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A surprising range of minerals! M-KAI's Pleasure Hearts for MSX2


Red Plane
A warning to start with: there are a couple of GIFs in this thread that feature strobing light.

Ah, the MSX. Most classic of classic Japanese computers. Arguably. Well, anyways:

Ah, M-Kai (I love that the kanji for Kai here looks kind of like an S and an X, so the logo is the developer's name and also the name of the system). Maker of Judgement Silversword and probably some other stuff. Like this game:

Pleasure Hearts. Odd name for a biplane shmup. Anyways, let's dig in:

Crumbs. Anyone read Japanese? Actually I already know that the first option, whatever the writing says, starts the game. But since I've got a screenshot, let's see if we can figure the options out:






I haven't actually tried any of these options other than start, but having played it I have no idea what item, status, or save would do in this game. Maybe the save preserves scores?

When I choose start I'm taken to a name entry screen. I think this is just for high scores. Translating the title screen took it out of me, I don't think I'm going to take the options down the right side of this on. Although I notice that the second one is in katakana while the others are hiragana, let's see what it says: カタカナ - "Katakana". I wonder if one of these would get me the Latin alphabet. I guess I'll take a look at them.


I have no idea what this is. Firing up the game again, this gets me the Latin alphabet and also changes the bottom three options to Next, Back, and Start. For a moment I thought I might have found English mode, but when I start the game from there the in-game text is still in Japanese. Oh well.

"Proceed", according to google translate.

"Return". I'm guessing this and proceed move the cursor forwards and back.

I think this means "decide". This is the option you select to start the game. Speaking of which, let's get on with it!

Aaargh! More translation. Let's take a shot:

Prologue. I must admit, I already knew that this option would lead to the prologue, which made figuring out which katakana is which much easier.

Alright, here's some actual gameplay! We start off at what looks a lot like the end of the game, killing a giant dragon and getting two billion points. Nice! As a player you get a little bit of control over this - when the orange plane moves, that's me pressing the controls. The blue plane also moves, but its vertical movement is mirrored. And hey, there was some more Japanese text in here. Let's take a look:

プレミアム ハーツ
Puremiamu haatu
I think this gives us a stage title of "Prologue: Premium Heart"

Some kind of energy coalesces and forms a diamond or something. My plane moves down and picks it up (for another seven billion points) and the screen fades to white - COMPLETE. Looks like we did it, guys!

The screen fades back in to our two planes drifting above the clouds. A flock of birds join us. This is nice.

Suddenly the birds are obliterated by a giant laser beam, and my partner crosses the screen and turns to face me. Have I been betrayed?

Sure looks like it. The blue plane summons a giant dragon (made of giant pixels, which I love), it blows me up, and the gem is stolen. And I lose my billions of points!

There's just a smidge of dialogue in there. Let's see what it says:


I'm having trouble with this one. Maybe "oh!; ah!; oh dear!; dear me!; thank God!", none of which seem quite right. I mean, they make sense for my plane, but I'm assuming it's the blue plane speaking here. I was expecting something like "...sorry", or maybe an instruction for the dragon to attack.

Anyways, we're on to STAGE 1. The subtitle is different from the prologue's, so let's take a look:

デッドオブア ライブ

Uhh... Maybe this is "Dead Raised", going phonetically? My probably incorrect translation: "Stage 1: Back from the dead"

And here we are, back in the skies, recovered from being blown up by a dragon. Let's take a moment to look at the interface: At top left we have SC, which I think stands for score. Currently zero. SC alternates with a character like a lower case d with a cross through it (visible in the previous screenshot). It looks kind of like a hiragana yo (よ), but I don't think that's what it is. Apparently a crossed đ can represent a th sound in phonetic transcription. I have no idea what its significance is here.

Below the score marker are our lives - the four red thingies. Next to that is my current health - 67 of 67. The max health increases over the course of the game for reasons not yet clear to me. The whole mechanic is kind of confusing - I think you lose health by taking weak or grazed hits. Direct hits seem to mostly be instant kills. On the right is my current power level (1). This increases by picking up enemy drops. Below that is my GR, also currently 1. I have no idea what this means. Game Rank, maybe? I'll have to keep an eye on it as we progress.

