December 11, 2011

News #5 - Doujin shmups, goodies & Saturn pads

It's been awhile since my last physical shmups purchase (ok the Sengoku collection wasn't that long ago), so it's about time for some new stuff. It's not like I don't have games in my collection that still haven't been treated well enough by myself, but oh well... the desire to get more great titles is way too strong. It seems that by now I am way beyond the point where I can play all the shooters in my collection extensively. Greater choice of games, but harder choices to make.

Kamui got my attention through various mentions in forums which lead me to finally have a look at it. The videos I watched failed to disappoint and finding out about Siter Skain's other titles, RefleX and Alltynex Second, only increased my enthusiasm. All of these look exactly like games that match my taste perfectly with the fast action-packed gameplay and seemingly nice and not too sophisticated scoring systems, but some in-depth playtime has to be invested before I can say that for sure.

A few goodies conclude my recent purchase. The Under Defeat superplay DVD - next to the entertainment factor - will help me clear the game's 1st loop I hope. The Crimzon Clover soundtrack has caught my attention a bit too late as I don't like the music in the game's first stages too much. But most of the other tunes are indeed nothing less than awesome and one of the reasons why the game is so fun. Thus the soundtrack will be a welcome addition to my collection.

Last but not least, two Saturn controllers together with this small thing will make my life on the Playstation 2 a lot easier from now on. This lagless Saturn to Playstation converter will allow me to play shmups on the Playstation 2 without feeling handicapped after all. Let's face it: the d-pads from the original PS2 controllers are some of the most awkward ones ever made.

December 6, 2011

Zero Gunner 2 - A tribute...

It's the 14th November 2011, late at night. After a few failed tries I'm slowly getting tired. Only physically though, not at all tired of playing. So I'm starting my last credit in Zero Gunner 2 for the evening, totally not expecting the following...

The 2nd loop from my 2-ALL replay in Zero Gunner 2

The journey that had started on 6th June 2009, that lasted not less than two and a half years, finally came to an end - I cleared both loops in Zero Gunner 2. Altogether it took me six months of dedicated play to do this. Of course this has been the most tremendous task I've ever faced in any shmup. That's why the breaks of two years altogether were absolutely necessary to keep the fun alive and to prevent me from getting burnt out. In summer 2010 I got to the stage 5 boss in the 2nd loop, but felt so burnt out that I questioned if I'd ever feel like continue on playing again. The weird thing about it is: this time I only needed one month to get to my previous status, to get better and more consistent at the first loop stages and to master stage 2-6 and 2-7. It came together much faster than I ever could have imagined in my dreams.

With this still long period, Zero Gunner 2 connects today with the good old times where I had just started playing shoot 'em ups seriously and for score. In times when bullet hell shooters with overwhelming amounts of projectiles still were way too much for me, it taught me a lot of things about hand-eye coordination in the first place. The bullet count is below average for a Psikyo shooter and so after a while I've always felt like sustaining the overview and being in control. Moreover, the difficulty is just right. All in all a perfect preparation for heavier tasks to come. No wonder that Zero Gunner 2 became my first 1CC in a "non-classical" shmup.

Somehow my All Clear also resulted in a little bit of melancholy. Or should I call it emptiness? For such a long time have I enjoyed this game or at least had this huge goal in the back of my head. Now the journey is basically over. From now on I will only play Zero Gunner 2 for fun once in a while or to improve my Comanche score. Then there's this other thing... The 2-ALL has been a huge task for me and without any doubt my largest effort in video games. Will I ever have something bigger to shoot for or at least something that is comparable to it? Right at this moment I would say: definitely not. I am able to dedicate myself quite much to a single game. But I will accept the suffering and frustration solely for games I outright adore, and even then just as long as the fun remains. Well, and Zero Gunner 2 is my favourite. It can only go downhill from now on. ;)

Needless to say the happiness outweighs the other feelings by far - Zero Gunner 2 simply blessed me with some of the best and most unforgettable moments I ever had with video games. Not only is it my favourite shooting game, it will always have a special place in heart.

R.I.P. Psikyo.
I would so kill for a Zero Gunner 3...