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 Post subject: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:39 pm 


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Been playing a bit of Espgaluda II, and it's the first game in a while that's made me say to myself, wow this is kinda fucking cool. For example, stage 3 midboss stops the autoscrolling while you fight it. Another stage goes backwards. While most of this game's spectacle is directional changes, a couple other games manage to use set pieces in ways you don't typically see - for example, R-Type Delta's stage 3 has you fighting an entire bipedal mech. ZeroRanger's stage 3 (yeah I swear this isn't on purpose, I guess stage 3 is just where devs like to do cool stuff) has multiple smaller set pieces throughout the stage, such as the tower and the trains.

I feel moments like these are probably the biggest challenge to any developer out there today, how do you make a shoot em up full of 'wow' moments that doesn't also introduce dead air? When you're first playing a game, you do want to say 'wow that is awesome', but on a tenth or hundredth replay, you'd rather not be annoyed that that moment exists in the first place. Gekirindan is a textbook example of this - the stage 1 boss creating this worm hole or whatever looks neat the first time you see it, and then you need to sit through it every time and can't skip it.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:51 pm 


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Eschatos. I was so close to writing it off before playing it because "so ugly can't be good," but once i played it... WOW. Such great visual storytelling. When your ship blasts off into space and the tinkly music kicks in, and you see how many STARS are in the sky! Definitely an all-time best videogame moment for me. It fills me with genuine reverence and awe every time i see it.

And yeah, Espgaluda II for sure. The boss fight with that mobile tower is a stunner. And the Tower boss in Zeroranger. Towers for the win!!
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:36 pm 



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To this day, the most spectacular shmup that I've played is still Touhou 7. For starters, the moment in stage 4 where you get above clouds and finally see the sun feels very significant, since in story it's been storming for a long time. But then there's the whole stage 6. You collect cherry petals throughout the whole game, and its background is a garden full of sakura trees. It's like if in a game where your goal is to collect treasure you reached a place with piles of gold as far as an eye can see. And then there's the final fight itself, where the boss starts pushing you back through the stage midway. It's still the most epic-feeling Touhou game, and no newer ones have ever managed to reach that feel.

Another personal shoutout is to Espgaluda 1 stage 3, where the whole latter half of the background starts physically fleeing from you (being an airship and all).

Also, Hellsinker. Most notably the whole interface going transparent during TLB.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:37 pm 



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so I've mentioned this before but Jamestown, level 2, the part where you break through the clouds into a thunderstorm, and the music goes all silent, and these eerie drifting light-aliens show up, some real powerful audio/visual direction there

R-type final, stage F-A, where you enter the stage through some organic tunnel, and the dark, evocative massive attack/future sound of london style music starts playing and the pilot goes "the bydo are a man-made nightmare and I cannot wake up, none of us can, the bydo..." it's like the most "oh f**k we're not in Kansas anymore" moment in shmups that I know of - and then the bizarre shit that follows

Pawarumi has a really cool moment halfway through level 3 where some giant stone doors open and hundreds of fighters swarm out and surround you

Akai Katana stage 4 where you're suddenly under water because why not, and it has just the right music, this kind of esoteric new age siren-singing + guitars

Raiden V in stage 3, the part where you high-speed strafe those offshore installations, also with exactly the right type of music for the moment


I find music to be very important for my magic moments, I guess


Oh and, as a bonus, a totally underwhelming moment also from Raiden V: the part where you fly to the top of a waterfall and there is a house there and it's so big your jet could just fly through the front door! Come on guys, what is this? Raiden Fighters Drone?
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:25 pm 



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I really liked the final boss of Prehistoric Isle 2 where you fight some sort of space squid. I'm not sure how that fits in with the dinosaur theme of the rest of the game but whatever, it was pretty cool.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:39 am 


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I’m in full agreement about Esp. 2. I always smile when certain moments pop up even years later. The angles, the animations, the sound design, it’s immense.

I think Dariusburst CS has some “whoooa” boss moments as well. I remember as a kid being amazed at Truxton/Tatsujin’s different levels/colorful areas and bosses. Captured alien/space really well and still holds up.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:52 am 


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Special World wrote:
Eschatos.