At the bottom left is my bomb counter. Speaking of which:

I love this bomb animation. Why is it so pixellated? Don't know, but it's awesome. My original plan for this thread was "Check out how cool the bomb is in Pleasure Hearts", before I got hung up in translating the menu text. That said, I didn't actually mean to use a bomb at this point, but I was playing the game via the OpenMSX emulator for the first time (previously I'd been playing on MiSTer) and I didn't know which button would do what.

Aside from the cool pixellated explosion, the other thing to note here is the enemies drop little gems when they die. They look like lesser versions of the one I got from the dragon earlier. I think these just give points.

Here's my other attack, not particularly skillfully applied. Shooting these guys increases my score and also takes GR up a few notches. Those red traces left behind when you kill enemies can cause me a bit of confusion with what is and what isn't an enemy bullet when things get busier later in the game.

I manage to pick up one of the gems and some text pops up telling me how many points I got.


Epidote is a calcium aluminium iron sorosilicate mineral (thanks, Wikipedia!). I guess that's what these gems are made of.

Moving on I snag another gem, this one worth about twice as many points.


Uhh... Read/Write? I'm lost here. Edit: Kirin pointed out I've misread the first character. It's ソ, "so", not ri. So this is Sodalite.

Some different enemy drops start appearing. The arrow with the P is power - collecting these will increase my level and as a result the strength of my main gun. I'm not sure of the exact figures, but the number of these you need to collect per level increases. I think the first level takes 1, the second takes 2, and so on, but there's a bit too much going on in-game for me to count it as it happens. The little cone with the B is bomb ammo. Yes, please. The banana-looking thing at the bottom is shot type 2: spread shot. There are three main shot types - the default concentrated straight ahead shot, the type 2 spread shot, and the type 3 wave shot.

Here's the spread shot at level 1. Not a very wide spread. There's also another power up on screen: what could be a mushroom and the letter M. These restore your health/boost your maximum health.

Here's the spread shot at level 2. Much more spreadly.

And here it is at level 3. On the left is the icon for shot type 3, which I have deliberately avoided because I'm bad at aiming and want to keep the spread. On the right are some cute little airships.

Have some gameplay. The main thing I want to talk about here is the scrolling, but first: there's some more writing when I pick up a gem in this clip.


Spinel. Another type of mineral. Another thing that happens in this clip is I collide with an enemy and lose eight hearts. Or maybe it's a near-collision. I don't really get how the HP system works, because you can definitely die in one hit.

Anyway, the scrolling. You might have noticed the way the edges of the screen are constantly moving. I don't have any insight into the programming of this game, but I believe this is the result of a limitation in the MSX hardware. Basically it doesn't support smooth horizontal scrolling (it does have vertical scrolling, though). I talked about this a bit when I did my Psycho World LP back on the old forums. Many MSX games with horizontal scrolling scroll in 8-pixel chunks, which looks better than you'd expect but not great. Psycho World, and I believe Pleasure Hearts, achieve their scrolling using a feature of the hardware included to compensate for analogue screens: the display image can be moved left or right in single pixel increments so that users can centre the image if it's off on their screen. So the game is still scrolling in eight pixel chunks, it's just that the whole image (minus the HUD) is being moved at the same time to make it smooth. The downside is the ridiculous appearance of the edges of the screen constantly moving. Psycho World did away with this by covering the screen edges using sprites, but there are only so many sprites the MSX can display and Pleasure Hearts is using a lot of them for gameplay. There are a few places where the edges do get covered up, generally when there are no enemies on screen, but as soon as things heat up even a little the scrolling edges are back.

A little further on I am bombarded by missiles and pick up yet another gemstone:



After the missiles, the stage boss appears. "DEAD OR ALIVE". Love it. Also love the shell casings falling from its gun. It's a bit hard to tell because of how fast it is, but I think the scrolling is changing direction as the boss moves about. Presumably it's a background element instead of a big sprite.

