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 Post subject: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:20 pm 


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Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1652
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
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INTRODUCTION

Sengoku Blade / Tengai is a nice horizontal shooter by Psikyo and a good game to get into this company as it has most of the elements Psikyo is known for (fast bullets and aggressive gameplay, gold coins, random stages, etc) but its difficulty is not as punishing as some of their other offerings. This guide attempts to help players struggling against those typical Psikyo elements and increase your scoring.

I've based the layout on Icarus' excellent Garegga guide, and I'll be updating it periodically with strats, screenshots, replays, etc. so excuse the current messiness and lack of content of the guide for a while.

Lastly, I'm not a native English speaker, so if anything in this guide sounds weird please point it out and I'll correct it. If you want anything added / corrected just post and I'll get to it as soon as I can.

CONTENTS

RESOURCES

STAGE SELECT

One thing to note for people wanting to play for score: I recommend playing the PS2 version as it lets you select the order for the initial random stages. Like all Psikyo games that have three slots for four possible random stages, there's one stage here (Air) that gives much less score than the others and you'll go crazy resetting if you want to get a good order. Also, some characters benefit more from certain stage orders than others.

If you don't have a PS2 or just want to play in MAME, here's a savestate at the character select screen with the following stage order:

1st loop: Water, Temple, Forest

2nd loop: Forest, Water, Temple

Put it in your tenjaij savestate folder, it's mapped to the q letter. It's for the 2.2 version, as 3.0 doesn't work well with this game (sound breaks and savestates are buggy).

VIDEOS

+ Katana

[LINK]
Player: OWA


+ Ayin

[PART 1][PART 2]
Player: saucykobold

+ Sho

[LINK]
Player: TAD
_________________
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Check my (WIP) Sengoku Blade guide!


Last edited by Hagane on Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:44 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:20 pm 


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Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1652
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
CONTROLS

+ SHOT (Press A)

Each character's shot is composed of two parts, your character's main shot, available from the start, and your option / familiar, available after you get at least one power-up.

+ CHARGED SHOT (Hold A, then release when the attack is charged)

Available only if you have your option/familiar. Charge time and type of attack vary for each character. Getting stunned by a power down immediately interrupts any charge shot you were executing and resets your charge time.

Charge shots power up just like your regular shot, so their properties change with each power level.

+ BOMB (Press B)

Each character has their own type of bomb. Some are instant, some have delay, some cover all the screen, some cover a certain spot, some immobilize your character, and some let you move around during its animation. Sho's and Miko's bombs don't save you from power downs.

Their main use is survival, and they have no use for scoring besides the 10,000 you get for surplus bombs.

CHARACTERS

Characters in Sengoku Blade are all very different and cover several different play styles. The game favors aggressive, short ranged play though, so characters that fit that style are better for scoring than more "passive", long ranged characters. For reference, I include the world records for each character.

+ MIKO / KOYORI

Image

World record: 2.305.600 - SYO

- Shot: Homing balls are good for clearing the screen of popcorn enemies, let you move around freely and can do tons of damage if you use the familiar riding trick. Even regular point blanking is enough to take down mid enemies before they get to shoot.

- Charged shot: Doesn't do much damage by itself, but it has very little charge time and can be spammed. Useful when your power level is over 3 since you can quickly fill the screen with them and they stay on the screen for a good while, excellent for popcorn crowds. Your regular shot retains the same power even if there are still charged shots on screen.

- Bomb: Has a lot of delay so it's not good for panic situations, but it lasts a lot, covers a decent area (plus you can get inside its radius to be safe for a good while) and you can shoot while it's still on screen. You can also reduce its startup if you use it close to the right side of the screen. Useful if used preemptively.

- Overview: A good all-around character with a high scoring potential, although she requires a lot of work compared to Katana / Ayin since she has to take a lot of risks to score high and her bomb can't help you if you mess up when in-close. Has a hard time scoring well when there are lots of popcorn enemies grouped with large enemies (such as in 1-5).

+ TENGAI

Image

World record: 2.214.600 - Sengokunin

- Shot: Good popcorn killer if you use sweeping motions, and both Tengai and its familiar do nice damage. Can do the "familiar overlap" trick to destroy big enemies too.

- Charged shot: Tengai's bird flies slowly straight ahead. Crap range and damage, plus you get reduced to your main shot for its whole duration, which is a lot of time. Avoid.

- Bomb: Crap damage and coverage (though it lets you move around), its only saving grace is that it lasts a lot of time and makes you you completely immune to everything. Don't expect to kill any large enemy or boss with it, but at least it keeps you safe for a while.

- Overview: A decent "all around" character that isn't particularly powerful in any area but isn't that bad either. Lacks the excellent screen control of Koyori but he's still decent at dealing with lots of popcorn enemies by doing sweeping attacks, and is nowhere near as powerful as Katana or Ayin but can still get most extra enemies using the familiar riding technique.

+ KATANA / HAGANE

Image

World record: 2.439.300 - J.G.K-ALL

- Shot: Has Gradius-like options that trail her as she moves. Can only shoot forward, you need at least 3 options to cause decent damage. Below that you'll struggle to kill medium sized enemies and the limited vertical range is bad for high concentrations of popcorn enemies.

To maximize damage, try to line all options together so they concentrate their fire.

- Charged shot: the reason why you would use Katana. Has the longest charge time, but the damage you deal more than makes up for that. You can kill most non-boss enemies with a single charged shot, and even the bosses can't stand more than two or three. Range is deceptively long, can hit slightly behind you and it stays out for quite a bit of time. You can shoot it in anticipation at the future destination of an enemy and still kill it if it runs into your charge shot in the next 1-2 seconds.

Due to its long charge time you usually need to start charging as soon as your target comes into screen (even earlier in some cases), don't waste it on single popcorn enemies. Try to make the most of every charge shot; use all its range to kill as many enemies as you can with a single attack, Dragon Blaze style. Remember that it deals a lot of damage even if you hit something with the tip of the hitbox.

But if you need a quick kill against a large enemy such as a boss, get as close as you can so you hit it for the charge shot's entire active time.

Avoid getting powered down while you are charging it against dangerous enemies since you'll be completely defenseless as the dizzy animation won't let you respond quickly enough and you will most likely have to bomb or die.

- Bomb: covers the whole screen for nearly two seconds and lets you charge your shot. While at first it sounds great for survival, its uses are limited since you can't move during its animation and it does very little damage, so it's only really effective if you are surrounded by popcorn enemies or as a last resort. It won't destroy mid or large enemies by itself, and since you can't shoot during its animation, you'll still be at a disadvantage after it ends.

- Overview: Katana is excellent at scoring thanks to her overpowered charge shot, which can easily exploit the respawning samurai cannonmen. She also deals very well with bosses, as a couple of well placed charge shots are enough to kill pretty much everything except the last boss.

The mediocre screen coverage of her normal shot makes stages with lots of popcorn enemies pretty tough (especially in the second loop), but other than that Katana is an excellent character for both survival and scoring. Just don't get too charge shot happy against bosses or you'll lose quite a bit of points for killing them too fast.

+ SHO / SHOUMARU

Image

World record: 2.325.200 - 三本間クッキング-甲子園ではさまれたい

- Shot: Weak damage no matter what you do. Since his mirrors are behind him, he can't do the "riding" trick with them, so you have to resort to plain point blanking to maximize damage.

