Here is a 2nd loop clear of Black Heart, an NMK designed, UPL released cute-em-up. If you have never played it, its a fun game with the International version coming with autofire while the JP one does not, strangely. The mechanics are simple and the gameplay is challenging, but not crazy. The second loop however, is a different story. Gets real serious around the 6:20 mark in the first video.
Interestingly enough, when SYO was interviewed by INH for the DVD release of Ketsui, he mentioned he was playing a lot of Ketsui (naturally) and 'a certain looping game by UPL' - which happened to be Black Heart.
This run could have been so much more awesome than it ended up being! Not only did I get over 350 hits (396 on stage 5), but I scored over 50 mil - which, if I could have held it together, would have got me into the second loop!
As it is, I'm happy with this score, the first time I have broken 50 mil. There were a ton of mistakes, including a death on stage 2 and two deaths on the stage 4 boss, who I never seem to have that much trouble with.
I died with five bombs left, which kinda sucks, but really, I have been working on getting my first loop play solid so that I can start hitting the second loop and working that. I have also been working on my chaining, with full chains coming in stage 1 and good, partial chains coming in stages 2-4. 5 and 6 are mainly survival, but 5 only seems to have a few chain breakers, so I hope I can get those down and get some serious scores coming in!
It is amazing when you start to look for a game and you find one, not only local, but for a good deal. It also seems to be pretty rare here in Chicago as there are a multitude of collectors and the competition to get local games is tough - good deals on Craigslist going fast.
After I got my Iron Maiden back together, I realized that I absolutely love early Stern games, especially those around the 1980-1981 period, and I decided to try and track down a Big Game. I decided on it after watching the PAPA Classics final game on it on the Pinball Archive and loved the set of three drop targets, the exposed and dangerous pop bumpers, the spinner shot in the upper left and the complexity of the scoring on the bingo cards. It's also Harry Williams last game he designed before he passed away and its a fantastic layout.
I looked on RGP and Pynball for anyone selling one and struck out. I then checked the Pinball Owner's Database for anyone who may have one they would even consider selling. And just like the Iron Maiden, I found one, for sale, very close by. As I was planning on selling off my Firepower, I offered up a trade, he accepted and I went to get it this past Saturday.
The good news was that he had installed new Pinscore displays, rebuild two of the flippers, none of the plastics were cracked and the game was complete with two backglasses and the original legs. Only downside was that the sound could be flaky, the game was in dire need of a cleaning and full shop job and the playfield glass was missing.
The sound issue turned out to be two bad ribbon cables, which I replaced with the ones from my IM temporarily. The playfield glass will cost me $47.34 from a local glazier and I will be picking it up in a few days. I spent all day Saturday shopping the game out with new rubbers and cleaning the playfield with a combination of Magic Eraser and de-natured alchohol and listening to Destruction's "Live Without Sense".
The Magic Eraser treatment is tricky but the results can be simply amazing. The playfield was dull with many, many swirl marks and the white was damn near gray. It took about two hours alone to do the playfield, but now with two coats of wax on it, it looks fantastic. There are only two wear marks near the lights I need to touch up, but that will come later.
The gameplay is awesome for a widebody - very fast and satisfying. The spinner shot in the upper left is a super cool design. When you hit the ball through the spinner, it wraps around into a kicker hole and stays there until the spinner is done counting. It also scores the lit 'BIG GAME' lights you have lit - and the kicks the ball out, like a mini-bonus count down. Every flipper has a number of shots and these early Stern Flippers have so much touch and feel, that you can pull off some great techniques. I certainly prefer them and the Bally versions to Williams powerhouse designs.
Thjis is one that will stay in the collection for sometime. So good. Thanks to Zespy for again letting me shop a game in his place and joining me on the trip.
So, I have been on a vs Nintendo kick recently, buying roms for vs. Mach Rider and getting a vs. Pinball and vs. Dr Mario in trade for some work and then buying a set of vs. Gradius roms to round everything out.
Next to vs. Castlevania, this may be the game I have most wanted to own for the vs. system as its A) a mega classic shmup and B) an iconic game. The beginning music is the first thing I hear whenever I see pretty much any Gradius/Salmander title being played. I sucked mega at this game back in the day, but I am excited to play the hell out of it now.
Luckily, after getting the vs. Pinball, I had the PPU I needed in the Pinball PPU and the daughter board needed in the vs. Goonies daughter board, so I only needed two roms to get it rolling in my cab, a whopping $15 shipped. vs. chipsets are confusing things, but to make sense of what you need if you have a system, check out John's Arcade site (the first site that comes up if you Google "vs Nintendo") and there is a great listing there of games and PPU compatability.
UPDATE: I played this for a night in the cab and made it about 80% through the game. It's as fun as I remember, but a lot easier than I remember too! The constant tapping on an upright wore me out, but with a bit of practice, I think I can give this a run for its money!
This is a hard game - but damn fun. I've only dropped maybe 20-30 credits in on it, but this is by far my best high score. I reached stage 6 and was very close to the end of the stage - like 2km - before my time ran out.
Early enemies give you few points, but later enemies in stage 5 and 6, gray quads specifically are 10K a piece if shot (I think they take like 20 shots) and 20K if you ram them into barrels. I managed to get one of them into a barrel and there were something like 4 or 5 of them in the stage, so some careful playing and aggressive bumping may get you a silly amount of points on later levels.
The Twin Galaxies world record score is listed as 170-something thousand for this version, the Endurance Course, which is very low. I'm guessing there is no end to the game here, but just like DK 3, I wonder of there is a point at which the game gets no harder. In any case, I'm having a lot of fun with it right now! It may be moving out of the cab as I just got in my vs. Gradius roms...