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A week with Raiden Fighters 2

ON TIME

So. Whoa.

Sequel week indeed. Raiden Fighters 2. We played Raiden Fighters Jet last year, and I ended up doing alright.

Now, this is the story of a man, his past failures, and how he finally redeemed himself.

I’m going to start off on a tangent here. If you’ve read all my previous posts, you’ve seen that this year, I’ve always been the second worst scorer of the team, and in previous years, I’ve never done that great either. Keep this in mind.

At the start of this week, I was all like “It’s the game that’s like the game we played last year, only worse!” I’m not so sure of that anymore. After having learned how to medal, how to activate 100k medal mode in stage one, and actually score well, I started liking it more and more.

I’ll go further into this in a future Seibu Kaihatsu retrospective, but I’ve found our a few things about the Raiden Fighters games. First of all, they’re oddities in that while I normally wan to be able to enjoy a shmup without caring about scoring, I can’t enjoy Raiden Fighters if I don’t play entirely for score. Second, I’ve come to find Raiden Fighters to be games that takes concepts that have been tried by other compahnies that didn’t execute them all that well, and actually do them right. The gameplay in general feels like Psikyo done right, the medals – at least after activating 100k medal mode – is like a less asshole version of Raizing medaling, and the whole aspect of memorization to play well I’ve never enjoyed, but don’t mind at all in Raiden Fighters. I don’t know why.

The week started out well. Already on Monday, I posted a 24 million score, which was better than what a lot of people managed all week. I followed it up with 28 million, followed by 34 million, 38 million, 41 million, 44 million…

Quite obviously, my goal was 50 million at this point. And on Friday, after a session of much adrenaline pumping, fueled by candy and energy drinks, I hit 51 million. That had been my goal for that day, and technically my week goal. But I wasn’t done.

I kept pounding on the game. And I seemed to be the only one that did. My team seemed to be lost in space – there were a few early scores, and Vox was also trying to hit 50 million during Friday, but reported that he was stuck in restart hell. He never posted another score. But the weirdest thing of all was that Dragoforce, our cap’n, was utterly missing. Early during the week, he had said he had a goal of 80-100 million – which I never really trusted, but I expected him to easily come up with 70+ million – and later on that he had to revise his goal, and then… not a word. We still haven’t heard anything from him. Javel bowed out early in the week, hating the game.

So I kept on fighting. My goal was to defeat Sand Lobster. I kept setting higher standards for myself, not accepting any deaths before stage 4, make sure to get medal value to 100k on stage one, get the fairy on stage one, everything. I restarted time and time again, trying, finding new and novel ways to fuck up… and then, I went deep into the zone.

Very late on Friday – or, more accurately, very early on Saturday – I struck gold. Sand Lobster didn’t fall, but I was very close. But I got my score. My high score. My 54 million points.

There was one thing in particular that made my performance this week so special. When I posted my 41 million score on Thursday, for the first time in history, Team Sweden had three or more scores posted… and mine was the highest. I was temporarily overtaken, but my relentless beating of the game brought me back up.

And that’s how the week ended. I, KennyMan666, always team member of Team Sweden, having consistently sucked in the past, second worst every week this year, finished a week as the highest scorer of the team. It should, however, be said that I didn’t WANT this to be the cause – until the end, I hoped for Drago to come out of the woodwork with a score of 70+ million. I really, really did. He didn’t.

And thus, our standings, out of 128 players:

#32, KennyMan666, 54,459,980
#34, toby, 52,476,220
#39, Voxbox, 47,904,970
#47, Charlieton, 43,694,240
#52, Hikikomori, 38,854,250

Javel didn’t play and Drago didn’t post any score. Team Sweden stays as #5 on the global scoreboard, and on the global player scoreboard I’m now the third best player on Team Sweden in spot 51 out of 198.

Now, you’d think I’d keep praising the game. But I can’t break tradition now. And I am quite tired of the game – MAME reports 29½ hours spent with it during the week, but that has probably recorded longer periods of pauses too. Thus…

Fuck Raiden Fighters 2.

And in other news, I got a Chimney Imp, so now I’m unbeatable.

A week with Mars Matrix

Stereometry week passed. And it was Mars Matrix. It indeed had to do with shapes. Squares, specifically. Golden cubes. Too many of them.

Mars Matrix is something like GigaWing turned up to eleven. There’s the far too many golden things raining down, the reflector, the utterly inflated score… Mars Matrix adds chaining of the golden items, you having to direct the reflect yourself and wasting the reflect if you hold the button down for too long. WHAT.