- Charged shot: Takes a long time to charge and does poor damage, but is excellent at crowd control. Not only it covers a lot of screen, it lasts for a good while and remains stationary until it ends, so you can deploy it where most enemies come out and then go do stuff somewhere else, similar to Hayate in Strikers 1945 II, though nowhere near as good.

Sho is reduced to his main shot while the mirrors do their thing, so take that into account when using this charge shot against large enemies.

- Bomb: Instant, good screen coverage, decent damage and duration, plus you are free to move and shoot during its animation. Great defensive bomb.

+ Overview: Sho lacks a strong charged shot and he can't do the familiar trick, so he's pretty much screwed when it comes to killing large enemies fast. For this reason he's the lowest scoring character in the game. He's pretty good at survival, though, since he can control popcorn enemies very well with his charged shot and his bomb is great for panic situations.

+ JUNIS

Image

World record: 2.200.200 - D.I

- Shot: at levels 1-3 Junis shoots shurikens diagonally up-forward and down-forward, at level 4 she shoots in all diagonal directions. Great screen control, but poor damage, even with the familiar riding technique, so she can't get as many extra enemies as the more powerful characters.

- Charged shot: long charge time, average damage, short range. Can be useful to deploy at spots where lots of enemies come out or if you need to damage a large enemy while you take care of popcorns with Junis. But since Junis loses her diagonal shurikens for the whole duration of this attack (a lot of time), you should use it with caution.

- Bomb: Covers all the screen, low damage, average duration, high fanservice. You can't move during its animation, so it's only good for clearing the screen of small enemies or as a last resort.

- Overview: Good character for survival thanks to her great screen control, but has trouble dealing with large enemies and (for that same reason), she's not a high scorer.

+ AYIN / AIN

Image

To select Ayin, you must move the character select cursor to the random select box and then input the following code: UP x3, DOWN x3, UP x7

World record: 2.448.900 - J.G.K-ALL

- Shot: Weak damage, but has piercing properties. This lets Ayin destroy enemies that other characters generally can't get, mainly the item carriers that appear behind bosses.

At lower power levels it's pretty poor at dealing with crowds so you have to try to stay powered up as much as you can. At higher power levels (3-4) he can clar the screen of popcorn enemies quite well by sweeping up and down.

- Charged shot: Relatively short ranged sword slash that deals high damage and has nearly no charge time. Even though it's not as powerful as Katana's charge shot, the fact that you can use it repeatedly makes it a great way to deal with medium and large enemies. It also stays out for a while, so you can "sweep" up or down to destroy small waves of small / medium enemies.

- Bomb: Best bomb in the game, each shadow deals roughly as much damage as his charge shot, so pretty much anything caught by one of these is toast. It's instant and you are still invulnerable for a short while after all the shadows are out, which lets you tack an additional charge shot afterwards to deal with strong bosses.

To maximize the damage you need to be very close to the enemy, even overlapping it, just like saucykobold does to annihilate the boss at 2-4.

The only bad thing about it is that it doesn't cover the whole screen, but it's excellent for panic situations or to deal with hard bosses.

- Overview: Ayin is the highest scorer in the game for the same reasons as Katana: he can kill stuff very fast. But since his charge shot has less range and power as Katana's, he's much harder to score with and his lack of screen control gives him trouble in some stages. His bomb and charge shot make him the ultimate boss killer; you can bypass nearly every boss with Charge Shot xx Bomb xx Charge Shot, etc.

A tricky character to use since you need to be at close range nearly the whole time, but is even better than Katana if you learn to use him well.
_________________
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Check my (WIP) Sengoku Blade guide!


Last edited by Hagane on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:53 am, edited 15 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:20 pm 


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Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1652
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
SYSTEM

+ EXTEND

There's only one extend, awarded when you reach 600,000 points.

+ ITEMS

- Item spawning direction

Power up and bomb items always move to the opposite side of the screen after they spawn from their carriers. So, if you kill the carrier in the left side, the item will move to the right and will stay drifting most of the time in that side. The opposite happens when you kill an enemy to the right side of the screen. The closer to a border the carrier is when you kill it, the faster the item will move to the opposite side (meaning they move slower if you kill them closer to the center).

Something similar happens if you die. Dying hugging the left side of the screen will make it very hard for you to get your items back.

This is just another reason to be aggressive. Try to stay near the center of the screen or beyond if possible, and avoid killing item carrying enemies on the left if you are in a tough / crowded section of the game.

If you die with five or more bombs on stock you will get a bomb item back. And if you die at power level 4 you will get two power ups instead of only one.

- Power ups

Power ups don't only rise the damage you can do, they can also change other properties of your main, option and charge shots such as fire rate, number of options, range, charge shot duration or even drastic changes such as Koyori's charge shot.

+ POWERING DOWN

In typical Psikyo fashion, instead of dying when your character touches an enemy, you will power down by one level. This will interrupt any charge shots you were releasing or charging and you will enter a brief dizzy animation that will leave you open to enemy fire.

Even though this system makes close quarters combat easier and is not as punishing as outright dying, you have to be very careful with power downs as they can cost you a life if a charge attack that was meant to kill a dangerous enemy is thwarted. You'll also miss surplus power up bonuses and being at low power levels can be detrimental on sections where you need high firepower or few item carriers appear.

Still, there are certain places where you might want to intentionally power down to lower rank, for score and / or to eventually get extra power ups. Read about that below ("Powering down on purpose").

+ BOSS TIMEOUT / SUICIDE

Another Psikyo staple, bosses (and their individual forms or phases) in Sengoku Blade time out very fast. Not only that, if their last form times out they will suicide and try to take you down with them with a very fast and hard to dodge suicide pattern. "Timed out" boss parts / forms give you no points, so be careful with taking too long with milking.

Boss timer is tied to the boss' remaining health (and higher rank means higher health), so it's better to deal most of the damage when it's about to suicide rather than right when it appears if you intend to milk it.

+ SUICIDE BULLETS

Through all of the second loop enemies will release suicide bullets when killed. All small (except the fish that come with the water stage boss, for some strange reason) and mid enemies release them, but not large ones.

Except for the ones released by potheads, all suicide bullets are aimed at you. A good way to deal with them is to control your fire, and do a small tap or two immediately after you press the shot button. This way you will automatically avoid any single suicide bullet. Of course factors such as screen placement, normal bullet patterns and enemies on screen will complicate things and require a good "kill plan" at tougher spots, but this simple advice will help a lot.

Sometimes, if there are no dangerous large enemies on screen you might want to stop shooting at all and just tap dodge the regular shots without having to worry about suicide bullets. This is a useful strategy on sections with lots of popcorn enemies and few/no large enemies, such as the start of the Air stage or the second half of 2-5. You'll score less, but you'll have a much better chance of survival.

+ RANK

There are 15 levels of rank, that rises based on survival time, remaining lives and power up level. It affects these parameters:

- Bullet speed

- Enemy firing speed (they will shoot sooner when they come on screen)

- Number of bullets in a pattern

- Enemy resilience

- Enemy fire rate

- Number of enemies (at higher rank and certain spots, extra enemies will come out)

- Enemy aggression (they are more likely to point blank or snipe you)

Though the game can be finished without rank control tactics (a no-miss no-bomb run at max rank is possible), some levels can become extremely difficult to survive and score at max rank. For example, it is impossible to grab the coins from the hands at 2-5 at max rank. You just won't have enough time to grab all of them (if any) at max value with lanterns filling the screen with bullets or point-blanking you.

