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View Full Version : SA vs "Danmaku Rave"



Shining Aquas
03-25-2010, 12:35 AM
Welcome to another exciting episode of TNA Impact.
Nah, just kidding, page-long critiques are waaaaay more interesting than actual wrestling, as this time I got to wrestle with Bridget_'s crazy curtain fire contraption for the second official Boss Battle Review.
First though, a history lesson:

Now, for those of you who don't know what danmaku means, it more or less translates into "Bullet Hell", which is a genre of shooting game that is especially popular in Japan. Generally it involves playing as a small witch/magic girl/priestess or some variation of female flying person who can shoot magic bullets; on the flip side, it can sometimes encompass playing as a small plane/jet or some variation of aircraft vehicle. The idea is to have the "1 vs 1000" scenario, where it is up to your single unit to take down hundreds and hundreds of enemy units, plus a few ridiculous boss units. Making things more dificult, it is customary for games like this to operate under the notation that your unit is made out of glass and therfore shatters if touched by even the most minute bullet (aka get hit by 1 bullet and die). Now, I know the concept seems a little unfair (and in execution, it tends to be the same way), but the game tries to balance itself out by allowing you completely free movement, in which all directions are fine and the only real limitation is your movement speed. On top of that, it is also customary that your hitbox be the size of a grape, despite how big your girl/aircraft is. Finally, danmaku comes in many difficulties (it's not always impossibly hard ya know), ranging generally from Easy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joQqUk_s5UA) to Face Punching (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nscP9QpXoFM&feature=related)

So, "Boss: Danmaku Rave" is pretty much just that: It's a large machine that produces bullet hell with the use of brightly colored plasma balls flailing around in various directions. I'll admit that doing this in LBP must have been insanely difficult to do, and I applaud Bridget_ for doing it so well. Everything about this stage works, the design is great (and simple too), the machines are all well built, and the level idea is top notch. The problems I had with the level was the fact that we were asked to beat it not with a small little magic girl or a jet airplane but rather a sackboy. Seems like a silly argument, but bear with me here, my reasons are rational.

How large of a hitbox does a Sackboy have? If the answer is not "a couple pixels in the center" then this level type probably won't work as well as expected. In this case, the correct answer is "Everything from just barely above the waist down". In case you haven't noticed, Sackboy's upper body is invincible. Seriously, anytime anything would hit his upper body, he proceeds to bend down and completely avoid it...unless it hits his waist/legs/feet. Using this knowledge, Bridget_ created a terribly deceptive level that appears to be about twice more difficult than it actually is...but its still ridiculously difficult.

Anyways, here's the list of actions the Danmaku Machine has to throw at you:
Danmaku First Set: Easy - This set mostly consists of randomly firing green plasma shots in all directions. Not an especially difficult pattern and a very decent way to warm up the players for later sets. Always followed up with Recharge.
Danmaku Second Set: Regular - Fires triplet sets of yellow plasma shots in all directions. Combines this firing pattern with giant white plasma shots that travel at slow speeds, creating a deviously difficult pattern. Always followed up with Recharge.
Danmaku Third Set: Hard - A vast myriad of purple and blue shots fly everywhere. Try not to die here cause getting out of the safety box is actually pretty **** tough with all the bullets flying around. Again, follows up with Recharge.
Danmaku Final Set: Lunatic - It kinda looks like a supernova. A vast array of colours and exploding patterns with hundreds of slow moving tiny bullets. Mostly, it kills you with quantity over anything else, and I overly emphasize not dying here despite the increased difficulty. Followed up with Recharge yet again.
Recharge - After the firing of any pattern, the machine drops down opening up platforms with weak points on them. Destroy all 4 patterns to destroy the current form of the boss. This needs to be done a grand total of 4 times for victory.

So the attack pattern is mind-numbling easy to understand: (Set 1 > Recharge) x N, then replace Set 1 with sets 2,3, and 4 accordingly until the boss is dead. The machine fires a set, goes into recharge mode, you hit as many weak points as you can within the time limit, then the pattern repeats until you've hit all the weak points to which the machine changes forms. Seems simple enough, but there's so many factors that stop you along the way, and you may be surprised to hear that the bullets aren't really the worst of them.

Yes, the constant threat of death does present its share of survival issues but the infinitely bigger issue I had was with the platforms used to reach the weak points. The spacing between them is just spaced far enough vertically to make the whole thing a massive pain in the ****. Yes, you can definitely go from point to point with simple jumps, but it's very easy to miss a platform just barely because apparently you didn't jump high enough, causing you to fall to the bottom and have to survive yet another full wave of bullet hell, which in the later waves is pretty much a death sentence. Also, I know Bridget_ addressed this issue a long time ago by saying the recharge time stays the same on every wave, but I swear I think the recharge time gets just barely shorter on each wave, making the jumping segments just that much more impossible. The game must be playing tricks on me. Still, even without the timing changes the platform jumping is just a little too irritating and quite expecting of you on a performance level after having to thresh your way through tightly woven bullets of death. It's in many ways like making a triathlon athlete go through the crazy swimming/cycling/running course and then forcing them to solve a college-level math problem before they cross the finish line.

