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 Post subject: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:36 am 



Joined: 10 Apr 2020
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I am not familiar with the world of shmup and only discovered it this year.

What I noticed is shmups often have different versions, so I find it confusing to figure which port is the best.
For example, I have Gradius on Konami Arcade Classic version.I could get its pc engine or its nes counterpart, but I am nt sure it is worth it, nor which version is the most acccessible.
The same could be said about Gradius 2, whose Arcade and Pc engine versions look very close.

I have the feeling that as a general rule, Arcade ancd Pc engine are in general the best versions of the majority of shmups.

I plan to get steam versions of R type games as well as Strikers 1945 series.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:06 am 



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Really depends on what you personally consider to be the most important? Arcade is generally the original version, but often multiple arcade rom revisions exist, not considering region specific variants. As for ports, again what are you looking for? PCE Gradius has an extra stage (boneyard) which is a remake of a stage formally exclusive to the MSX version of Gradius.

Gradius II gets even more complicated, as you have the X68000 version which has a 1:1 arcade version, but also a whole new arrangement with 3 different versions of the music to listen to.

For a crazy example let's take a look at Cotton:

Arcade Version: Original

PCE Version: Very solid, but not a perfect port of the arcade. Has cool CD tunes, Japanese version has voice overs (and English text), while USA version cut out the voices completely.

X68000 Version: Remix of the arcade, tons of redrawn sprites, added parallax, 2 exclusive boss fights, old bosses had attacks and bullet patterns changed. Insane new difficulty option with spiraling homing suicide bullets. But only 1 loop. Pretty much a whole new game.

PS1 Version: Barebones port of the arcade, has a new music remix that sounds awful imo. Also some added polygon bullet effects in seemingly random places, and again the 2nd loop is missing.

X68000 Beep 2019 Version: Basically the same as the normal X68K, but with a few extras.

2021 Reboot Version: Not released yet, but this is based on the X68000 version, as it is considered to be superior to the arcade.

So which version is the best? Each one has something cool that the others don't. PCE might be inferior to the arcade in graphics, and effects, but the CD Music is fantastic and unique to it. So I play all of them from time to time except PS1 as I hate the remix tunes, and own the arcade version so it really has little point to exist for me.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:25 am 


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It's a pain in the ass, there is no short answer. You need to basically research every shmup before buying to get the best version. It's easy with the newer titles which are mostly the same on PC and consoles.
Be wary of re-releases of old games like Steam version of Strikers 1945 (or anything by City Connection) you mentioned, most of the time those are just cheap ports quickly slapped together on Steam to please the casuals, they offer less features and worse experience than simply emulating them in MAME.

As far as I know (I'm yet to buy it) the Steam version of R-Type Dimensions EX is the best one so it's a safe buy.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:04 pm 


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fireflame wrote:
For example, I have Gradius on Konami Arcade Classic version.I could get its pc engine or its nes counterpart, but I am nt sure it is worth it, nor which version is the most acccessible.
The same could be said about Gradius 2, whose Arcade and Pc engine versions look very close.


As a rule of thumb, I divide "arcade accurate" conversions (= an attempt to reproduce the arcade game as closely as possible), which became commonplace from the PS1/Saturn onward, from the "console interpretations" typically seen on the Famicom/Master System/MSX.

Salamander Deluxe Pack (PS1/SAT)'s conversion of the original game is reasonably close to the PCB. Famicom Salamander is a largely original game with several new stages and enemies. PCE Salamander looks like the arcade game, but is extensively retooled and is best described as an "Arrange Mode." I own all three, plus the Arcade Archives (PS4) Salamander, which is a straight emulation. All four have their uses, but if you just want the AC game? Go with Arcade Archives. If you think the AC game's tatty and rough-edged? Try out the PCE version, it's widely regarded as definitive. Etc etc.

This generational pattern repeats with several prominent STGs, like Gradius, Gradius II and Image Fight, all of which have FC, PCE, PS/SS and PS4 versions. (avoid FC Image Fight, it's utterly bland. Go with PCE ver instead, for an almost self-parodic memoriser skull-crusher. :wink:)

Naturally, the 16bit consoles are somewhere in the middle for accuracy/interpretation. This is an excellent thread on the matter.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:53 pm 


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Arthandas wrote:
Be wary of re-releases of old games like Steam version of Strikers 1945 (or anything by City Connection) you mentioned, most of the time those are just cheap ports quickly slapped together on Steam to please the casuals, they offer less features and worse experience than simply emulating them in MAME.


