Yeah man! Now this is a breakthrough game. Went right from playing Raiden II this morning and getting virtually nowhere to playing this and on my first credit, got about halfway through stage 7 before getting totally wiped out. I beat stage 6 without much fuss - which surprised me as I had never played it before. I dropped two bombs on the boss and blasted my way through to finish the stage.
If you have never seen stage 6, you start off after 5, landing back on the carrier from the beginning of the game and then taking off for space. Its a very cool moment and a nice break in the game. If the first 5 stages are a tribute to Toaplan's Sky Shark/Twin Cobra feeling titles, stages 6 and 7 are their take on a Tatsujin-like space stage - with a very similar midboss to one of the Tatsujin ones - a four-ship cluster that moves in a square pattern.
I'm not really sure how hard its gonna be to push through and get to the end of this one - pretty sure that's gonna take some time. I really should have practiced stage 7 with a few continues to see what's happening there, but there's time enough for that later.
I use to think Seibu just put out some pretty blah stuff - especially compared to later Toaplan and early Cave, but this is yet anopther company that has snuck up on me and I find myself really, really digging their back catalog.
Raiden is pretty much a tribute to Sky Shark with about double the difficulty and double the cheapness of side field point blanking. There are quite a few frustrating moments where you are in the zone, feeling the flow of the game and whap - bullet from behind.
But I still can't get enough of this game. It's the intenseness of the stages and toughness of the game from early on. I find myself being able to glide through stages 1 and 2 most times, but from stage 3 on, it gets intense. As it stands right now, stage 5 is my sticking point. This score at 755,470 feels pretty good as I had near perfect runs of the first three stages, but 4 and 5 need a lot more practice!
Man, I'm on a roll! After I finish got to the second lop in DDP, I popped on Sky Shark for a bit, got bored of it and popped in Omega Fighter Special and tried to up my high score. I hit 5.9 and 6.2 million and got so close to completing the loop - making it to the end of stage 8 a few times - I knew if I kept on it, I'd make it. Well, about 30 credits later, I did it! 7,370,700.
The last three stages are damn near impossibly with out being powered up but in stage 8, you get a chance to earn powerups - something you cannot do in stage 7, so if you can survive till the last stage and hold a red bomb heading into the boss - you got it made!
I made it about a stage and a half into the loop as the bullets are much faster and much harder to dodge - especially from the turrets. I also noticed I didn't have any lives left after suiciding on the stage 1 boss for the million bonus, so that might have been a dumb move.
Omega Fighter Special is such a great game, one of only two proximity scoring games I can think of, with Ketsui being the other. UPL's best by far.
Finally! After a few dozen runs over the last month, I finally made the second loop! I'm super stoked. The run was far from perfect and did have me playing just for the loop rather than pushing score (though I was hoping for 70 mill), but it all came together. I finished the first loop with over 50 mill and a 386 max hit count, which felt awesome.
The loop is pretty wild in terms of bullet count, but it also does allow for a longer timer on the hit meter, so chaining is easier - if you can avoid all the masses of bullets. I made it to 2-3, losing my last life right before the carrier with the 1-up. I literally died right at the last part of the ship that houses it and I was a bit bummed, but I'm pretty sure things would not have gone well against the stage 3 boss in the second loop. As it was, the stage 2 boss ended in a bomb fest - that tank gets brutal!
I'm not sure if I will go right back to this or not right now as this was my long term goal. I'd like to break 100 mill at some point, but that means chaining or building the multiplier and my chains need a lot of work. Working the multiplier will be a lot harder as it means very selective bombing to keep the multiplier up - and most likely a no-miss, no-hit run up through 1-5.