their time on various twitter feeds or discord. I enjoyed Mark's breakdown of last year's vote on his podcast; as well I think it's worth publicizing it to our own friends/compatriots as people who, ostensibly, know more about the genre than outsiders (e.g. Slant's top 100 games of the decade has one shmup, Assault Android Cactus, alongside Gone Home and Bioshock Infinite lmao).
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:18 pm 


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Gotta remember to vote this year, if only to make sure Eschatos actually breaks the Top 25 this time instead of some goddamn euroshmup or so help me god.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:32 am 


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Voting for this stuff is fun and I appreciate all the effort that goes into it.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:26 am 



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I definitely plan on sharing this thread further and wider this year to hopefully drum up more interest and involvement. I'm only a noob to the shmup community but I really appreciate all effort that goes into this and I also found Mark's pod on the topic really interesting, too. Looking forward to it.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:03 pm 


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I'll be sure to vote, see if I can do my part to loosen Cave's strange grip on this list. Hopefully this year we will see Eschatos in the top 25.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:01 am 


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Personally, I can't vote, as I'm unable to make lists. My brain just doesn't work in such a manner. Therefore, I find it impossible to quantify why 'Game A' should occupy the #17 slot while 'Game B' occupies #9. When I worked as a film critic, I would just do my year-end lists in alphabetical order which would enrage my editor.

However, I've talked to other folks on other message boards about voting and the one thing I've heard over and over was that the process (more specifically the scoring) was way too complicated.

Have you considered something a bit more simplified such as having people submit their lists in order, then scoring them in reverse (so the #1 game would get 25 points, while #25 would get one)?

Also, would you consider accepting votes posted other places and submitted via link (so the voter would have to create an account here if they didn't have one)?

I feel that both of these would help get an influx of new blood and freshen things up.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:22 am 


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m.sniffles.esq wrote:
Have you considered something a bit more simplified such as having people submit their lists in order, then scoring them in reverse (so the #1 game would get 25 points, while #25 would get one)?

It already works like this, if you want it to. See my list from last year. RSG got 25 points, Dragon Blaze got one. But you are allowed to weight the scores in many different ways (see other peoples' lists.)
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:10 am 



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I haven't voted every year but I always enjoy the lists. I'll be voting this year for sure though.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:46 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
As for encouraging more participation, maybe the vote needs to be signaled or advertised more across different platforms. There may be members who only check in sporadically and spend the majority of their time on various twitter feeds or discord.

m.sniffles.esq wrote:
Also, would you consider accepting votes posted other places and submitted via link (so the voter would have to create an account here if they didn't have one)?


It's always essentially been this forums' thing, showing it around isn't really a consideration of mine (at least I'm definitely not doing it myself). It consistently happens right near the start of the year, that's as good a way of remembering it as anything. I have toyed with the idea of trying to design some kind of external submission form but having the 1:1 direct verification between users and their lists is something I really want to hang onto, plus it has the convenience of keeping the records in a single reliable place for post-browsing.

The vote thread should be up in a day or two.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:48 pm 



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I can't vote in good faith because my 25 shmups would be 25 shmups I've spent more than a few hours in. Not sure I'd even be able to scrape together 25.

That said, thank you for your efforts. The yearly lists are a major part of why I started reading the forum and signed up for an account.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:27 pm 


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Nifty wrote:
It's always essentially been this forums' thing, showing it around isn't really a consideration of mine (at least I'm definitely not doing it myself).

Oh for sure! What I meant was to encourage players who might not visit the site as much to join the forums, or remind them to log into their accounts to make a vote. I'll be doing my part to spread the word to get more people to contribute (the more votes should mean a more healthy list after all).