Also be wary of elitist advice when soliciting help. For the vast majority of folk, the City Connection Steam releases are absolutely fine.

Ultimately I wouldn't get too worked up about all this. As long as the version you play runs fine, you'll still have a good time. On Steam the only issues you might run into are games (typically Japanese, sometimes older titles) that don't play well with controllers/joysticks. But that's why we have the 2 hour refund window!


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:02 pm 


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I'd say as a rule of thumb, do a little research if you're buying something like a budget compilation pack. Some are great, but some of the lesser quality ones can be pretty rough as far as emulation and options. You don't want to end up with something with glitches, that's super laggy and that won't even let you remap buttons if you use a stick or different controller. Other than that, truly bad ports that aren't worth owning are pretty rare in the genre. Just have fun collecting and playing games.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:42 am 



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banjoted wrote:
Arthandas wrote:
Be wary of re-releases of old games like Steam version of Strikers 1945 (or anything by City Connection) you mentioned, most of the time those are just cheap ports quickly slapped together on Steam to please the casuals, they offer less features and worse experience than simply emulating them in MAME.


Also be wary of elitist advice when soliciting help. For the vast majority of folk, the City Connection Steam releases are absolutely fine.

Ultimately I wouldn't get too worked up about all this. As long as the version you play runs fine, you'll still have a good time. On Steam the only issues you might run into are games (typically Japanese, sometimes older titles) that don't play well with controllers/joysticks. But that's why we have the 2 hour refund window!

I noticed most of emulated games on Steam tend t receivez a high number of negative feedbacks about emulations ettings and quality, which can make it hard sometimes to sort it out.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:03 am 


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BIL wrote:
Salamander Deluxe Pack (PS1/SAT)'s conversion of the original game is reasonably close to the PCB. Famicom Salamander is a largely original game with several new stages and enemies. PCE Salamander looks like the arcade game, but is extensively retooled and is best described as an "Arrange Mode." I own all three, plus the Arcade Archives (PS4) Salamander, which is a straight emulation. All four have their uses, but if you just want the AC game? Go with Arcade Archives. If you think the AC game's tatty and rough-edged? Try out the PCE version, it's widely regarded as definitive. Etc etc.


And if you want to play an arcade version of the game with a Gradius style meter, AA PS4/Switch (and I think the Salamander Deluxe Pack too) has you covered with the JP Life Force. Turbografx/Core Grafx mini has an alternate version of Salamander that makes some things closer to the arcade game.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:28 am 


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BrianC wrote:
And if you want to play an arcade version of the game with a Gradius style meter, AA PS4/Switch (and I think the Salamander Deluxe Pack too) has you covered with the JP Life Force.


Yep, Deluxe Pack has Life Force JP. :smile: Hence its odd "Deluxe Pack Plus" title - three titles (Salamander, Life Force JP and Salamander 2) vs the Gradius, Parodius and Twinbee Deluxe Packs' two apiece.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:47 am 



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Arthandas wrote:
As far as I know (I'm yet to buy it) the Steam version of R-Type Dimensions EX is the best one so it's a safe buy.

Just an FYI, R-Type Dimensions is a recreation without using the original source code, and not a port. There are differences with hitboxes, making some strategies and safe spots no longer viable. Some other behaviors might be a little off. It's not the end of the world but worth noting.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:52 pm 


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KCET's arcade conversion team is a first-rate when it comes to ports. The only port of them that is not well regarded AFAIK is PSX Gokujou Parodius Da! which has loading times, incorrect aspect ratio and slowdown that isn't present in arcade. I can see why given this was their first entry and launch title of said console, they fix things up in Saturn port.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:28 pm 


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Surprisingly, a great way to play Parodius is on PSP. That collection is really solid.

Call me crazy but I was wondering about padhacking a psp to an arcade stick. Maybe even slotting it onto the casing somehow with a video out.

