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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:05 pm 


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SPM wrote:
Does "The Bug Butcher" qualify as a shmup? It's a Pang-like game without platforming (ladders and such), you only move horizontally and have a fixed shooting angle (upwards). Gravity affects enemies à la Pang though...
It's more of a fixed shooter with a bit of side scrolling as far as I can tell, it should be alright

SPM wrote:
And "Rive"? It starts as a shmup and goes back to it a lot but has some run 'n' gun sections as well...
If you want to judge it based on the free-movement levels, being aware it can't really be considered as a "complete" experience for the purpose of voting

SPM wrote:
EDIT: And... Enter the Gungeon??
Yes
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:43 pm 


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... and done.
Last one I submitted was five years ago? How time flies.
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:55 pm 


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trap15 wrote:
Thunder Dragon 2: 25 -> 20
Admittedly, my appreciation of this game has somewhat dwindled, mostly due to the unfortunately limited soundtrack.


I couldn't think of more soundtrack for TD2. I also think limited OST were done by design, and there's no prototype/dummy OST in official soundtrack CD or PCB sound test.
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:36 pm 



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Went with a short list, didn't feel like watering it down with games I like but less confidently than these 15. Having made that last post in this thread I'd be a hypocrite to not gush over some of it... I'll try not to be too pretentious (feel free to laugh/yell at me if I am).

[3] [Armed Police Batrider] - Tons of really cool shit, tons of really dumb shit, shot types for everyone, fun graphics and music. It's got an endless supply of infuriating moments but I can never stay mad at it for long. Is it the best game ever? No, no chance. Would I recommend it to anyone and everyone? Absolutely.

[3] [Dangun Feveron] - This is one of those games that seems impossible to dislike. It's dead straightforward, has fantastic pacing with constant activity, and with scoring just barely complex enough to be demanding and create depth. In contrast to so many manic games that rely on overwhelming danmaku and esoteric mechanics, it's distilled STG entertainment and doesn't need to be anything else. The best of both manic and classic styles.

[3] [Great Fairy Wars] - Clever game between its defining prime mechanic and its highly integrated take on resource management (better integrated than Yagawa games IMO). Nice balanced mix of strategy and execution too. Being short and focused is absolutely a benefit; a casual credit won't outstay its welcome, nor will a score run padded by milking. It even has cute fairies in it. I don't know what furor possessed ZUN in 2009-2010 to suddenly make games as solid as this but I'm glad it happened.

[3] [Guwange] - I've started feeling like Blue's better at everything than the original version, it really smooths out the awkward parts of the game. If some parts of Guwange put you off, try Blue, you might like it better. Anyway this game's cool, the completely unique mechanics and open emphasis on route optimization give it that fascinating quality which makes me return again and again, something I've had trouble finding in other Cave games. I don't think it's nearly as interesting at a basic 1CC level but the same goes for most things I voted for.

[3] the [Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream] - Twinkle Star Sprites on crack. Turbo-speed chaos management. Among relatively sophisticated shooting games this is the one I most associate with pure "arcade" gameplay. Highly dynamic and improbable to truly master, it might never run out of ways to trip me up (or ways for me to overextend and kill myself). Always a good time providing I'm in a sufficient mental state to handle its insanity.

[2] [Mecha Ritz Steel Rondo] - A game that doesn't know the meaning of "too many ideas", instead embracing the anarchy and letting you play however the hell you want. It's just so charismatically silly that I can't help but love it. Idiosyncratic look and sound, and one of the better stories in the genre too. Similar to the mechanics, it's as pretentious or meaningless as you want it to be.

[2] [StellaVanity] - It's a shame that this game looks generic and that the developer pulled the English-language menus because I'm sure that turns people off. It has the depth to back itself up, between the complex choreographic hyper juggling of S-Type and the more flail-friendly C-Type, difficulties ranging from trivial to ridiculous, stage selection that ties in with choosing to keep or skip unmitigatable rank increases, multiple TLBs, a progressive upgrades mode with equipment choices, and probably more that I'm not remembering.

[1] [Eschatos] - Judgement Silversword has much better scoring mechanics but the joyousness of this game's presentation is infectious. At least at a fairly casual level where you don't care too much about the occasional random chain drop. Then the joy might turn to annoyance.

[1] [Hellsinker] - Fantastic music, style, shot types, setpieces. It's also way too static and semi-trivial for survival, which is a big minus. Still, there's enough variety and stuff to experiment with to make it worth returning to. The cool factor of the experience is yet to wear off on me, although I expect it would get old if I started grinding full runs.

[1] [ZeroRanger] - A love letter to the genre. Sadly it lacks ~Exotic Japanese Charm~ so I can't give it a higher weighting. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 1:56 pm 


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Nifty wrote:
SPM wrote:
Does "The Bug Butcher" qualify as a shmup? It's a Pang-like game without platforming (ladders and such), you only move horizontally and have a fixed shooting angle (upwards). Gravity affects enemies à la Pang though...
It's more of a fixed shooter with a bit of side scrolling as far as I can tell, it should be alright

SPM wrote:
And "Rive"? It starts as a shmup and goes back to it a lot but has some run 'n' gun sections as well...
If you want to judge it based on the free-movement levels, being aware it can't really be considered as a "complete" experience for the purpose of voting

SPM wrote:
EDIT: And... Enter the Gungeon??
Yes


Thanks Nifty! I'll give some love to those two then, and keep Rive out of this (as much as I love it)

Anyway, I'm thinking of limiting myself to a TOP15 to get that weight cut by 25% since I mainly have a no-bullet-hell background but I'm digging it and expect my top to change once I dive deeper into Cave/Cave-like games
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:52 pm 


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copy-paster wrote:
I couldn't think of more soundtrack for TD2. I also think limited OST were done by design, and there's no prototype/dummy OST in official soundtrack CD or PCB sound test.

