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G Darius Vers 2; maybe the hardest non bullet hell shmup ever...but what else you got GAF?

VGEsoterica

Member
First of all I 100% think difficulty is wholly subjective; what I think it easy might wipe the floor with you, and what you think is not a very difficult game might straight up DESTROY me. So it's always interesting to hear what one person thinks is a cake walk is another persons frustration point.

But with that said...G Darius Vers 2 is the one shmup that is NOT a bullet hell that just absolutely screws with me every single time I play it no matter how much I practice. It's 100% determined to chew me up and spit me out.

Which makes perfect sense as Taito released Vers 2 as a rom upgrade to the OG G Darius as players in Japanese arcades had mastered the first release so Taito decided to give players some fan service with an upgraded difficulty game with a few changes to make sure players kept pumping 100 yen coins into the machine. Basically Taito rom hacked their own game just to make players happy

but that got me thinking...1) what other games were rereleased just to up the difficulty factor...and what is your personal "F this game its too hard' shmup. Generally non-bullet hell games but I will accept bullet hells too!

 

SF Kosmo

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I don't really agree with the premise that bullet hell shmups are harder than non-bullet hell shmups. I always found stuff like the original Aleste or Image Fight way harder than all these bullet hell games with their tiny hotboxes and we'll telegraphed patterns.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
I don't really agree with the premise that bullet hell shmups are harder than non-bullet hell shmups. I always found stuff like the original Aleste or Image Fight way harder than all these bullet hell games with their tiny hotboxes and we'll telegraphed patterns.
I would say more people have trouble getting into bullet hell shmups vs non. Not saying they are harder once you get the hang of them...but they are harder to start off with
 

SF Kosmo

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I would say more people have trouble getting into bullet hell shmups vs non. Not saying they are harder once you get the hang of them...but they are harder to start off with
Well... Bullet hell is more reflex based, so people do kind of hit their skill wall with bullet hell a little more easily compared to something very methodical like R-Type or Ikaruga, where memorization plays a big part and you can make progress just by playing and memorizing patterns.

But not all shmups fall into those two extremes, there are a lot of games, especially in the 8 and 16-bit era that aren't really either and that's the stuff I tend to find really brutal. Stuff like Fantasy Zone after the first loop or later stages of Aleste aren't bullet hell, because they don't have patterned curtains of fire, but they're just pure chaos -- and with giant hit boxes and huge handicaps for dying.
 
Most Bullet Hells are memorization based, once you figure out a pattern and get accustomed to the game there's nothing more to it. While regular shmups seem to have reason to replay the games more after beating it, from different paths, stage change ups, different ships and weapons, or path choices.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Most Bullet Hells are memorization based, once you figure out a pattern and get accustomed to the game there's nothing more to it. While regular shmups seem to have reason to replay the games more after beating it, from different paths, stage change ups, different ships and weapons, or path choices.
That's not really true, at all. Bullet Hell games usually have subtle random variances to their patterns, in addition to layering patterns on top of each other, so that you have to use your reflexes. The same paths and safe spots won't work every time.

Like all shmups, memorizing levels is often important for scoreplay and managing the field, killing enemies before they fill up the screen with bullets, that kind of thing, but bullet hell shmups usually usually rely more on reflexes than more methodical sorts of shooters like R-Type or Ikaruga.
 
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Neff

Member
Gradius III arcade is notoriously brutal. The SNES version is an absolute pushover but the arcade version asks you to get good very quickly.
 

Celcius

°Temp. member
Back in the day I bought Mars Matrix on Dreamcast and really enjoyed it. At the time I had never heard of it but just saw it in the store and bought it one day.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Back in the day I bought Mars Matrix on Dreamcast and really enjoyed it. At the time I had never heard of it but just saw it in the store and bought it one day.
One of my all time faves. Ugly looking game, but the mechanics are so good.
 
That's not really true, at all. Bullet Hell games usually have subtle random variances to their patterns, in addition to layering patterns on top of each other, so that you have to use your reflexes. The same paths and safe spots won't work every time.

Like all shmups, memorizing levels is often important for scoreplay and managing the field, killing enemies before they fill up the screen with bullets, that kind of thing, but bullet hell shmups usually usually rely more on reflexes than more methodical sorts of shooters like R-Type or Ikaruga.

