Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gun Frontier - Sega Saturn, high score #1


Having just received the game last weekend, I played it a few times and put it down, impressed by all that made it into Battle Garegga as Yagawa was heavily influenced by it. The BGM is ok, with a few good tracks and the gameplay is pretty simple stuff, but pretty fun as well.

For fans of old school shooters, this is a must-play.

I played for two nights, finally taking out the last boss and ALL'ing it in about 15 plays. Not too hard for sure, but pretty fun.


There's a bunch of cool secrets, like letting one of the bigger tanks run over part of the bank, then killing it and getting 4 dime power-ups and 1 max power-up. Tons of stuff like that.

I probably won't go back to it for soime time, but it was certainly a fun diversion and a very enjoyable Taito classic.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Batsugun Special Version high score #8


Fed up with Normal, went back to Special Version for a night. Maxed out the first loop stage 4 bomb bonus, I think. Got 7 bombs in, suicided once, hit it with one more bomb and then took Jupiter out.

Was on the last section of stage 5 with two lives and ran into something, then died shortly there after while I was still pissed at the earlier death and ended my run with a new high of 18,204,110.

I may be picking this pcb up in the future. I just enjoy the hell out of this game!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Battle Garegga high score #4


Keeping on practicing with Gain and finally have started to get a pattern down for the third stage boss. Set a new high after messing up on his pattern and dodging both of the last side pods shot and the strong forward shot from the main body. Brutal.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Batsugun Normal Version high score #1


I started playing Normal version a little while ago, kind of after I cleared the first loop in Special Version. At the moment, I think I like Normal better.

There are a few differences between the two but what you notice first is that your hitbox is much larger and some attacks you could tap dodge pretty easily will now get you, so there are a lot of strategy changes for killing enemies.

The game is just so well realized that I can't help but love both versions equally!

I've been working for the clear of Normal for a week or two and finally made it to the last boss, dying on this run about halfway through his cycle, to end with a high score of 2,810,220.

Stage 4 was giving me the most trouble, but I think I've got a good pattern for it now. Stage 5 isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be and since enemy placements are the same, I've been able to use a lot of the same patterns that I use in Special Version.

Massively fun game, easy 5 out of 5 in my book.

INH The Madness Battle Garegga DVD + Booklet, Espgaluda II Official Cave DVD + booklet, Progear CKDF vhs + booklet


Picked up a bundle of stuff from Japan recently which included all three of these superplays.

The INH Battle Garegga DVD is just sooooooooo awesome. gunbird18 let me borrow his copy a while back and I watched it a ton, which is pretty much what stoked me on this game. It's impressive that there are four seperate runs on it - Gain, Myamoto and two of the regular ships. The booklet is filled with some good info, showing what your shot looks like in each powered up state for each ship and other goodies. It's isn't in color, though and lacks any impressive artwork like the Ketsui and DOJ BL booklets.

I also picked up the Espgaluda II DVD set and just as you would imagine, its awesome. Cave goes all out when they put out their DVD sets and this one is no exception. Tons of good art in the book, three DVD's worth of material and great production.

Besides official DVD's, there are a number of different doujin releases out there that are actually pretty good, many using the same top tier Japanese players seen in the official releases. The CKDF Progear VHS is no exception. The player is Clover-TAC, who also destroys Mushihimesama Futari Maniac on the official Cave DVD set. It's an great run and the quality of the VHS is pretty amazing. The booklet is just a stapled together, mostly text run through of the game, so nothing I can sink my teeth into, but the VHS tape is so impressive, I could care less.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Battle Garegga high score #3


Not really notable for the score - as it's not that much higher than my last one - but notable because its my first high score with Gain.

I haven't really been happy with Bornam ABC (Gate Of Hell) - a little too slow, shot feels weak - and really wanted to try Gain as his scoring potential is stellar. I just really started playing him tonight and was shooting for 4 mil+ but I'm happy starting here.

It actually was a pretty crappy run scoring wise as I only picked up about a mil from the flamingoes (1.57 after them) and had hit them to go over 2 mil on a few runs. I did make it to the third boss and took apart Madball for some points too.