Yes of course it's by specification, but wouldn't it be so much better if every stage had a different theme? Instead of basically listening to 2 stage themes and 1 boss theme over and over in 8 stages?
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:31 am 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
Gunbird 2


Agreed. It's near the top of my list.

Herr Schatten wrote:
GG Aleste 3, which absolutely blew me away.


Very interesting. I guess I'll have to find a way to play this.

Herr Schatten wrote:
Also, people, get your act together and vote for Shiki II again.


Hear, hear!

My current list is copied from a couple years ago. I'll probably make a couple changes before the thread closes, but nothing too drastic.
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:17 pm 


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I would probably vote for Shikigami 2, but I have spent the majority of my time with Shiki 1 and Sisters Royale. The latter I think will definitely appear on my ballot when I make it, since getting several high-scoring clears of the game and putting a lot of hours into it I find it to be really fantastic.

Fans of Shikigami 2 should check it out as it is clearly an homage to that game's mechanics by Alfa System themselves.

Shiki 1 might make it on there too, at least as an honorable mention. I've really dove into the game and enjoy it despite its eccentricities in the scoring. The stage design and character playstyles are really addicting and keep you coming back - much like how in Sisters Royale, each new character makes you relearn the game in drastically different ways.
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:03 pm 


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I've been playing GG Aleste 3 for a few days now and it has a very good chance at making my list this year. The novelty is far from wearing off, but right now it feels like it might be my favourite Aleste game. Before I played this I would have said my favourite was probably SMS Power Strike II, but while that game looks better, I enjoy playing GGA3 more. Then something like Blazing Lazers (not strictly Aleste I know, but similar) is also much appreciated by me -- especially for its aesthetic/atmosphere. But again, I think I enjoy playing GGA3 more (that silly bullet wobble in Blazing Lazers is a real flaw).

I'll take my time with this and play it many more times before the February 17 deadline. But I'm very impressed with GGA3 so far.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:05 pm 


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The most enjoyable part about doing this every year is seeing the individual lists posted by our members. Just had a look at what's posted so far, and here's my initial comments:

I saw multiple votes for Thunder Cross, including resounding endorsements by dmk1198 (in the 1st position!), and mice (in the 2nd position!). I've always loved that game. It will certainly be on my list again this year. I also saw plenty of votes for Cho Ren Sha 68K, which is an incredible game. I can't imagine it not being on my list also.

Saw several votes for Border Down and for ZeroRanger. Those are probably the two games I see on these lists that I most want to play, but haven't played yet. Though Radiant Silvergun is another one I want to spend much more time with. It will likely make the bottom of my list anyway, based on what time I have spent with it; but I don't have a copy myself and I've always wanted to know it better....

Johnpv has voted for Sqoon! Ancient ancestor of In the Hunt (which was also on Johnpv's list, and Icarus's list).

ShootTheCore has a list that really appeals to me, with the likes of Dragon Breed, Pulstar and X Multiply.

Goodness, I see Herr Schatten has put GG Aleste 3 just below R-Type, tied with Apidya, Mr. Heli, and ZeroRanger! That's kind of amazing.... GGA3 won't be that high on my list I don't think, but I am itching to go play it again right now....

slateman has returned! With a very nice list indeed. I especially appreciate the PCE entries, like Gate of Thunder and Lords of Thunder, and Blazing Lazers.

Several people have voted for Zanac, including professor ganson. Gee, I haven't played that in years . . . I'll have a go soon. The professor also voted for both Xevious and Xevious Arrangement. Xevious is almost always on my list, while Arrangement comes and goes . . . .I'll have a go at Arrangement soon also.

Nice lists!


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:46 am 



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HAUSER's list has TranscendPang at [22]. I've stumbled upon a few Panglikes in the past (I expect everyone has) and didn't think any of them were too compelling. This game, however, is totally different and fantastic. How have I not heard of it before? It's also free so you've no excuse not to try it.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 1:27 pm 


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Bydobasher wrote:
Then something like Blazing Lazers (not strictly Aleste I know, but similar)


I've read that it started as part of the Star Soldier franchise, but as far as I'm concerned it's just an Aleste game that the publisher slapped an incredibly tenuous movie license on (in Japan). If it was called Turbo Aleste or something nobody would blink. Blazing Lazers was a cooler name to put on a flashy game to introduce a new console with though.

Quote:
Though Radiant Silvergun is another one I want to spend much more time with. It will likely make the bottom of my list anyway, based on what time I have spent with it; but I don't have a copy myself and I've always wanted to know it better....


I believe it's still available for download in HD on Xbox platforms from the 360 onward, if that's an option.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:13 pm 


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Lethe wrote:
HAUSER's list has TranscendPang at [22]. I've stumbled upon a few Panglikes in the past (I expect everyone has) and didn't think any of them were too compelling. This game, however, is totally different and fantastic. How have I not heard of it before? It's also free so you've no excuse not to try it.


Oh, I'll check that out :D

Have you tried The Bug Butcher? I think it's the best pang-like game out there. Both the arcade modes (especially the first one) and the story/stages.

Other one that expands Pang into the twin-stick realm is Debris Infinity. Fun game but lacks variety.
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:52 pm 



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SPM wrote:
Have you tried The Bug Butcher? I think it's the best pang-like game out there. Both the arcade modes (especially the first one) and the story/stages.