After a bit of shooting, the boss goes down, giving me a cool 52 million points (I'm a big fan of the big numbers in the score of this game). Hey, I'm having a pretty good run so far here! As the boss dies there's some more text:


"Crystals", I think. I tell you what, I did not expect this thread to be mostly about minerals. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be the boss's dying cry, or if it's just that I picked up the crystals it dropped.

And I think that's enough for today. I wasn't planning on going into so much detail - I wanted to make a .gif of the bomb and now we're almost in Let's Play territory. I think I'll keep posting about this, but I expect the detail will drop off, which is why I haven't made this thread in the Let's Play subforum.
This is a pretty cool little game - it's homebrew from 1999, well past the heyday of the MSX. The guy that made it, M-KAI, was in high school or maybe recently graduated at the time. I'm not that familiar with what the MSX can do, but this feels like it's pushing the boundaries. It's also quite fun and a good visual spectacle. There's something about the heavy pixellation in the explosion and the dragon at the start that just works for me. Supposedly the game is now freeware, and it's not hard to find a disk image for download. Getting it to work is slightly more hassle, but not too hard and worth a shot if you're interested.

Next Time:
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Summon for hire
I think the pick-up gem you couldn't translate started with "so" rather than "ri", making it Sodalite, another mineral.

Also I think the stage 1 title is "Dead Of Alive", a bit of Engrish repeated on the boss sail. ("Or" would obviously be more grammatical and a case could be made that the R is cut of by the edge of the sail, but "Of" matches the kana in the stage name.)

Anyway, this is neat.


Red Plane

And we're back. Almost. Loading. The game's English font has a few non-standard characters.

Time for stage 2. What's the subtitle?

ヤナック ダイウ゛ォス
Yanakku Daiuosu

I have no idea what this is. Also, the third character of the second word, ウ゛, doesn't seem right. It's a u, but ウ isn't supposed to combine with ゛ so far as I can tell. Any help here would be appreciated.

Anyways, let's play the game. I read this environment as a cave, but maybe there's like a cliff face in the background? Regardless, it looks like someone is throwing giant knives at us.

Moving forwards we come across the ruins of some buildings. I think they're ruins, anyway. If they weren't before, they are now. This stage is highly destructible. Looks like I've found another gem:


Add another ン to the end of this and we have "Adventurine", a form of quartz. Now, am I gonna get ambitious and try to translate the tiny sign on the building?


"Life", I guess. And the one on the right says "Sec.", but you could probably see that yourself.

A little further along I get another gem:


Carnelian. You know, I bet if I went to the item page of the menu after playing the game it would show me how many of each gem type I'd collected. Too bad I didn't know there was a save option and so didn't save after this playthrough, and now I'm too busy writing about the game to play it.

The destructible terrain in this level is pretty cool, but it also has the effect of limiting your fire. I'm trying to take out the blue thing on the ground, but all my shots are being absorbed by the building I'm fling in front of. This is not a complaint - I think that's the intentional design of the level, and it makes things interesting.

Fortunately, there's a solution in sight: shot type 3.

The wave shot isn't absorbed when it hits, so it can clear a building way faster than the others. That shot type 1 pickup that's dropped in this GIF is now a deadly hazard to be avoided. There's another text box when I get a gem in this gif, but it's adventurine again. I'd been assuming all of the gem drops were one of these types but I was only seeing the name the first time I got a given type, but perhaps the named ones are actually individualised and there are a fixed set of them to collect through the game? In which case I've probably missed a lot.



The wave shot really makes clearing these buildings easier. You can see the MSX's per-line sprite limits pretty clearly in this shot, with a black line through anything at the same height as this mid-boss's concentrated shots.


Andalusite. A Spanish mineral, I guess. This section of the game is pretty tough without the wave shot becuase of all the buildings you have to blast through to hit the turrets.

Pretty easy with it, though.

Here's another turretty mid-boss. I've already blasted away the building shielding it.

Consequently, it's pretty easy.

As I move forwards, a blue plane drifts in (backwards) from above. Is this my former partner, back to rub it in?