I've always admired that the rules ask for a certain amount of competency and familiarity with past games on the list. And while this is interpreted loosely (as I think it should) it makes it mean that we're asking participants to have a certain level of familiarity and competency with the genre before voting - to avoid making it like some moron game-journo feature with the top 10 shmups belonging to Ikaruga, Assault Android Cactus, and Sine Mora. :oops:
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:01 pm 


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Hoping for the year of ESCHATOS. I don't think any shmup deserves it more, has more heart, or needs more recognition to get people to actually PLAY IT!!!

And yeah, i think Esp.rade's gonna get a little bumpty bump this year.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:51 pm 


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my list this year

for some insight into my voting, here's the official shmup things that are bad tier list:

[S] checkpoints
[A] same-but-harder loops, speed powerups, lolis
[B] power down on miss, no autofire
[C] waifus, angled 3D perspectives, psikyo music
[D] no extends

if a game has these it'd better have some pretty strong qualities to make up for it.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:15 pm 


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Thanks for doing this again, Nifty. I must say you've got a very appealing list there yourself.

My own list is largely unchanged from last year. I couldn't resist shamelessly plugging my very own Flight of Pigarus, although I do think it can very much hold its own as a caravan shooter.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:04 am 


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I always enjoy paging through the votes, as honestly I find them more insightful than the final results. I can find a list that appears to have a similar taste, see what else that person enjoys that I haven't spent much time with, and then use that as recommendation list of which games I should dig deeper into. I've found a number of favorites this way.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:52 am 


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I was going to write a big thing of all my listed games, and why stuff changed, but it was too much work, so instead a few highlight changes:

P-47 Aces NMK 1996
Up: 3 -> 12
Finally got a PCB of this so I've been able to play it again. Just wow. It's really such an incredible game, everything about it. I think it maybe should be even higher on my rankings, but I haven't been playing it for long enough to be entirely certain.

The graphics are phenomenal. The attention to detail in both the pixel art and animation is incredible, with some really great looking explosions. All the music is insanely good too, lots of jams with wild bass lines. The stage designs are crazy well put together, everything has a really natural and satisfying flow. The difficulty has a really pleasant curve, with just the right rate of increase and little peaks to give tension and release.

The bumping scoring system is rather questionable, but with an open mind I think it's actually rather brilliant. It's unfortunate that the wedging requires pixel perfect placement, otherwise I think it's actually a rather interesting mechanic that requires some interesting strategy and execution to achieve.

Thankfully, I think this game stands along with a number of other games on my list where they're just so immensely innately satisfying to play that even without scoring them I can play them through over and over and keep enjoying it without a goal in mind. Did I mention it's horizontal!? Yeah, what!? Somehow this game feels super natural to me where most horizontals feel very foreign.

Sky Adventure Alpha Denshi 1989
NEW: 2
A real surprise from nowhere, lots of idiosyncrasies, an astonishingly deep scoring system, and appealing aesthetics make this a real blast. The graphics are rather nice and the music is pleasant if a little primitive (using an OPLL in an arcade in 1989 is rather pathetic). It's a very cute game worth taking a look at to try something unique.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:47 am 



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I will refrain from voting this year, because the 7 or so clears I have to my name have already drastically shifted the way I view the genre. I can only imagine how more experience will shape things.

Whereas previously I might have removed a game from my shortlist for a certain game mechanic, now I am either "wait and see" or even welcoming of it e.g. dodge the power-up (wait and see), Gradius style power-ups (pretty neat) etc.

However, even though I am abstaining, I do want to voice my appreciation of Toaplan's Mega Drive offerings Slap Fight MD and Same! Same! Same!. Can't wait to tackle the Mega Drive Kyukyoku Tiger some day.

Outside of Toaplan and the Mega Drive, I also really enjoyed Soldier Blade and Winds of Thunder.

I know it will hardly be news to anyone here, but these really are top of the top 16-bit STGs.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:38 am 


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Some notes on some of my votes. Not all of them, because I got tired.

[25] Dodonpachi Dai-Ou-Jou

DOJ is the best shmup.

