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MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I always thought UN Squadron was a fairly forgiving shooter, since you don't die in a single hit. There are some challenging levels toward the end (and one spectacularly BS boss in the penultimate level), but with a bit of practice I bet you could get through the first half of the game. Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention classic PC shooter Tyrian, which gives you a whole dang life bar and is on the easy end of the shmup scale IMO. I really need to revisit Tyrian some day soon, I used to love that game.

I played the Sega CD version of Lords of Thunder earlier this year and I beat it on my first try using only one continue, so that's another easy one. Also, let me throw in another vote for Jamestown, I had a great time learning that game when it first came out. Challenging, but the way it ramps up over the different difficulty settings felt pretty smooth to me.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
The games that helped me get into the genre were Battle Mania (also known as Trouble Shooter) and its sequel Battle Mania Daiginjo. The big thing about it is that it's very readable and very low intensity: all the sprites are very large and enemies come in only a few at a time, so it's very obvious what's a hazard, what's a foe, what's an energy pellet, and how to manoeuvre around it all. It's very forgiving in other ways, too: touching walls doesn't cause damage, the lives system works more like a health bar, and you have a helpful partner that can shoot behind you (so there's rarely a possibility of getting overwhelmed). It's a very light and breezy play, and it was really nice to play a shmup where I could actually make progress and conquer without spending too much time on it.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I always thought UN Squadron was a fairly forgiving shooter, since you don't die in a single hit. There are some challenging levels toward the end (and one spectacularly BS boss in the penultimate level), but with a bit of practice I bet you could get through the first half of the game.
Meanwhile, the only time I've ever broken a controller was playing UN Squadron (thanks to the boss of said penultimate level), so proceed with caution on this one.

I played the Sega CD version of Lords of Thunder earlier this year and I beat it on my first try using only one continue, so that's another easy one.
Another caveat for this one: the Sega CD version of this game is WAY easier than the more well-known TurboDuo version.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I found UN Squadron extremely newbie-unfriendly. Yes, you don't die in a single hit, but I found the split attention / decision-making necessary for dealing with ground and air targets extremely taxing.
 

Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
Just because I'm playing it at the moment, here's a demonstration of the kind of leeway Kamui affords you. The back half of this run is a mess, full of easily avoidable mistakes, but I still manage to limp through and score 22m in the process (anything over 15-16 is decent, I reckon). You should be able to see how the bullet-cancelling laser offers a nice crutch or panic button to use while you're learning the stages, without allowing itself to be abused constantly so that you ultimately learn nothing. You also start each life with four shields, and can earn a couple more from shooting down popcorn enemies (I'm not sure if it's random or score-related, but I usually get two or three per run). This is on Normal mode but I still think it shows itself to be a great beginner game that will definitely help your development along.
 
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Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
I like Pete Hahn's stuff - I borrowed a few ideas from his videos when I was working on some no-autofire Gaiden clears a while ago! He uses some great strategies against the bosses here and it's nice to see someone not playing the X route for a change. The addition of the end-of-game bonus for remaining lives makes the Extra Version the best, since it takes the emphasis away from milking bosses for a good score (it's still worth destroying their segments, but not hanging around to milk the hurry-up-and-die cubes). It's far better to just take 'em down, find the hidden 1-ups and aim for a nice, clean clear.

Just got around to watching Kishi's TFIV run, too - nicely done! It's not a series I've ever particularly gelled with, but this video makes me want to revisit IV quite a lot - the back half of the game has this irresistible combination of worn-out, battered metal and body-horror. Stage 9 uses a lot of aggressively weird background art that has a great punky, anything-goes doujin quality to it. The washed-out palettes in the latter stages give the mission a feeling of hopelessness redolent of something like Metal Black or Last Resort. The stage designs are more up my alley than usual too - they're less keen on the 'gotchas' and have much more readable trap gauntlets similar to those in the final stages of the Gradius games. It's all very good!
 
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MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Since getting a MiSTer at the start of the year, one of my go-to games has been Keio Flying Squadron. I like the game a lot - the graphics and music are super charming and the core gameplay mechanic of acquiring dragon "options" and using them as bombs is really fun. But lord almighty I am bad at this game, it's unreal. I leave the difficulty at medium and crank the lives up to 5 per continue and I've still never finished the second stage. In my defense, the stages are really long and your hitbox is enormous. But for such an adorable game, it has some very sharp teeth.
 