I'm gonna go with no, given there's two of them and they go down pretty easily. The gem that appears at the end of this GIF is another Adventurine. I'm sure you all needed to know.

We're now approaching the stage boss, who resides in a mountain. Unlike with the buildings, I don't need to destroy the background here.

In a flash, the boss appears. More turrets! Can I dodge all this fire? At this point I remembered another tool in my arsenal:

Ka-blooey! I expected the bomb would only hit the turrets that were currently firing, but it seems to have destroyed the ones that were closed. Hmm... maybe their animation cycle continued behind the animation and the damage took place some time during it? Or I've just misread the fight.

We interrupt this boss fight to report it dropped a



I time my next bomb for when all the remaining turrets are open (possibly incorrectly?) and reveal the boss's final form.

A few more shots fired and it's all over. And I got another gem!


Tourmaline. I feel like I've heard of this one before.

Boss defeated, we fly up out of the canyon or whatever and move on.

This game is great, you guys.

Next time:


Round and round I go
Staff member
Once again, you've taken a game I've never heard of in a genre of little interest to me and gotten me hooked. I love your gifs.


Red Plane
Thanks man! Unfortunately, progress will slow from here. I've had a bit of spare time the last few days that I won't have again for a little while. Also:

I've been investigating hex editing. Simultaneously easier and harder than I expected. Took maybe 30 minutes from when I thought “Maybe I should try and hack this thing” to get the screen above in-game. Several hours of effort later, I have made no further progress whatsoever.
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Summon for hire
ヤナック ダイウ゛ォス
Yanakku Daiuosu

I have no idea what this is. Also, the third character of the second word, ウ゛, doesn't seem right. It's a u, but ウ isn't supposed to combine with ゛ so far as I can tell. Any help here would be appreciated.

The U with " is an occasionally-used character to make "V" in foreign words. So, "Yanack Daivos" or something. Not really sure what it's going for. If it were supposed to be "Divers" I would expect V-small-a rather than V-small-o...


"Life", I guess. And the one on the right says "Sec.", but you could probably see that yourself.

Here I suspect the last character is missing a " that's too small for the pixel size, making it Raibu, i.e. "Live", which is a common display sign in Japan for venues with live music.

This continues to be really cool! Love all the little details in this game, and some interesting twists for a fairly simple shooter as well.


Red Plane

Time for Stage 3.


Uh... maybe Deva Ganesha? This might make sense as a name for the boss of this stage.

I mentioned a few posts back about using sprites to cover the scrolling artifacts at the edges of the screen. I think that's what's happening at the start of the GIF, but as soon as enemies appear the edges start moving again. The ground scrolling effect in this stage is pretty good, as is the bullet dodge I pull at the end of the GIF. Does cost me a few HP, though.

The enemies on this screen (trucks? crabs?) are ground-based. They don't do contact damage. In the distance some windmills are scrolling into view.


Amethyst. Another mineral I've actually heard of.

There are a lot of bugs in this stage.


Rose quartz.

Bugs, everywhere bugs.


Heliodor, aka yellow beryl. I also get another amethyst in this GIF.

These ground guys show up again. Even though they're just static sprites sliding across the screen, they feel alive somehow. I think it's the eyes.


This is coral, apparently.

Next up: fish! These guys put out a pretty decent curain of fire, actually.


Garnet. I think most of my knowledge of gemstones comes from playing JRPGs, meaning I recognise the names but know nothing about what they actually are. Though this one is a princess.


Fluorite. I keep writing it as flourite. I don't have a screenshot for this one but one of the fish drops it.

I come to the midboss. Note the smooth vertical scrolling up to face it, in contrast to the jumpy horizontal scrolling. It's such a little thing, but it feels big moving up into the sky to face this giant plane. I wuss out an chuck a bomb, which clears the enemy fire and also seems to give me temporary invincibility which I use to not die from a direct hit.


Goshenite: a colourless beryl. Kind of regretting the decision to translate all the gems, but surely I've done most of them by now, right?

Blink and you'll miss these kids playing with their dog. None of my shots went low enough to hit them, so I don't know if they can be fired on. Hopefully not.