PSP is a pretty good console for ports. You also got PS classics like R Type Delta etc. And there were good Neo Geo Ports done by M2 including Shock Troopers. I have no idea the state of the digital store these days though.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:10 pm 


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Rastan78 wrote:
Surprisingly, a great way to play Parodius is on PSP. That collection is really solid.

Call me crazy but I was wondering about padhacking a psp to an arcade stick. Maybe even slotting it onto the casing somehow with a video out.

PSP is a pretty good console for ports. You also got PS classics like R Type Delta etc. And there were good Neo Geo Ports done by M2 including Shock Troopers. I have no idea the state of the digital store these days though.


That would make Gradius Gaiden on the PSP Gradius collection very accessible too. I played that game a ton.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:30 pm 


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You're right! The Gradius collection on PSP is awesome as well. The fact that they threw Gaiden on there in addition to the arcade games is huge.

The Salamander collection also includes Xexex. I think this is the only official port of Xexex IIRC?


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:13 am 


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Rastan78 wrote:
The Salamander collection also includes Xexex. I think this is the only official port of Xexex IIRC?


Yep. Took 15 years to came out! Xexex's development team also worked on Gradius II, they thought Gradius II cannot be ported anywhere and look at Famicom, PCE, and X68K port haha. Looks like they learned the lesson with Xexex and it did, this game is three years ahead until release of 32-bit consoles in 1994.

Surprisingly it was M2 who handled Salamander collection on PSP, whereas Gradius one done by Konami Shanghai division.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:39 pm 


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https://youtu.be/Lp8mLVhUUIY

I know there was some discussion in another thread about Gradius Arcade Archives playing at the wrong speed. Its very noticeable here on the attract mode. Wonder if this has been patched?


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:46 pm 


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Discussion is putting it charitably, sadly. :/ Got a sig out of it at least. ;3

Wouldn't surprise me if something's changed in the six years since that video. ACA Double Dragon had input issues at some point, going by its patch notes. In the meantime, here's a video of the Bubble System PCB gradually lagging behind ACA (PS4). Seems Laser is the big variable. (comparison ends once ACA player switches to Double)

Here's another video of both versions staying neck and neck until ACA guy's LASERFIGHT puts him behind PCB guy's safespot. NB: ACA kills his Bigcore ~3secs faster than PCB's, despite both players lasering throughout the fight. I put that down to ACA focusing his lasers on the core, while PCB hides at the bottom of the screen. Besides obviously doing more damage, on-target lasers also terminate faster, which seems to free up CPU time.

I actually wrote off that entire console generation after Mihara's 2015 video claiming the PS4 version had crippling input lag. Only gave it a go, four years later, because ACA Saigo no Nindou. Maybe there was lag, and it got patched? Or maybe Mihara heard a white guy was spotted at Hamster's building and went full kamikaze? :/
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:57 pm 


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I'd say choose which version that you enjoy the most. For R-Type on Steam, R-Type Dimensions EX is currently the only R-Type that's available so I'd say purchase that if you have not already. For Strikers 1945 series, I'd suggest that you should download the MAME version. PS1 only has Strikers 1945 II, & the Steam versions of the Strikers 1945 games don't run as good as the arcade version. As for Gradius games, Gradius Collection on the PSP is amazing because it features all of the Gradius games before V, even Gradius Gaiden, which was only released in Japan for the PS1. Gradius Gaiden is my personal favorite Gradius game because there are four ships that you can choose from, and they are all great to play in my opinion.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:01 pm 


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Dawn111 wrote:
For Strikers 1945 series, I'd suggest that you should download the MAME version. PS1 only has Strikers 1945 II, & the Steam versions of the Strikers 1945 games don't run as good as the arcade version.


What about Saturn ?


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:04 pm 


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Saturn Strikers 1 is a decent conversion, AFAIK, as is Gunbird. It's been forever, but I recall the PS1 versions of both having slowdown and/or missing TATE. Either way, I went with Saturn back when I was getting those discs.

Strikers 2 is significantly inaccurate on both Saturn and PS1 - altered hitboxes, missing frames - and has extra slowdown in the former. PS1 version's still a good time for what it is, imo, but neither's a substitute for the PCB.