spines

behold my godlike
(she/her, or something)
(I actually sold my 360 port of SDOJ recently and am sure to regret it very soon)
i have a digital copy that i basically never play because i find the game/port so frustrating. i've been told there's a lot of input lag, but regardless of the reason it just really feels impossible not to die to everything constantly, and while the scoring is fun to watch i really don't care for the process of trying to figure out my own routes, since it inevitably comes down to just pressing the button at arbitrary times until one of them is useful
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?
playing shmups is a lot about developing a skillset and knowledge base over the long term (like fighting games, speedrunning, roguelikes, etc.), and to be honest an "easy" game is only going to mitigate that feeling like you're dying all the time so much. if anything, i think part of the initial appeal of bullet hell is that once you actually start playing it you realize that it's easier than it looks; you go "wow, that's impossible!" seeing it but then...well, it isn't. i think a lot of the games that people have mentioned in this thread are really good, but ultimately it comes down to finding a game that inspires you and makes you want to play it. like, especially in terms of aesthetics and presentation

although i'm sure that sounds like a copout so i'm just gonna shill ginga force again, it's supposed to come out on steam this year and it...well, has a lot of the things i've heard people who aren't already deeply invested in the genre say they want from it. (i phrase it that way because many people i know who love shmups love it, but since it's historically been so expensive i haven't actually talked to anyone outside of that demographic who's played it...) it's stage-based, and has progression over time and customization mechanics (you get more lives for each stage the more times you try it, and get money each time to buy and equip different weapons on your ship, playing around with setups to find ones you like or help counter certain obstacles on a stage) so even if it takes much longer for some people than others it's very possible to play through to the end.

i'm still really looking forward to the sequel, which released at the end of last year after being announced around the time the xbox one was revealed; i haven't watched any of it because i'm waiting for the chance to play it myself, but it hasn't come out on something i own yet. but supposedly will. as far as i know it's a horizontal game rather than a widescreen vert though, which i know is a lot more appealing to most people
 

Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
Yeah, I used to think I was having trouble with SDOJ because of the lag. You can reduce it slightly by setting your console to 480p, but all that does is reveal that the lag isn't really the issue - the game is just a lot more capricious and nasty than its predecessors, and out to get you from the word go to the extent that it makes DOJ (White Label) feel comfy and reassuring. I find it largely unappealing as an aesthetic experience anyway, but every time I decide to give it another shot, figuring it's still a DDP game and that its fundamentals will always appeal to me if nothing else, I end up rediscovering that it doesn't necessarily want to be played. (This is all in spite of the fact that its chaining system is hugely simplified - it's difficult to really drop your chain outside of dying!)

Great call on Ginga Force, too! It'll be available much more readily soon enough, and its bitesized structure, depth of ship customisation and range of difficulties should help anyone get involved.
 
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ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I was reminded by my TimeHop today that a Deathsmiles I+II collection was announced a year ago from City Connection, but... there hasn't been any more news since then, apparently?
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
For folks who are interested in getting into shooters, this video has some good tips (the guy has a bit of that Gamer Bro attitude but his information is worthwhile).

 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)

Hi, it's me opening up my Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade/Console edition! It's really nice! The video is also my first attempt at such a thing so be kind :) Looking forward to playing these!
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
M2 has announced their next Shottriggers project, Aleste Collection.


Apparently they've teamed up with Sega to make a Game Gear Micro of the collection too.
 
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Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
Just got around to watching Kishi's TFIV run, too - nicely done! It's not a series I've ever particularly gelled with, but this video makes me want to revisit IV quite a lot - the back half of the game has this irresistible combination of worn-out, battered metal and body-horror. Stage 9 uses a lot of aggressively weird background art that has a great punky, anything-goes doujin quality to it. The washed-out palettes in the latter stages give the mission a feeling of hopelessness redolent of something like Metal Black or Last Resort. The stage designs are more up my alley than usual too - they're less keen on the 'gotchas' and have much more readable trap gauntlets similar to those in the final stages of the Gradius games. It's all very good!
Hey, thanks for watching. And yeah, it's really nice to play a shmup that has a strong sense of level design but isn't as obsessed with killing you via terrain as, say, R-Type. I still intend to complete a no-miss clear on Hard; I've more or less figured out each stage individually from save states, so now it's just a matter of putting in the practice to string together a full run.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
M2 has announced their next Shottriggers project, Aleste Collection.


Apparently they've teamed up with Sega to make a Game Gear Micro of the collection too.
StephenColbertGiveItToMe.gif
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
I understand this probably only exists because they already had this emulator ready to go, but it is strange for something called Aleste Collection not to include even the original MSX2 games.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I understand this probably only exists because they already had this emulator ready to go, but it is strange for something called Aleste Collection not to include even the original MSX2 games.
It also seems to be in partnership with Sega, who only published the Sega-system versions of the Aleste games? (If we're complaining, though, I'll just say M.U.S.H.A. and Robo Aleste would have been WONDERFUL additions.)
 

Klatrymadon

Twilight Rascal
(he/him)
Can't quite believe I'm saying this, but here's a trailer for Andro Dunos 2, due for release on Switch later this year. It looks more inspired by Infinos Gaiden than the original game, which is a good thing in my book - the original was one of the weaker shmups on the Neo, so the sequel should look elsewhere. The announcement was from PixelHeart but I wouldn't be surprised if this was by Picorinne Soft, heh.
 
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Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
Can't quite believe I'm saying this, but here's a trailer for Andro Dunos 2, due for release on Switch later this year. It looks more inspired by Infinos Gaiden than the original game, which is a good thing in my book - the original was one of the weaker shmups on the Neo, so the sequel should look elsewhere. The announcement was from PixelHeart but I wouldn't be surprised if this was by Picorinne Soft, heh.
People who keep room in their hearts for Visco games are a breed apart.
 
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