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    Shmups, black metal, communism

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  1. Klatrymadon


    Has been for at least 20 years!
  2. Glad you're enjoying it, folks! One thing to be aware of if you want to clear Hardcore mode is that since the game was patched this genuinely has to be done in one sitting and on a single credit. It used to save your progress after each stage, like in Normal mode, so that you could potentially replay each stage over and over to cheesily stitch together a 'perfect' run.
  3. Klatrymadon


    What stick is it, sharak? Sure it doesn't just need a different mounting plate?
  4. Klatrymadon


    The HRAP4 Kai comes with the Hayabusa stick, which is definitely arcade quality and comparable in feel to the Sanwa JLF, I think (for me this meant it was a bit too loose and mushy for shmups, so I bought the Kowal 1mm oversize actuator to shorten the engage a bit, and the octopus gate for preference). If you get a Kai, make sure it's the later version with the matte Hayabusa buttons, as these feel much better than the previous Kuro ones and you won't be in a rush to swap them out. Psyvariar Revision differs from Medium Unit in lots of ways, but the big game-changer is that you can 'graze' each bullet as many times as you like (in MU each bullet can only be grazed once), which changes all of your scoring opportunities massively. I haven't spent much time with Delta yet but it's definitely based more on Revision than MU, with remixed stage layouts once again. The extra ship from Cybattler is a nice addition too and adds a radically different playstyle to the game.
  5. Klatrymadon


    God that VLX is gorgeous. I really ought to save up for one... By the way Saint Dragon is getting an Arcade Archives release soon! The Salamander ACA release is coming to Switch too.
  6. Klatrymadon


    Just a thought, since these were extremely popular sticks that some people here might have lying around, but another solution for building a universal arcade stick without too much hassle might be to install the Brook Universal Fighting Board in the 360 version of the Madcatz SFIV TE stick (presumably both the Round 1 and 2 varieties are fine), which I'm learning can be done without any risky or difficult DIY work. According to this guide, the stick and top button harnesses can be cut away and the individual wires (for directions and grounding, etc) inserted into the screw terminals on the board, and if you grab a cheap USB A-to-B cable (printer cable) to replace the existing USB you won't have to do any soldering. The home button wiring goes into a screw terminal too. Brook sell a 20-pin harness for stick and buttons (there's a pre-soldered version of the Brook PCB to connect this to) if you wanted to gut the old wiring entirely, but there's no need, really. More modern buttons that the stick is lacking (share, or a touchpad, or whatever) are emulated via various button combinations which are explained in the instructions for the board itself. Could be worth a go, @sharak! I was thinking about installing the board in a HRAP4 Kai but there's very little room inside those and it's a trickier job on the whole, but this sounds dead easy...
  7. Klatrymadon


    Cheers! It's a bloody expensive set so I hope it helps someone decide whether or not to bother! (Guess who has the Switch Special Edition and a completely unjustifiable PS4 one on the way? What a mark...) BTW, the Arcade disc/cart of the Cozmic Collection includes 'version 2' of the Sagaia, which is very rarely seen in the wild, and I've never found a ROM for it. It's worth buying the standard edition just for that, if you have an interest in the older games - it's very different from the other versions of Darius II and has a quite a lot of upgraded graphics, etc.
  8. Klatrymadon