No, looking at it I have vague memories of it coming out but I know nothing about it. It has a demo so I'll try that.

I think the reason why TranscendPang gives me a good impression is that it has a bit of PoDD DNA. It's got a strong random element, scoring is a balancing act of intentionally introducing as much chaos as you can manage without being suicidal, and you're surviving that while trying to chain and managing the bomb balls/enemies, all with a rhythm game aspect going on in the background. It's one of those situations where just glimpsing the potential in the game system is enough to make me want to play more and learn it. I guess the proof will be in if I'm still interested next year.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:36 pm 



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Bydobasher wrote:
The most enjoyable part about doing this every year is seeing the individual lists posted by our members. Just had a look at what's posted so far, and here's my initial comments:

I saw multiple votes for Thunder Cross, including resounding endorsements by dmk1198 (in the 1st position!), and mice (in the 2nd position!). I've always loved that game. It will certainly be on my list again this year. I also saw plenty of votes for Cho Ren Sha 68K, which is an incredible game. I can't imagine it not being on my list also.

Saw several votes for Border Down and for ZeroRanger. Those are probably the two games I see on these lists that I most want to play, but haven't played yet. Though Radiant Silvergun is another one I want to spend much more time with. It will likely make the bottom of my list anyway, based on what time I have spent with it; but I don't have a copy myself and I've always wanted to know it better....

Johnpv has voted for Sqoon! Ancient ancestor of In the Hunt (which was also on Johnpv's list, and Icarus's list).

ShootTheCore has a list that really appeals to me, with the likes of Dragon Breed, Pulstar and X Multiply.

Goodness, I see Herr Schatten has put GG Aleste 3 just below R-Type, tied with Apidya, Mr. Heli, and ZeroRanger! That's kind of amazing.... GGA3 won't be that high on my list I don't think, but I am itching to go play it again right now....

slateman has returned! With a very nice list indeed. I especially appreciate the PCE entries, like Gate of Thunder and Lords of Thunder, and Blazing Lazers.

Several people have voted for Zanac, including professor ganson. Gee, I haven't played that in years . . . I'll have a go soon. The professor also voted for both Xevious and Xevious Arrangement. Xevious is almost always on my list, while Arrangement comes and goes . . . .I'll have a go at Arrangement soon also.

Nice lists!


I made an effort to include more retro titles in my list this year, and I also dove deep into Cho Ren Sha 68K last year. It's one of the best shmups I've ever played! It is hard to kick some of the CAVE off though, their games are incredibly well made for the most part.

Sometimes I wish we got to list 50 instead of 25, I'd love to make more room for all sorts of 16 bit console shmupping goodness. The Gates of Thunders, Gleylancers, and Blazing Lazers of the world are well worth playing.
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:10 am 


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Lethe wrote:
Went with a short list, didn't feel like watering it down with games I like but less confidently than these 15. Having made that last post in this thread I'd be a hypocrite to not gush over some of it... I'll try not to be too pretentious (feel free to laugh/yell at me if I am).


Thanks for writing your thoughts behind the list! I hope more people do this, because it's interesting to see something of the rationale behind why a game is included (especially ones I don't know as well). Anyway, a few comments on your comments:

Quote:
[3] [Armed Police Batrider] - Tons of really cool shit, tons of really dumb shit, shot types for everyone, fun graphics and music. It's got an endless supply of infuriating moments but I can never stay mad at it for long. Is it the best game ever? No, no chance. Would I recommend it to anyone and everyone? Absolutely.


Haha, this made me laugh. I find Batrider just too chaotic, such a bizarre mashup of Garegga and Sorcer Striker, but there certainly is much there to enjoy. Welcome to Violent City, Let Ass Kick Together!

Quote:
[3] [Dangun Feveron] - This is one of those games that seems impossible to dislike. It's dead straightforward, has fantastic pacing with constant activity, and with scoring just barely complex enough to be demanding and create depth. In contrast to so many manic games that rely on overwhelming danmaku and esoteric mechanics, it's distilled STG entertainment and doesn't need to be anything else. The best of both manic and classic styles.


Indeed yes. I don't play much Cave, and I don't really like the theme of this one, but I do like the way it plays....

Quote:
[3] [Guwange] - I've started feeling like Blue's better at everything than the original version, it really smooths out the awkward parts of the game. If some parts of Guwange put you off, try Blue, you might like it better. Anyway this game's cool, the completely unique mechanics and open emphasis on route optimization give it that fascinating quality which makes me return again and again, something I've had trouble finding in other Cave games. I don't think it's nearly as interesting at a basic 1CC level but the same goes for most things I voted for.


This is kind of the opposite of the above entry: I find the theme appealing, but I think Feveron plays better.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:57 am 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Then something like Blazing Lazers (not strictly Aleste I know, but similar)


I've read that it started as part of the Star Soldier franchise, but as far as I'm concerned it's just an Aleste game that the publisher slapped an incredibly tenuous movie license on (in Japan). If it was called Turbo Aleste or something nobody would blink. Blazing Lazers was a cooler name to put on a flashy game to introduce a new console with though.


I agree it's an Aleste game under a different name. Actually, I think of Super Aleste as "Super Blazing Lazers". I'm pretty sure virtual console re-releases in Japan also use the Blazing Lazers name (maybe due to licensing issues with Gunhed?). Anyway, it will always be Blazing Lazers to me -- and it makes my list again this year!
Sengoku Strider wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Though Radiant Silvergun is another one I want to spend much more time with. It will likely make the bottom of my list anyway, based on what time I have spent with it; but I don't have a copy myself and I've always wanted to know it better....