This is the start of a prolonged series of gems floating in the air. Let's see what it is:


Shell. Not exactly a mineral, but I bet it's pretty.

I'm not making a GIF of the whole sequence, but this goes on for about thirty seconds. I was dreading having to do a big heap of mineral translations through this bit, but it seems they're all shells.

There's another brief period of stable borders, and then:

The stage boss, a tank with an elephant trunk-like cannon. Maybe this thing is called Ganesha because of that?

Once again I prefer bombs to dodging. This also converts the enemy fire to gems. I wonder if I need to bomb all the different enemy fire types to get all the gems? On closer inspection though, this is goshenite again. Probably for the best.

Its main cannon destroyed, the tank sends a fairly intense bullet pattern my way. Nothing I can't handle, though!

Oh. My first life lost of the run so far. I should have used another bomb. Aside from losing a life, this drops my power level by one. I do get a bomb top-up out of it, at least.

A few more hits do the trick, and the tank explodes, dropping


Sandstone. Edit: As Kirin says, this is probably Sunstone, not sandstone.

In the background what I presume to be the enemy armada drifts into view and we leave stage three behind.

Next time:
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Summon for hire
Last one there could also be Sunstone (a type of feldspar), not sure.

Forgot to mention last time I both love and am deeply puzzled by the Stage 2 cannons that briefly manifest what looks like a big glowing duck on their launch tubes before firing at you...


Red Plane
Hello again. Before we start stage 4, I noticed I missed something in the first post:

The name of the gem dropped by the big dragon, identified by me at the time as "a diamond or something", aka the item my partner betrayed me to steal and presumably the whole point of the plot. Well done, Yimothy. Let's see what this thing is:


Pleasure Hearts. There we go. The very thing the game is named after, and I missed it. On the subject of things from earlier in the game:


OK, back to the game.

オールド ウェポン

Some kind of weapon. Rude Weapon? Fits with these being the boss names. Oh! Old Weapon! The classic ancient machine brought back to life? Let's see what the stage brings.

This certainly looks old, doesn't it? Night has fallen, the tones are earthy. Are those tree stumps in the background?

No time to think about that now, enemy craft incoming! Stage 4 is where the game really starts to heat up, in my opinion. I lost only one life in the first three stages, against the boss of stage three. Spoilers: that's gonna happen more frequently from here. Right from go, these guys are putting out a lot of fire. To help with that, a spread shot powerup appears and I take it. I also pick up a gem!


Tanzanite. The blue variety of zoisite. Which is a type of epidote. Yep. Anyway, I also want to point out that this stage's play area is taller than the screen. Move up and down and the screen scrolls.


Scapolite. A silicate mineral. I'd like to try and have something to say about all these minerals, but honestly the wikipedia pages for minerals are very hard to read. "The tetragonal crystals are hemihedral with parallel faces". OK.

The game is at least generous with drops at this point. Tempting to blame my death here on the sheer amount of stuff onscreen distracting me from the bullets.

It's straight back into the fray, though. These rocket launchers take quite a few hits to kill. The first time I got here I'd suffered quite a few more deaths and my level was a lot lower, and I was struggling to take these guys out before they reached the left side of the screen.


I reckon this is jade. Another one I've heard of!

I wondered earlier if the brown columns were trees - as we get closer it looks like they're brick, part of a series of castle-type fortifications.

I wonder if these grey planes are part of the fleet that came into view at the end of stage 3?


Peridot. Aka chrysolite, which for a second got me thinking I could talk about Discworld, but that's Chrysoprase. Maybe I'll find some of that later.

I encounter another type of artillery, these ones lobbing red balls that arc up into the air.


Indicolite - a blue tourmaline.

The buildings have been getting steadily bigger, or maybe just closer. This one takes up the whole screen.

Perfect place to fight the midboss. I remain terrible at dodging, but keep it together well enough to bomb my way out of danger, sending the enemy drifting downward to explode. I get a few gems:




Moonstone. Should go nicely with my sunstone from earlier. And what's that other thing that dropped?


Yep! I've ticked up from two red thingies to three. Nice! Meanwhile we're flying past some windows or something.

