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Espgaluda...or when being BAD at a game is still legit fun! Bulllet hell shmups and other HARD games

VGEsoterica

Member
Sometimes not being GOOD at a game is a really boring experience. You don't click with it...you can't get the hang of it...it kills you at every opportunity it gets!

Other times a HARD game is one of the best experiences you can ask for. Think Soulsborne...the game just wants to kill you at every opportunity it gets and then tell you "get good and try again"

That's why I LOVE bullet hell shmups so much. Your FAILURE is 100% down to just not having played enough yet and not having learned the intricacies of the game. Repetition and practice = you will get better. I love that sense of progression and learning in games and damn if CAVE doesn't give that to us in spades.

But I am curious...outside of stuff like the Soulsborne franchise....what other hard AF games do people around here love? and why

 
Don't know if it's hard AF, since I'm no shmup expert, but man, do I enjoy playing Ikaruga from time to time.

I love how the challenge is not only in beating a stage that might seem impossible at first but also, after that, in mastering it so you are able to beat it flawlessly while also stacking chains like a madman, which is probably the only way to get extra lifes. That blend of shmup and puzzle makes it very unique and fun.

Game is also pretty and has one of my favorite OSTs.
 
I can't say I've played much in the genre in many many years, but I can say I've not enjoyed a shmup more than Ikaruga. I still have my GameCube copy floating around somewhere.
 
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VGEsoterica

Member
Don't know if it's hard AF, since I'm no shmup expert, but man, do I enjoy playing Ikaruga from time to time.

I love how the challenge is not only in beating a stage that might seem impossible at first but also, after that, in mastering it so you are able to beat it flawlessly while also stacking chains like a madman, which is probably the only way to get extra lifes. That blend of shmup and puzzle makes it very unique and fun.

Game is also pretty and has one of my favorite OSTs.
def hard. In a different way though...the color changing really takes a LOT of brain power to process in real time IMO
 
Hack n slash games the thread! I've improved in them combo wise over the years, but not good enough to like, make guides for advanced maneuvers in them
 

Naked Lunch

Member
Well designed bullethells take the most "gaming skill" of any videogame out there.
In particular, the ones that rely on pure reflexes and eye hand coordianation (ala Cave's offerings, Battle Garegga, Radiant Silvergun) over pure memorization (ie Rtype or Last Resort).

ESPGaluda is probably the easiest Cave shmup because it has a mechanic to slow the bullets down and you get bombs on top of that.

Bullethell shmups in general are probably my personal favorite gaming genre. DoDonPachi will never get old, will never be boring, and will always be exciting and thrilling.
 
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VGEsoterica

Member
Well designed bullethells take the most "gaming skill" of any videogame out there.
In particular, the ones that rely on pure reflexes and eye hand coordianation (ala Cave's offerings, Battle Garegga, Radiant Silvergun) over pure memorization (ie Rtype or Last Resort).

ESPGaluda is probably the easiest Cave shmup because it has a mechanic to slow the bullets down and you get bombs on top of that.

Bullethell shmups in general are probably my personal favorite gaming genre. DoDonPachi will never get old, will never be boring, and will always be exciting and thrilling.
I'd say that getting BETTER at a bullet hell shmup is IMO the most satisfying thing in gaming when it comes to "improving". What seemed impossible on playthrough 1 suddenly seems EASY on playthrough 10/20/100
 

VGEsoterica

Member
I can't say I've played much in the genre in many many years, but I can say I've not enjoyed a shmup more than Ikaruga. I still have my GameCube copy floating around somewhere.
I’ve never been good at it. The damn color switching. It’s like one more thing than my brain can process at the same time

If you haven’t def play Radiant Silvergun if Ikaruga is your fav
 

Naked Lunch

Member
Good bullet patterns in the top shmups are an artform. Cave, Raizing, and the limited shmups Treasure made - have bullet programming and patterns down to a science. You can tell when you are playing a shmup of a lesser dev just by the bullet patterns themselves. Ive always found someone like Psikyo's bullet patterns unfair, too fast, and not fun. Western indie devs have been trying bullethells and almost all feel like cheap knockoffs to me.