The week started out slow for Kenny and never really got better. It had a lot do with that he hated the game immensely. The beginning of Monday was “Alright, maybe this isn’t so bad after all”, but that went away fast after realizing what a fucking asshole the game is.

I was still only the second worst scorer of the team. The third red digit was very, very tempting, but in the end… we at least had one guy who owned at the game. Our standings:

#13, Javel, 268,870,285,060
#25, toby, 93,466,693,520
#37, Dragoforce, 35,529,366,140
#46, Hikikomori, 24,494,752,720
#54, Charlieton, 20,346,183,840
#78, KennyMan666, 9,046,883,480
#94, Voxbox, 4,230,660,110

Two participants counterstopped. Mars Matrix is like that. Team Sweden reclaimed spot #5 on the global scoreboard, knocking down Team Oldschoolers again. Next playing week has already started, and it’s looking good. Very, very good. But more on that next post.

Yeah, I have nothing more to say. Well, one more thing to say.

Fuck Mars Matrix.

And in other news, I was going to start replaying Shadow of the Colossus but then remembered I had forced my friend to borrow it since it’s an epic game everyone must play. Oh well.

A week with Xexex

Yeah. This is late as shit.

So, Repeat Week. Turned out to not be a repeat of a game. Turned out to refer to the name of the game. Xexex. And someone pointed out that checkpoints is about as “repeat” as it gets.

Xexex is essentially the love child of Gradius and R-Type, and if that doesn’t raise six thousand warning flags for you, it should. Because Xexex is a horrible, horrible game.

So you play this ship and you have this thing in front of it, which I’m going to call a force since it works almost exactly like the force devices in R-Type. It blocks shots, you can detach it, it damages enemies, behaves differently when detached and you have to have it attached to use anything but the peashooter. It just doesn’t fire when it’s detached.

I seriously don’t have much to say about the game. It utterly, utterly sucks, for reasons I’ll probably go into whenever I write Gradius and R-Type retropectives. Speedups that have to be collected, large hitbox, lethal walls, SEVERE Gradius Syndrome… but Xexex has one thing in particular. Something on a level so low that not even Gradius or R-Type ever descended to it.

Random extends.

Yes, you read that correctly. Every stage in Xexex has powerups that can be revealed by shooting a specific point. These are COMPLETELY RANDOM. From them, you can get a speedup, a force powerup, any weapon powerup in the game or an extend. This is also the only way to get extends. No score-based ones at all.

I finished in place 107 of 171 as the worst scorer of the team. I had lowballed a target of 500k early in the week, but I just couldn’t care ONE BIT about the game. Playing it was akin to physical torture. I pretty much stopped bothering halfway through the week. Luckily the rest of the guys pushed on. Our standings:

#8, Dragoforce, 1,730,900
#32, Javel, 965,900
#53, Voxbox, 753,000
#60, Hikikomori, 707,600
#94, toby, 521,300
#107, KennyMan666, 482,800

Charlieton did not submit any score for the week.

We’re down to #6 on the global scoreboard. Team Oldschoolers passed us. We’re going to come back again.

The break week is over now so we’re awaiting the next game. Stereometry week, whatever THAT means.

Fuck Xexex.

And in other news, Robot Arena 2 is a pretty fun game.

And in other OTHER news, I’m going to break tradition here a bit, for I wish to announce that I am no longer a lonely, pathetic loser. I am now a pathetic loser with a girlfriend.

A week with Cyvern

Week one of STGT 2010 is over. The game was Cyvern, which either is what would happen if Raizing tried to make a Psikyo game or if Psikyo tried to make a Raizing game. I can’t decide. Week theme was Item Collection Week, which was mildly accurate – the scoring system is heavily centered around collecting items, but you don’t collect more items than in your average shmup. We were all guessing it would be Dimahoo.

I wasn’t a huge fan of a game when I started playing it. It’s not a bad game, per se, but it’s downright unfair at times. Second boss, I hate you. First boss milking, I hate you. Rank, I kinda hate you too. I managed to one-life up to stage three once, but that wasn’t worth it at all, because then the rank was turned up to “To make up for that, we’re going to kill you ten times at the start of the stage”. I’m no fan of that kind of rank, but my Raizing Retrospective will have a lot more bitching about that. I’m a strong believer in The Zone, but no matter what, I just could not zone with Cyvern. I found myself trying to emulate it during stage 2, which may have helped. I don’t know. It was a special kind of focusing I normally don’t do when I play.