I believe it's still available for download in HD on Xbox platforms from the 360 onward, if that's an option.


Thank you for this suggestion. I was surprised to discover this is the only place the game has ever been re-released after the original ARC/SAT versions. I've never owned an XBox though, and I'm not sure I want to track down an older one just for this one game. I've been messing around with Saturn emulator Yabause and it seems to be working pretty well . . . maybe next year my rating on Silvergun will go up!


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:08 am 


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To Far Away Times wrote:

I made an effort to include more retro titles in my list this year, and I also dove deep into Cho Ren Sha 68K last year. It's one of the best shmups I've ever played! It is hard to kick some of the CAVE off though, their games are incredibly well made for the most part.


Yes, Cho Ren Sha plays so beautifully. I do wish something more "definitive" happened at the end of the first loop, but it plays just perfectly, and I love the music too. Obviously the background is repetitive, but I barely have time to notice so that's okay. Cave stuff is made with incredible skill, but I just can't gel with their games at all. Maybe the one I most enjoy playing is still the original DonPachi. But I don't play it often....

To Far Away Times wrote:
Sometimes I wish we got to list 50 instead of 25, I'd love to make more room for all sorts of 16 bit console shmupping goodness. The Gates of Thunders, Gleylancers, and Blazing Lazers of the world are well worth playing.


50! Certainly many of us could do that, but I think it would decisively scare off some members who don't feel comfortable even with 25.... Maybe it's just that we've been doing 25 for so many years, but it feels like a good number. 15 is definitely not enough! And 35 (if you include the optional honourable mentions) is something I've taken advantage of in the past, but no longer do so. 25 seems to strike a reasonable balance as far as including a decent variety of titles, but still being uncomfortably restrictive (in a good way!). GoT, Gleylancer and Blazing Lazers have all made my list at one time or another, though only the last of those will make my list this time.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:14 am 


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I said I would be interested in reading the rationale behind our lists, so here's mine:

R-Type Incredible style and design, from the title screen to the last boss, and all in between. I think it's one of the most perfect games irrespective of genre.

Einhander A revelation from Squaresoft. Has any game studio had a better year than Square's 1997? Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, and this. Where did this come from? Graphically it's aged better than many PSX games, it's always sounded great, and I love the various ships, weapons, and bosses.

Gradius II My preferred version is for NES, but regardless, it's a challenging game that exemplifies this series better than any other installment.

R-Type Delta Another PSX revelation. I did not think R-Type gameplay could translate so well to a polygonal environment. The way the music is scored to enhance key moments in the action is also amazingly done.

G-Darius Great atmosphere in this game, which is by far my favourite Darius. The quad counter beam gets my vote as the ultimate weapon in all of shmups (even beating out the 7-stage Giga beam from R-Type Final).

Image Fight I think this game is underappreciated. Irem is more known for side-scrollers, but my favourite vert shmup is definitely this one. It's like nothing else, really (I guess excepting the PCE CD sequel, and also the derivative War of Aero.)

R-Type II Even among fans of the first game, some love this and some are take-it-or-leave-it. I'm definitely in the first category! No, it's not as inspired as the first game. But the stage designs are ingenious, and it's the shmup I get the most satisfaction from beating the final boss. I really feel like I've saved the galaxy when I see the ending on this one!

Salamander So many versions here. My favourite is PCE, but ARC Life Force (USA) is really good, as is NES Life Force. Whatever version you prefer, this is just such an enjoyable shmup with a terrific soundtrack.

Cho Ren Sha 68k My favourite doujin shmup by far. There may be other games that play as well as this one, but there are none that play better. The control is perfect.

Dragon Breed Irem was busy in 1989 with this and X Multiply and R-Type II. This is the best-looking of those three, and its dragon mechanics are unique.

Sorcer Striker Always my favourite Raizing game. So much character, fantastic music, and not overly complex.

Last Resort Not as striking as Pulstar, but it plays better. And there's a 2-player option! Many of my favourite horis are 1-player only.

Mr. Heli Utterly unique game here. Irem was a fount of creativity in 1987 with this along with R-Type. It's a fun game, and it doesn't feel like anything else, but I do like the PCE version because it's actually manageable (unlike original ARC which is just too hard).

X Multiply I didn't learn to like this for a long time, but I've come to appreciate it in recent years. It's got a great horror vibe, and it plays as delightfully precise as anything else Irem was doing at the time.

Xevious The birth of the scrolling shooter? Or maybe that was Scramble . . . but certainly this is the one I like best from that era. I love the way it's drawn, the action on two planes (shooting air targets and bombing ground targets), it's full of secrets like 1up flags and hidden towers, it's got intimidating bosses, and it will always be a great game to play.

Ikaruga Of all the games on my list this is probably the one I'm worst at. But it's beautiful to behold, the design is so elegant, and I do love to watch it being played by someone more skillful than me.

Space Manbow Plays as well as anything Konami ever did in this genre. Actually, I'm not sure there's any MSX game I like better than this one.

Thunder Cross You've got to play the Japanese version, with the adjustable options and full weapons complement (Vulcan, Boomerang, Tailshot, Laser, Flame, Napalm). That version is what I grew up with, and is one of my favourite arcade experiences.

Gorf Ah, many will vote for Galaga as far as the old single-screen shmups are concerned -- a vote I completely understand. But for myself, I do prefer the variety of Gorf, its funny digitized voices, and the climactic battles against the Flag Ship!