    Do you have a decent stick and buttons lying around? A cheap option could be to buy a Mayflash F300 (which are universal with a minor caveat*, and can be had for about £20-25 if you keep an eye out on eBay), and pop your own parts into it. If you don't have anything, it can still be a decent universal option - a Seimitsu LS-62 and 8 OBSF-30 buttons set me back just short of £50 recently, so getting a Mayflash and your preferred parts would still be a fair bit cheaper than buying a "premium" stick that only covers one or two consoles. As for getting into Darius, I would recommend starting with Gaiden and G-Darius, which are both the best and the most accessible to newcomers. They're both visually and aurally stunning experiences with compelling enough mechanics to draw in new players (especially G, with its miniboss-capturing and beam-duelling hooks, but this is kind of an irrelevant tease - it isn't on the Cozmic Collection). Gaiden is where the series overcomes some of its growing pains and becomes confident and virtuosic, and where the boss battles - which were always the centrepieces - become immense and spectacular. The earlier games are some of my favourites but will seem quite basic at first, as well as strict and unforgiving, and Dariusburst CS has by far the richest gameplay systems in the series but is likely to put people off with its extremely nothing art direction (as it already has here). If you're interested in the collection, you definitely want the Arcade disc before the Console one, even if it's just for Gaiden. You can use savestates for practicing and whack the autofire rate through the roof if you want a gentler experience (and watch my sloppy 1CC video if you're having trouble). The console games that are arcade ports are very impressive technical achievements but ultimately less essential than the originals, and the console games that aren't ports are fairly humdrum bland-'em-ups (I like Twin but would recommend avoiding Force). The Console disc is for those already obsessed. :p *with PS3/4 and 360, you need to connect a control pad to the stick's USB port.
  9. I got a 15" Aiwa CRT for £30 a year or so ago, primarily for getting back into my Saturn and PS1 shmups, but it's become my main gaming screen. It's nothing special at all, but it's a million miles away from the experience of playing older games on newer screens, and it's not only 2D games that benefit. They look fantastic, of course, and I'm currently spending ages gawping at sprite art and backgrounds in Symphony of the Night again (barely even consciously playing it, just looking), but the appearance of textures and colours in 3D games is also completely different. Curse of Darkness, for example, has a reputation for being fairly drab and pedestrian, and I'm almost certain this is due to its being experienced via displays it wasn't designed for, because on a CRT it's all warm, vivid reds and purples and searing neon menus, etc. Even Shadow Tower, a game which is half black most of the time, still benefits from a kind of velvety CRT black, of seemingly endless depth, which isn't perceptible via any other kind of screen. So, remember to revisit your older 3D games on your CRTs, too - there's a whole aesthetic world to rediscover! :p
  10. Oh fuck, DBAC in Liverpool? Going home ASAP!
  11. If this is still going I'm well overdue a run through CV4! I'm really glad to see so many people here enjoying it. I received it for Christmas in 1992, when I was 6, and it's been one of my favourite games since. It has a lot of really carefully considered level design, an unmatched sense of artistic ambition and focus, and one of the most haunting and memorable soundtracks the SNES has ever belted out, which manages to draw from a broad and eclectic range of influences whilst still having really strong thematic development. CV4's also a lot easier to recommend to new players than any of the earlier classic Castlevanias, since it's generally a fair bit easier to get into and gives you multiple ways of dealing with most situations. Since people are talking about secrets, here's my favourite: in the second half of stage 6 (with the green stone floors, after all the swinging chandeliers), you can break part of the floor to reveal a staircase leading to a hidden room. If you go down there you see an old man ambling back and forth aimlessly whilst his dog runs around. There's no way of interacting with the man, but if you kill his dog he kneels next to it, sobbing. Shortly after, they both disappear in flames. It's an oddly poignant, eerie encounter that's similar in tone to some of the secrets in SotN, like the confession booth ghosts, etc. Edit: the room even has its own unique music, and of course it's sublime.
  12. Deffo! I think a lot of people could get something out of them with that incentive to put a bit of time into them for community purposes. Any controller with four shoulder buttons should be fine for them, btw. They all use the d-pad for movement and the shoulder buttons for head movements and strafing. It's weird at first but you settle into it.
  13. I've been playing as many of the earlier From games as I can over the last year or so. It's King's Field IV's turn at the moment, and it's already become one of my most treasured PS2 experiences, a mere five hours in. Some idle thoughts/fun stuff: -I've just passed through an area housing an enormous temple with many entrances and floors, surrounded by paths that all lead to complex networks of rooms. It's impressively huge, and there are still no loading screens in sight. It feels like a vast expansion of KF2's castle idea, which, along with all the returning attack animations and magic spells, is compounding the vague feeling that it's a kind of loose remake. -When certain enemies hit you in this one you get knocked off balance and the controls go all over the place for a second. It's a nice effect and heightens the feeling that you're in a real fight with consequences (which is arguably a much-needed injection of contingency and depth for KF combat). Also, it reminds me of those joker power-ups that reverse the directions for a while in older games. -I realised this has the OG "crestfallen warrior" in its opening village: a guy who feels lousy for letting his group go off fighting without him. He sits on a rock saying things like "I'm such an idiot" and "you can't be anyone important - you wouldn't be here". -Bastard swords in the PAL version are called "Bugger Blades", there's an ordinary mace called "Ultimate Spike", and there's a hammer called "Fighters' Pounder". -There's a gloriously well-timed sequence involving your arrival at a new area. Most of the game is murky and drab, but there's a really beautiful bit where, after you've been trudging around this seemingly endless subterranean network of Ghormenghast-esque stone rooms and tunnels, half the time in inky darkness, you emerge into a lush and serene forest. It's a hell of a feat to make such an area feel fresh and exciting again. There's a palpable feeling of coming up for air when you get there. Don't let the glacial pace and middling reviews put you off (KF was never particularly well received in the mainstream gaming press, but the series has always been excellent) - this is a staggering achievement and essential playing for anyone interested in the PS2's history and its relative obscurities.
  14. I'm a few hours into Crimson Shroud, which I'd also highly recommend to anyone enjoying Culdcept's board game idea, since its main conceit is that it's a literal tabletop RPG, with your characters represented as figurines in little dioramas, and dice rolls deciding the effectiveness of some of your actions, etc. The writing's pretty entertaining (it's a Yasumi Matsuno game translated by the same guy who did Vagrant Story), though the story itself is well-trodden ground, and it's got a lot of interesting systems going on with lots of potential for customising your characters. Great music and sound design, too. I hear it's a bit slight, finishing just as you expect it to open up, but it's well worth experiencing all the same. (I've never seen it on sale but it's about £8.)
  15. Thanks. Yeah, it's just the link the 3DS store tells you to follow that only offers specific amounts of credit. False alarm!
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