I'm really getting into this game and I'm still pretty suprised that I like it so much. I imagined I would really like Futari and I thought it was a little on the boring side for me with its heavy focus on the scoring system.

I will be borrowing Armed Police Batrider from gunbird18 and I'm pretty stoked to try it out. After watching Ayanami just destroy it and my continued addiction to Garegga, I have a feeling it will be a must-buy soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Battle Garegga high score #2


After watching the Battle Garegga Gamest superplay about four times in the last two days, I fired up the game and played for most of the morning, trying different ships, including Miyamoto, Gain and Golden Bat, but finally settling on Bornam, whhich just seems to fit my style of play.

I had a good run of points from the flamingos on stage 2 and took apart Madball pretty well for some good points and hammered through stage 3, destroying a ton of stuff in the hanger. I missed the 1-up with some over zealous shooting, taking out the red tank about 3/4ths of the way through the stage, but it was probably my best run in a long time.

I placed my suicides well, dying on each of the first two stage bosses and then randomly as I progressed.

The patterns I have for the stage 3 boss are ok, but I can't seem to work the last turrets after you destroy the missile launchers individually and usually get caught on the converging bullet spreads. In this run, I had him down to the big spread the comes from the middle turret and one of the side pods and got killed by the fast spread, to finally break 3 mil with my new patterns for a new high of 3,251,950.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Battle Garegga & DDP Gamest Video VHS, Vols. 27 & 39


I have this thing for superplays. I love watching them. I must have watched the DDP DOJ BL DVD about 50 times and the Ketsui INH DVD close to as many times. It's not about learning the 'best' path through a game or even uncovering some of the better scoring techniques, but just watching someone one with crazy skills tear through a game is so much fun to me.

I have a number of the recent DVD releases, but I wanted to find some earlier stuff, namely the Gamest Video releases. Gamest, if you don't know, was a Japanese magazine that focused on the arcade scene much like Arcadia does now and they released VHS tapes of superplays of fighting games and STG's with other stuff in between.

The DDP volume that I have is Vol. 39, the one that has a C-S 600+ mil run. Just seeing a superplay with C-S is amazing and this run is fantastic. It's almost 100 mil off the world record at this point as the VHS was recorded in 1997, but it's fantastic nonetheless. It's set up like a modern superplay, with a long(ish) intro and opening montage of gameplay.

The game footage is shown like most modern superplays - the screen is on the left and the status bar is on the right with the score, hit counter, etc. Amazingly, the resolution is still crisp and this tape was taken care of well. I already converted it to DVD for posterity, just in case something ever happens.

The run is completely amazing, really fantastic stuff from ZBL-NAI, but he does drop his chain a few times which really kills his score. The patterns and skill are crazy and it's hella fun to watch.

The Battle Garegga Gamest vid on the other hand is downright crazy. First of all, it comes with the Battle Garegga OST, which, of course, is fantastic, but it's in this huge case with amazing artwork.

The DVD starts with an opening montage, but instead of clips of gameplay footage, its clips of sprites in the test menu being animated, all set to Garegga's soundtrack and it's really pretty cool. Very different.

There's a short bit before the gameplay footage of all of the characters you can play in the game and then it's time for the run.

The one full run of the game is done with Golden Bat, which is pretty cool since I have seen no real footage with some playing seriously with Golden Bat, aside from a few things on Nico video. The run is fantastic and he ends with a killer score, but nothing approaching the current world record. As kind of a bonus, on the status bar on the right, whenever the player is going to trigger something secret a flashing green box with "Special Bonus" or something appears on the right. Similarly, whenever the player is going to suicide, a red box pops up and flashes "Dead Point". Pretty weird, but you get use to it pretty quick and its an interesting change from standard fare.

During boss battles, their stats roll up on the right, showing points values for all their destructable sections. Pretty cool, even if I can't read Japanese.

After the run, there is a "Miyamoto and Gain Review" with a few minutes of each ship running through the game and where their weapons are the most effective, like Gain's multiple weapon hits on the flamingos and Miyamoto's weapons hits on some of the bosses. Pretty interesting for sure.