Team Sweden were fairly strong. I, personally, finished as #58 out of 171 participants… which made me the second worst scorer on the team. Our standings:

#3, Javel, 19,657,690
#22, Dragoforce, 8,980,200
#32, Charlieton, 6,783,880
#34, toby, 5,974,260
#48, Hikikomori, 4,867,120
#58, KennyMan666, 4,153,050
#106, Voxbox, 2,175,820

This performance has put us as #5 on the global scoreboard, with Team Cowboy Apes Cannibal whatever, Fatloli Luftwaffe, Society for Batriderian Philosophy and Team Sweet Tacos above us. But we’re gonna take you down. Oh yes, we will.

My scoring advances during the week were alright. My initial goal, as in “I’m not posting any scores until I’ve broken this”, was simply the million. After that, my goal of course was two million, which I also got. Then came three million. Then I got a score of 3,973,110 points.

Now, Cyvern awards extends every million points. I was less than 30,000 points away from the fourth extend. I was frustrated to no end.

That score, I got during the friday. I had no luck saturday. Or sunday. Technically. For me.

But on sunday evening, I put in my final batch of credits. The final bashing of the game. There were lots of swearing. Lots of punching the desk. Lots of scores around 3,5-3,7 million.

And then, it finally happened. After four hours, at 02:00 in the morning, I got that fourth extend. I had broken four million. I was immensely satisfied, since I could now consider myself done with the game.

Fuck Cyvern.

And in other news, Mamono Sweeper is far more addictive than it has any right to be.

Unleash the fury

Update, booyah!

It’s that time of the year again. shmups.com are once again having Shooting Game Tournament, or STGT. And Team Sweden has assembled, with the following lineup:

Captain: Dragoforce

Liutenant: Javel

Ensign: toby

Cannon fodder: KennyMan666, Charlieton, Hikikomori & Voxbox

Yes, only one Team Sweden this year, as opposed to Team Sweden Blue and Team Sweden Yellow of last year. Last year also saw Swedish newcomers Bröstlaser, but they’ve not signed up this year yet, if they’re going to at all. Meaning Team Sweden has to streamline their efforts and put in 200% to maintain our viking honor! Yes!

Hopefully, for me, there won’t be anything like Battle Garegga this year. (and yes that Raizing article IS coming, geez)

Five playing weeks with a week break after the first two weeks, four week themes have been revealed – Item Collection, Stereometry, Sequel and Repeat, Repeat being a game that has already been played in STGT. I hope for something fun like Blazing Star.

I’m going to try to be keeping weekly updates during the tournament. It even got its own category.

And in other news, I now have a stream where I play games from time to time, mainly random Mega Man hacks. Check it out sometime.

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Insert coin to continue

Remember this blog? Probably not, since as you can see from the rescued archive below, nothing has happened since January 2007. I don’t remember at what point in time the old URL to it stopped working entirely, but that was then – this is now, and Just One Credit is back. Oh yes, we’re back. Three years, it took. Three eventful years.

When I last left you, I had 14 1CCs. Admittedly, I haven’t had that much successes since. I now have 17, the three additions being freeware nuggets Blue Wish Resurrection, Eden’s Aegis and Blue Wish Resurrection Plus, by developer x.x. I was also literally 30 seconds away from finally 1CCing Perfect Cherry Blosson. Oh well.

Oh, the picture? That’s the team banner for Lag Fyrklöver (Team Four-leaf Clover) in STGFan STG Challenge 2010, the contest going on right now. Week one was Twinbee Yahhoo!, week two Eden’s Aegis and week three, currently ongoing, is Armed Police Batrider. Twinbee I didn’t play due to a) the game frustrating me to no end (had already played it in a STGT) and b) school getting in the way. Aegis went better, I finished sixth (of 28) and our team got second place for the week. Batrider… well, I’m planning to write a whole thing about Raizing, so I’ll tell you exactly what I think about that later. It’s not exactly going well for me.

And in other news, Beyond Good & Evil is all sorts of great.

Just one credit

In my last post, I listed all 1CCs I had made up to that point. That list consisted of eight games. It has been seriously expanded – now, I have no fewer than fourteen of them behind me. The reason I write this post is that I recently – within the span of just two weeks – have managed four of them. I am going to list them again, and write a few words about them…

Sorted in alphabetical order.