This is a relatively recent thing, for much of their existence Bullet hells were memorization adn there are still games that do so, with very little if any randomization.

While that's not as common now, it's still a genre that focuses more on style over substance which is why there's really no room to grow for the sub-genre, while there COULD be room to grow for shmup,s problem is people keep making the japanese gradius style which has it's own appeal ceiling. The biggest most popular games in the genre where before gradius and we haven't seen much evolution on those designs because it's easier to use the Gradius or R-type templates for a shmup.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
This is a relatively recent thing, for much of their existence Bullet hells were memorization adn there are still games that do so, with very little if any randomization.
I guess that depends on what you consider recent and how you divide bullet hell from other games, but it's been pretty standard since the big defining games that blew the bullet hell subgenre up, like Battle Garrega, Dodonpachi, etc.

That's not to say knowing the level layouts and patterns isn't hugely important to those games, as they are to most non-bullet hell shmups as well, but all the memorization in the world won't get you through the tough bosses.

While that's not as common now, it's still a genre that focuses more on style over substance which is why there's really no room to grow for the sub-genre,
I fundamentally disagree with this too. Games like Dodonpachi and Mars Matrix have incredibly deep scoring systems, compared to games like Darius and R-Type which tend to be fairly straightforward. This isn't always the case -- Ikaruga's scoring system and enemy patterns offer a lot of interesting risk-reward, for example, as does something like Border Down, but this idea that bullet hell games are "shallower" doesn't match my experience at all.

while there COULD be room to grow for shmup,s problem is people keep making the japanese gradius style which has it's own appeal ceiling. The biggest most popular games in the genre where before gradius and we haven't seen much evolution on those designs because it's easier to use the Gradius or R-type templates for a shmup.
So, I feel like we must be talking about entirely different things, now. Gradius and R-Type are methodical shmups, very much the opposite of the danmaku/bullet hell subgenre, and far earlier than anything considered "bullet hell" by shmup fans (the "danmaku" term was coined for Batsugun, which is widely regarded as the start of the subgenre) . I'm not sure what "more popular" earlier games you're contrasting them with. Do you mean stuff like Xevious or Galaga?

If you want to talk about games that are pure reflex and informed by early arcade stuff, I think that trance shooters are the torchbearers there. Stuff like Moose Life or Geometry Wars. I do love those games, but they're a pretty small niche.
 
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I fundamentally disagree with this too. Games like Dodonpachi and Mars Matrix have incredibly deep scoring systems, compared to games like Darius and R-Type which tend to be fairly straightforward.

You are talking about older game instead of ones from the last few generations. Darius isn't the same now as it was back when G was new. I believe the line is less blurry between shmups with depth and while bullet hells seem to have become more shallow in recent times.

I'm not sure what "more popular" earlier games you're contrasting them with. Do you mean stuff like Xevious or Galaga?

I was talking about appeal to a wider audience and sales, which the genre hasn't seen since pre-gradius, and by that I mean pre-Japanese oversaturation of space shooters in the shmup genre which hasn't changed much in decades. 5th gen remakes aside. it helped there was a lot more variety in gameplay and mechanics for gamers to choose from, whether it was in the arcade, computers, or console.

Geometry Wars.

That was a game I almost forgot about, that was a pretty good series back on the 360, it was one of the main titles that pushed XBLA and started the modern indie scene along with Trials and others.

I think they made 3 of them and then they stopped? Don't recall. I played the first two.
 
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SF Kosmo

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You are talking about older game instead of ones from the last few generations. Darius isn't the same now as it was back when G was new. I believe the line is less blurry between shmups with depth and while bullet hells seem to have become more shallow in recent times.
But Darius isn't a bullet hell shooter either. It's a little hard for me to parse what you're saying without knowing what specific games you have a grievance with. In general, I think shmups have trended toward being more indie PC things of the sort that used to be called "doujin" games and away from the more polished, scoreplay focused arcade games, but I don't think that trend is limited to any one subgenre.

I think they made 3 of them and then they stopped? Don't recall. I played the first two.
Yeah, the third one is quite good. I was late to the party on that one but it's excellent like the others.
 
But Darius isn't a bullet hell shooter either.

I never said it was, you merged two different parts of your conversation together.