Still, despite anything bad I have to say about it, the level is very very good...if you like this sort of thing. If not, I can almost guarantee you're gonna hate it by the time you reach the second wave...if you can even pass the first wave. Personally, I like the level very much even though I could never quite beat it. It actually drove me to the point of near insanity because I almost always got to the 4th wave, but due to overwhelming bullets and terribly spaced jumping platforms I could never pass that last stretch. It was all quite frustrating.

Final Score: 7.5 / 10
Well built, challenging, and very pretty to stare at, the Danmaku Rave will supply you with just about everything you want in a LittleBigPlanet level....except for actual enjoyment. That comes hard.

DEFEAT: I simply could not overcome the massive stream of bullets; Danmaku Rave was too much for me. Maybe next time.

On a side note, the games in the 2 links are Touhou 11 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subterranean_Animism) and Mushihimesama Futari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushihime-sama_Futari) respectively

Bridget
03-25-2010, 07:56 PM
That all seems about right, hah.

And yeah, I'm well aware of the annoying-ness with the platforms; normally, with the danmaku bosses I make, I prefer to give the player the paint gun to shoot at them (with some exceptions). This was impossible with Rave; it was already half built by the time the MGS pack came out. Couldnt implement the paintgun without tearing the whole thing apart, which would have caused great deals of me smashing things.

And would you believe I actually got complaints from a few people saying that this level wasnt hard enough? Boy was that a surprise.

As it is, the 2nd one, Danmaku Gruidae, is finally just about finished. It'll probably be up within the next week. That one will be split up into three different versions, with different difficulties for different players, so everyone stops yelling at me. Lol. Though the third and hardest one is going to make Rave here look like a cake walk. I'm not actually sure what a cake walk is, but everyone agrees that cake is good, and walking isnt very hard, so there you go.

Oh, and good video links there, lol.

I'll agree with the descriptions on those. Futari definitely qualifies as "Face punching". I spend an awful lot of time cursing and shrieking at it.

Would you believe the boss in that video is actually *alot* harder than it even looks?

Shining Aquas
03-26-2010, 04:54 AM
Wait, people didn't think this was hard enough? What games are they playing? Geez.

I'd be interested in trying that new project you're working on.

I honestly can't comment on how hard that boss is on account of Japan being mean to me and NOT releasing Futari on the PS3, but rather the 360. I unfortunately only have the the original Mushihimesama for the PS2 (which is still amazing).
I don't see how much harder it could be from the appearance though...must be something unworldly. Has it been 1CC'ed yet?

Bridget
03-26-2010, 09:46 AM
Wait, people didn't think this was hard enough? What games are they playing? Geez.

I'd be interested in trying that new project you're working on.

I honestly can't comment on how hard that boss is on account of Japan being mean to me and NOT releasing Futari on the PS3, but rather the 360. I unfortunately only have the the original Mushihimesama for the PS2 (which is still amazing).
I don't see how much harder it could be from the appearance though...must be something unworldly. Has it been 1CC'ed yet?


Yeah, I know what you mean about the PS3 thing. I havent the foggiest clue as to WHY *all* of the shmups, and I mean *all* of them, are going to the Xbox. It's not just Cave's stuff. Both of the recent Raiden games went there, Mamoru-kun went there, the new Parodius is going there, Senko no Ronde, I could really just keep going here.

Buuuut, at the same time, this is Cave we're talking about. I was a HUGE fan of the original Mushihime. Played it to death. I did eventually fully beat all modes (after much yelling and throwing of objects). So I was NOT going to miss out on the new games, no sir. I didnt just buy one 360, I bought 2 of them. One english unit and one Japanese unit. Of course, Cave has started making the games region-free, so..... yeah. Futari and Galuda are region free, and Death Smiles is actually going to see a US release. Ketsui and Death Smiles 2 will also likely be region free.

But anyway, yes, that boss, is *MUCH* harder than it looks. And yeah, Im aware, it looks bloody insane to begin with. I cant overstate how hard Ultra mode is though, overall. I'll put it this way. If you have the first game, you've surely played Ultra mode in that one. I'm good enough at these to beat that mode. But then we go to Ultra in Futari. Stage ONE eats me. I'm not making that up. Those godforsaken exploding boulders, argh. Granted, I think it's actually THE hardest stage in the game (Cave is NOT good at difficulty balancing) but still. Nothing in the first Ultra was THAT hard. And that's just stage one. Hell, you should see the midboss alone! Or the 2nd stage midboss, even worse! It's a MIDBOSS, and I've never, EVER seen someone beat it without bombing twice. Not once.