At the very end there is a "History of Raizing" section showing the games they had developed up to the time this VHS was released, ending with a lot of footage of Soukugurentai and the words 'Comming Soon' following it. Totally puts the time frame this tape was released into perspective. At that point, Raizing had only done three games, Mahou Daisakusen, Shippu Mahou Daisakusen and Battle Garegga. Wow.

I'm not much of a collector - I tend to get stuff I really like and will play - or in this case, watch - and these VHS tapes are perfect.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Batsugun Special Version high score #7


Just kinda messing around before the meet really started last weekend and hit a new high score after showing the stage 4 trick to some of the early peoples. Made the loop as well. I wasn't really paying attention to my score and just killed my game off, dying twice easily. It was only when Dave asked me if that was a new high score that I realized it was.

Batsugun is certainly one of my favortie games and I love playing it, even after making the loop, which is a first for me. My new high score sets me up at 12,757,420 and now I'm working on the second loop. I've kinda of gotten used to the suicide bullets and think I can push through, especially if I bomb strategically.

New PCB: Tatsujin - Toaplan


When I first started playing this in mame, I wasn't sure if I liked it. The mid-bosses were brutally difficult and I spent a lot of time dying and trying to power back up.

It took me some time to get use to the game, flying at max speed (which I am still struggling to do) and trying to survive long enough to get the extra pods on my ship when you get fully powered up. I kept trying the gamer and shaking my head after it beat me down, but I always came back to it.

I got the chance to get the pcb for a good price and jumped on it, especially as I have been all about picking Toaplan boards up at the moment. The game is better on the 29" screen and the soundtrack sounds way better as well.

My score is pitiful at the moment - I am struggling to break 200K - but I keep comming back to it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicagoland Winter Carnival '09 recap


Awesome amounts of fun.

Friday night was set up, with gunbird18 and szycag in the house early to help out. We ended up having six TV's and two Astro City cabs set up with one horizontal and one vertical. We ended up playing till 2 a.m. and crashed.


Andi was the first to arrive from the area and we played Batsugun and talked until the Michigan crew arrived. Ayanami was came with mrtie with Sonic R, Davey and the rest of the Michiganers in tow. It didn't take long for everyone to settle in and start playing and there were frequent cues for Deathsmiles and Ketsui with a lot of DOJ BL EX plays and many disparaging comments. There werer a lot of pcb's brought and some of the best titles from Cave, Raizing, Toaplan and Psyiko were represented, with Dogyuun and Strikers II getting some extended playthroughs.

On the contest front, Dave ended up taking top honors, with Andi comming second and szycag third. I don't think they left the front room with Recca and Alzadick playing for four+ hours. Top prize for Dave was a Hundson Shooting Watch and an XBLA code for Omega Five, courtesy of Hudson Soft. It was super cool of them to sponsor the contest and send out special download code sheets with a personalized greeting and contest name. The Shooting Watch got a workout the rest of the night in the kitchen, where I ended up playing it everytime I went into the kitchen for a beverage. Davey's 120 shot took the top score in the informal contest of Shooting Watch twitch skills by a good margin.


Ibara got a lot of play throughs - which kind of surprised me, but as I am slowly becoming a Raizing fan, I am more and more impressed with it and it seems that the general response to it was very positive. I heard more than once that it was pretty underrated and I'd agree.


Ketsui got much love and the cue continued pretty much all night once it was in the cab. I gave it a play and got spanked pretty bad, but my playing might have been hampered by the excellent beer, which I was drinking on a nearly empty stomach.

The NEC XM29 go a lot of love as well, with mrtie looking at me in disbelief when I told him the Saturn hooked up to it was using just plain jane composite cables.

Most of the Michigan folk left late for the long drive home and after they split, the remaining crew all ended up watching Ayanami own Armed Police Batrider with a ~7,900,000 run, which szycag has some impressive footage of here. Totally impressive.


Here's some standout pics from the meet:







It goes without saying, but thanks to everyone for comming out. Going to have to do this again next year for sure. Many thanks to Sonic R for bringing out his JP 360 and BLEX for all to try out. Thanks to Davey and mrtie for bringing the beer - stunningly good Bell's and Great Lakes fare. Big thanks to Dave for bringing his cab and thanks to gunbird18 and szycag who helped with the set up. Much love for all