Doesn't most Cave shooters have this mechanic?
Not that im aware of. Maybe Guwange.
The Galudas have that button that turns the bullets pink and slows them down - you cant overuse it though because they turn red and faster. That gauge refills itself over time - unlike bombs. Some of the later Donpachis have hypers but they dont slow the bullets down.

With the bullet slow mechanic, I always looked at the Galudas as Cave's way to make a more accessible shmup - but still not go too far into causal territory.
 

MudoSkills

Member
Most Cave games have intentional slowdown to help you deal with the more complex patterns. IIRC the US version of Deathsmiles on 360 took it out because they thought it was a performance issue and it made the game way harder.
 

Bakkus

Member
Not that im aware of. Maybe Guwange.
I just watched the clip from the final boss of Mushihimesama Futari which is famous for being the hardest boss fight in history. I recalled it having something similar to this from a previous watch, but it might just be what MudoSkills MudoSkills describes after rewatching it.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Most Cave games have intentional slowdown to help you deal with the more complex patterns. IIRC the US version of Deathsmiles on 360 took it out because they thought it was a performance issue and it made the game way harder.
Yes slowdown in shmups is a feature, not a coding issue. I hate them they take slowdown out
 

Fredrik

Gold Member
Ikaruga is one of my favorite shmups of all time.
I’ll never finish it, ever, and I don’t care because it just means there is a reason to keep playing.

Truxton is an awesome classic I’ve played a ton too, and never finished.
 
Skullmonkeyz (PS1) - You remember that castle stage from Crash 1? Ok, now make that the entire game. That is essentially Skullmonkeyz, and it's hella fun. Super-cool claymation art style as well.

Dodonpachi - This is probably the only bullet hell shmup I'm semi-good at (though I've considered learning Soukyugurentai as well). Easy enough to get through if you just want to survive, challenging enough to stress you out if you're going for high score and bee medals

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (SNES) - Obviously very challenging, but very fair game as well. Needing to do two loops is kinda BS but it's a staple of the series.

SF3: 3rd Strike - I have a lot of issues with the game in terms of design choices and how badly balanced the roster is, but the fighting engine is sublime and the depth among one of the deepest in the genre even over two decades later. It's just very rewarding to get good with a character in this game (especially if they aren't top-tier)
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Ikaruga is one of my favorite shmups of all time.
I’ll never finish it, ever, and I don’t care because it just means there is a reason to keep playing.

Truxton is an awesome classic I’ve played a ton too, and never finished.
If you like Truxton play Truxton II / Tatsujin Oh. Arcade and FM Towns Marty exclusive but emulates perfectly in MAME (I have the Towns version)
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Skullmonkeyz (PS1) - You remember that castle stage from Crash 1? Ok, now make that the entire game. That is essentially Skullmonkeyz, and it's hella fun. Super-cool claymation art style as well.

Dodonpachi - This is probably the only bullet hell shmup I'm semi-good at (though I've considered learning Soukyugurentai as well). Easy enough to get through if you just want to survive, challenging enough to stress you out if you're going for high score and bee medals

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (SNES) - Obviously very challenging, but very fair game as well. Needing to do two loops is kinda BS but it's a staple of the series.

SF3: 3rd Strike - I have a lot of issues with the game in terms of design choices and how badly balanced the roster is, but the fighting engine is sublime and the depth among one of the deepest in the genre even over two decades later. It's just very rewarding to get good with a character in this game (especially if they aren't top-tier)
I’ll never be good at Street Fighter. I play way too much SNK stuff. But that doesn’t mean I don’t play!
 

RaduN

Member
Yes slowdown in shmups is a feature, not a coding issue. I hate them they take slowdown out
It's actually a hardware limitation (let's not forget that all Cave shmups were originally made on very speciffic arcade hardware, where devs used every bit of juice available, to animate all the pixels) incorporated into the design of the games, especially the ones made for the SH3 machines (from Mushihimesama to Dodonpachi Saidaioujou) that pushed thousands of bullets on screen simultaneously.
Also, most replays that are available are from hardocore players that push the games to the limits (generally for scoring purposes).
 
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