On the other hand, high rank can be beneficial at some spots since there will be more enemies for you to kill.

If you want to make the game a bit easier or want to get coin clusters at tough crowded sections of the game you'll have to manipulate rank a bit.

- Rank control methods

The main ways to reduce rank in Sengoku Blade are:

- Powering down: intentionally reducing your power level to 2 or less has a great effect on rank, very noticeable on the later levels of the first loop and most of the second loop, especially when there are high concentrations of popcorn enemies, which can quickly fill the screen with bullets at high rank. Staying at level 2 or less has an additional indirect effect on rank in those situations: item carriers will replace some or all of the popcorn enemies in a wave, reducing difficulty and the number of bullets you have to avoid, since item carriers aren't very aggressive.

To maximize the effect of this strategy, you can ram an enemy item carrier while on level 2 to power down and then immediately shoot to kill it and grab its power up, which will get you back to level 2 and will make another wave of item carriers appear with the next round of popcorn enemies. OWA uses this strategy through 1-5 to get the coins from both hands at max value, something which normally would be impossible.

A variation of this techique is used by saucykobold at 2-6. Killing the green "carriers" while letting the red one alive, so more of them keep appearing instead of the pesky lanterns that you most likely will come to hate.

It should be noted though that carriers are worth less than regular popcorn enemies and come in smaller numbers per wave, so your score may take a hit (except for 1-5, since the coins from the hands are worth more than the lanterns you won't get to kill).

- Dying: losing a life makes rank nosedive roughly for a good while. If you are going to suicide, make sure to do it as close to the right border of the screen as possible, since released items travel to the opposite side of the screen. If you die on the left, the items will drift towards the right, where enemies usually spawn, making them harder to collect. You definitely don't want that to happen at 2-5.

+ POST VICTORY KILLING AND ITEM PICKUPS

You can still kill enemies some seconds after you destroy a level boss. Your options will not be able to shoot and you won't be able to do charge shots, but you can use your main shot to destroy any remaining popcorns. This can add a few easy extra points per level.

You can power down before you move to the next level too. This can be either detrimental if you need high firepower or beneficial if you need to lower rank.

Also remember that you can grab power ups and bombs during this brief time window, even when you lose control of your character as it moves forward to the next level. So if you think that picking an item during a certain boss fight is risky, you can try to get it at this point. If you see you won't be able to catch it on time, just position yourself so you pick it up when the character automatically moves forward.

+ BUGS / GLITCHES

- Invincible Bowmen

I don't know if it's an emulation issue or if it's in the PCB/PS2 versions too, but for some weird reason the Bowmen that appear at the Secret Entrance stage 6 can glitch and become invincible instead of dying. So they will remain alive and will keep shooting, but your shots will not hit them.

This can be frustrating if you don't know about the bug, because the explosion after their "deaths" can make it difficult to tell if they actually died, so you can be caught off-guard and lose a life to this silly thing.

Fortunately this glitch isn't that common, but it's good to know about it so you are extra cautious at that part of the game. So even if it looks like you have killed a Bowmen there, still move out of its way just to be safe.
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Check my (WIP) Sengoku Blade guide!


Last edited by Hagane on Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:52 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:21 pm 


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Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1652
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
THE BASICS

Here I will list several things you'll have to take into account if you are new to this game or Psikyo games in general, and most of what's listed here works for games such as Dragon Blaze and Strikers 1945, too.

+ BULLET SPEED

Probably the main obstacle to people new to Psikyo games. A lot of players try to play them as they play a bullet hell and then think they are unfair since that philosophy won't work here. Bullets are just too fast and numerous and the hitbox too big for you to dance through them as you can do in a typical danmaku.

But, contrary to popular belief, the solution isn't to memorize every single pattern in the game but to take an aggressive approach. You need to be near the center of the screen or beyond most of the time, so you can destroy dangerous enemies on reaction before they manage to do much, ideally before they even get to shoot. If your enemy can't shoot, there aren't any bullets to dodge. Dodging should always be your B plan. Always think of how can you kill problem enemies first, and only use dodging if quick killing is impossible.

The game encourages this style of play by giving extra firepower at point blank range (see the "familiar riding" technique below) or powerful short range charged attacks that can take out most enemies in a hit or two (and, not surprisingly, the characters with those charged attacks are the ones with the highest scoring potential). Powering down instead of outright dying when you bump into an enemy helps, too.

Stop hugging the left edge of the screen and don't wait for your enemies to shoot and then see what you can do. Take the initiative before they can actually do anything. You'll see how things get a lot more reasonable with that mindset.

+ ENEMY TYPES AND PRIORITIES

Now, after reading the last point, you may think that you need to destroy EVERYTHING on sight as soon as you can so you can be safe at all times. Most of the time, though, this is impossible, so you need to prioritize your kills taking into account how dangerous the enemy you are facing is.

With this goal in mind, you can classify enemies into three big groups:

1. Small enemies: the "popcorn" enemies are the least dangerous ones, as long as you don't leave a lot of them alive on screen at the same time. These enemies tend to fire slow patterns that are easily dodged on their own, but become extremely dangerous if they are paired with larger enemies or if groups of them fire at the same time.

2. Medium enemies: these tend to fire few but very fast bullets and can take several normal shots.

3. Large enemies: tend to fire very fast, static patterns and have a lot of health. Their patterns usually are easy to avoid with a tap and have lots of safespots, but their main purpose isn't to be hard to avoid by themselves but to limit your movement options and make dodging other enemy bullets (usually aimed ones from popcorn enemies) a lot harder.

As you can guess, your priority should be large enemies, then medium ones, then the small fry. If you let large enemies live for too long they will either kill you with their super fast patterns or cripple your movement while the small fry grows in number and fills the screen with bullets (which in turn make it harder to kill the large enemy, and things get out of hand really fast).

Another reason to kill large enemies fast, besides the danger they pose, is that they give a lot of points and tend to be replaced by new large enemies. Killing them in succession will give you a lot of extra points.

+ PANORAMIC VISION VS. FOCUSED VISION

A common advice for danmaku players is to try to have a panoramic vision of the screen so you can spot paths in the mazes of bullets. While this also applies to an extent here with slower bullet formations, it's counterproductive against fast bullets. Against them, it's better to focus on the bullet and follow it with your eyes so you can clearly see its trajectory.

In real life, if you look at a highway you'll see cars passing by as a blur. But if you focus on one of them and follow it with your eyes, you'll see it clearly until it goes away. The same principle applies for Sengoku Blade!

+ DODGING METHODS AND TIPS

- Tapping: the one you will use most of the time. Since most bullets in this game are aimed at you, the best and easiest answer usually is tapping up or down as soon as you see your enemy shoots.

Suicide bullets (except the ones released by "potheads") are also aimed, so tapping still applies. Get accustomed to doing a tap immediately after each shot button press. This way you will automatically avoid the suicide bullet and you will be able to focus on enemy placement instead.
Avoid shooting when your enemy is too close and time your kills paying attention to regular patterns to avoid getting trapped or being forced to leave safe spots at the wrong time. Sometimes it's better to just stop shooting to make a crowded section easier.

- Streaming: a variation of the above useful against high concentrations of popcorns (such as 1-5, 2-5, second loop air stage). Stand still until your enemies shoot and then do small taps up or down and keep going in the same direction until the wave ends.