Which makes the PS1 version's apparent recyclings on PS2 and Steam all the more irksome. :/ I've not bought/played any of them, but per Jaimers and others, I have the impression City Connection's Psikyo/Jaleco stuff recycles existing console ports, rather than emulating the arcade boards ala ShotTriggers/ACA. I happily rebought those lineups' Ketsui, Garegga, Darius Gaiden and countless Konami/Irem STGs, but I'm not down to do the same if it's just the old ports I've already got. Maybe if my house burned down or something. :/
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:24 pm 


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Giga Wing has a neat conversion for Dreamcast. Soundtrack's remixed slightly, and there's voice acting for the dialogue... but only for the Japanese version. There isn't even the option of Japanese voicing in the US release. :( Rapid fire button built in is nice, and it allows you to fire while charging up/using the reflect meter, meaning you're ever so slightly stronger than in the arcade version. However, this is balanced by having all the slowdown removed. Mainly this means that the end of Stage 5, and all of the Stage 6 boss are faster and therefore a bit tougher, but it's still totally 1CCable.

Giga Wing 2 also has a very competent Dreamcast port that's more faithful than the first port.

Sadly, the Giga Wing Generations PS2 release is locked to only 30 FPS, and is not generally well-regarded.

Jackal for the NES is a really neat conversion, and perhaps even better than the arcade release in terms of pacing. Instead of one continuous game, it's broken down into individual levels with boss encounters added to the end of each, and the bosses are more interesting than what's in the arcade release where the only major enemy appears to be the base at the very end.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:45 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Giga Wing 2 also has a very competent Dreamcast port that's more faithful than the first port.


Yeah, you're pretty much set with all of the Saturn and Dreamcast's respective STV/Naomi ports. Some actually offer advantages over the arcade hardware, like Guardian Force (which was apparently coded for Saturn, then ported to STV, causing some nasty input lag - per trap15).

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Jackal for the NES is a really neat conversion, and perhaps even better than the arcade release in terms of pacing. Instead of one continuous game, it's broken down into individual levels with boss encounters added to the end of each, and the bosses are more interesting than what's in the arcade release where the only major enemy appears to be the base at the very end.


In case you've not tried it, the Famicom Disk System version (Akai Yousai/Red Fortress) is supposed to have some interesting differences. Apparently it's nearer the AC version, scrolling vertically-only for one. I just wish the FDS hardware (and even software) wasn't such a pain in the ass.

I want to love the AC ver, but it's exactly the same situation as Contra and Super Contra. Grew up with the NES versions and their flawless controls, left aghast by the AC's laggy aiming. :[ Still, would snap up an ACA release day 1. Green Beret's supposed to be out soon, incidentally.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:18 pm 


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BIL wrote:
Saturn Strikers 1 is a decent conversion, AFAIK, as is Gunbird. It's been forever, but I recall the PS1 versions of both having slowdown and/or missing TATE. Either way, I went with Saturn back when I was getting those discs.

Strikers 2 is significantly inaccurate on both Saturn and PS1 - altered hitboxes, missing frames - and has extra slowdown in the former. PS1 version's still a good time for what it is, imo, but neither's a substitute for the PCB.

Which makes the PS1 version's apparent recyclings on PS2 and Steam all the more irksome. :/ I've not bought/played any of them, but per Jaimers and others, I have the impression City Connection's Psikyo/Jaleco stuff recycles existing console ports, rather than emulating the arcade boards ala ShotTriggers/ACA. I happily rebought those lineups' Ketsui, Garegga, Darius Gaiden and countless Konami/Irem STGs, but I'm not down to do the same if it's just the old ports I've already got. Maybe if my house burned down or something. :/


Thanks, I had Saturn Strikers II on my to-buy list, but I'll forget about that one. $80 saved.

How's Saturn Sengoku Blade? That's the one other one I'm not sure is worth the investment, given that it's the most expensive of the Psikyo ports.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:49 pm 


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As far as I was ever able to ascertain, Saturn Blade is in the same camp as Strikers 1 and Gunbird - minor differences, mostly cosmetic, but nothing seriously altered as with Strikers II. Hagane mentioned the voice samples being inferior to MAME, but I don't think he ever said the mechanics/stages were off.

