August 31, 2011

STGT 2011 Week #3 - 1944: The Loop Master

I must be fair, 1944: The Loop Master never had a real chance with me. In shooting games I enjoy dodging a lot more than shooting, a formula with equal proportions is nice, too. But I don't like such an emphasize on shooting in most cases anymore and so I didn't have much fun with this game either. I don't accuse 1944 for being this way, yet there are quite a few things that are simply wrong in this game. Firstly, the hitbox including your small sideplanes is huge and it's not fun to lose so many of your assistants because you don't have enough room to dodge. Secondly, I found the ship speed being too slow, especially since it is a vertically oriented game on a horizontal screen.

Then there is this lifebar thing. Before this week I didn't understand how much hate this mechanic gets. I mean how should a lifebar ruin a game if it's fairly similar to having lives, just that you don't explode and respawn, but stay on the screen? Can't possibly be worse than checkpoints and losing all powerups. Indeed it isn't, nontheless I understand the problems now. It is just wishy-washy. I screamed at the screen more than once not understanding how I had so little energy left. Numbers as the amount of lives are simply way more convincing and obvious than this. So I thought I must have received so much damage from one mistake because of getting hit by several bullets or something. Then I tried this out in practice runs, flew into enemy shots twice in a very short interval and noticed that you are given a decent time of invincibilty after one hit. But then it just happened again. I swear that I got multiple hits in a row without invincibility several times. I don't get it.

The worst part about 1944 is the invincibility during charge shots. Not directly, but how the game design is based around it. End bosses are the best example. Their patterns, or at least some of them, are just broken. What you are supposed to do is mostly use your charge shots and bombs on them. Otherwise there is no way to dodge certain attacks or it is way too dangerous. And when you figured out a pattern and think about dodging, suddenly sub-turrets which have been passive in every previous run start to shoot for no reason and ruin your plan. Sounds like fun, right?

So these are not the exciting and fair boss fights I would wish for. Moreover, some end bosses hop around the screen like madmen. So unsteady that it's just annoying. Incidentally, it is also odd to see the normal enemies' movement in this game which is kept rather realistic, and then boss planes with these crazy flying routes and tanks accelerating and braking like they had turbos on their backs.

I have to be honest one more time as I liked a few things about 1944 indeed. The tactical use of your sideplanes like shot blocking and suiciding to execute a minibomb are sweet. The possibility to load up your charge shot in multiple phases adds another tactical element and leads to fast transitions between normal shooting and charge shots. Yet I'm not a huge fan of these charge shots that take forever to load. That bothered me in early Psikyo shooters already.

I absolutely don't know what more to say about this game. I just didn't like it. I even screwed around senselessly with the player sides, switched to P2 side early because I don't like Lightning's ship design. Then I noticed far too late how often I got hit because I guessed my ship's positioning wrong. Zero's green sprite tended not to have enough contrast to the background since there are so many damn forest levels. So I switched back to P1 on Sunday, even though it didn't help anymore. My best run even ended by triggering a bomb just slightly too late. The bomb was activated, but the lack of instant panic function wanted my game to be over. I at least reached my minimum goal of 6 million, 7 million were in reach though. Considering how little time I had before the weekend and how inconsistent I performed on this game, I still can be half-content with my score. medals also hated 1944 and got a similar score while CRI was back to kick some ass. Not a too bad week for Team Too Close for Comfort, somehow it even got us the 5th place in the overall ranking.

Funny side note: I got shocked when I finally had a look on the title screen on Sunday to find out the game was indeed released in 2000. It already said "2000 Capcom" in the YouTube No Miss replay, but I just ignored it thinking "no way". It feels and looks so oldschool that I would have expected mid 90s or something. The boss sprites are huge and well done, but besides them I didn't find the graphics exciting or nice to look at or whatever.


16. CRI - 12,875,900
31. Battletoad - 6,312,670
34. m3tall1ca - 6,038,280
66. STG - 3,641,720
67. Geist - 3,578,889
89. DJW - 2,525,800


  1. Hallo!
    Was ist los? :)
    I just came by to read about Daioh again. What happened to the great posts abour the stgt (or any other stuff)?

  2. Ugh sorry, it seems I lost it somewhere... :(
    And meanwhile I think it's so long ago that's it not worth posting STGT thoughts anymore.

    I simply got very busy with my work and didn't even have much time to play anything until a few weeks ago. Thus lazyness got me again as I wanted to use my little time rather for looking forward than finishing my comments on the past tourney... oh well.

    I could post some other stuff though since some shmup-related things happened recently. I bought the Sengoku Ace/Blade collection for PS2, Gunspike for Dreamcast, Jamestown and Gundemonium Collection on Steam and I've been playing some more Zero Gunner 2 which you might have already noticed. ;)
    Oh and today I got tempted and ordered the Sturmwind Limited Edition.

  3. Good to know you're still active, man. And yes, keep them texts coming.
    Since you're in Germany, I reckon you'll probably get your Sturmwind LE before Christmas? Lucky bastard. If I receive mine nefore the end of January I'll consider myself really fortunate! hahaha

  4. Well I believe Fast Striker was released on 22nd December also (or 21st maybe). If I recall correctly, I just barely received it before the holidays. Would be kinda nice for Sturmwind, too, yes. I hope you won't have to wait too long. ;)

    I think I will post something new on my blog within the next week or two... Writing the boss walkthroughs for my Zero Gunner 2 shmup treatise is also planned.