And a pyramid! Where are we?

Mechs start showing up.


Hiddenite - a green spodumene.


Helenite - OK, this one is actually interesting. It's an artificial glass made by melting volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens.

After about thirty seconds of minor enemies, a whole heap of mechs show up. Facing likely death, I bomb my way out. Phew!


Google translate turned the katakana into Gauchenite, the awkward mineral, but I think it's Goshenite, the colourless beryl with exceptional clarity. Come to think of it, I got one of these in stage 3.

I'm not sure if there's a quiet period here or if my level 8 spread shot is just taking out all the enemies before they get a chance to do anything. I pick up an


Aquamarine, and will go on to pick up the type-3 shot power-up that's on screen.

As seen in this shot. It's got decent screen coverage, and it's served me well against bosses so far.


Nephrite. That'd be a kidney stone, right?

Speaking of bosses, here's the Old Weapon.

I'm not sure if it's like attached to the wall, or flying, or if we've maybe switched perspectives and are looking from above here. Presumably my plane would be using its banking sprite if we were looking down, though. I wonder what "P-2" means?

I start by taking out its moving upper turret.

Then something explodes. Not sure what, though.

Whatever. I'm getting gems:


Moldavite - this one's a glass formed during a meteorite explosion in Bavaria 15 million years ago. Its pitted surface is due to the molten material cooling while airborne from the explosion.

Suddenly, the P-2 hatch opens, and a figure clad in white comes out and starts shooting at me. I resort to the old stand-by and drop a bomb, taking the heat off for a moment. But now I'm out of bombs!


Tektites are also meteorite explosion formed glasses.

With no bombs left, I'm forced to rely on dodging, and miraculously I pull off a win with no further loss of life. When I say miraculously, I went through my video frame by frame and I'm not sure what killed the boss. Maybe my ship dealt contact damage to it? It really looks like I should have died instead.

ほうらい かのん
Hourai Kanon

This is in hiragana, not katakana, which I think means it's in Japanese, not loanwords. I also got it as soon as the boss died, but I was in contact with the boss at the time, so I'm not sure if a gem would have appeared but I collected it before it had the chance, or if you just get this pop up when the boss dies. Horai is apparently the Japanese name for Mount Penglai, a utopian location where immortals live. Kanon is the Japanese name for Guanyin, a bodhisattva associated with mercy. I know nothing about either of these and have no idea why they're mentioned here. Could also be something else with similar names, I dunno.

Anyways, that's stage 4.

Next Time:


Summon for hire

Helenite - OK, this one is actually interesting. It's an artificial glass made by melting volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens.

I initially read the second character in this one as 'so' instead of 'ri', which would make it Hessonite - a yellow-orange to reddish orange variety of grossular garnet also known as cinnamon stone - but given some of the other glassy stones in this stage I'm not sure.

The moral of the story is "there sure are a lot of minerals".

With no bombs left, I'm forced to rely on dodging, and miraculously I pull off a win with no further loss of life. When I say miraculously, I went through my video frame by frame and I'm not sure what killed the boss. Maybe my ship dealt contact damage to it? It really looks like I should have died instead.

ほうらい かのん
Hourai Kanon

This is in hiragana, not katakana, which I think means it's in Japanese, not loanwords. I also got it as soon as the boss died, but I was in contact with the boss at the time, so I'm not sure if a gem would have appeared but I collected it before it had the chance, or if you just get this pop up when the boss dies. Horai is apparently the Japanese name for Mount Penglai, a utopian location where immortals live. Kanon is the Japanese name for Guanyin, a bodhisattva associated with mercy. I know nothing about either of these and have no idea why they're mentioned here. Could also be something else with similar names, I dunno.

You know, putting these two things together, it almost seems like you picked up the white figure that ejected from the boss weapon. Is scooping up the boss's pilot an alternate win condition? Probably not and it was just a timing coincidence, but this game is weird enough that I'm not certain at all.


Red Plane
That's an interesting possibility I hadn't considered, and might tie in with the next post when I get to it. I'll have to see if I can finish the fight without making contact next time I play.