Seconded, this was my immediate first choice.

Others for me would be G Darius, Metal Black, and Rayforce. You can tell I've got a bit of a Taito boner. What's special about these is that it isn't specific moments or stages, they are spectacular from start to finish.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:58 am 



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Akashicverse, Cambria Sword.

Also +1 to Hellsinker and Eschatos.

Also Ikaruga even though that's not a shmup. *ducks*
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:14 am 


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Rayforce, when your ship enters the city-core, and all of the automated ships are tootling around (or evacuating?) in the background. Then, a moment later, the 2D-drawn distortion to pulling up close to the surface of the huge conduit. That really left an impression on me.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:39 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:46 am 



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A certain boss fight in Mahou Daisakusen. You know the one.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:48 am 


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ZacharyB wrote:
Rayforce, when your ship enters the city-core, and all of the automated ships are tootling around (or evacuating?) in the background. Then, a moment later, the 2D-drawn distortion to pulling up close to the surface of the huge conduit. That really left an impression on me.

RayForce truly is one long wow moment. That bit is really cool though.

Honestly, I really love the sheer sense of camerawork in that game.
Every single part of the game feels like everything is properly seated in 3D space, it's amazing.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:24 am 



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I really like the intro to Batrider's Highway stage: the music opens with a pensive, almost sunset mood as a couple of zako fly in to pester you, before the song really kicks in just as that fucking tank careens onscreen to ruin your day. Even cooler if you think of it as the child of that one tank from Garegga stage 2, bane of all Garegga noobs.

I also like how some games reward you with score or resources for making your "own" setpieces and wow moments. Games with bullet-cancelling mechanics, for example. Going back to Raizing, you have stuff like Garegga's flamingos (imagine seeing that scene from the ground) or leaving enemies alive so as to destroy them at a more dramatic point in the stage, which is always fun to watch. Of course, you can trace those influences back to Gun Frontier, a game where it is probably easier to list moments that aren't cool setpieces and moments.

And speaking of Taito, who seemed to have a knack for this:

null1024 wrote:
ZacharyB wrote:
Rayforce, when your ship enters the city-core, and all of the automated ships are tootling around (or evacuating?) in the background. Then, a moment later, the 2D-drawn distortion to pulling up close to the surface of the huge conduit. That really left an impression on me.

RayForce truly is one long wow moment. That bit is really cool though.

Honestly, I really love the sheer sense of camerawork in that game.
Every single part of the game feels like everything is properly seated in 3D space, it's amazing.


The idea of Rayforce as "one long wow moment" was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the thread's title. With regards to the camerawork, Kamui and RefleX in particular feel like the successors to this kind cinematic level design, as shmups with 2d art that nevertheless feel like they're situated in 3d space.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:39 am 



Joined: 30 Jul 2011
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Final boss in Batrider.
Final boss in Metal Black.
Final boss in Perfect Cherry Blossom.
Final boss in EspRade.
My brain is probably deliberately recalling final bosses at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:29 pm 


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Raiden, entering space, stage 6.
Rayforce boss 5 Odin, fight is just so cool.
Leveling up in Batsugun, aura blows up most small enemies.
Mushi Futari stage 5, everything about it is awesome, music, dragons, etc
Technical bonuses in Dragon Blaze.

Cho Ren Sha, first boss can shoot himself dead if his beams overlap. Pretty funny.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:47 pm 


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Siter Skain games like floralcateyes mentioned. Kamui is sort of like a doujin Rayforce but RefleX and Alltynex 2nd take this to an extreme. There's maybe too much crazy cinematic stuff going on during gameplay.
Eschatos might execute it better but I don't think its trying to have as much spectacle? You don't have camera suddenly panning into space at satellite lasers about to shoot you or bosses having anime intros.