I think shmups have trended toward being more indie PC things of the sort that used to be called "doujin" games and away from the more polished, scoreplay focused arcade games, but I don't think that trend is limited to any one subgenre.

It hurts Shmups especially hard because the substance is gone, and the genre already spend decades in a niche without really evolving. I feel that the genre could go back to being as big as it was in the early half of the 80's if there was a design revolution for the genre. I tried that latest Darius awhile back and I feel like while the graphics were obviously better than G Darius (the game of the thread) I feel like it's lacking in comparison in every other area.

Yeah, the third one is quite good. I was late to the party on that one but it's excellent like the others.

3rd one is the only one I haven't played, but I enjoyed the first two.

but that got me thinking...1) what other games were rereleased just to up the difficulty factor...

That used to be common with 80's action and shooter arcade games where they would release a revision that was harder or changed the game up so you couldn't use the same patterns, or they would recommend the arcade operator to increase the difficulty manually.

Even Dragons Lair did that, changing the randomizer so the game wouldn't be easy to figure out since the laser disc games lost their appeal if you didn't once the players figured out the patterns.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
It hurts Shmups especially hard because the substance is gone, and the genre already spend decades in a niche without really evolving. I feel that the genre could go back to being as big as it was in the early half of the 80's if there was a design revolution for the genre. I tried that latest Darius awhile back and I feel like while the graphics were obviously better than G Darius (the game of the thread) I feel like it's lacking in comparison in every other area.
I find it hard to imagine shmups becoming "mainstream" in the way it was without fundamentally becoming an entirely different genre. The major tentpoles that make these games appealing to their niche audience are the same things that keep the normies away; high difficulty, short length, lack of story or "campaign," and a focus on single player high score.

That used to be common with 80's action and shooter arcade games where they would release a revision that was harder or changed the game up so you couldn't use the same patterns, or they would recommend the arcade operator to increase the difficulty manually.
Pretty common practice with shmups too. The Cave "black labels" for example.

Even Dragons Lair did that, changing the randomizer so the game wouldn't be easy to figure out since the laser disc games lost their appeal if you didn't once the players figured out the patterns.
Lotta shmups would randomize the early levels, and adjust the difficult accordingly, so you'd get different variations on the patterns depending on which order the levels were in. Most Psikyo games did this, for example.
 
I find it hard to imagine shmups becoming "mainstream" in the way it was without fundamentally becoming an entirely different genre.

But that's what happened when the Gradius and R-types came into the picture, they changed and removed gameplay options and made the whole genre appealing to a niche with little growth.

The games before than were just as hard if not harder, yet more people wanted to play them.

Sol-Deace

I kept having a hard time finding this game because i kept remembering as "Soul Deuce" but now I see why I kept getting the wrong results lol.
 

SF Kosmo

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But that's what happened when the Gradius and R-types came into the picture, they changed and removed gameplay options and made the whole genre appealing to a niche with little growth.

The games before than were just as hard if not harder, yet more people wanted to play them.
But this isn't really an issue peculiar to shmups, pretty much all single player arcade style games are relegated to a small niche now. The only real arcade style games that are still mainstream popular are the ones that are broadly compatible with the online gaming paradigm, like fighting games and racers.

I just think the business model and audience expectation has changed too much.
 
But this isn't really an issue peculiar to shmups, pretty much all single player arcade style games are relegated to a small niche now. The only real arcade style games that are still mainstream popular are the ones that are broadly compatible with the online gaming paradigm, like fighting games and racers.

I just think the business model and audience expectation has changed too much.

FPS, Racing, Puzzle, Fighting, Quiz, Overhead action, are still popular, there's room for shmups they just need to have deeper mechanics, flexibility in gameplay and pahts, and maybe not always focus on a space ship. maybe have a Z axis.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
FPS, Racing, Puzzle, Fighting, Quiz, Overhead action, are still popular, there's room for shmups they just need to have deeper mechanics, flexibility in gameplay and pahts, and maybe not always focus on a space ship. maybe have a Z axis.
Sadly shmups may be the least popular genre lately. Which bums me out
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
FPS, Racing, Puzzle, Fighting, Quiz, Overhead action, are still popular, there's room for shmups they just need to have deeper mechanics, flexibility in gameplay and pahts, and maybe not always focus on a space ship. maybe have a Z axis.
I wouldn't say FPS is really an "arcade" genre, if anything I would say FPS was a PC centric genre that lead the trend toward longer single player campaigns in action games.