Red Plane

Here we are at the start of Stage 5:


OK, I've got two guesses for this one: Cyberdart, or Kaiser's Dart. It's probably neither. I don't know if this is significant, but the lives indicator is now alternating between red and black instead of red and white.

As soon as the level starts, we face a boss enemy. Check out the animation on this thing! I'm able to kite its fire around the screen without much trouble.

It changes its firing pattern, but I'm soon able to finish it off. It breaks apart and explodes, apparently taking the gem it dropped with it. I'll have to try to pick that one up next time.

With that taken care of, we move a bit higher and face some minor enemies. When I was playing this level, I read the blue background as the hull of a giant ship, but I'm pretty sure it's the sky and we're flying above the clouds. Those fast-moving clouds are murder on my GIF file sizes, so moving up a bit is a good thing.

A little further along another boss enemy rises through the clouds. This one looks a lot like the Dead Of Alive back in Stage 1, but instead of a sail it's got something mounted on the front.

Oh, it's a sword! But I take it out before it gets a chance to use it, once again missing the gem drop.

Spoke too soon! The sword returns, summons some shields, and goes on the attack.

Briefly. I wonder if this would be harder if my current attack wasn't the piercing one?

Oh hey, maybe there is a giant enemy airship in this level. I do well against its initial straight shots, but cop the first aimed shot it fires right to the face, losing my first life of many in this stage.

The next phase is pretty standard stuff - I just move up and down within the lane drawn by the enemy fire.

Doing the same against diagonal fire is a little trickier, and I resort to bombing, probably unnecessarily. The gem I get here is a Jasper.

This last phase gets pretty dense, but doesn't last long. It's fortunate that I've kept my level high so I'm doing a lot of damage. I get a 1up for beating this thing.

Hard to believe this shot didn't hit me, but I'm not complaining. I did lose two hit points from it.

This might have been a good place to have the spread shot. These enemies die quickly, but if you don't get them straight away they put out a lot of fire. The gems I get here are アパタイト (Apatite) and ブルームーン (Blue Moon - apparently this is a type of quartz containing Dumortierite).

Here's the next miniboss. This appears to be a flying helmet, trailing a scarf? Technically I guess the scarf is leading it. Like a lot of shmup enemies, I'm pretty sure it's flying backwards.

Check out the skill luck on display here in the dodge just before the bomb.

The enemy launches a barrage of arcing shots and I come a cropper.

Then it's these blue shots - they come out as stars, then in the middle of the screen change to spheres and come straight at me.

The next couple of patterns are pretty busy, and even a bomb isn't enough to save me. I'm getting low on lives, but more worryingly my power level is down to four.

The enemy reverts to its first pattern and I at last take it out for good.

Moments later the next enemy appears. A UFO?

Aww crumbs. Here's our first sight of the continue screen. I know real shmuppers are only in it for the 1CC, but ask me if I want to continue and I choose YES.

This flashes for a single frame when I continue. Looks like a text readout of the game's binary file? I doubt it means anything.

I am mercifully returned to where I left off, though my GR (whatever it is) is back to 1. My level 3 gun is getting into pea shooter territory. Time to just start bombing everything. You don't get to carry leftover bombs between lives, so I've wasted a lot of them by dying instead of using them.

Zero points? What's that about?

Another one of these shows up. Unlike last time, it takes me out immediately.

So I bomb it into oblivion. Note that I just lost a life, meaning I had three bombs, and in this screenshot I have none left. Yeah, I'm going full bombs at this point. The mineral here is goshenite - we've seen it before.

These things look kind of like the ones that appeared after the miniboss at the start of the stage, but they shoot slow-moving blue balls instead of fastmoving yellow ones. Also with my level 2 gun I can't take them out in one hit.

Another life lost. I'm down to level 1 now.

I've still got bombs, though.

Before long the last of those enemies scrolls off-screen (their projectiles hang around, though) and these little orange guys start showing up.

The gem here is a new one: ラピスラズリ, Lapis Lazuli.

I think this one's new too: コハク. Amber. These enemies aren't firing on me, but they are dropping power-ups. Thank goodness!