[23] Raiden DX / [20] Raiden II

Difficult to compare DX to Raiden 2, for obvious reasons, but DX has more content so I guess it slightly wins out.

In terms of gameplay, I think I find DX the most fun, although I admire how evil 2 is. In terms of visuals, I slightly prefer the 2 (or DX novice) backdrops to the DX expert ones, if only because the forest in stage 1 is so nice (DX expert does have nicer crystals on stage 6 though). I don't particularly enjoy the medal timing thing DX added, but presumably it adds a bit of spice if you play for score.

Fun DX/2 fact: stage 8 in raiden 2 is actually oddly short compared to the other stages (not necessarily something you'd notice, since the gameplay is still murderous) whereas in DX the equivalent stage is the standard ~3 minute length. So I've always wondered if part of the reason they made DX was they felt they hadn't done that stage justice.

[21] Dangun Feveron

There's so much to like about Feveron. I find I have to be in a particular frame of mind to play it, though, due to the blistering speed and pretty frequent all-or-nothing style gameplay (IE, sections where if you start off wrong you can't really recover without dying/bombing). I find the second half of stage 3 is similar in difficulty to the "hall of hell" in DDP, and there are many harder parts in stage 4 and 5. However, there's nothing quite like the furious sections of Feveron when I am in the mood for that style of gameplay. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think outside of TLBs, nothing else Cave have made is this fast.

One other random gripe: although DF is disco themed, the soundtrack mainly aims for the Saturday Night Fever style of disco music (catchy, bland, unemotional) rather than something with a bit of soul, which is a missed opportunity.

[20] Raiden

Raiden 1 has a unique charm imo. Somehow Raiden 2 lost a bit of that particular flavor of nostalgia just by having better art, and stage designs that were much less obviously tile-based.

In terms of gameplay, I would say broadly Raiden 1 has fewer enemies than 2 or DX, but slightly nastier enemy behavior -- I have no proof of this, but I think the most dangerous tank behaviors (firing as soon as they spawn, point blanking, entering very low on the screen, or all three of these at once) are more likely in Raiden 1 and might've been toned down in 2, even though that game ramps up the difficulty in many other ways. However, if you remember a few key dangerous areas and play as player 2, Raiden 1 can be a quite peaceful game (especially stage 4). Having only two colors of weapon (and only 1 bomb type) makes pickup management noticeably easier, and you can use safe spots to beat at least two of the nastiest bosses without much effort, which helps :D

[14] Viper Phase 1

A couple of things in VP1 improve on the Raiden formula -- having a pickup that raises your shot power and a separate one that changes your shot type, for example -- but generally VP1 isn't quite as good as the main Raiden games imo. The wide shot still seems to be necessary, but it doesn't seem to have quite as much power as the Raiden equivalent, and overall it feels like everything has slightly too much health, unless you pointblank like crazy. The stage settings are very monotonous compared to Raiden. They are all in space, with a variety of different tech bases and asteroid fields. However, VP1's bullet patterns are pretty diabolical, especially the bosses (4 and 7 being the nastiest imo, maybe depending on how fast you kill them), so there's a lot of interesting/challenging gameplay to enjoy and/or endure. And you can move faster than in Raiden, I think, so in some ways it's more approachable.

[14] ESP RaDe

Somewhere between DDP and Ketsui, but with a character sprite that makes it awkward to feel where your hitbox is. I would probably like this game about twice as much if I could play as a ship, tbqh. Also I don't enjoy stage 4 very much.

[13] Same! Same! Same!

I generally don't like Toaplan games that much, but this one randomly just clicked with me. I might not ever 1cc this game, but I still find it a lot of fun. The feel of the gameplay is not a million miles from Feveron -- nearly everything fires aimed shots at lightning speed, but tap dodging and fast reactions can get you through, up to a point.