When there are a lot of popcorns on screen, you should NEVER move in one direction to avoid something and then immediately go back to your original position. You'll maybe avoid the first shot, but if a second enemy shot at the same position you'll most likely eat it since it will be aimed to your previous location. It's better to keep going until you destroy that wave of enemies before you try to go back. This simple advice will save you a lot of swearing and effort, especially in the second loop.

At certain spots (such as the second half of 1-5 and 2-5) you may run out of space for streaming against large groups of popcorns. You can maximize your tap space by doing a "C" motion, starting near the center of the screen of the upper or lower edges of the screen, then tapping back to the left, and then moving to the center of the opposite upper or lower border.

This has two benefits: giving you more room to tap dodge and making initial bullets go out of the screen instead of being there when you are tapping on the left.

- Maximize speed: Against groups of fast shooters (mainly in the second loop), when you dodge a fast pattern try to move straight (up, down, left, right) instead of diagonally. Most of the time moving diagonally won't get you out of the way fast enough. Also avoid friction against the edges of the screen, you'll move even slower.

- Preemptive dodging:

In a game with mostly fast aimed shots such as this one, it's wise to do "anticipation dodges" instead of just dodging on reaction. If you are on a spot with lots of popcorn enemies, it's good to stay on the move doing tap dodges even when when you are not reacting to an enemy shot.

This way, if they actually happen to shoot you'll "automatically" dodge a lot of their bullets with no reaction involved, so you can use all your focus on tough patterns / enemy positioning / coin grabbing instead.

SCORING

+ GOLD COINS

Coins work similarly to Striker's gold bars, in that you can get different values depending on your timing. The main difference in this game is that instead of being static, coins go up fast after you discover one, stop at a peak for a short while and then start to fall quickly. If they fall off the screen you lose the coin, so you need to plan how you kill coin-carrying enemies to maximize points. You have a maximum of four chances to pick the coin at max value before it falls off the screen.

You can also get coins for walking (or hovering, only at stage 5 in both loops) over certain points of the stage.

To get the highest possible value, you need to grab the coins as they are fully facing the screen. Possible values are:

Image 2000 (you have 7 frames to catch a coin at this value)
ImageImage 1000
ImageImage 500
ImageImageImage 200

+ COIN GRABBING METHODS

Getting a single coin at its highest value is straightforward enough. But what do you do if there are several coin carrying enemies on screen, or if a single enemy releases lots of coins? If you free style things and go without a strategy for each particular situation you'll miss a lot of points from dropped / low value coins. Here's some advice for some of those situations.

- Single ground hidden coins

The best way to grab these at max value is to walk over them to make them appear and then quickly press up. You'll catch it at 2,000 as soon as it comes out if you do it right.

- Multiple ground hidden coins

These generally come in groups of three. A good way to quickly get all of them at 2.000 is to walk over all of them, then grab the leftmost one at 2.000 and keep going to the right. You always get the same value than for the first coin this way, so if you got the first one at 2.000, then you'll always get the other two at max value too.

Obviously the downside of this method is that this applies for all values, so if your first coin was worth 200, the rest will also be 200.

Alternatively, you can combine this method with the previous one; walk over all three coins, grab the third with the single hidden coin method and then grab the remaining two this way.

- Hands

They release 7 coins in three rows. The first two have 2, and the rightmost one 3. The trick is to grab each of those rows separately. Using a similar technique to the multiple ground coins, grab the first in a row and then move vertically in a straight line to grab the rest.

Get the first row starting from above, then the remaining two from below.

It bears mentioning that you won't be able to grab all of them if you don't use a rank control strategy on the stage beforehand. Try to kill the hands with 2 or less power up levels so you replace lanterns with item carriers while you go and get the coins. The lanterns will most likely point blank you while you are collecting coins or cover too much of the screen with their bullets, which will end up making survival extremely hard without a bomb.

- Potheads

A nice method to get coins at max value with Katana and Ayin in upper stage 6 is to use the invincibility when you start the level to "ride" the upper pothead and kill him while you are fully overlapping it. You'll get the coin as soon as the enemy dies, always at 2,000.

- Bulls

There are a few methods you can use for bulls.

1. Grab the lower center coin, then the upper one. Finally, grab the left coin and continue straight from there to automatically get the right coin at max value.

2. A variation of the above that might make things easier. Kill the bull and immediately move to the center of the resulting explosion. If you do this correctly, you will always grab the lower coin at max value. Grab the rest with the previous strategy.

3. Move a bit to the right of the explosion as soon as you kill the bull. You will grab the right coin at max value this way. Then immediately move back to the left, to grab the lower one too. You can also get the remaining row going from right to left.

- Winged Eye

The most consistent method I've found is grabbing the coins in three steps

1. Pick the lowest coin of the bunch
2. Grab the three coins to the right using the multiple hidden coin method
3. Grab the three remaining coins starting from below

It's pretty safe to do in the water stage, you have a lot of time after you kill the Winged Eye before the boss appears and the popcorn fish are pretty harmless. But on the other stages you won't have enough time to pick them this way since enemies will be bothering you. The next best option I've found is picking them starting from the lowest coin and then moving upwards to get the rest. This is not as consistent as the other method but I've managed to get all the coins at max value a few times, and when you are surrounded by dangerous enemies that give you no breathing room (as in Forest) you just can't allow yourself to stop in a single place for too long.

+ EXTRA ENEMIES

Killing enemies fast not only has the advantage of saving you the pain of dealing with their patterns, it can also greatly increase your score. There are certain spots where killing stuff fast makes extra enemies appear. The main targets are the annoying red samurai-like, cannon wielding enemies. Most of the times they appear, if you kill them fast enough more of them will come out, and they are worth 8,000 a piece and give you a gold coin, too! If you get it at max value, that's 10,000 points for a single enemy, which is a lot in this game. This is one of the reasons why Katana and Ayin (and, to a lesser extent, Miko) are such high scorers: their charge shots can take them down fast enough to make all the extra enemies come out.

While these are the most notable enemies to quick-kill, there are several spots where you need to kill stuff fast to make more enemies appear, such as the mid-boss in the temple stage, the alien-like enemies in the forest stage or the hands in the fifth level. These spots will be described in more detail (eventually) in the stage strategy section.

+ POWER-UP AND BOMB BONUS

You get 4000 points for each power up you get after the fourth, and 10,000 points for each bomb after the sixth. There's no end-game bonus so there's no reason to save bombs after you get the last one.

+ POWERING DOWN ON PURPOSE

There are some spots where doing this is beneficial to your score. Normally, if your power level is below 2 (though there are a few spots that give you extra power ups even at a power level of 2), an item carrier will appear soon so you aren't stuck with a pea shooter (a lesson Nakamura most likely learned after Sengoku Ace :P). But if you power down at a fixed spot where a regular item carrier is supposed to come out, you'll get TWO item carriers that will give you one power up each, something which is normally not possible.

This has two obvious advantages:

1. If you do it at 1-1 in Forest you'll end the level fully powered up (you normally get three power ups at 1-1), so you will get an extra 4,000 when you get the power up from the second sub-boss.

2. Extra points from killing the carriers of course.

While this sounds nice and simple enough, you have to keep your power level at 1 until both item carriers fully come into the screen. If you power up with the first item carrier and the second one still isn't on the screen, it won't give you any power ups (it will be green like the rest of the group instead of red). Also, power downs have to be planned and well timed or else you will end up getting less points because enemies got away or you lose precious time that should have been spent shooting at a large enemy.