Gradius Well, it's undoubtedly a classic, and ushered in the greatest age of shmups (in my opinion of course) -- an age which ended two decades later with Gradius V. But it's on the list not for historical reasons, but because I do still enjoy it and play it with some regularity. My favourite version is for NES.

Blazing Lazers I am very impressed with the recent GG Aleste 3, but in the end it didn't make my list, and this game is the primary reason why. For all that the control in this game is less than satisfactory (the "bullet wobble"), I still enjoy this game immensely. The atmosphere is unique, the weapons are subtle, and while it starts a bit slow it definitely provides a challenge in the later stages.

Pulstar This is here entirely for the presentation, which is astounding. The sights and sounds on the Neo Geo are really something to behold, and there is no shmup on the system that looks or sounds better than this one. It's a huge challenge too, although the gameplay is admittedly rather pedestrian.

R-Type Final This does not play as well as the original, or RT2, or Delta. But as a massive R-Type fan I did appreciate what this game brought to the table. Yes, so much of that was the ship library, and extraneous information, the artworks, philosophical musings, foreboding title screens and sombre endings. It really felt "Final" . . . and now there's Final 2 . . . .

Apidya I don't know Amiga well enough to definitively say there is no better shmup on the system, but it's hard for me to imagine there could be. This is a really special game.

Radiant Silvergun Is the SAT version of Silvergun the most epic shmup ever devised? I say yes. It is also a game I haven't played as much as I would like, but that may change in 2021 -- and I expect this may go up in my estimation as I come to know it better. In any case, I already know it well enough to include as the last game on my list.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 7:27 am 


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Thanks for your thoughts on the games from your list. I'd like to comment on a few of them.

Bydobasher wrote:
R-Type Incredible style and design, from the title screen to the last boss, and all in between. I think it's one of the most perfect games irrespective of genre.

I agree 100%! R-Type isn't just a 10/10 game, it's a class of its own. I can't imagine getting any closer to perfection. It's been on the top of my list for years, and I don't see it moving down anytime soon.

Bydobasher wrote:
Mr. Heli Utterly unique game here. Irem was a fount of creativity in 1987 with this along with R-Type. It's a fun game, and it doesn't feel like anything else, but I do like the PCE version because it's actually manageable (unlike original ARC which is just too hard).

Exactly. Mr. Heli simply is like nothing else before or after. Everyone should give it a try at least once. The rebalanced PCE version is the perfect starting point.

Bydobasher wrote:
Space Manbow Plays as well as anything Konami ever did in this genre. Actually, I'm not sure there's any MSX game I like better than this one.

This used to be in my list for years, might make it again if i get around to playing it again. It's incredible what Konami achieved with this. Not necessarily on the technical side, even though it's as good as you could expect on the MSX2, but it's the gameplay that really shines. It's just a very well-built game. The only thing that keeps it from being a widely-recognized classic is lack of exposure.

Bydobasher wrote:
Blazing Lazers I am very impressed with the recent GG Aleste 3, but in the end it didn't make my list, and this game is the primary reason why. For all that the control in this game is less than satisfactory (the "bullet wobble"), I still enjoy this game immensely. The atmosphere is unique, the weapons are subtle, and while it starts a bit slow it definitely provides a challenge in the later stages.

I love Gunhed as much as most Compile games, but it never really struck me as something special. It doesn't have any major flaws, but there's a ton of superficially similar games on the PCE, and I like Soldier Blade and Nexzr better.

Bydobasher wrote:
Apidya I don't know Amiga well enough to definitively say there is no better shmup on the system, but it's hard for me to imagine there could be. This is a really special game.

I played a ton of Amiga shmups back in the day. While there's only a handful of real good ones and among those, Apidya is by far the best. Again, it's only lack of exposure that keeps it from getting recognized as the classic it should be. If this had come out for the Mega Drive, PCE or SNES it would stand proudly among the best of the genre.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:20 am 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
Thanks for your thoughts on the games from your list. I'd like to comment on a few of them.

Bydobasher wrote:
R-Type Incredible style and design, from the title screen to the last boss, and all in between. I think it's one of the most perfect games irrespective of genre.

I agree 100%! R-Type isn't just a 10/10 game, it's a class of its own. I can't imagine getting any closer to perfection. It's been on the top of my list for years, and I don't see it moving down anytime soon.


Indeed, it's also been at the top of my list for many years too -- and is close to being my favourite video game regardless of genre. I think something like Ikaruga is also quite astonishing in style and design, but the difference there is that I personally can't get into it to nearly the same degree that I can with R-Type.


Herr Schatten wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Mr. Heli Utterly unique game here. Irem was a fount of creativity in 1987 with this along with R-Type. It's a fun game, and it doesn't feel like anything else, but I do like the PCE version because it's actually manageable (unlike original ARC which is just too hard).

Exactly. Mr. Heli simply is like nothing else before or after. Everyone should give it a try at least once. The rebalanced PCE version is the perfect starting point.


I do come back to the ARC version every once in awhile, but it frustrates me. I think once I made it to the final boss (somehow!) but I failed to win. That was a long time ago.... While Irem in the '80s had a gift for balancing the difficulty of their ARC games just so, this is one of two instances where I think they got it wrong (the other being Ninja Spirit).

Herr Schatten wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Blazing Lazers I am very impressed with the recent GG Aleste 3, but in the end it didn't make my list, and this game is the primary reason why. For all that the control in this game is less than satisfactory (the "bullet wobble"), I still enjoy this game immensely. The atmosphere is unique, the weapons are subtle, and while it starts a bit slow it definitely provides a challenge in the later stages.