[10] Strikers 1945 / [9] Strikers 1945 II

They're about the same, but I slightly prefer the first Strikers over the second, possibly just because of the slightly nicer stage backgrounds -- 2 seems a bit monotonous in terms of settings (golden brown sandy settings), whereas 1 has day, night, a stormy coastline, the moon(?). Moreover I think there's a slight shift in 2 towards more digitized photographs and less pixel art, which is worse in my book.

The plot of strikers is about toy planes coming to life, right?

[1] ESPGaluda

I suspect this game would be rated higher if I played it more. At the moment it's kinda just a solid Cave game I know I like but haven't played very much.

[1] Viewpoint

I can't say the perspective/gameplay has 100% clicked with me, but this game is just adorable, so I don't care. In general we need more shmups with green forests, more shmups with isometric views, and more shmups with giant lowpoly crabs.

[1] DonPachi

Every now and then I give DonPachi a spin, and while I like it and I think it's underrated, I can never fully embrace it. The powerup system is odd, the blue ship feels too slow but I don't like the shot style of the red ship, shot effects and some items flash unpleasantly, bosses seem to all expand on not-very-fun gameplay ideas (in general I think whereas DDP bosses usually have patterns themed around reacting to two threats at once, DP bosses seem to often be themed around space restrictions).

That said, the graphics are very cute, maybe a little better than dodonpachi (despite a few things, like the death animation and bee pickups, seeming a bit unfinished/relatively rough) and it has some very nice settings for the stages. DonPachi's forest and snow stages make the settings of DDP look comparatively dull, and the DP metal base setting is slightly better than either of the two in DDP. Dodonpachi might be a better game, but it has an awful orange desert, and we're stuck with that desert forever.

[1] Kyukyoku Tiger

I am behind you. I always find you. I am the tiger.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:59 pm 


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Nothing much changes from previous ranking, here's the new game:

17. Salamander PC Engine: obviously triumph every port of Salamander, even the original arcade. Tight, challenging, and perfect example how to CHECKPOINT in shmup.

6. Thunder Force V: I haven't get pass final stage but this one keep me coming back recently. Great weapon setup and choice of playstyle. Fair amount of stages and not too much "gotcha" enemy attack like IV, the game that everyone loved but I don't (the latter still has great OST)

5. Raiden: gotta say this one is more enjoyable than II, DX, and III.

0. Thunder Force VI: Sure this game might be a little broken but the difficulty suits me as casual player. Pretty graphics for late PS2 game tbh
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:35 pm 


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after I got my muchi muchi pork 1.00 1-all at the end of 2018 I took a much needed long break and haven't really played much other than casually last year.... so it'll be the 2nd year that I'm not voting.

I'm still excited to see what comes of the 2019 vote, but having said that it's kinda crazy seeing people post lists who I haven't seen post before o_O


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:26 pm 


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Things that need to happen this year:

-Takumi needs to be back in the top 25. It can be any Takumi game (Night Raid?!?), but we all know which one is at the top of their pile.
-More than one, or two horis need some serious repping. Can I recommend Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours? It's probably the last great arcade shmup (and subsequent home port). At least pre-eXa :? Dariusburst made it before, close to the year it was released. I think people should give the game another look in the next few days and remember why they liked it. Aesthetics aside it's probably the most score-balanced Darius game yet made, even if it's lacking the flash and flair of Gaiden and G (all three of which, selfishly, will be on my personal top list).

===

Will there be more indie shmups making the list this year? Speaking of Horis, Rolling Gunner has come out, even designed by (iirc) the Akai Katana lead, but there hasn't been much sustained buzz about it here. It's definitely worth playing and offers a number of challenge levels - perhaps skewing too high for my liking - with some satisfying score mechanics.

It's all but a given that ESPRaDe will be on the list, given the M2 port. Even though I don't see a lot of you posting scores on the subforum 8) I've come to a new appreciation of the game myself (and even its weird scoring system, which I used to completely dismiss), but any vote would be strictly on its aesthetic merits, and I'm not sure if I want points given to a shoe-in when it can go elsewhere.

