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spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
i couldn't wake up. i haven't played much since our barcade closed (still hopefully temporarily...) either.

demi and i will watch them later
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
When I finish Hotel Dusk I'm going to dive into the TG16 Mini shooter festival and knock out a few I was really enjoying.

One of which is...

There were so many I was really getting into on the Mini! So that should be a fun ride.
 

Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
Reuploads of the SGDQ runs:



I haven't watched them yet so I'm looking forward to having my eyeballs melted. These are two games I only play casually/for survival (I actually sold my 360 port of SDOJ recently and am sure to regret it very soon), so it'll be fun to see strategies I hear discussed so often put into practice at a high level, and pick up a few bits of (unattainable) tech.

Ketsui Deathtiny is due for a digital release on the US PS4 shop soon, BTW. Hoping it comes out in Europe too, since I haven't imported the physical version yet.
 
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Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I’m terrible at shmups but I love them anyway. I’m working my way through ZeroRanger, which is super cool, and slowly learning tricks for Blue Revolver. I also finally picked up Jamestown+ on Steam; I’m excited to see how it’s changed.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Holy crap exactly how many bosses does this level HAVE? Do I have to kill ALL the things in that roulette wheel?!? (ZeroRanger level 4)
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
The Shmups Wiki recently opened for business. It's driven by nothing but enthusiasm, so it's still being filled out, but it's going to be great to have a centralized knowledge base considering all the ins and outs these games have. I've already pulled some pointers off the Dragon Blaze page.
 

Regulus

Risen Again
Holy crap exactly how many bosses does this level HAVE? Do I have to kill ALL the things in that roulette wheel?!? (ZeroRanger level 4)
Level 4 has between 4-5 'bosses' (the the big skull and then 4 in the roulette). You can avoid fighting one of them if you, uh, practice non-violence..
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Level 4 has between 4-5 'bosses' (the the big skull and then 4 in the roulette). You can avoid fighting one of them if you, uh, practice non-violence..
Zeroranger level 4 has the fighter rematch, the big skull, the glass orbs (it even has a health bar), then the roulette. Good to know I've only got to shepherd enough continues through to clear four there; I was worried I might have to do all of them. I kept getting the salamander. The skull's what gives me real trouble though - either I get lucky and cheese through it, or it eats a bunch of continues because the screen motion throws off my movement.

I'm using Type C with Back Shot, Charge, and Drill - is there a better load-out for a weak player?
 

Regulus

Risen Again
Oh, I didn't count "The Boys" and the first big skull, haha. The glass orbs were the skull I was referring to. I suppose the midbosses are just as boss-y as the roulette bosses.

For the first big skull, I usually just focus on dodging the bullets while holding the fire button down. I feel like I just kind of trance out during this phase, so it's hard to offer advice. If you're using charge, be careful, because the bullet slowdown can screw you over. If you have the lockon weapon, you can keep tapping fire to shoot a laser that will home in on the nearest enemy without a lockon. It can be effective, though I find it difficult to keep the rhythm up while dodging the bullets. You can also set a "hold to go slow" button for your ship in the control config if you think that might help with dodging.

For the roulette, the salamander is probably the hardest, followed by the BlaZeon tiles. All of them give you free 1UPs, though, and if you do well on the invaders segment, you get a shitload of points - possibly enough for two additional lives.


Regarding loadouts, my favorite is Type C with Spread, Charge, and Sword. But Type B is probably a little easier for novice players. Its standard shot is wider without sacrificing much damage (it's actually stronger up close), spread does more continuous damage and has fewer openings, backshot is stronger (though range is shorter), lockon has much more forgiving targeting, and its charge shot is tangible and absorbs bullets while charging acts like a "bomb" when it hits something, destroying bullets in a lingering radius. In ZeroRanger mode, Type B's sword is harder to use than Type C's, but can be charged to shoot bladewaves. The drill doesn't get any larger, but any destroyed/damaged enemies have their parts get caught in a junk vortex that can protect you from bullets and other projectiles.