I'll (eventually) point out the spots where you can power down on purpose in the stage strategy section.

+ RANDOM STAGES

As in most Psikyo games, stage order for the first stages is random. There are four random stages, but you only get to play three of them each loop. The problem is that one of those stages (air) gives a lot less points than the rest. The approximate score limits for each of the random stages are

Forest: ~180,000
Water: ~165,000
Temple: ~155,000
Air: ~120,000

As you can see, getting Temple + Air + Water will greatly hurt your score, while getting Water + Temple + Forest will maximize your scoring potential. Order isn't that important, you just have to avoid the air stage (though I prefer Temple as the second or third stage because you get three extra "potheads" at the start, for 13.500 extra points). So, if you want to get as many points as possible, I recommend either using a savestate at the start of your game to get a good stage selection or playing the PS2 version, which thankfully lets you choose your stage order.

+ BOSSES

Though quick killing is great to get high scores from most of the stage, if you want to maximize your score you should avoid killing bosses too fast and milk them as much as possible. Nearly every boss has some popcorn enemies supporting it, besides item carriers that appear regularly during the fight. So while you can brute force your way through a boss with Aine or Katana, you'll get less points as a result.
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Last edited by Hagane on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:08 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:21 pm 


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ADVANCED TECHNIQUES

+ FAMILIAR RIDING

As it was mentioned before, killing enemies as fast as you can is key for both survival and scoring. For Katana or Ayin that's pretty straightforward since they have powerful charge shots, but what can you do if you like some other character? Normally, they do much less damage than Katana / Ayin.

If you have a character with a familiar (Junis, Miko, Tengai) you can try to position yourself below your enemy so that the familiar's sprite overlaps with the enemy sprite. This will greatly increase your fire rate, a lot more than just simply point-blanking.

This helps Koyori and Tengai a lot to get extra enemies by killing larger stuff quick. Junis' shot is still quite weak even with this technique so she doesn't get as much benefit from it, and Sho's mirrors are behind him so he can't do it at all.

Here's a replay of Koyori (for shmupmame 2.2) doing this technique to kill the sub-boss at Temple stage (1-1) to get an extra enemy out. Normally she wouldn't be able to do this at 1-1, but the extra firepower she gets from this trick makes it possible.

+ GENERAL ENEMY STRATEGIES

I don't know if they have official names (if someone knows them please tell) so I'll just call them by how they look.

+ Potheads

Image

Points: 2,500
Type: mid
Coin: 1
Suicide bullets: 4, in all 4 diagonal directions

These enemies have two patterns: the first is a slow, aimed pattern, and the second is a fast aimed pattern. The first is easy to dodge, though you should try to avoid overcrowding as they can fill the screen with bullets at high rank. Kill them before they get to do the second pattern, as it is very fast and covers a large area at high rank. Two or three of these firing that pattern at the same time can be fatal, especially if they are aided by other enemies.

+ Samurai cannonmen (straight and wide)

Image Image

Points: 8,000
Type: large
Coin: 1

One of the most dangerous enemies in the game, and by far the most lucrative as they get replaced by new cannonmen if you kill them fast enough. While they aren't really that dangerous by themselves, cannonmen are extremely annoying when grouped with small / mid enemies since they limit your movement options with their extremely fast patterns, while the other enemies aim at you.

Both types of cannonmen fire non-aimed patterns and have several blind spots: at point blank range, directly above or below them, or behind them. Most of the time the other enemies that help them will force you to be constantly on the move though.

The best advice against them both from a survival and scoring standpoint is to kill them as soon as possible. If you let them live for too long you will lose a lot of points and their extremely fast bullets will either kill you or be an extreme annoyance when you are trying to avoid something else.

+ Bowmen

Image

Points:
Type: mid
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

Bowmen fire very fast bullets straight ahead of them. As rank goes up they fire more bullets, in "diamond" shaped patterns that cover a bit more vertical range. Try to avoid staying in front of them at all costs, especially at higher levels. One trick to deal with groups of them is to get very close to them, at point blank range. Their bullets can't hit you from there (be careful with popcorn enemies that fire aimed bullets at you when you do this).

+ Hands

Image

Points: 10,000
Type: large
Coin: 7

Appear only at level 5, these things take a lot of punishment and have two attacks: first they lunge at you trying to power you down and then they start firing bullets diagonally from each of their fingers.

The power down can actually benefit you if you want to lower the rank a bit (try to stay at least level 1 though, so you can use charged shots), but you can avoid it by quickly moving down as soon as the hand comes at you. It's better to do this from the center of the screen so you have more room to avoid the hand.

As for the pattern, you can easily avoid it by positioning yourself at the same level as the hand, or in between their fingers. Most of the time you'll want to kill it before it actually gets to shoot though, both because it can limit your movement (making Lanterns very dangerous) and for the extra potheads you get for killing them fast.

+ Ninjas

Image

Points: 500
Type: mid
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

Relatively easy to deal with in the first loop, where they only shoot a single aimed shuriken, Ninjas are hell on the second loop since they shoot extremely fast patterns of four shurikens.

Against second loop ninjas, the key is to be constantly on the move. Make long sweeps (tapping doesn't work well), and change directions only after a wave of them has fired or you'll run into a previously fired pattern or a suicide bullet.

+ Green Katanas

Image

Points: 800
Type: mid
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

Found only at stage 6 (both ways), these enemies have two attacks: they shoot a fast bullet straight ahead and slow, aimed bullets, generally as they come or go out of screen. The first pattern is easy enough as long as you don't stand still in front of them, but be very careful with the aimed bullets since they love to snipe you from the back, even when it looks as if they have gone out of screen- so take that into account if you let one of them get away.

+ Bull

Image

Points: 2,000
Type: large
Coin: 4

+ Priests

Image

Points:
Type:
Coin:
Suicide bullets: aimed

+ Skull Priest

Image

Points: 3,000
Type: large
Coin: -

They fire an aimed stream of bullets at you. As you can guess, the solution is to slowly stream their shots until they stop, and then get in close to deal the finishing damage if you haven't killed them already. As long as you don't run out of space for streaming you shouldn't have much of a problem dealing with them.

Always release a power up when destroyed.

+ Wheels

Image

Points:
Type:
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

+ Daggers

Image

Points:
Type:
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

+ Alien

Image

Points:
Type:
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

+ Big Pagoda

Image

Points:
Type: large
Coin: -

Appears only midway through the forest stage. It has a lot of health and can even survive two Katana charge shots. It will first fire an easy slow aimed pattern, and then an extremely fast static pattern, pretty hard to avoid at higher rank especially with the ninjas around.

You want to kill this enemy as soon as possible, before it can shoot if possible or before its second pattern at most. After that point you will most likely have to bomb or die since it's extremely hard to dodge both the fast pattern and the ninjas (nearly impossible in the second loop). So focus all your firepower in it. Ayin and Katana can deal with it pretty easily, but for the rest you'll have to either point blank or do the familiar ride, both pretty risky on the first loop and suicidal on the second loop.

+ Pagoda

Image

Points: 7.000
Type: mid
Coin: 1

Found at Temple (one if you kill the mid boss fast enough, the other shortly after) and lower stage 6. They open with a simple slow spread pattern and then fire four sets of fast aimed shots, alternating between a single bullet and two one over the other.