I don't know if I'd vote for any of the Calice Cup games I played last year, though the tournament opened up my tastes and preferences forcibly. As such I feel I might be in the mood to reshuffle my ballot and consign games I had long raised up to lower points and start looking at other games I've long appreciated but haven't given their due. How many votes for Sky Adventure will we see? That game really is a hidden gem. It will be on my Honorable Mentions list for sure.

Start voting more, people! I have a draft of my ballot and hope to post it tonight.

EDIT: Also, vote for RayForce. If you are feeling the love, spread that love to RayStorm or RayCrisis. Not saying they are the best of the best (maybe storm? I prefer Crisis), but the games have been neglected for too long.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:18 am 


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EDIT: Old numbers, will have to edit later.

It was really hard to make a list that I felt satisfied with, but this is the closest that I would get. Sadly there's plenty of other SHMUPs that are great but there's no room to talk about because of the voting limitation. A quick breakdown on my thoughts:

[25] [Dodonpachi]
To me this was THE game, one of the most competitive played games and noticeably so in this forum's previous days before Daioujou/Ketsui/2012ish or so came along and the DDP fanaticism calmed down. Extremely fun to play mindlessly as a noobie that doesn't know any better, with a concept that is easy to understand but almost limitless in mastery.

[15] [Ketsui]
[15] [Mushihimesama Futari]
I consider these two games the greatest works of Cave after DDP, both games offer gameplay catering to a wide range of players and look awesome and distinguishable from other titles.

[8] [Blue Wish Resurrection Plus]
[8] [Crimzon Clover: World Ignition]
[8] [Dangun Feveron]
BWR+ is an impressive free game that appeals to all players with simple but also surprisingly technical play for those that like gold. CCWI is an astounding creation that was one of the first SHMUPs to really penetrate into the Steam marketplace and get SHMUPs to start becoming more of a thing on the Steam platform. Dangun Feveron is a fast and relentless game, but it is unique in it's systems that it is truly a wonderful game for those that like to play extremely aggressively.

[4] [Battle Garegga]
[4] [Ikaruga]
[4] [ESPGaluda 2]
[4] [Imperishable Night]
All of these have had influence, but may not have remained as relevant compared to when they were first introduced and were the most relevant games. Battle Garegga's scoring system is nothing short of mind-boggling for insane amounts of replay value. Ikaruga has been ported too many times at this point and remains a name known by many to this day. ESPGaluda 2 is another great Cave SHMUP, but a bump under some of previously mentioned games. Imperishable Night is a stand out Touhou game that clicked with the perfect amount of character choice, difficulty selection, and aesthetics and music to leave it as something I believe most SHMUP players come to on a middleground for a great Touhou game for anyone to play.

[3] [R-Type]
[3] [Raiden]
[3] [Radiant Silvergun]
[3] [ZeroRanger]
[3] [Shikigami No Shiro 2]
A lot of these picks I see as important or a breakthrough game for their time that would lead to inspiration for future games after these. R-Type is a classic that stood up to the likes of Gradius and still holds up well to this day, even if Horis aren't for everyone and the difficulty can be too much for those that don't like checkpoints. Raiden is an example of an old straightforward SHMUP that isn't too complicated and has just the right amount of charm, music, and aesthetic appeal that feels ageless in a way. Radiant Silvergun is an incredibly diligent game with a soundtrack that makes you really feel like you're going on a journey, with lots of stages to play and lots of weapons to learn and master. ZeroRanger manages to be so incredibly unique and inspiring that it is surprising how well everything comes together to surprise the unexpecting player each step along of the way. It feels immensely rewarding to stick around long enough to see how crazy ZR gets. Shikigami 2 may be a bit of personal bias, but it was an extremely solid game for both score and survival and managed to be a cool game from a different company than the usual ones.