One of the biggest things to learn in ZeroRanger is how scoring works, because the game is very generous with extends. I usually prefer to just play for survival, but Zero Ranger is balanced in a way that scoring feed pretty heavily into survival (more than usual, at least). It uses a chain system, but it's not nearly as restrictive as, say, something like Ikaruga -- you want to space out your kills enough that your multiplier doesn't have time to fall off between enemy waves. You also get extra points if you kill "orange" enemies. You usually get these by finishing enemy waves early or fulfilling some other special condition to get them to spawn.
 
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Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Thanks for the hints, I'll try your recommendations. I went with back shot for 1-4 because of the initial "rotating waves" portion and the corridor segment; it seemed to keep me safer than sideshot in both. I think I'll probably give it a few passes with Type B after some practice runs on earlier levels; the extra Charge properties sound like they'd be helpful, and the wider front will make it easier for me to focus on dodging during Big Skull A..

The scoring thing actually sounds very similar to Blue Revolver; it also emphasizes multiplier management, though it's got a "special weapon pay-off" phase after you rack up your multiplier. And rather than granting extends, it grants bombs, which have generous bullet-clearing properties.
 

Regulus

Risen Again
Oh, Blue Revolver definitely has a great setup, too. I don't usually play for score because it feels too rote in a lot of games, but some of these indie shmups are doing great things. It's amazing how freeform Blue Revolver's is, and how much your ship and weapon choice engages with it. I'm definitely looking forward to Double Action.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Speaking of indie shmups, I really enjoyed Graze Counter; I normally stay on the easiest difficulty a game lets me, because, as noted, I am bad. But Graze Counter did a great job of encouraging me to dip my toe into higher difficulties, even if just to get more time with ships I especially enjoyed.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
I still don't feel done with Thunder Force IV after my no-miss clear on Normal, so I'm going to try to do the same thing on Hard. (And ideally Maniac after that, but...baby steps.) I'm glad the Sega Ages version offers a number of save slots, as I'll be making extensive use of them to practice rough sections.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I have not played it myself but there's a shooter* on Steam named HORGIHUGH (ホーギーヒュー) that caught my eye and that I thought TT would be interested in:

*It appears to be Gradiesque instead of a full on bullet hell.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
I stink at shmups and generally don't have much of an opinion about the genre except to say that I really enjoy the attract mode of Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou on PC Engine CD.


That is all
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
I've always liked shmups as a concept, but inevitably whenever I try one I'm absolutely awful at it and never get anywhere. Are there any good games I could try to help ease me into the genre?
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I've always liked shmups as a concept, but inevitably whenever I try one I'm absolutely awful at it and never get anywhere. Are there any good games I could try to help ease me into the genre?
Jamestown was the first shmup I actually succeeded at playing. It uses a progression-locked difficulty system - at the lowest you can only complete the first level, the second you can complete the first and second, and so on. Each level's independent. And there's a number of player ships available that are easy to unlock, so you can find one that suits your style.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
Psikyo shmups are classics of the genre and feature a high number of granular difficulty settings, so I would say grab one of those and start from the bottom. Most of them are on Switch as well as Steam. Dragon Blaze in particular is the best shmup ever made. Sengoku Blade (also known as Tengai) is one of their only horizontal shmups, if you prefer that to vertical.

Thunder Force IV is also among the greats, and the Sega Ages version on Switch adds "Kids Mode," where your weapons deal more damage, you don't lose weapons when you die, and you come back from each death with a free one-hit shield. It's a nice, breezy way to familiarize yourself with the game.
 

Albatoss

Prince
(He/him, they/them)
Thank you both for the recommendations! Alas I don't have a Switch, but Steam will do nicely.
 

