I'm moving this to Recent Articles now that I've finished it. The article is pretty much the same as this post was, but reedited and greatly expounded upon. I'm glad I gave a lot of these a second look, since I dismissed several of them right off. I still can't say I actually LIKE Chaos Field, Psyvariar or Border Down, but I have a greater understanding of how they work.
Post by vysethebold on Mar 6, 2007 11:40:27 GMT -5
You forgot Zero Gunner 2 but otherwise you seem to have the ones I can remember. Good job on the reviews! You have very similar taste to me as I really don't like the Milestone shooters. I currently have Zero Gunner 2, Trigger Heart Exelica, and Under Defeat though have only gotten a chance to play Under Defeat. I hope to get Border Down at some point but the prices are pretty nasty.
Update: Sorry, Zero Gunner 2 was released in 2001. It looks like you got them all, Kurt!
Post by dartagnan1803 on Mar 6, 2007 14:35:55 GMT -5
I played a Psyvariar on the PS2 and it was actually quite fun. It seemed to encourage a bit of recklessness as your shots get more powerful via effective close-quarters bullet weaving.
Trizeal isn't crappy at all IMO. . .but I do find it expensive for what it offers. It does nothing particularly new at all but it doesn't try too. It's described as "shooting love" (the PS2 version carries this subtitle) which is a pretty apt description since it plays like the shmups of old. For a game ported by a single individual, it's pretty impressive.
Psyvariar 2 is a very unique shmup released on just about every last gen system. The levels are WAY short but the game throws unlockable new levels based off of how well you can level up your ship. The unique part of the game is that you "buzz" off of enemy bullets which fills up meter leading to a level up. Once you have leveled up your are temperarilly invincible which gives you time to bulldoze enemies giving you more buzz meter points to keep on leveling up. There are strategies to utilizing the buzz system in that you can pretty much bulldoze every enemy throught the level based on knowing where bullet patterns form. If you go to NTSC UK site and check out the reviews, there is gameplay videos of how to kick ass in the game. The psyvariar series has to be my favorite new school shmups because the gameplay is so addictive and challenging if you want to see the later levels. I still cant unlock the last few levels after putting many hours into it.
The company that made Psyvariar 2, Skonec also put out a samurai shmup called Homura a few years ago which is a pretty good vertical shmup which got a PS2 port only.
Border down only makes me really cranky in the way it forces you to suicide in order to get really high scores. And killing the boss right before the timer hits zero. I can understand the latter to an extent as something interesting in concept, but who'd deliberately want to do that anyway in a real situation as intentionally prolonging the fight would damage the surrounding environment event more. I guess another gripe I had for the game was that there were designated safe zones where you were completely safe from getting killed demonstrated in the unlockable game replays, which were even there in certain boss fights. I also at first wasn't a big fan of the music when I first listened to it, but it kinda grew on me over time, plus I also knew that Yasuhisa Wanatabe was capable of producing really awesome music based on what I heard in stage 5 and the Dreamcast version of stage 1 (and the arranged tracks for the game's OST), and demonstrates his prowess in full force for Senko no Ronde. ALSO! G.Rev was heavily involved in the development of Ikaruga, as the game's engine looked like something that only G.Rev themselves could pull off.
Trizeal is actually fun. It's main appeal is that the game's very old school in design (BOMB GET!), and I love how much detail the guy put into the animation of your craft when it transforms to switch weapons. Heck, I even like the music for the game. The main gripes I have about this game is that the Dreamcast port has slowdown (!!) especially with two player mode (!!!!) and load times (!!!!!!), which I find inexcusable because Ikaruga looked ten times better than this game and had nary a moment of loading in between stages. There was a hiccup of slowdown here and there in Ikaruga, but not much, and long moments of slowdown were usually caused by things generating huge explosions.
Psyvariar 2 is an interesting concept I wanted to get into, but I also got Shikigami no Shiro at the same time, and I was still trying to perfect Border Down (which never happened). While the latter incorporates the main element of Psyvariar in there, it doesn't incorporate the buzz system too well, as it still tries to remain traditional at the same time. I liked Psyvariar's concept because to me danmaku shmups suck for the most part as you just end up dodging waves and waves of firepower while holding down the fire button and try to maintain a direct line of fire at the boss, which usually takes up almost the entire top part of the screen anyway, so Psyvariar emphasizes on what this genre was meant to focus on anyway: graze bullets and reward you for grazing bullets like a madman when you buzz since buzzing makes you temporarily invincible and have another opportunity to generate another one during this time frame. It also helps that the tehcno music in the game is excellent too. It's nowhere near as bad as Mars Matrix's.
I was also going to get into Shikigami no Shiro II, but a few sessions with some Touhou games changed my mind. Both games are quite similar to each other in concept, except that the Touhou series has been out well before the first Shikigami game came into existence. Plus it was also a real pain to keep unplugging my monitor from the PC and putting into the VGA box every time I wanted to Shikigami no Shiro II.
