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    Shmups, black metal, communism
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  1. I'm in the middle of a grand playthrough of the whole series, having bought most of them a while ago, so it's exciting to have a new one to act as a capstone. I'm wondering how much we can infer about the game's mechanics and structure from the short trailer. Is the person collecting scrap parts indicating anything about how ACs are built in this game? Are the sweeping shots of open wasteland a clue as to the scale of the thing? Etc...
  2. Occasionally, this port will start up running much more slowly than it should. The issue is fixed by turning the game off and starting it again. This was no big deal for me, but I've just discovered that it can also slow down mid-game after a good start (and stay that way), which renders the port too unpredictable to play seriously in its current state, unfortunately. (Until now, I'd been impressed with how little it felt like a kludgy port-of-a-port. It feels identical to the Saturn version when it's running well!)
  3. Yeah, that's it! It even gives some coverage at lower levels, I think - whenever I pull up underneath the missiles at the start of level 2, they always die. Attacking above and below you becomes really important from stage 3 onward. There are loads of enemies that approach from the left edge of the screen but can be taken out before they fire with some careful positioning.
  4. Another thing to consider are the autofire options in the port. MB has a weird decreasing autofire rate, which you keep at a good clip by pumping the shot button every second or so. But the port offers continuous 15hz, 20hz and 30hz autofire. I managed to screw up my first run anyway, but if you have even a vague knowledge of the stage layouts, 30hz autofire makes the whole game a piece of piss. Just melts through everything before anything has a chance to become a problem, including the st4 bubbles that can usually really slow you down. I thought working back up to the 1CC would take a while but it feels about two runs away...
  5. Yeah, it's quite memo-heavy, but the main shot is also effectively a shield - at a decent power level it will protect 75% of your ship from any unexpected collisions (unless you're attacked directly from behind, which is rare). Apart from the first stage, it isn't really slow at all - there's always a new obstacle or threat about to enter the screen. The pacing and difficulty level just feel very 'comfy' to me, neither excessively taxing nor sedate...
  6. Metal Black is one of my favourite games. It's fair to say that it's a relatively quiet, sombre experience on the whole, but it has lots of really arresting and experimental visuals which (in conjuction with YACK's magnum opus) give it these wonderful spikes of intensity and urgency. A lot of western players seem to write it off as being 'unfair' and 'random', but once you understand the capabilities of your ship you realise you've pretty much always got the upper hand. Check out BIL's excellent guide if you do struggle: https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?t=30872
  7. The plexi in my pic was a solid piece of acrylic with art printed directly on it (perhaps underprinted - I don't know anything about this process, but it didn't scratch easily). It's 2mm thick, but I imagine the Arcade Art Shop folks could get it down to 1mm, or whatever the thickness of the HRAP sticker is. It's a fairly expensive solution, but I've never really seen any quick, cheap ones for the HRAP4...
  8. ^ A lovely fella at the following site made an Egret II-themed plexi for a Qanba Q4RAF after I supplied him with the art: https://www.arcadeartshop.com/ IIRC it came to about £35. (The art was from @GStickart on Twitter, whose current rates I'm not sure of.)
  9. Excited for the FM remakes, but a big part of the appeal for me was their grungy art styles (particularly in FM2 amd 3), and these look really clean and inoffensive in a Fortnitey kinda way, at least in trailers viewed on my phone screen. Guess I'll get a proper look soon, anyway!
  10. Yeah, this is one of my favourite games, but it's hard to really get behind a bunch of awkward, fudgy ports of titles that have worked well in MAME for 25 years. Everything announced as an S-Tribute game should have had a Hamster ACA release instead, and I hope this doesn't preclude some of them from eventually receiving that treatment... (Thankfully, the Ray'z Chronology has us covered for a solid Rayforce port.)
  11. I've been playing a lot of Deathsmiles IIX recently. The reputation this game has is criminal - far from being some laughable misstep, it's a fairly straightforward smoothing out of the first game's rough edges in terms of its scoring systems (especially the quick counter recharge), and it has a meaningful shift in emphasis with all of the background lock-on targets to exploit. The soundtrack is some of Namiki's best work, too. I'm playing this on both PS4 and 360, as I've recently managed to get an RGH-modded console up and running. While I can't take it online and compete on the (probably dead) leaderboards, it's been a real joy to finally try out some region-locked games which have eluded me for nearly 15 years. Otomedius was a big one, coming out at pretty much the apex of my Gradius obsession. Both Gorgeous and Excellent are as middling as everyone assured me, but I'm still having a blast with them. Another nice surprise has been DOJ BL EX, which is nowhere near as poor a port as I had expected, and has a great precursor to M2's "super easy" modes in the 'X' arrange (in that the only remotely difficult thing to do is to survive for the 2 seconds between bullet-cancelling hypers). Very little about the main modes feels 'off' at first blush, so I can only assume the chaining is fundamentally broken in some way...
  12. Last DLC for RTF2 looks great - R-Type stage 4, Delta stage 6 and Image Fight stages 7 and 8: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JYhisV7h2TU
  13. Ah, if you don't mind having a look for it, that'd be very kind! I must have been really lucky with my 'Jasper' if the old ones are always failing - I've had the same one since 2008!
  14. Oh, it's an original model. The "Falcon" iteration, I believe. I bought it because it looked identical to my Jasper and I figured I already had all the cables. I know what to look for now - just wondering if the price range sounds reasonable and if they're usually a safe secondhand purchase...
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