Ludendorkk

(he/him)
Unfortunately it doesn't have a modern port but if you can get your hands on Gradius Gaiden it has a really great level of customization on your fighter that makes it very friendly starting point
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I've always liked shmups as a concept, but inevitably whenever I try one I'm absolutely awful at it and never get anywhere. Are there any good games I could try to help ease me into the genre?
I tend to favor the NES as a good starting point. I suppose that partially because *I* started there, but also because the limited memory of the system makes it hard to be overwhelmed with a million bullets and enemies all at once (note: this does not apply to Recca, which is some kind of mad science that pushes the NES to its very limits). Life Force is my personal favorite of the NES library, and with the Konami code, it's easy to credit feed once or twice until you get the hang of it.
 

Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
Can't go wrong with any of the above! NES/FC shooters are certainly a good starting point, since they're much easier than their arcade counterparts in most cases*, but will still offer you a good chance to develop some decent routing/planning skills. I think the key is partly to be persistent with a game you like, and partly to play a good variety of shmups in order to develop a range of 'fundamentals', rather than to go straight for the easiest possible clears - there are plenty of plodding, empty shooters that are too undemanding to teach you much of anything. One of my favourite freeware indie shooters springs to mind as a good potential entry point: Kamui features an easy mode and a bullet-cancelling laser you can use as a crutch almost as often as you want, and it will still throw enough at you to get you learning to herd bullets (i.e. bait targeted attacks safely away from the space you want to occupy), to let fixed patterns wash over you or tap-dodge through them (as opposed to flailing and macro-dodging halfway across the screen), and to plan routes and control space with confidence. The same goes for the novice modes in the Cave ports available on PC (Mushihimesama, DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu and Deathsmiles) and many other belters which are often on sale (or will be): Crimzon Clover, Eschatos, the Psikyo ports, Battle Traverse, Graze Counter, Infinos Gaiden, Neko Navy, Strania. You don't necessarily have to spend anything, either - download Blue Wish Resurrection or Eden's Aegis and enjoy a nice, gentle intro to danmaku design philosophy. Obviously, though, the main thing is to choose games you like the look of; the skills will come through getting familiar with games you enjoy and sticking with them!

*NES Gradius is an exception to this rule, though - it's arguably harder than the original version at times, so it might be a little rougher than you want at the moment. FC Gradius II and Salamander should be much smoother sailing.
 
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ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
The same goes for the novice modes in the Cave ports available on PC (Mushihimesama, DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu and Deathsmiles)
The M2 ShotTriggers version of Dangun Feveron also has a lot of great options to make it less difficult, though that's pretty expensive (but worth it, M2 has done fantastic work on the ShotTriggers line). Dangun is also just generally less demanding than a lot of Cave's other shooters.

*NES Gradius is an exception to this rule, though - it's arguably harder than the original version at times, so it might be a little rougher than you want at the moment. FC Gradius II and Salamander should be much smoother sailing.
FC Gradius II is defo way easier than the arcade version, but in the later stages it's still pretty merciless.
 

Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
Ah yeah, the ShotTriggers games are all great candidates! Garegga, Esprade, Mahou Daisakusen and Ketsui also have excellent "Super Easy" modes that are tailored specifically for the purpose of easing new players - or rusty old ones - into the genre. (There's a lot to get your head around in Garegga, though, so I'm not sure how well a considerably easier mode would train you up for that game.) Esprade's "Arcade Plus" is great for dipping your toe into scoring, too, since it 'fixes' the original version's tendency to descend into boss-milking marathons.

It's interesting that you find Dangun easier than Cave's other stuff, ShakeWell - I've always found its love of throwing fast, Raiden-style aimed shots and patterns at you pretty harrowing! Especially while trying to collect fleeing disco people. It's definitely a big change of pace from everything else they've done, but not necessarily in my favour. Good thing the soundtrack is there to de-stress. :p
 
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ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
It tends towards fewer big bullet curtains. For me, the Raiden-esque aimed shots are easier to deal with than Ketsui-style massive bullet curtains.
 
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