I love Gunhed as much as most Compile games, but it never really struck me as something special. It doesn't have any major flaws, but there's a ton of superficially similar games on the PCE, and I like Soldier Blade and Nexzr better.


Yes, you're surely not alone in preferring one or both of those. Others would go for Super Star Soldier (I prefer that one to either SB or Nexzr). Some odd duck might even go for Final Soldier (which for all its flaws, has nice weapons and a great final boss). And besides GGA3 I also considered MUSHA (briefly), and SMS Power Strike II (very seriously, esp. as I got to play it recently as part of the Aleste Collection, and I love the HUD showing the progress of your powerups). But for all that, there is something about Blazing Lazers that always has me returning to it. A couple of days ago I finished it twice in one evening -- and that's not something I have much time for these days! I enjoy it, what else can I say? :)

Herr Schatten wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Apidya I don't know Amiga well enough to definitively say there is no better shmup on the system, but it's hard for me to imagine there could be. This is a really special game.

I played a ton of Amiga shmups back in the day. While there's only a handful of real good ones and among those, Apidya is by far the best. Again, it's only lack of exposure that keeps it from getting recognized as the classic it should be. If this had come out for the Mega Drive, PCE or SNES it would stand proudly among the best of the genre.


You know Amiga much better than I do, so this claim means something to me. I've played a handful of Amiga shmups, but I can't even remember their names at this point . . . oh, except Z-Out. I do remember that one, and it was decent. But Apidya just always struck me as such an original! Okay yeah, it borrows the weapons bar from Gradius, and perhaps there are some other obvious inspirations. But from the first time I played it, it always felt like something apart -- and with time that feeling has only increased. I think it's more special now than it was then. And that's really saying something....

Well thanks for your response Herr Schatten. If you find time to write down thoughts for your own list, I very much look forward to reading and discussing them!


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:30 pm 


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Bydobasher wrote:
Mr. Heli Utterly unique game here. Irem was a fount of creativity in 1987 with this along with R-Type. It's a fun game, and it doesn't feel like anything else, but I do like the PCE version because it's actually manageable (unlike original ARC which is just too hard).


I really like this game, it's cute, unique and fun, but as you said the arcade version is just too hard and I can never get far. I should give the PCE version a try, thanks for the advice. :)
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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:02 pm 



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Bydobasher wrote:
Thanks for writing your thoughts behind the list! I hope more people do this, because it's interesting to see something of the rationale behind why a game is included (especially ones I don't know as well).

Hey, it's even better when you get a response from someone!

Re: Guwange, I completely understand not liking this game or liking it only aesthetically, even among the bullet-hell inclined. It's the compromise between being a typical Cave game and something more experimental that's divisive... with a foot in both camps it can come off as quite odd, but then that's what I like about it. I think my preferences for shmups tend to fall into two categories: games which are very frantic and games all about toying with systems; Guwange's entirely the latter during stages, but much the former when it comes to the bosses.

I considered voting for Cho Ren Sha too, it's another one of the "difficult to dislike" games. But really I'm holding out hope that its less appreciated third cousin Kotsujin can make HMs.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:53 pm 


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NMS wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Mr. Heli Utterly unique game here. Irem was a fount of creativity in 1987 with this along with R-Type. It's a fun game, and it doesn't feel like anything else, but I do like the PCE version because it's actually manageable (unlike original ARC which is just too hard).


I really like this game, it's cute, unique and fun, but as you said the arcade version is just too hard and I can never get far. I should give the PCE version a try, thanks for the advice. :)


It was on the Wii U virtual console, until all the Data East PCE stuff was suddenly delisted in the summer. I should probably go & round up anything else worthwhile before it disappears.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 6:33 pm 


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Sengoku Strider wrote:
NMS wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Mr. Heli Utterly unique game here. Irem was a fount of creativity in 1987 with this along with R-Type. It's a fun game, and it doesn't feel like anything else, but I do like the PCE version because it's actually manageable (unlike original ARC which is just too hard).


I really like this game, it's cute, unique and fun, but as you said the arcade version is just too hard and I can never get far. I should give the PCE version a try, thanks for the advice. :)


It was on the Wii U virtual console, until all the Data East PCE stuff was suddenly delisted in the summer. I should probably go & round up anything else worthwhile before it disappears.


NMS, you absolutely should play PCE version! Sengoku is right, that it's on WiiU VC . . . I actually had it there myself (along with Image Fight II and some other old PCE stuff), but I'd forgotten because my Wii U died last year. *sigh* Nowadays I'll play those games with Magic Engine instead. I'm always a little disappointed in the graphics of Heli PCE when I start it up, that they're not as sharp as ARC. But then I start playing, and I actually make good progress and maybe win, and it makes up for everything!

Lethe wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
Thanks for writing your thoughts behind the list! I hope more people do this, because it's interesting to see something of the rationale behind why a game is included (especially ones I don't know as well).

Hey, it's even better when you get a response from someone!

Re: Guwange, I completely understand not liking this game or liking it only aesthetically, even among the bullet-hell inclined. It's the compromise between being a typical Cave game and something more experimental that's divisive... with a foot in both camps it can come off as quite odd, but then that's what I like about it. I think my preferences for shmups tend to fall into two categories: games which are very frantic and games all about toying with systems; Guwange's entirely the latter during stages, but much the former when it comes to the bosses.

I considered voting for Cho Ren Sha too, it's another one of the "difficult to dislike" games. But really I'm holding out hope that its less appreciated third cousin Kotsujin can make HMs.


Yes, you're right about Guwange, that dual quality . . . hmm, that's quite interesting, I hadn't considered that before. I may have a game of Guwange soon, it's been a long time since I've played it.