Stage 5 and boss appearance in Battle Traverse. Even though it's very much a ketsui clone the stage is executed well enough to have a wow factor.
Storm warning in Ikusaaan! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:53 pm 


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Thinking of cool ways level progress: Soukyugurentai stage 3. Starting in upper atmosphere and fighting through formations of planes in each cloud layer, then breaking through the bottom clouds to see big formations of ground vehicles lined up to stop you, all while that dramatic music thumps.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:55 pm 



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The appearence of first Boss in Mushihimesama. For a shmup noob, it was a BIG wth moment :shock:

Also, the first Boss in Futari. I mean, it's enough that it's a T-Rex, a HUGE T-Rex, but it also shoots lasers and bullets and bombs...it can't get more awesome than that :lol:

Cave really knew how to make "spectacular" moments. Virtually every time the game (any game) becomes overloaded with beautiful and deadly bullet patterns and starts to slowdown, you feel you are in a life & death situation and all your senses are awakened.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:30 pm 


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I really love Strania.
It doesn't get too much love around here (or anywhere) but it's one of my favorite STGs.

There's so much amazing camera-work in the game... I love it.
For example, in the first level as you're launching from your base that's under attack, your character's movement directs the spin of the background/camera. Tiny little detail but super impressive to me.

The game is full of awesome.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:57 pm 



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I always liked the super-laser fights you could have with bosses in G-Darius. Its a bit of a back and forth to tap the fire button as fast as you can and then the lasers both get almost the full size of the screen before yours finally takes down whatever mecha-fish you were fighting.

Darius Gaiden's first boss that slaps the tower away when it arrives is also pretty neat.

If rail shooters count i always loved the original Atari Star Wars arcade and the Death Star Trench Run. Back then it was really spectacular.

Star Fox for SNES was also pretty theatrical in presentation. Especially when you travel into a ship or two to blow them up.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:14 pm 


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Good to see Taito's well spoken-for. I think they're the #1 for cinematic consistency... just Gun Frontier alone would be a huge asset but there's also Metal Black, Rayforce and G-Darius, plus lots of lesser-known highlights.

For game-length cinema, I will also mention Nemesis II GB, aka Gradius: The Interstellar Assault (EDIT: also aka Nemesis II: Return of the Hero, an even more unfittingly grandiose title!). Seamless, charming little space misadventure. Starts off with the Vic rolling up alongside the Gradius navy, ready to nuke some Bacterions from orbit. Then a surprise attack turns everything to shit, and the sole survivor Vic spends the first half of the game on the run from one godawful predicament to another, before mounting a Rayforce-esque solo raid on the enemy outpost.

Image

It's one of the most entertainingly-scripted takes on stock space shooting I've seen, and it's a very decent mini-Gradius too. Adept players shouldn't have any trouble clearing it in an afternoon. I highly recommend it if you've a fondness for cinematic arcade gaming!

Isolated moments that always come to mind re STG cinema:

Armed Police Batrider (ARC): BAZZCOCK laser-sawing the head off of that carrier before erupting from its neck. A more surgical take on Black Heart and its flock exploding out of the doomed Slayer's guts in Battle Garegga's fifth stage.

Soukyugurentai (ARC/SS/PS1): Stage 3 "Descent Into The Sea Of Clouds," the genre's finest in DEATH FROM ABOVE. Going from upper orbit to skimming the treetops, from spotting tiny dust trails miles below to blasting those poor fuckers off the road to kingdom come.

Kamui (Windows): st5's supercharged take on Raystorm's final descent, capped off by a boss encounter that, even if you don't know WTF is happening (I didn't!) audibly thrums with malevolence and inhumanly long-held grudge, mecha-phantasms erupting in the baleful glare of the ALLTYNEX central unit.

Raiden II (ARC/PS1): Demolishing the launching shuttle in the final Earth-based mission, and the subsequent air-to-air battle with the stealth bomber. The whole scene is overlaid with an immense roaring - first the shuttle's rocket engines, then the bomber's VTOL thrusters, pierced only by the series' trademark explosions. Between the twin thunders of propulsion and detonation, "Metal Storm" is almost totally drowned out. It's absolute stone-faced militaristic destruction - an epitome of the Toaplan school Seibu took up the mantle of.