I never got around to it myself, since unlike Strikers and Gunbird, its PS2 release (double pack with Sengoku Ace) was generally considered alright (interlaced, sadly, but generally accurate).

(this is taking me back, haha. never bothered with Saturn Metal Slug / PS1 Metal Slug X either, just too compromised... NTSCJ PS2 MS3 is okay, but it too has blasted interlacing. WTF was certain devs' problem, I wonder)

Chances are something is off, somewhere. A lot of the traditionally "arcade near-perfect" 32-bit discs are this way. See also Darius Gaiden and Rayforce, which are very close, and play brilliantly regardless, but are technically not 1:1.

Personally, with 32/128-bit releases, it's best to regard them as arrange modes (even the ones that actually feature Arrange Modes). As long as they play reasonably near the boards, and don't introduce any badness like excessive slowdown/flicker or loadtimes, it's fine. It's more about seeing a home console run a (close approximation of) an arcade game. And sometimes inaccuracy is a plus - extra characters/ships like SS Blade's Marion, or smoother performance. Metal Slug 3 runs decently on Neo hardware, but is silky-smooth on PS2 and Xbox, looking astonishingly good to this day. I wish Metal Slug 2 had gotten the same treatment.

1:1 accuracy is inevitably better sought via high-quality emulation, or just getting the board itself, though OFC that's not always simple.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:34 pm 


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BIL wrote:
Discussion is putting it charitably, sadly. :/ Got a sig out of it at least. ;3

Wouldn't surprise me if something's changed in the six years since that video. ACA Double Dragon had input issues at some point, going by its patch notes. In the meantime, here's a video of the Bubble System PCB gradually lagging behind ACA (PS4). Seems Laser is the big variable. (comparison ends once ACA player switches to Double)

Here's another video of both versions staying neck and neck until ACA guy's LASERFIGHT puts him behind PCB guy's safespot. NB: ACA kills his Bigcore ~3secs faster than PCB's, despite both players lasering throughout the fight. I put that down to ACA focusing his lasers on the core, while PCB hides at the bottom of the screen. Besides obviously doing more damage, on-target lasers also terminate faster, which seems to free up CPU time.

I actually wrote off that entire console generation after Mihara's 2015 video claiming the PS4 version had crippling input lag. Only gave it a go, four years later, because ACA Saigo no Nindou. Maybe there was lag, and it got patched? Or maybe Mihara heard a white guy was spotted at Hamster's building and went full kamikaze? :/


I ran the Switch ACA version's attract mode synced up to that video and it stayed much more in line with the PCB. So whatever was going on with that very different speed on the PS4 version was fixed. So I'd assume the PS4 version got fixed as well?

I remember that Mahara input lag video back when Gradius came out on PS4. Something seemed very fishy about it. It didn't match my experience of playing the game at all. Almost like he was out to try to make Hamster look bad.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:18 pm 


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I haven't tried the bubble system version in ACA since the recent PS4 update, but there was noticeable input lag in the bubble system version that is thankfully missing from the standard version. Maybe the lag video was in reference to the hidden bubble system version in Gradius ACA?


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:55 pm 


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How do you select between Mask ROM and Bubble System versions on PS4 ACA? I've never figured it out. Konami Code just plays unused BGM.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:12 pm 


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BIL wrote:
How do you select between Mask ROM and Bubble System versions on PS4 ACA? I've never figured it out. Konami Code just plays unused BGM.


I'll see if I can find the code again. I honestly forgot it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:19 pm 


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Thanks - tbh, I had the impression it'd somehow disappeared, but that was from an offhand Youtube comment, so not exactly first-rate info.
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 Post subject: Re: What is the best version of this shmup thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:54 pm 


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I know it's not the Konami code, at least. I looked up the code and couldn't find much, but did find a post that said unlocking the bubble system in the western PS4 versions had to do with loading the games a certain number of times. If I remember correctly, one game is 5 times, another game is 7 times, and the third one is three times.

edit: I remembered correctly. JP version 5 times, US version 7 times, EU version 3 times. Honestly, it's not worth it. Not to mention the pain of waiting to play it with non skippable loading screens at start up.


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