As for Kotsujin, I have no experience with it. Will seek it out now!

EDIT: Okay, I've had a look and all I can see is a doujin shmup for the PC-98 computer. That's what we're talking about? :lol: I have never even tried emulation for that machine . . . how do you play this game? I'm watching a playthru on Youtube right now though . . . looks fun!


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 10:21 pm 



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Bydobasher wrote:
EDIT: Okay, I've had a look and all I can see is a doujin shmup for the PC-98 computer. That's what we're talking about? :lol: I have never even tried emulation for that machine . . . how do you play this game? I'm watching a playthru on Youtube right now though . . . looks fun!

The emulator I've been using is Neko Project. Should be very easy to get working (for this purpose at least). DOSBox-X has PC-98 support too but I got worse results out of it. There has been some suggestion of a Windows port of Kotsujin but I've not heard of anyone knowing much about it and it's questionable if it ever really existed.

Reminds me that CO2-Pro did make a couple of other games, so I should look those up as well, see if they're any good...


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:56 am 


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Thanks for the suggestion, Lethe. Before trying Kotsujin I found something called Rude Breaker. It's by Compile apparently, but I'd never heard of it before (and I'm a Compile fan). Wasn't too impressed with it though....

As for Kotsujin, it's really good! So much action, so smooth, I like the weapons and music. Wow! Right now I like Cho Ren Sha better, but of course I also know that game much more intimately. Strange that I never came across this Kotsujin before . . . I'm very glad to have played it now!


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:43 pm 


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Bydobasher wrote:
If you find time to write down thoughts for your own list, I very much look forward to reading and discussing them!

I wasn't going to, but your request motivates me to give it a try. Here we go.

R-Type: I remember seeing the first screenshots appear in the gaming press of the time, and it struck me immediately, how advanced R-Type looked compared to its contemporaries. I vividly remember a two-page spread in a magazine that had a review of R-type opposite one of Taito's Exzisus. They looked like they were a generation apart. R-Type also manages to incorporate the Giger-influenced aesthetics so popular at the time into its own style rather than outright plagiarizing them. Cosmetics aside, the gameplay holds up equally well. I honestly can't think of a single thing I would change.

Apidya: The guys behind this were clearly influenced by japanese games of the time, as is evident not only in Apidya, but also in their other games, namely the puzzler Gem'X and its unreleased sequel Super Gem'Z. Fortunately, they didn't just mimic the visual style of the games that influenced them, but they also copied over the same attention to good game design and playability, something that's sorely absent in most of the other shooters on the Amiga. As a bonus, Chris Hülsbeck delivered one of his best soundtracks outside a Turrican game. If Apidya had been released on the Mega Drive or the PC-Engine, it would be regarded as a 16-bit classic today, and rightfully so.

GG Aleste 3: This is my shmup of the year 2020 for sure. At first I was just impressed by all the spectacular effects that really push the target hardware, but the more I played it the more I learned to appreciate how tightly designed the game is. Not only is the difficulty curve almost perfect, rising steadily without any major spikes, there's also an excellent balance to the course of each stage that intersperses very intense parts with others that offer a brief relieve and allow you to rebuild your strength, yet the latter never feel like a lull in the action and still keep you on you toes. The result is that the game forgives the occasional mistake, as there's always a chance to claw yourself back to power, but it punishes you hard if you're just flailing about and don't know what you're doing. It's not only the best 8-bit shmup I know, it's one of the best non-bullet-hell experiences period.

Mr. Heli No Daibouken: It's quirky, it's unique, and it plays like nothing else. There are few games as creative as this one. While the arcade version goes a bit overboard with the difficulty, the PCE version rectifies this and comes highly recommended as a result.

ZeroRanger: A love letter to the genre. Incredibly stylish and brimming with creativity. I also like that the game offers so many different ways of playing it, based on the weapons you pick after each stage. Another game I love for its uniqueness.

Biohazard Battle: Sega aren't particularly well-known for their shmups, but with Biohazard Battle they struck gold. The game is very solidly designed, and its unique atmosphere (see a pattern here?) and eerie music never fail to impress. It also nailed the prerendered look two years before Donkey Kong Country, yet it has actually aged more gracefully. The only thing I'd love to have in the game would be some way of locking the option in position, Last Resort style.

DonPachi: This was probably the first bullet hell shooter I have played. To this day I like to return to it if I'm looking for something not quite as manic as some of the more modern shooters, from Cave or otherwise. It's often overshadowed by its genre-defining sequel, but it has its own merits and is very much worth playing. Amusingly, when I first joined this forum, this game was often discussed using the abbreviation "DP", and when I first started playing it, I searched the internet looking for information on it using that very monicker. Boy, was I in for a surprise...

DoDonPachi: Just a timeless classic. There may not be many people whose absolute favourite this is, but it's a game almost every one also likes. It's the mid-eighties Metallica of shmups, equally appreciated by thrashers and posers alike.

Infinos Gaiden: Just when I felt a bit burned-out by shooters in the more modern style, this game came along, encompassing everything I used to like in late-eighties/early-nineties sidescrollers. This could easily pass as an arcade release from this time. Well-made and a lot of fun to play.

Z-Out: Similar to Apidya, Z-Out was made by people who have obviously studied the best japanes shmups of the time, as is evident in the great playability. Sadly, it's the only game the team seems to have ever released. The visuals in the first four stages aren't all that great, but the last two easily make up for it. I just wish this had come out under its working title "Wargate" instead of being forcibly tied to the unrelated (and much worse) X-Out by the publisher.