Alone they are not much of a threat; simply kill them before they get to shoot their second pattern. If you face more than one (such as in the middle of lower stage 6) they can be pretty hard. Kill as many as you can before they get to shoot and then use a tap dodging strategy, waiting for them to aim at you and then dodge, wait, dodge, etc.

+ Winged Eye

Image

Points: 5.000
Type: Large
Coin: 7

These enemies only appear at the random stages of the second loop. They fire an aimed five way pattern at you and then quickly get away. The hardest thing about them is not actually avoiding their attack but killing them before they leave and then getting the coins they release. Except for the Water stage, they appear surrounded by popcorns, ninjas or other dangerous enemies and it's pretty risky to get in close to get the coins.

+ Guardian Ninjas

Image

Points: 5.000
Type: large
Coin: -

These are basically the same as regular ninjas except they have a lot more health. Found only at level 7 before you face the final boss. They only fire a group of three (on loop 1) aimed shurikens when they come down or up, but not when they are on the ground, so you can avoid them easily by moving out of the way just as they shoot. You don't even have to time it, keep moving in a direction, then move the other way when you run out of space. Keep shooting all the time while doing this and you will take care of them with minimal risk.

+ Lanterns

Image

Points: 200
Type: small
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

Easily one of the most annoying enemies in the game, the lanterns fire slow three-way aimed patterns at you and come in high numbers, so they can get very dangerous if lots of them are on screen. The main method to avoid their bullets is to stand still until a wave of them shoots and then tap out of the way. Since the pattern is aimed, you'll avoid all the bullets fired at you. Of course it's harder than it sounds since they often come along with other dangerous enemies, but this little tip will help you a lot.

Another way to fight them is to simply kill them before they can shoot. This is easier against waves that come from below or above, as you can stay shooting from the top or bottom of the screen and you'll kill the whole wave before they manage to get a shot in. Sho is very good at this since he can deploy his mirrors at the bottom while he shoots from the top (or the other way around), taking care of most Lanterns at once.

Second loop Lanterns are similar except they have a higher fire rate and release three-way aimed suicide bullets when killed. This means you will have to be very careful when shooting, but the tapping method still works (though you will need to make faster and shorter taps for the suicide bullets).

+ Item carrier

Image

Points: 100
Type: small
Coin: -
Suicide bullets: aimed

Small popcorn enemies that come in groups of four. Three are green and one red (blue in the second loop) that releases a power up item when killed. They come at fixed spots if your power is below a certain level (generally dictated by rank level), and at regular intervals during boss fights to prevent you from being underpowered. As a side effect, you can often manipulate them via strategic power downs to eventually boost your power level, lower rank or scoring. If you are above the power level requirements they will either not appear or not give any items (all of them will be green, common during boss fights or if they were triggered while you were underpowered but you power up just before they appear).

They are usually harmless and not very aggressive, but at higher rank levels they may try to snipe or point blank you. In the second loop each of them will fire a single slow aimed bullet and will release a suicide bullet when killed, so they become very annoying during boss fights. Be careful and take into account your position on screen and other enemy patterns before firing at them. You don't want four bullets aimed at you while you are dodging a difficult boss pattern.
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Last edited by Hagane on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:40 am, edited 12 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:49 pm 


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STAGE STRATEGIES

Pretty empty right now, soon I'll start adding all the scoring tricks I know of, plus survival strategies and boss analysis for each level.

FIRST LOOP

+ Stages 1-1 to 1-3

These stages come in random order and there are four possible picks (meaning that you can't play them all in a single loop).

- Water

Cannonmen will start to come out just after you kill the midboss. If you are fast enough you can exploit them to get a nice boost in your score. Katana and Ayin can kill up to 6 of these enemies thanks to their high firepower; Miko, Tengai and Junis can kill 5 with the familiar riding trick.

You can get a few extra points powering down to level 1 by ramming the fish that come just after the cannonmen. An item carrier will appear shortly after, but don't kill it. Wait until a second item carrier appears and kill them both to get to level 3.

Boss:

1. It will fire bullets in front of it in all directions. It's a static pattern with a lot of safespots. You can just go right in front of its fin to safely destroy it and the pattern won't hit you. Another good safespot for higher rank is just above or below his eye level. As long as you don't get just in front of his eyes you will be safe.

Then it will shoot spread aimed patterns at you. Just stay still just as it shoots and it will miss.

2. Destroy the turtle face as soon as you can. Katana / Ayin can crush it before it shoots, the rest will have to focus all of their firepower in there. Its initial shots are all aimed at you and can be easily avoided by tapping down at each wave. How many it shoots depends on the stage you are: at 1-1 it will fire 1, at 1-2 2 and at 1-3 3.

If you still haven't destroyed the head after that, you can try to get in close and point blank / familiar ride it before its next pattern. Otherwise the boss will extend its neck and fire a sweeping pattern. You can avoid it easily by staying under the boss.

3. Once the head is destroyed the rest will be easy. The boss will just move up and down shooting aimed bullets at you, which you can just tap dodge. After you deal enough damage the boss will get closer to you. The higher the level, the closer it gets. It will shoot a couple of three way aimed shots with a few aimed bullets mixed in between. Stay at his height level and do small taps when you see it shoot.

During the whole battle small fish enemies will appear to shoot slow aimed bullets at you. Try to make every boss phase last as much as possible so you can kill many of these fish for a few extra thousand points.

- Temple

It's better to have this stage as 1-2 or 1-3, since the extra rank will make three extra potheads come out at the beginning of the stage. That gives you a maximum of 13,500 extra points just from that. Just another reason for using level select in the PS2 version or a savestate in MAME.

Just as the stage begins some potheads will come out. If you are at 1-2 or 1-3, two will come first and then four more in a diamond formation.

If you kill the midboss fast enough a Pagoda will come out, giving you 9.000 extra points if you get the coin at 2.000.

Boss:

This boss has three phases

1. The ball boss shoots four sets of two missiles that are worth 500 each, for a total of 4.000 easy points. Just be sure to deal enough damage before it shoots the fourth set because it goes away just after that and you will miss the 14.000 points it gives.

2. Be sure to destroy all the parts of the weird fox faced boss. The fox mask, the main "body" and the engine give 10.000 points each, and the front wheel gives 2.000. The back wheel can be damaged, but I don't know of a way to destroy it before the boss dies.

3. The final phase releases two sets of four fire wheels that are worth 400 a piece. The boss will suicide shortly after it releases the second set.

- Forest

The highest scoring of the random stages, while not that hard to play for survival, it can get very hard if you try to maximize score.

The most important part of Forest is just after the Big Pagoda; shortly after you kill it you'll have to face cannonmen aided by ninjas that shoot single aimed bullets at you from above and the ground.

The key to getting a high score is killing the cannonmen as fast as you can. This requires, first of all, to destroy the Big Pagoda before them as quick as possible too. Then concentrate all of your firepower on the cannonmen. If you use Aine or Katana you won't have such a hard time; hit them with a charge shot, then back off to avoid the ninjas (go down to shoot more of them before the next cannonmen comes out), then get in close to grab the coin and release another charge shot immediately after, then repeat.

Be very careful with the ninjas. They are harmless from afar, but in close they will shoot right at your face from above and below, which at best will disrupt your quick killing strategy and at worst will take a life from you.