They don't fire, but they can still attack. Are they supposed to be claw machine grabbers?

Shortly after losing that life, the next midboss shows up. Rudely, it starts firing before I can see it. It's another repeat, though there's neither sword nor sail this time. Is that a treasure chest on the bow?

With my power levels low, it's taking way longer to kill these guys. I get cornered and use a bomb.


Twice in a row? Come on, Yimothy! Get it together!

I barely give the continue screen time to appear before getting back in the game and finishing the boss off. It drops a 1up. Nice!

OK, this thing. What is the deal with this thing?

Watch this 24 frame GIF for two minutes, that's this fight in a nutshell. What the heck?

I try moving about to see if it makes a difference and this happens. Again, what the heck?

I try bombs too, to no effect. Is this some kind of softlock?

Whoa! Out of nowhere!

It launches this attack occasionally. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn't.

Eventually it dies. Did I just need to get to the right side of the screen and attack it there? I really wonder if this is something my emulator isn't handling correctly. Anyway, there's a drop:



The claw machine things start showing up again. These ones fly directly at me, pretty quickly. And they drop power-ups, which I am in desperate need of.

Oh, this is nice. This goes on for about 45 seconds, way longer than needed to get back up to full power.

As I fly with only the moon and clouds for company, the boss music starts up.

I fail to consider my future need for a clean screenshot of the boss coming on stage and start firing immediately. It's saying something, but I can't read Japanese. Let's figure it out:


Alright, without looking anything up I think the first bit is "Sorry". Phonetically the second bit looks kind of like sorry in English, too. Google is translating the whole line as "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid". Aww. Poor little guy. Maybe I shouldn't be shooting at it.

Oh wait, there's more:


Google gives this as "I can't make this work". Are we breaking up? DeepL translator gives "I can't let you do this", which seems more likely.

After sitting there taking my fire, it blows up. I think. What's it saying?


Google gives this as "Brothel: Multi Sweeper Custom". Seems unlikely. It asks if I meant 召喚, and when I click on that it gives the same sound for the first word (Shokan), but translates it as summon. That's more like it. "Multi Sweeper Custom", though? Let's see what appears:

It's the stage 4 boss!

Hmm... hair's different. Different palette on this stage, or a different character?

Sigh. I'm getting pretty low on lives here.

That's using your noodle, Yimmers.

Dunno if I should be aiming for the ship or the figure here, but the ship moves less so is easier to hit. And there's another new gem:


This red pattern doesn't last long. I suspect the bomb's power is determined by my level as well as well as the shot's power.

This one starts as a single shot, then two, then three, and so on.

Then we're back to earlier patterns.

This is really quite poor performance on my part.

Sigh. Down to my last life, now.

I start throwing enough bombs to summon the disk image data again, and...

Yes! Got 'em!


Magic: Appetoppe. What's an appetoppe?

たとえこの ウシ がくだけちっても...
Tatoekono usi gakudaketittemo...

"Even if this cow is crappy..." Really? I think this might be an "Even if I die..." situation. Maybe I've mistranscribed a character. Oh, yeah, that should be ワ not ウ. Tatoekono wai gakudaketittemo. Hmm... "Even if this eagle is smashed". Alternatively, "Even if I'm crapping my pants". Must be that one.


Google translates this as Tokiho, which isn't much help. But we've had mahou as magic already, so what does toki mean? Google says "when". DeepL gives a few options, among them "Time". Time Magic: ZAP-HALL. Whatever that is.


The flying figure dropped an opal.

Here's the scene in motion. That's a lot of blood for what I took to be some kind of vehicle. What will happen now?

Oh, it's a black hole. Have I been transported through a wormhole somewhere for the next stage?

What the? Oh man... out of lives, out of credits. I guess I needed to dodge the black hole? Or maybe you just inevitably lose a life here and I was on my last one. Damn.

At least I got the high score. Didn't enter a name, though. And also I recorded all the gameplay so far in one take before I'd translated any of the menu, so I didn't save when I was done, so this is all gone now. Oh well.

Next Time:
Something different.