Gradius Gaiden: This is the pinnacle of classic (read: pre-V) Gradius. Great set pieces, tightly constructed stages, a lot of options. If you don't like this, you don't like Gradius.

Gunbird 2: The late-era Psikyo shmup I have probably played the most. It's fun to experiment with the different characters, and the stages never feel overwhelming despite offering a huge challenge.

Hydorah: Another love letter to the genre. As good as you can rightfully expect from Locomalito, it's both a homage to the best and a great game in its own right.

Parodius Da!: Not quite as outlandish as later games in the series yet, I prefer Da! to those exactly because of that. Rank eating you alive a little later than stage 3 (Gokujou, I'm looking at you!) also helps.

Power Strike II (SMS): Before GG Aleste 3, this was the best 8-bit shmup I knew. Classic Compile, and incredible what they managed to squeeze out of the hardware. I very much like the nods to earlier games in the series that show in some of the "mass of turrets" (mid-)bosses.

Radirgy: My favourite Milestone game. If played well, you can get into a flow that carries you from one ABS shield to the next without interruption. It's a surge that's hard to resist. The unusual visuals and soundtrack might be a turnoff for some people, but I think they fit the game perfectly.

Shikigami no Shiro II: Unlike the first game, that's a little too rough around the edges for my taste, and the third, which introduces new gameplay elements that compromise its purity, Shiki II perfectly nails the unique "get close to bullets to increase strength" mechanic. Counterintuitive? Hell, yes, but it's so much fun.

Strikers 1945 II: The game that marks the transition between early and late Psikyo. It doesn't really fit in either camp, which makes it very unique. It's ugly as a really ugly thing, though.

Trizeal: Similar to Strikers II, I like this explicitely for sitting between old school and modern styles. There's nothing groundbreaking, but it's put together very well, and I always enjoy going back to it.

Beamrider: Fast paced proto-shmup, great for a few minutes of blasting action.

Mushihime-Sama: This is the game that made me buy a PS2 after I had a chance to play it at one of the London shmupmeets. I very much like its approach of offering something for everyone with its three different modes. Personally, I like the straightforward original mode best, but I also enjoy maniac mode occasionally if I need a change of pace. I couldn't care less about the wird scoring system in the latter, though.

Strikers 1999: I used to dismiss this because of the relatively boring theme, but when I played it during STGT, I learned to appreciate it. It's much less technical than Dragon Blaze and more straightforward than Gunbird 2, but still unmistakably modern.

Zanac (NES): Another Compile classic. I think it's a bit too long for its own good, but it#s fun nonetheless.

Sonic Wings Special: This acts as a stand-in for the early-era Psikyo style. I prefer it to most other Sonic Wings games due to the sheer variety on offer.

V-V: Yet another game that came out at a time when bullet hell was just becoming a thing, but wasn't quite as well-defined as a style as we know it today. I really like these transitional shmups, as you can easily glimpse from my list. It's another game I deiscovered through STGT.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 4:11 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
Bydobasher wrote:
If you find time to write down thoughts for your own list, I very much look forward to reading and discussing them!

I wasn't going to, but your request motivates me to give it a try. Here we go.

R-Type: I remember seeing the first screenshots appear in the gaming press of the time, and it struck me immediately, how advanced R-Type looked compared to its contemporaries. I vividly remember a two-page spread in a magazine that had a review of R-type opposite one of Taito's Exzisus. They looked like they were a generation apart. R-Type also manages to incorporate the Giger-influenced aesthetics so popular at the time into its own style rather than outright plagiarizing them. Cosmetics aside, the gameplay holds up equally well. I honestly can't think of a single thing I would change.


This is completely true. I jumped on board the Switch with the Switch Lite, and R-Type Dimensions EX was the first STG I bought for it. The game updates the visuals & sound but doesn't touch the gameplay (you can switch visuals back & forth in-game to compare), and it honestly still feels like it could have come out last week.

Quote:
GG Aleste 3: This is my shmup of the year 2020 for sure. At first I was just impressed by all the spectacular effects that really push the target hardware, but the more I played it the more I learned to appreciate how tightly designed the game is. Not only is the difficulty curve almost perfect, rising steadily without any major spikes, there's also an excellent balance to the course of each stage that intersperses very intense parts with others that offer a brief relieve and allow you to rebuild your strength, yet the latter never feel like a lull in the action and still keep you on you toes. The result is that the game forgives the occasional mistake, as there's always a chance to claw yourself back to power, but it punishes you hard if you're just flailing about and don't know what you're doing. It's not only the best 8-bit shmup I know, it's one of the best non-bullet-hell experiences period.


I've been toying with putting this one on my list, but I didn't want to fall prey to recency bias. You might have talked me over the edge here though. Because I agree that it could be considered for the title of 8-bit standard bearer.

Quote:
Sonic Wings Special: This acts as a stand-in for the early-era Psikyo style. I prefer it to most other Sonic Wings games due to the sheer variety on offer.


I've been looking at this on my Saturn wish list wondering if I should keep it on there or not. I already have Gunbird, Sengoku Blade & Strikers 1945 on Saturn (as well as the Alpha & Bravo boxes on Switch) so I keep thinking it might just come across as dated or irrelevant.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th Annual Top 25 Shmups of All Time - Discussion Threa
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:38 pm 


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If you can try it out on MAME, I'd recommend looking into Sonic Wings Limited, which imo is an even better game and 'remix' of Special. Something is wonky with SWS's autofire on the Saturn to me so it never quite felt right, but your mileage may vary.
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