Battle Blade
The definition of a 1CC in Battle Blade is a bit special. There are three difficulties, but they don’t consist of the same stages. But since I have managed to clear all three of them without continuing, I’d say it counts.
Ship used was the red one.

Battle Blade 2 (first loop)
The sequel to the aforementioned, of course. It’s not a very hard shmup… managed to get this 1CC on my second play. The hypers helped quite a bit, since they are overpowered on the verge of broken… though, the second loop is QUITE a challenge, so I guess I shouldn’t say anything until I have cleared it.
Ship used was the red one.

Bike Banditz (no miss, autobomb)
Everyone should know about this, right? Since it was what started off this blog… so yeah. Just go to the first entry if you want to read about it.

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Second-most recent 1CC. All it took was some stubbornness! Played it, played it, played it… managed to break my high score time and time again. Worked out strategies, and stuff. Ended the game with no lives remaining and only one bomb. I did waste one bomb just as Remilia died, though.
Character used was Marisa A.

Gun.Smoke (NES)
I got this on a NES meet that celebrated NES becoming 20 years old here in Sweden. ’twas in September, last year. This is one of the few 1CCs I actually have witnesses to! sven666 and Xipe from STGFan were present. It wasn’t very hard – I have no idea why I haven’t managed to do it playing normally on emulator.

Imperishable Night
Aaaah, the Imperishable Night 1CC! This one will always hold a very special place in my heart, because it was my very first 1CC. I actually got this while at a LAN at my friend’s place. It took a few tries and a few cans of Jolt-Cola! Was of course done via Final B.
Team used was Reimu & Yukari.

Lotus Land Story
Another one of my early 1CCs. I don’t remember much about it, except for that the final stage and boss can be summed up in two words: Bomb fiesta!
Character used was Marisa A – which was Laser Marisa in this game.

Mystic Square
One of the recent ones. It was the second time I ever reached Shinki! If I remember correctly, last time I reached her I only had one life… this time, I had more, plus a bomb supply. Got some nasty slowdown on her last attack – but I can’t say it helped me at all, because the attack was simple.
Character used was Mima – and it’s by the way Mima’s Mystic Square sprite that heads this entry.

Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Yeah… this one was nasty. I reached Shiki several times, but she ALWAYS got me. So I tried, and tried, and tried again. I refused to play on Easy to unlock characters. Then, after many, many attempts, she finally actually went down! After that, I played easy to unlock characters. When I got the good characters, I went back to Normal, and produced some more 1CCs… but the first one – that’s the one I REALLY count.
Character used was Marisa.

Psyche Metal the Bleeding
This was also early in my 1CCing career. …actually, forget what I said about Imperishable Night being my very first 1CC… looking through some old logs, it turns out that this was my very first 1CC. Go go memory… though, there were only nine days between this and IN, so… in any case, this was the second time I beat the second boss. Before I had managed to make the game glitch out completely and give me unlimited lives. Of course I don’t count that for anything.

Psyvariar Revision (50hz)
This is the most questionable of all my 1CCs. For starters, it was done on 50hz. And I didn’t face Gluon. But what I DID was get an ending screen, without using a single continue on the way. So I think it counts. Was pretty easy.

The Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream…
This one was the successful final to a series of attempts. It was a trio of increasing success at the end: Reaching the penultimate boss, then reaching the final boss, and then beating the thing. It was comepltely awesome!
Character used was Mima.

The Story of Eastern Wonderland
This was one of the harder games on this list to 1CC, and the latest I managed. ZUN’s second game, his first one in the curtain fire genre… he has improved a damn lot since this. It has a sketchy hitbox and some unfair moments… reaching the end took a number of lives and bombs. When Mima changed forms, I was down at my last life and not many bombs left… but it turned out to be a really, really easy last pattern. Yay!
Weapon set used was B.

Tokukou Shoujo
Easiest one to get on the entire list, no contest. Got 1CC the second time I ever started the game – and I didn’t really play seriously at all the first time. Just tried out the thing. Not much more to say ’bout that.

Two more Touhou games to 1CC, then I have the full series done… not counting Immaterial and Missing Power and Shoot the Bullet, of course. Though I did 1CC IaMP Story Mode a few times, but it’s a fighter, so it doesn’t count. StB can’t even be 1CC’d. The games left to do are Highly Responsive to Prayers and Perfect Cherry Blossom – one day!

And oh yeah, the shmup tournament I talked about last post is of course finished.

So, how did it go…?