[2] [Cho Ren Sha 68K]
[2] [Kaikan]
[2] [Giga Wing]
[2] [Batsugun]
[2] [Varth: Operation Thunderstorm]
[1] [Guardian Force]
[1] [Blazing Star]
[1] [Mountain of Faith]
[1] [Salamander 2]
[1] [Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu]

[0] [Illumination Laser]
[0] [Devil Engine]
[0] [Dodonpachi Daioujou]
[0] [Raiden II]
[0] [Cyvern]
[0] [Thunder Dragon 2]
[0] [Tatsujin/Truxton]
[0] [Gradius III(Arcade)]
[0] [Battle Bakraid]
[0] [V-V]

The 2's 1's and honorable mentions might not fly on everyone's radar or may be overshadowed for a different/similar game if it is part of a franchise, but they all bring something different and cool to the table for those that want to branch out a bit and dive into some unfamiliar territory.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:45 am 


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At first I wanted to do a vote by vote breakdown the same way trap15 did last year, but instead I'll mention the highlights that inform my list as a whole. Also, I'm not sure yet how to divide up this wacky number weighting. I'll have to get around to that before the poll closes.

Soldier Blade is a nostalgic game that continues to influence what I enjoy about the genre, whether it's a doujin, console, or arcade release. There are surely "better" games in the genre, but not many are as satisfying as this one. Showered with bombs that you're meant to use, primary fire that makes you feel like a badass, crunchy sound effects that make every single kill feel like an orgasm. Also, on a more subtle note, I think playing this as one of my first shooters is why I have a distaste for loops. I'd much rather play a 40 minute game where each stage is unique as opposed to a 20 minute game that loops itself.

Eden's Aegis is a game that may be too high on this list when judged objectively. The stage design compared to most other games on my list isn't as creative and the art is quite honestly awful. (Hey, it's a free game - can't complain too much.) However, it's the game that changed my mind about two things at once: one, before this I'd never wanted to give the bullet hell subgenre a chance; two, never did I think I'd want to play a game "for score" before picking up Eden's Aegis. I played this game on-and-off for nine months, stopping only when I felt I'd reached some kind of peak. The combination of Mushihimesama's rapidly draining counter when paired with ESP Ra.De.'s constantly recharging special attack which then cancels all bullets on screen similar to Espgaluda is brilliantly addicting.

I guess there isn't a lot to say about the other games, individually. Most that I'd have to say about them derives from what I've said about Soldier Blade and Eden's Aegis: I like games where bombing is satisfying, encouraged, and/or not punished too harshly, and I tend to prefer scoring systems that are fundamentally simple with one or two quirks to make them unique and addicting.

I will say I'm surprised that I didn't rank Thunder Force IV higher than I did. I have a gut feeling the game is too long, yet I couldn't tell you what exactly "should" be removed from the game - possibly stage 7?


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:30 am 



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blossom wrote:
[Eden's Aegis is] the game that changed my mind about two things at once: one, before this I'd never wanted to give the bullet hell subgenre a chance; two, never did I think I'd want to play a game "for score" before picking up Eden's Aegis. I played this game on-and-off for nine months, stopping only when I felt I'd reached some kind of peak. The combination of Mushihimesama's rapidly draining counter when paired with ESP Ra.De.'s constantly recharging special attack which then cancels all bullets on screen similar to Espgaluda is brilliantly addicting.


There's something about Eden's Aegis and Blue Wish Resurrection that make them quite inviting to play; I had a similar experience with Blue Wish Resurrection. Maybe it has to do with collecting lots of items and seeing big numbers on the screen. Maybe that's because the scoring systems are easy to understand. Maybe it has something to do with the lack of "hidden" mechanics like rank (although you do need to memorize life/bomb/chest locations) or the fact that scoring is fairly linear and doesn't harshly penalize for small routing mistakes. Maybe it has to do with the fact you can see your hitbox when you're focused. Maybe it has to do with the CAVE-style healthbars. I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:57 pm 


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Not a lot of changes bewteen my current vote and last year's vote. Radirgy/Illvelo/Dangun Feveron/Thunder Dragon 2 remain my best. However, I added Honorable Mentions and made some adjustments in the lower-ranked games :

-Macross 2 got bumped up a bit. Playing the game more intensively during the Calice Cup made me appreciate it more. Some of the design choices in regards to weapon change being based on floating powerups are still a bit annoying compared to TD2 but it's still very good. That's one unique style of caravan shmup, don't pass up on it!