I also wouldn't say "puzzle," "quiz", or "overhead action" (in the arcade sense) are especially more popular than shmups these days. People just don't like short, repetitive, skill based games the way they did in the past.
 
Sadly shmups may be the least popular genre lately. Which bums me out

I was going to say FMV, but there have been many recent releases new, and remakes/sequels to old favorites that came out over the years, several of which selling well.

I guess Run and Guns are in the same boat as Shmups so they aren't alone lol.

I also wouldn't say "puzzle," "quiz", or "overhead action" (in the arcade sense) are especially more popular than shmups these days.

They seem to be doing well in the small studio and Indie scene. Also on Mobile and Digital PC. Quiz seems to be more of a Japanese thing though (outside of mobile)

I wouldn't say FPS is really an "arcade" genre,

There were action fast-reflex FPS games on computer platforms and in the arcade before Doom which i was thinking of, as that shallow but action filled version of FPS has been making a resurgence, but I supposed that would be more a subgenre of FPS, since going back to the 80's, FPS on computers was always more about tactics, environment, and exploration most of the time, such as Galactic Dan.
 
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SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
There were action fast-reflex FPS games on computer platforms and in the arcade before Doom which i was thinking of, as that shallow but action filled version of FPS has been making a resurgence, but I supposed that would be more a subgenre of FPS, since going back to the 80's, FPS on computers was always more about tactics, environment, and exploration most of the time, such as Galactic Dan.
I think you're using "arcade" in a much broader sense than me. Are you European? I have noticed that term gets used just to mean fast action.

When I say arcade I mean the types of games popularized as coin-ops.
 
I think you're using "arcade" in a much broader sense than me. Are you European? I have noticed that term gets used just to mean fast action.

When I say arcade I mean the types of games popularized as coin-ops.

FPS games were literally in arcades back in the day before Doom lol, Gunbusters probably being the last one in 1992 and then Light Gun FMV/polygon games took over. The type of FPS you found in the arcade were also found on computers along with traditional FPS, but Traditional FPS were more common, and the arcade FPS style didn't work to well in arcades, was considered to complex compared to light gun.
 
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VGEsoterica

Member
FPS games were literally in arcades back in the day before Doom lol, Gunbusters probably being the last one in 1992 and then Light Gun FMV/polygon games took over. The type of FPS you found in the arcade were also found on computers along with traditional FPS, but Traditional FPS were more common, and the arcade FPS style didn't work to well in arcades, was considered to complex compared to light gun.
Gunbusters was a very novel concept. I love it. So much so I did a video on it a bit over a year ago

Gun Buster - Unported Playlist - Taito
 
Gunbusters was a very novel concept. I love it. So much so I did a video on it a bit over a year ago

Gun Buster - Unported Playlist - Taito

Interestingly, it being the last FPS (to my knowledge) in the arcades came with being the first to rotate the wall tiles, which is why that glass elevator works so well. The other ones played more like Wolfenstein on speed, but they would have the enemies rotate just not the background tiles.

Also while not perfect they did a good job on the rain effects without harming performance too badly.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Interestingly, it being the last FPS (to my knowledge) in the arcades came with being the first to rotate the wall tiles, which is why that glass elevator works so well. The other ones played more like Wolfenstein on speed, but they would have the enemies rotate just not the background tiles.

Also while not perfect they did a good job on the rain effects without harming performance too badly.
You’d have to count the Half Life arcade games though so this couldn’t be the last
 
You’d have to count the Half Life arcade games though so this couldn’t be the last

I meant made for the arcade but forgot about those. lol

Came out the same year as Wolfenstein, of course Wolf3D had larger scope and more secrets but Gunbuster was impressive nonetheless, especially with sprites which PC couldn't do anywhere near as well at the time.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
I meant made for the arcade but forgot about those. lol

Came out the same year as Wolfenstein, of course Wolf3D had larger scope and more secrets but Gunbuster was impressive nonetheless, especially with sprites which PC couldn't do anywhere near as well at the time.
Gunbuster was an awesome concept for sure. Controls were a bit hard to wrap your head around though. Takes a minute
 
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