Just after the cannonmen will come sets of three alien-like enemies . Get to the upper right side of the screen and kill them as soon as they come out. If you were fast enough against the cannonmen you can get over 10.000 extra points from them.

Any wasted second in here will greatly hurt your score. If you execute everything perfectly, you can get up to five cannonmen, compared to the one or two you would normally get. Along with the birds and coins, you can get an extra 50.000 from that part alone, which is a huge boost in this game. But make a mistake and you can lose 20.000 - 30.000 in an instant.

Boss:

The butterfly boss releases up to 8 sets of 8 drones that are worth 100 points each, so you can get up to 6400 from them with good milking.

- Air

The easiest of all the initial stages, and also the one with the lowest scoring potential. If you only care about a quick 1CC it's great, if you care about getting a high score you'll hate it. Play the PS2 version or use the savestate provided here if you want to avoid it.

Boss:

+ Mid bosses

In each of the random stages you'll face a midboss. They come in a fixed order:

- 1-1:

Image

Opens with a single aimed bullet, then throws his hat in front of him in a boomerang-like fashion. This attack cannot kill you but will power you down, which can be pretty annoying. After that he fires an aimed three way pattern which you can just tap, and then a five way pattern that can be avoided by staying still. Then he loops his attacks startng from the boomerang hat.

- 1-2:

Fires an aimed bullet at you, then spins and fires shurikens in all directions. Just stay at his height level and you'll avoid it easily. Finally, he shoots an aimed spread pattern, which you can just tap when you see him shoot, and then loops these last two attacks.

While he's an easy enemy he has a lot of health, so you can have trouble killing him fast enough, which can hurt your score depending on the stage you are in.

- 1-3:

Image Image

Kaen fires an opening three way aimed pattern that you can tap dodge, and then starts shooting in all directions, releasing two drones with each pattern she shoots.

It's recommended that you kill the drones as fast as you can, as letting many of them at once on screen can make things really hard. They love to get in close and point blank you or shoot you from the back, so be very careful if you see them heading towards you.

The easiest way to deal with them is to shoot above Kaen's head as soon as you see them come out. If you take care of them correctly this midboss isn't that hard. Alternatively you might want to focus all your firepower on Kaen, but you'll miss the extra points from the drones, which are worth 200 a piece.

+ Stage 1-4

At the start of the level popcorn enemies will come at you, aided by priests. All of them fire aimed bullets so start doing small taps from above or below while shooting and you shouldn't have much of a problem. Things get tougher once the cannonmen join the fight. I recommend focusing on killing at least one of them to have more breathing room.

Just like in Sengoku Ace, here you will fight all the sub-bosses in a row before facing the stage boss.

Image

1. Not much of a difference compared to his first appearance, extra bullets are mostly cosmetic and the same strategies still apply.

Image

2. The only of the bosses that really matters, she's a nice source of points as her drones can be milked for up to 16000 points (plus 2000 more for Kaen herself and 4000 for the power up she releases). The main difference with her initial form is that she will now release sets of four drones, which makes things much trickier as their bullets can be pretty hard to avoid with Kaen limiting your movement space with her pattern.

- Ayin: He can milk the drones easily by doing a charge shot just above Kaen's head. His sword slash has a small vertical hitbox so he doesn't have to worry about killing Kaen accidentally.

- Junis: Wait just before she starts summoning drones and release a charge shot just in front of them (but not directly on Kaen's path or you will kill her too fast). Since they track your position to try to point blank you, you can just lure them at Socrates' flame to kill all of them easily.

- Koyori: You can strategically place level 4 charge shots to make the drones run into them when they try to track you. Once you have some charge shots on screen you can use your normal shot too, the homing balls are great at killing the drones.

She will do exactly ten rounds of drone releases before getting away, four at a time, and each of those drones give 400 points.

Image

3. Now opens with a five way aimed pattern (small tap to dodge), then throws the boomerang hat at a longer range, and finally follows with three patterns: aimed spread (tap), another aimed spread (stay still), and a diamond like aimed pattern, which you should sweep.

Boss:

1. The opening pattern looks scary, but a small tap once he fires is all you need to avoid it. Just after he quickly gets in close as if he tried to ram you, followed by two vertical "walls" of bullets. Stay on the middle and you'll have no problem. This is a good time to power down if you want to lower rank for 1-5: move towards his head when he does this attack, just like in OWA's replay.

2. You can milk the many "staff" thinghies he releases. The risk is high and the rewards low (200 each, around 20 enemies released for roughly 4000 points), so maybe you shouldn't try it if you are just starting to play the game.

The boss suicides shortly after he loses his left (the one facing the screen) shoulder armor.

+ Stage 1-5

The "wall", 1-5 gives most players a tough time and will make you lose a lot of lives unless you have a solid plan. The main reason for this are the Lanterns; they come in high numbers and fire aimed three way patterns that can be very tricky to handle when there are a lot of them on screen or when the cannonmen join the fray.

There are several valid strategies for this level:

1. Conservative: the Lantens fire aimed patterns. So, if you stay still and wait for a wave to fire their bullets and then tap up or down you'll dodge every single bullet on a wave. If you time your tap right you won't need a second one, but you can do a couple of short taps if you want to be sure. It's recommended to avoid a couple of waves tapping in the same direction and then change so you don't run out of space and end up cornered.

Things will get tricky once the cannonmen come in. You will need to time your taps to accommodate their patterns. Watch TAD using this strategy with Sho.

The advantage of this strategy is that it's relatively simple to learn and very consistent, but you will miss one extra cannonmen this way.

2. Rank control: this requires you to power down against the 1-4 boss, and then stay at level 2 or 1 for a good part of the level. This has two advantages: rank will be slightly lower because your power level is low, and item carriers will replace some waves of Lanterns, reducing even more the stuff you have to dodge.

Each time you see an item carrier on screen, touch it to power down then quickly shoot at it to power up again. As long as you stay at level 2, more item carriers will come.

This superplay by Katana player OWA shows how to pull this off.

This strategy is relatively easy to pull off with a bit of practice and has the advantage of letting you kill all the cannonmen unlike the previous one. You will also have enough time to get ths coins from the hands since item carriers will replace the Lanters at those spots.

Scoring wise, the most relevant tips are

1. Kill the cannonmen as soon as possible. If you take too long (a little bit after they shoot) some of them won't come out, making you lose quite a bit of points. You can get up to four cannonmen if you do things right.

2. Killing the hands before they shoot makes two extra potheads come out per hand. This means up to 18000 extra points if you kill all of them and get their coins at max value.

3. Try to stay at at power level 1 or 2 so you can get all the coins from the hands. At lower rank you can get all of them at max value (see the coin grabbing section), for a maximum of 14000 extra points per hand.

+ Two paths

Both stage 1-6 and 1-7 (and the ending you get) change depending on your choice. I will assume you pick the front gate for the first loop and the secret entrance for the second loop. This is the recommended order as the main gate path is very difficult on the second loop and you will have a harder time scoring in it.

+ Stage 1-6 (Main gate)

Two potheads will come at you right at the beginning of the level. Normally grabbing their coins can be difficult because a lot of popcorn enemies will appear shortly after. You can use your temporary invincibility to ride the upper pothead and automatically get its coin at max value. Now you only have to get one coin, which is much simpler.