Hyper Duel (ARC/SS): Black Angel is a bad and crazy motherfucker! He tears apart the space colony you're battling through, ambushes you with his METAL SQUAD, then departs while you weave through the burning colony's remains, before it hits Earth in a blinding explosion. Biblical carnage spanning three stages, epitomised by Black Angel's "head slammed in a car door" BGM.

Thunder Force IV (MD): TOTAL MASSACRE. I'll put this THUNDER SWORD through your skull before the day is done, you metal motherfucker. Image

Koutetsu Teikoku (MD): The first half's stages always start with a map room briefing, before launching you from the mothership with a chirpy "Good luck!" Then comes the assault on the capital of enemy nation MOTORHEAD, things go to hell with utter violence, and you never see nor hear from your mission crew ever again. They're all dead.

This is something I didn't really register on my first run through - the game itself is artfully mute on the subject. No more map screens or takeoffs - the last couple stages just have your craft commencing its final missions all alone. Even with the finale's wonderfully retro-futuristic "Trip To The Moon," this total isolation is my favourite element of a notably cinematic genre-bending war/fantasy STG.
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Last edited by BIL on Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:05 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:42 pm 


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Radiant Silvergun. It's basically one of those fancy tech demos for Saturn/STV hardware.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:31 pm 


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I wish I could mindwipe myself and play ZeroRanger for the first time again. It's full of these moments.


Cambria Sword is the Bonestorm of shmups.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:50 pm 


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The first time I played Parodius : Fantastic Journey and I got to that level with the William Tell Overture.

Level 3 in Layer Section - the bit were you can make parts of the landscape fall into the void below.

T-Rex boss in Futari and that superb boss fight music.

Darius Gaiden - when the soundtrack starts throwing operatic vocals at you and those whacked out graphics.


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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:00 am 


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maybe it's a predictable answer since it's the game i've been grinding the most recently, but every time i practice against DFK 1.5 Hibachi, i can't help but get kicked in the face by the combination of the bullet patterns, the crazy scrolling background, and the goddamn MUSIC. half of the time when i practice Hibachi it's because i want to hear that banger of a tune and headbang while i narrowly avoid clusters of bullets flying at me at 666MPH :mrgreen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahdbbbIbAgk
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:38 am 


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Under Defeat, when you... drop a simple bomb.
That is arcade opulence at its best.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:40 am 


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BIL wrote:
Thunder Force IV (MD): TOTAL MASSACRE. I'll put this THUNDER SWORD through your skull before the day is done, you metal motherfucker. Image

This.
OmegaFlareX wrote:
Radiant Silvergun. It's basically one of those fancy tech demos for Saturn/STV hardware.

And this. But it wouldn't be so impactful without the epic music and cinematography, which make it a long "wow" moment.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:30 am 


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Jeneki wrote:
Thinking of cool ways level progress: Soukyugurentai stage 3. Starting in upper atmosphere and fighting through formations of planes in each cloud layer, then breaking through the bottom clouds to see big formations of ground vehicles lined up to stop you, all while that dramatic music thumps.

This one hits me every time I play it.

Mind you, I'm a dumdum and mostly played it on PS1, and the game would slow down quite a bit here as you got close to the ground. :lol:
Should really play the Saturn version of Soukyugurentai, especially since I've owned a Saturn for years now.
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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:40 am 


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this has got to be the coolest, most ridiculous boss entrance in the history of the genre.

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 Post subject: Re: Games with the most "wow" moments, the most spectacle?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:48 am 



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BIL wrote:
Raiden II (ARC/PS1): Demolishing the launching shuttle in the final Earth-based mission, and the subsequent air-to-air battle with the stealth bomber. The whole scene is overlaid with an immense roaring, first the shuttle's rocket engines, then the bomber's VTOL thrusters, disturbed only by the series' classic piercing explosions - "Metal Storm" is almost totally drowned out. Between the heavy-industrial roar and thunderous explosions, it's absolute stone-faced militaristic destruction - an epitome of the Toaplan school Seibu took up the mantle of.

I'm fond of Akuu Gallet's take on this: https://youtu.be/kVAflPvWxaI?t=100


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