Chaos Field was funky, although I liked the dual field mechanic. It had club-sounding techno music that I actually don't mind listening to. Never really got to play it much because I started getting into Touhou at around the time I bought this game. I found it strange though that the game's scoring mechanism was directly tied at you destroying bullets with your special abilities.
I've played Rajirugi once, and only once. I stopped playing and never got back to playing it for four reasons. The first was I also had Under Defeat, which I should've waited on playing first because that was also a much better play experience than this game. The second was that I was also playing Air Rade Air (which is like, fifty times harder than the original Air Rade games) before I started playing Under Defeat. The third reason was because I got Senko no Ronde shortly after my first play session. The last reason was that my first play experience with Rajirugi wasn't very pleasant since the game was VERY easy to me based on the game mechanics (except I forgot how it worked now other than the end result is similar to the buzz mechanic in Psyvariar), since I kept activating it almost all the time throughout the entire stage. I didn't finish the game, but I lost all motivation to play it anyway because it felt so easy.
Under Defeat screamed to me "WE'RE GONNA SHMUP LIKE IT'S 1993 ALL OVER AGAIN!" and that alone was enough for me to love it. It looks liked G.Rev used their old Raystorm/Raycrisis engine lying around in storage it has all of the properties of it, mainly bullets from ground targets have to fly first from the ground to your altitude before you can be hit from them and vice versa since you don't have lock-on lasers in this game. The graphics are actually pretty good because there's a lot of other stuff going on in the game as well, like tanks leaving tracks in the ground, the trees swaying whenever bullets pass through it or explosions occur nearby, and yet the game's framerate only hiccups a bit at times with all of this happening (usually whenever you do your carpet bomb which always cracks me up whenever I use it or when big things explode). The music also jives with me really well, as it reminds me of music from anime that would usually play out in action-type situations.
I need to play Trigger Heart Excelcia sometime. It's a little bit too expensive for me at the moment, especially when I still need to pay for my Acen registration.
I personally think BD's soundtrack is one of the best. It's definitely not the cock-rock standard of most shooters, but it's definitely different, and, well, cool. And while it's a hard game, disliking it because of its difficulty would result in you hating most every modern shooter out there.
I generally only play for survival, and BD has enough replay value that it lasts me a good long time thanks to its variety of stages. Also, it has enough transparency in its scoring that you don't really have to go to forums and such to figure out how the thing works, for the times you think you want to play for score. It's really my favorite shooter for the DC, with Shikigami no Shiro 2 coming in second.
I've yet to try Psyvariar in any of its forms, but I've always wanted to...the craziness of the bullet patterns and beautiful soundtrack are great draws; however, I was always concerned with the difficulty in determining how long you invincibility lasts. It reminds me of Radirgy, where (during my rather limited play sessions) I had a hard time figuring out how long the invincibility lasts on the shield. For you guys who have played it - is this a problem as well for Psyvariar?
Psyvariar 2 is the best shmup ever released on the Dreamcast. The buzz system is great, and once you get the hang of it, it feels awesome to just fly through bullets and rack up the buzz. Just make sure you keep your meter in green if you want to keep your invisibility. Once it goes to yellow, your invis is running out, and when it gets to red, you're dead. Your invis drops to red for bosses, so don't think you can fly through all of their patterns. Also, the music is amazing, there's some very good jungle tracks in here. It seemed awful? Are you joking?
You may also want to include Baldr Force EXE. The action portions of this game are shooty enough. It's more or less a 2D Virtual On... you could call the game proto-Senko no Ronde. The action portions are made even more fun with the total weapon customization. After you beat the game once, you can skip all of the graphic novel mode by simply pressing start. This game has multiple paths, so you'll be playing it for awhile.
There's a video of Baldr Force EXE gameplay. You decide if you want it in your article or not. All I can tell you is that a lot of the people that usually flip for new Dreamcast shooters flipped for this title too.
Post by Discoalucard on Mar 7, 2007 22:21:04 GMT -5
Not really sure if this fits in with the scheme of the article, but it DOES look pretty cool. I'll definitely check it outs, thanks!
Anyway, I played a bit of Psyvariar 2. I'm still not sure how the whole invincibility thing works yet (I played before I read your post) but...well, it's not awful, but it's definitely not my kinda game. Not so sure I really dig the whole buzzing thing - I didn't like it much in Shikigami, but you only needed to do it for momentary bursts of firepower (IIRC, need to put that in again too.) Either the hit detection feels off, or the invincibility window is too hard to get a grasp on.
Also, only five levels? And they're each like a minute or two long? The boss fights are kinda cool, but otherwise, it feels like a skeleton of game. It's one of those many titles that seems like the levels are designed around the gameplay system, rather than vice versa.