My own particiation was because of various computer-related problems very skewed – I only played the first week, Blazing Star. I don’t remember if my result added any points to the team…

But it was a good thing we had a strong team – “Team Sweden” finished in 3rd place with 511 points! The silver was snagged by team “Feka USA” with 618 points, and the gold went to “namakoteam” with 830 points. Next year we’ll get ’em good!

In other news, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents owns your soul.

Shooting Game Tournament 2006

Gasp, it’s an update that is not centered around one shmup, having the image for the entry being a sprite from that shmup!

It’s time for an international shmup competition! Players from various countries form teams, and play various shmups various weeks, then the three best scores are entered as the team results…

The thread on shmups.com. I am in Team Sweden (duh), a team that consists of the following:

– sven666 (JNX)
– Javel (JAV)
– Tvspelsfreak (ANT)
– Xipe (XIP)
– zinger (ZNG)
– KennyMan666 (666)
– Buffi (BUF)

Credit to Buffi for the Team Sweden logo. I’m not sure exactly what games will be played – I just hope for a freeware/doujin week, since that is my forte!

What’s more in my shmup life? Not much. I’ve been playing a few… oh yeah, managed another 1CC – the first loop of Battle Blade 2. Speaking of which – Battle Blade. These games are actually Swedish doujins, and the original is one of my favourite freeware horis. The sequel is quite good as well, but I find the original better. Speaking of 1CCs, did I ever list mine? No, I didn’t… so here’s the full list:

Battle Blade
Battle Blade 2 (first loop)
Bike Banditz (no miss, autobomb)
Imperishable Night
Lotus Land Story
Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Psyche Metal the Bleeding
Tokukou Shoujo

Eight. It’s a start. XD

And in other news, LocoRoco <3

HISYOUAYU desu

It’s been a while since my last post, but because of the narrow nature of this blog, those things happen when I don’t play shmups for extended periods. At least when no noteworthy things related to shmup playing happens.

Anyway – a while ago I ordered three games from Paletweb. Shoot the Bullet, Super Marisa Land and… HISYOUAYU. A cute and very manic doujin shmup in which you play as Ayu from Kanon. I downloaded the two-stage demo long ago and fell instantly in love with it. So I decided to get it.

It is a very straightforward shmup. There are no weapon powerups and hardly any bonus items. Standard enemies never drop anything. You shoot enemies and try to not get shot. Though of course there’s something special to it. Instead of bombs you have Hypers. When a Hyper is triggered, a bullet-canceling ring extends out from Ayu and her shots get souped up. And here’s the twist – while in Hyper mode, which lasts for 20 seconds, there is a chaining mechanic. For every enemy you kill while in Hyper, a HIT value increases – and this value is determined by how many bullets the initial Hypering canceled. If you canceled 15 bullets, you get 15 HIT points per killed enemy as long as the Hyper is active. If you trigger another Hyper while still having one active, the timer is reset to 20 seconds, but the HIT value stays – and is increased by new canceled bullets. So with the correct usage of Hypers it’s possible to get a crazy HIT value and keep a chain through the entire stage. You can’t stock a lot of Hypers, you can only hold three at a time. The second half of the second stage is Hyper-whoring galore – many enemies shooting many bullets and dropping new Hypers. Sadly the chain bonus you get when beating the stage is a bit on the stingy side, but you take what you cna get. The only other item in the game is a 20000 point bonus item, some of them are always like that, but they are also recieved if you kill an enemy that would have dropped a Hyper when you already have three.

The game is not easy – many bullets are fast, though it never becomes unfair. I one-life-cleared the two-stage demo many times, but I don’t think I’m close to 1CCing the full game yet. The circle, Tenkuudokei, has also made a shmup with CLANNAD characters, called Gensou Shoujo – it’s decent, but not close to as good as HISYOUAYU. I have 1CC’d Gensou Shoujou – but it has two difficulties, BASIC and STANDARD, and I don’t know which one of then would count as “Normal” so I don’t know if that 1CC, which was done on BASIC, counts yet.

And oh yeah, there’s one thing I should say for you lot who read this blog (if any) and comment on it – while I use Blogger, I have it set so that it is published on my own webspace. Because of this, I have to enter the login info for the ftp every time I update it. I don’t want to use the save user/pass function for security reasons. Therefore, comments to posts aren’t processed until I log in next time. So if I don’t respond to your comments, this is the cause. For a number of days after writing a new post I republish occasionally to see if I have gotten any comments, but if you comment after that period, I won’t see it until I write my next post or decides to republish… if you really want to get in touch with me, you can mail me at KennyMan666 at gmail.com. Sorry for any inconvenience.