Boss:

1. Has two attacks. One is an aimed spread pattern composed of three "waves" of bullets. The trick to safely avoid it is to wait until it has shot all the three waves of the pattern and just then tap to move out of the way. You'll avoid the whole pattern this way, plus you economize space to deal with the item carriers that will be annoying you through the battle.

For the other attack it releases a flaming skull that will shoot at you. You can milk these for 1000 points a piece. OWA manages to get 11, which I guess is the maximum you can get. Since boss phases time out faster if the boss has less health, try to fire only at the skulls, and only fire at the boss when you want to kill it.

+ Stage 1-7 (Main gate)

Boss:
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Last edited by Hagane on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:50 pm, edited 26 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:50 pm 


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SECOND LOOP

The main difference between the first and second loop, besides the extra rank, are the suicide bullets. They will force you to plan how you kill each enemy to avoid getting trapped in inescapable patterns. Luckily 99% of the suicide bullets are aimed so you can use the tapping strategy to avoid them and time your kills to control their trajectory.

+ Forest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7enxleAxUI

Easily the hardest out of the initial second loop stages. I only really know of a no miss no bomb strategy with Katana; every replay I've seen bombs at some critical point of this level. See if you can adapt parts of it for your character of choice. If you also use Katana, be aware that this strategy requires you to be at full power level. You can do most of it at level 3, but you might have problems killing the Big Pagoda on time and anything below that will probably require you to bomb or miss some points.

First, three of the alien like enemies will come from above. Have a charge shot ready and kill all of them with it, then do a small tap to avoid their suicide bullets. Just after that some ninjas will join in. For this strategy it's crucial that you kill the first two ninjas before both manage to reach the ground. Otherwise there will be enemies obstructing your route and either suicide bullets or their shots if you don't shoot will mess the plan up.

I like to kill these two ninjas starting to shoot at the middle of the screen and then doing small taps downwards. That way you will be mostly safe from their suicide bullets and you will make the following ninjas shoot down, which will leave room for when you need to move up afterwards. Just after you kill those two ninjas, start charging your shot. Move up and then down as in the replay, and release the charge shot aligning yourself with the Winged Eye. I move a bit horizontally backwards here so suicide bullets are less likely to be on the way when I keep moving down. Once you reach the ground start charging again and move forward. If you've pulled the last part off right, the ninjas will miss their shots.

Stop when you see the ninjas on the ground are about to ram you and go up. They won't shoot just yet; once you are about to reach the middle of the screen, release your charge shot and then kill any remaining ninjas while moving down. I find that moving a bit back as you release your charge shot, just before going down, is good because suicide bullets will be released out of your path.

Start charging again, and as soon as you are ready release it on the Big Pagoda. Charge again, wait a bit until the ninjas appear and shoot and just then release another charge shot while you start to move down. You might need a few extra shots to down the Pagoda. Do not kill it too fast (before the ninjas shoot at you) or the cannonmen will appear too soon and things will get harder.

Now starts the REALLY hard part.

+ Temple

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p77w3rEpEfk

+ Water

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwMdXB_vV50

+ Air

+ Stage 2-4

+ Stage 2-5

Thought 1-5 was hard? Then prepare for hell. It's basically 1-5 except lanterns shoot even more bullets and release three way suicide patterns. Clearing it normally at max rank is doable, but also insanely hard. The main strategies I know of are

1. Bombspam: if your character has a nice bomb and you can no bomb most of the game before this level, you can try to just bomb your way through.

2. Rank control: the most reliable method is to suicide right at the start of the level. Use your invincibility to move to the right edge of the screen (so items come to the left as you respawn) and let the lanterns kill you. Rank will decrease a lot and now the lanterns will fire easier, slower patterns and single suicide bullets, turning the difficulty down from "nearly impossible" to "very hard". Grab the power up, wait a bit before you run out of invincibility and bomb as both cannonmen are getting together. Then you can continue with a tap dodge strategy. The level will still be quite hard but not as inhumanly tough as if you try to clear it normally.

3. Max rank tap dodging: just like the "conservative" strategy from 1-5, only much, much harder as your taps will have to be pixel perfect and flawlessly timed due to the higher fire rate from your enemies, in addition to their suicide bullets. The cannonmen will make things even tougher since the lanterns won't let you get in close to quick kill them or abuse their blind spots.

The downside of this strategy, besides of its extreme difficulty, is that it won't let you kill all the cannonmen fast for extra points. You'll also get extra lanterns instead of item carriers, which means that there will be more bullets and pretty much no chances to grab any coins.

Not a recommendable strategy, as the benefits are worse than with the rank control way.

+ Stage 2-6 (Secret entrance)

Boss:

+ Stage 2-7 (Secret entrance)

Boss:
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Last edited by Hagane on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:56 pm 


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Can I borrow your format for the enemies section?
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:59 pm 


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Sure, take anything you need to use.
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:04 am 


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I dig the Psikyo love in the ST forum!

Hopefully get some time to give this a whirl.

Off topic question:
Quote:
2000 (you have 7 frames to catch a coin at this value)

Do you know if the same frame window applies to S1999 & GB2 coin chaining?
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:15 am 


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Thanks for taking the time to write this, Hagane! It's shaping up to be a fantastic resource. :)
mesh control wrote:
Do you know if the same frame window applies to S1999 & GB2 coin chaining?

I did some testing with MAME's frame advance feature (pause, shift+p), and it looks like coins/medals stay at max value for seven frames in GB2 and Strikers I-III. You get eight frames in Strikers Plus.
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:28 pm 


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Thanks guys. If you want to see anything added, clarified or corrected please tell.

Small update with some pics for the enemies, and an input showing the familiar riding technique. Crappy enemy names for the moment.
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:16 pm 


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The level of love in this strategy thread is overwhelming. :)
That's awesome, Hagane, thanks a lot!
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:08 pm 


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Updated with better pics (some still remain the same), more stage strategies and tips.
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:49 am 


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THanks for the guide. Great work
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:18 am 


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I have been following this guide even before I joind this forum. Very helpful & well constructed. :D


Last edited by k39bk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:25 pm 


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Thanks. I will try to retake it soon, as I've been playing this a lot lately to finally achieve that 2-ALL.

By the way, I hope to see some scores from you! More people need to play this.
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:30 am 


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Well, since the 2-ALL will still take some time and I wanted to update with something, I've uploaded videos of my strategies for the second loop water, forest and temple stages with Katana. I'll be posting 2-5 and 2-6 soon (2-4 and 2-7 are still messy) with text explanations of what's happening in there. I just wish I could embed videos in here...
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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:34 am 


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This is my first psikyo game and could use some advice... What character is best suited for someone like me new to this type of shmup? I'm very much used to reacting to shots and find myself unable to play that way in this game, as you mentioned in your guide. Your guide is great, by the way. Thank you for efforts!


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 Post subject: Re: ST: Sengoku Blade (WIP)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:58 am 


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GGA_HAN wrote:
This is my first psikyo game and could use some advice... What character is best suited for someone like me new to this type of shmup? I'm very much used to reacting to shots and find myself unable to play that way in this game, as you mentioned in your guide. Your guide is great, by the way. Thank you for efforts!


I dunno if he still updates this but in my opinion, you'll have the fastest 1cc with Aine, or Hagane. Their charge attacks do huge damage, allowing you to get rid of certain pesky enemies and bosses VERY fast. I'm still trying to 1cc with Koyori actually...
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