Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fire Shark high score #2 - 1,252,270

I attended my first Colorado Shmup meet at Jon eXidy's place and what an arcade!

I knew his collection was massive after years of being on KLOV and Shmups, but man, it's just awesome.

When I got there, Fire Shark and Raiden DX were in the vertical cabs and I tore into both, playing the Training course in DX and going for distance in Fire Shark. Amazingly, I remembered a lot of the game from my many runs through a few years back and just kept plowing through to eventually get to 10-1 after a good dozen credits - which totally surprised me as I made it through stage 8 and 9 without ever having played them. 

I threw in the towel after my 10-1 run, partially because I was kind of monopolizing the cab and mostly because without autofire, it's a bit tiring. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Out Zone high score #3 - 1,703,900 area 134

Didn't expect to loop this without auto fire, but I did! Pretty impressed with myself, but really, I was just as surprised to make the loop. Cannot wait to try the second loop with autofire!

New PCB (kinda) - Out Zone (Toaplan, 1990)

I never did a new PCB post for this even though I got it a while back, so here's a belated one!

Out Zone is a game I absolutely love, one of the best run and gun Shmups ever and one of my favorite Toaplan games. Prices on this PCB have steadily gone up and much like Donpachi and Dodonpachi, which could be had on the cheap five years ago (still remember a Fujita price list where DP was 8900 yen and DDP was 12500 yen), it's started to climb in price as the majority of PCB's are ending up in collectors hands. 

The game is an excellent combination of old school Shmup and great run and gun with good shot types and great power ups. It's a blast zipping through each level and does not really take long to get good at. You have a ten-count bomb stock and can blast through most levels with some creative bombing and speed. 

The graphics and music are excellent for the era and get me stoked whenever I hear them! 

Autofire is pretty much a must for this one, as your hand and arm will get super sore if you are not a tapping madman. As it is, I played a few credits today waiting for my autofire PCB to come back from Zespy and made it pretty far - 6th stage I think and te first time I got there! I practice the last stage a bunch, but it looks like there are a TON of mandatory bombing spots. 

Still, I bested my old high score by quite a bit and when my autofire PCB gets here, I'll be tackling this one looking for the loop.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New PCB: Guwange (Cave, 1999 - orig. and Blue Label)

Finally! After years of thinking about getting one and one aborted attempt (seller changed his mind) I finally scored one of Cave's most moody and striking - not to mention difficult - games. 

It's like an intense version of Out Zone with forced scrolling, a Shmup, but with your character walking on the ground and with actual physical obstacles to contend with. 

To be completely honest, I never really clicked with it until I got the PCB and even now, I'm not so sure. I definitely like it - the art and soundtrack are stellar and the game play is very demanding and enjoyable. The feeling of carrying a chain through a few levels is great, the feeling of losing it, terrible. And maybe that's why it's such a hard game to jell with. Small mistakes can have harsh punishments and that fun, visceral interactiveness turns to bitterness very quickly. That being said, it's still crazy good. 

Blue Label is pretty easy and I immediately put the original roms back in. It's very cool to be able to play a Blue Label version of a Cave game, but it just didn't grab me. It actually turned me off of the game for a bit, making me go back to Thunder Dragon 2 for a while until I started driving myself crazy trying to learn  stages 6 and 7. 

So, I popped this back in with the original roms and went for it. Few days in and I'm scoring in the 2 mil range, but progression is basically stalled at stage 4, so I have a lot of learning to do there!