And in other news, MegaMari ftw.

It’s like a kind of magic

So, finally, I can play NTSC games on my PlayStation2. So, yes, this entry will be about Mushihimesama, Espgaluda and Ibara. In that order.

But first I’m going to show you this. I’m pretty sure it’s not a good stick, at least not if you ask people with experience of sticks. But what the hell, I like it. Wasn’t very expensive either. Can be used for PS2, GC and XB, as you can see on the pic. Works like a charm on PS2, probably on GC as well – haven’t tried it. Though it didn’t cooperate with my USB to PS2-converter, so I’m going to take a whack at rewiring the XB contact on it to an USB contact. Though I fear doing that, I failed Electronics A in school… but whatever. Worst case scenario, the XB cable part becomes useless. I don’t even have a XBox.

Now, onto the games! Which I of course all play with that stick.

About Mushihimesama there’s not much of a question – BEST ARCADE (and of course console) SHMUP EVER. Closely followed by DoDonPachi. Well, to say arcade may be a little of a stretch since I love ARRANGE mode the most, a mode which wasn’t even in the arcade version. But it’s just MANIAC mode with some twists – full arsenal of options (in formation mode!) all the time, auto-bomb and you can switch between the three weapon types at will. So about the other modes – ORIGINAL is actually not that great, since it’s not very much of a bullet hell. It’s more few fast bullets. Luckily they are as purple-glowing as in the other modes, so they are hard to not see. MANIAC mode is the classic Cave-style bullet hell. Purple shots almost everywhere. Bring your shmup reflexes or die horribly. ULTRA mode is nothing short of nuts, something of the hardest I’ve ever played. Though I’m sure there’s some japanese person who no-misses it with one hand. I need more training.

I can’t decide if I like ESP Ra.De. or Espgaluda the most. Both are completely fantastic bullet hells from Cave, and both are on my top ten list of the best shmups ever. Espgaluda has a great game mechanic – kakusei. When triggering kakusei the bullets slow down and your shot becomes stronger – actually, in ARCADE mode your character changes form when you trigger kakusei – to a person of the other gender. Wtf. And since it’s a Cave shmup, kakusei of course has a great deal to do with score – when you kill a enemy while in kakusei, all bullets that enemy has fired becomes bonus items. So waiting for a large pattern and triggering kakusei when a boss is almost dead yields a neat amount of points. But of course there’s much more strategy involved around it if you want to get the really high scores. Kakusei of course can’t be used unconditionally, it sucks green crystals which you get by killing enemies in normal form. If you try to trigger kakusei without crystals, the bullets speed up instead – but while in this mode, you get points all the time. ARRANGE mode feels like a mix of Espgaluda and ESP Ra. De.. The two characters are very similar to ESP characters – Black is a carbon copy of Jb the 5th, and Chihiro is very similar to Irori. The major score mechanics from both the games are included – of course kakusei from Galuda, and the special shot from ESP. ARRANGE mode is also much harder than ARCADE. I like ARCADE better than ARRANGE in this.

I will not talk very much about Ibara. I have not played it very much, but I don’t like it very much yet. ARCADE mode NORMAL feels awfully much like a souped-up Battle Garegga – a game I have never liked. I have seen that Raizing/8ing can deliver – Armed Police Batrider is good, and Battle Bakraid is my favourite arcade shmup that isn’t from Cave – but sadly Ibara isn’t inspired by those. Cave, what have you done? Nasty rank and bullets that sometimes are hard to see… I have however heard that ARCADE mode EXTENDED, which I haven’t tried yet, is a little friendlier. ARRANGE mode is better than ARCADE – more Cave, less cheap – but still doesn’t reach the heights of Mushi and Galuda. Ibara 2 Pink Sweets looks much better than this.

The bottom line is that if you have a PS2, get Mushihimesama and Espgaluda. If you’re a big fan of Battle Garegga, get Ibara as well.

There will be more about these games in coming posts, when I have made progress enough to write about… this was the introduction.

Progress in other shmups are pretty slow at the moment. Shortly after the last post, I increased my high score in Twin Seeds but stupidly forgot to save the replay. No 1CC yet… I have attempted more Bike Banditz, but while I 1CC’d it again easily, no 1LC and no higher score. I have some kind of target of getting 50 million points, but god knows if I’ll ever get that…

And in other news, katamari damashii wins incredibly.

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