November 5, 2011

STGT 2011 Week #4 - P-47 Aces

My god... several months have passed since my last post and I haven't even bothered to finish my STGT comments. Ok, I'm being a bit too harsh with myself, I got very busy with my work and rarely had even time to play any games. So using my little free time to look forward was my choice rather than looking back to STGT.

However, now with more time to think about it (and Kollision's inducement ;) ), I'm not really happy with this incomplete treatment. I even had made some notes on the last two games already. Probably no one cares anymore, but let's nontheless finish this for the sake of completion and mostly for myself, if I ever want read this again and refresh my memories.

P-47 Aces - a second horizontal in the same STGT! Does not happen that often, eh? I sure hadn't expected this and in the end I can say, I wasn't that happy about it either. I am not quite as good in horizontals, let alone when played with a keyboard. My finger position is not ideal for them as I use my right middle finger for both the up and down buttons and that slows down my vertical movements. For a horizontal game with lightning fast bullets like P-47 Aces, this is a killer. Now someone might ask why I don't bother to buy a USB pad instead. I have already tried a bunch of different ones, but without finding a satisfactory solution. (If you have any tips, feel free to contribute.) I gave up some time ago and got used to playing with a keyboard instead. It works well in most cases, but... anyway, I'm rambling too much once again, back on topic.

You could say that 1944 was a pseudo Raizing week in 2011's tournament, then I'd like to call P-47 Aces the pseudo Psikyo week. It is still very different with these two though. While 1944 was developed by Raizing and didn't feel like it at all (because it was done for Capcom and stands in the tradition of their series), P-47 wasn't developed by Psikyo, but clearly reminded me of them. It has some similar trademarks like orange-coloured bullets with lightning-fast speed as well as the nature of the bullet patterns. So P-47 Aces made me think of Sengoku Blade instantly, Psikyo's only memorable horizontal shmup. (Pilot Kids doesn't exist.) Even though P-47 Aces was released one year beforehand.

Since I love Psikyo that should be a great thing. And indeed, I would have also liked P-47 Aces, hadn't it been for two things:
  • The invisible bullets. Whoever thought it would be a good idead to place light-green bullets with a weird flashing animation in front of a light-coloured background or even loads of white smoke, should be tied to a chair and forced to play this for the rest of his lifetime, always to be punished after he lost a life. I probably died half of the time only because I couldn't see the bullets in time. So much about a fair challenge.
  • The powerdowns after a death. This game is the perfect example of how a game can be designed unfair even without checkpoints. You are left totally powerless. You often can't collect the powerups which are left on the screen either since they might be out of reach and take ages to get near you. You can use one or two bombs to grab them without being shot, but even then you are still underpowered. Cheap and frustrating like every checkpoint shooter.

I am not even complaining I guess. It is just sad, this could have been a fun game. The excitement of waving through the fast bullet patterns, the uncomplicated gameplay and the weird, but somehow cool humping feature - all awesome. The humping is like the signature feature of P-47 Aces. It is totally broken since players have to exploit luck-included glitches to get top scores. For a more average player like me this was fun nevertheless. I mean, how cool is it to forget about collision detection for once, jump around on walls and enemies and even get points for that? Pretty fun and original.

I am not such a fan of the game's rhythm though. It feels like getting overwhelmed constantly. Enemies are approaching without breaks, you are just dodging and dodging and dodging and begging for a respite. I prefer a more controlled way of playing to this constant stress. That's also the reason why Zero Gunner 2 and Giga Wing are my favourite Shooting Games: I like to get several slight ups and downs in the game's tension, difficulty increases and sometimes small breaks to get some rest and a reward after dodging tons of stuff, even if it is only for two seconds. P-47 Aces only offers a never ending and never changing wall of troubles.

At last I tried my best, but sucked at this brutal game. I was just lucky that everyone did apparently, leading to an average position for myself, somewhere in the 30s like usual. medals was our team's best player once more and DJW got his first score for the team's top 3. We, the Team Too Close for Comfort, could hold our 5th place in the overall team ranking.


17. m3tall1ca - 2,037,860
34. Battletoad - 1,216,970
35. DJW - 1,201,720
57. Geist - 737,520

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