-Added Fire Lancer: Really cool game. Speedkill, some bomba/hyper, medal collect, quick-kill bosses instead of milking them, the works. No surprise when you take inspiration from TD2 and know what you are doing.

-Added Vasara 2 : I had the opportunity to play this thanks to the recent port and its melee based weaponry feels very pleasant to use. Despite the game's brutal difficulty, it's always a blast to charge and release those devastating sword attacks, collect the crystals and use even more powerful attacks. Both Vasara games are good but the second one's weapon system feels less rigid. You can stock up to 3 super attacks and use them whenever you want instead of only having one and it being forced on your next melee attack (unless you use the new setting added in the Collection, but that wasn't like this in the arcade version)

-Added Muchi Muchi Pork : It's a game that I've been able to try a bit more in MAME now and its blend of CAVE and Raizing mechanics mostly keeps the best of both. It's a lot more fun to create tons of medals and suck them in than having to pick one medal every X enemy. Now if they could have gotten rid of the usual godawful Raizing boss milking and the dumb CAVE 2-loop (with nonsensical requirements in this example) that bloats the length, that would have been perfect. Oh well, not that I do either of them anyway. And I bet the 1.01 version is even better.

No big regrets or anything on that list aside from maybe not having had the opportunity to play Mushi Futari a lot. Visuals and music are excellent, and I always liked playing it when I could. The only complaint I would have is the Simon says shot/laser scoring, but I can't say for sure if the game is worth being in the list from what little playtime I had with it.
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:18 pm 


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Sky Adventure has seen an unexpected number of votes, surely due to Calice Cup participation. I was a little tempted to vote for it myself. It's a janky mess in some regards, for example the hands chopping at you on the stage 1 boss don't even look dangerous to me, however the scoring which relies on destroying bullets is pretty brilliant. Good music, too. I wonder if there is any chance the game will see the honorable mentions list.

@prales I think sound effects have a lot to do with this, too. Creating my own little list and looking at the lists of others makes you realize there's almost a desire for Pavlovian responses to quality sound effects. Ketsui chips, Progear gems, Ikaruga's robotic announcement of chain status - the better you play, the more you hear these sounds, for better or worse addicting you to a game, which can be a pleasant feeling in moderation. I think sound effects are so important that Eschatos lacking any notable repetitive audio cue is perhaps just as interesting as those games that do have one. I assume this is subconsciously the reason I prefer advanced mode to original mode - I like when the lady says "power up!" and the purple gems have a nice collection sound.


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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:30 pm 


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blossom wrote:
Sky Adventure


I hope that one gets an Arcade Archives release. Been enjoying SNK's mid-80s stuff lately. Like Dogosoken, AKA The Gun X Sword Space Vietnam II: Rotary Claymore Boogaloo.

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Actually SA's goofball humour reminds me a lot of ADK's narrative masterwork Magician Lord. Gal Algiese could be COLONEL CRAUD's metal-loving, jheri curl-afflicted cousin. I wonder if there was any staff crossover between the two companies in addition to their well-known partnership, or if they were informally familiar with each others' work. I can't believe the artistes behind Gang Wars and NAM-1975 weren't related somehow!
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:07 pm 


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Sky Adventure actually is by ADK, and the staff did stay to work on stuff like Crossed Swords, Ninja Combat, and Magician Lord indeed!
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 Post subject: Re: 17th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:09 pm 


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Haha, thanks for the confirmation - one of those hunches I could just never let go. :mrgreen:
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