As for the FINAL fight.... well, firstly, yes, this has been 1cc'ed. Only by a very, very small amount of people. I'd put it at probably less than 10 worldwide. The final boss, Larsa, is a total nightmare. Her first form alone makes the rest of the game look easy. And that' sjust the first form. The 2nd and third form only appear if you went through the entire game without continuing. The second form makes the first look easy. And the third.... nobody can dodge that. Nobody. You either get there with enough bombs remaining, or you lose. With all of my experience with these games, if I attempt this fight in practice mode, well, the farthest I've ever gotten, with 4 lives to start with (cause nobody's ever done it with less than 4 stocks in reserve), the farthest is halfway through her second form. I think I've done the first one a seriously absurd amount of times.

As it is, due to this, for God mode, which is comparable to the difficulty in the first game's Ultra, I can nearly beat Larsa in that mode without dying at all during the fight. Though I've not yet beaten God mode, the 2nd half of stage 3 drives me crazy. And I play for score, not just survival, so I'm trying to find a proper way to do it without bombing it....

Shining Aquas
03-26-2010, 05:40 PM
Man, PS3 needs more shoot-em up's. Like, good ones. I don't have any real problems with Stardust HD or Everyday Shooter, but I need some more bullet hell types.
I'm honestly flabbergasted as to why they all (literally all) ended up on the 360.

I just can't go buying a 360...especially a Japanese 360...just for a couple of games. I would love to play Mushihimesama Futari, Senko no Ronde, and Triggerheart Excelica to name a few, but I'm willing to wait it out and see if they every see a PS3 release.

It's happened with plenty of other games so far (Eternal Sonota, Star Ocean 4, Battle Fantasia, Castle Crashers, etc.)

Bridget
03-26-2010, 06:03 PM
Man, PS3 needs more shoot-em up's. Like, good ones. I don't have any real problems with Stardust HD or Everyday Shooter, but I need some more bullet hell types.
I'm honestly flabbergasted as to why they all (literally all) ended up on the 360.

I just can't go buying a 360...especially a Japanese 360...just for a couple of games. I would love to play Mushihimesama Futari, Senko no Ronde, and Triggerheart Excelica to name a few, but I'm willing to wait it out and see if they every see a PS3 release.

It's happened with plenty of other games so far (Eternal Sonota, Star Ocean 4, Battle Fantasia, Castle Crashers, etc.)

I can promise there wont be a PS3 release of any of these.

A couple of reasons for this.

1, Sony is really good at sitting there looking stupid at everyone and doing absolutely nothing. Much as I like the PS3, Sony isnt at all aggressive about acquiring games and whatnot like they used to be. THe shmup genre is such a perfect example. It's not like the 360 got some of them.... it's that it got *all* of them.

2. PS3 is notoriously hard to program for. I suspect this is THE reason for all of those going to the 360.

And 3, and this is the big one to me, the 360 is partially responsible for the revival of the genre. The genre was never dead to begin with, but the 360 really helped bring it to more players, with things like Geometry Wars, or by simply having games like Ikaruga or Triggerheart. I think that's part of why they keep going there; because it's THE console for that genre. AND, it's also known for alot of retro games and more arcade-y style games.... two things the PS3 barely has.

Oh, and 4, Microsoft has gotten aggressive about exclusives lately.


I love my PS3, but it doesnt change the fact that MOST of the games Im interested in lately are on the 360. It's actually been awhile since I bought a PS3 game, but I keep buying things on the 360 nearly non-stop; I'm up to about 75 games on there, counting the download titles.

For me though, I didnt buy it for those other 74 games. I bought the bloody thing for Futari. I nearly went and paid some 600 bucks for the PCB as it is.

And these new games are what have been influencing my LBP designs as well. Gruidae is nearly finished, and when you see the horrible thing, well, all the patterns it uses are influenced mostly by Futari and Galuda 2.

Oh, one last thing: There was ONE of Cave's recent games that went to a different place, which is Ketsui Death Label, which is on the DS. If you have a DS, it's very good indeed..... and it's also $130 because it's a bit rare. It's not the full port though; boss-rush only. Manages to give quite alot to do anyway though. The full port of Ketsui isnt out yet, and yes, is going to the 360.

I wish they'd hit the PS3 myself, too. 360 controller is a nightmare. I ended up buying an arcade stick to play these (which was a great idea anyway).


EDIT: It just occurred to me, they didnt ALL hit the 360. I dunno if you have a Wii, but there's a decent few that went to that console. I freaking HATE the Wii, myself, but I still use one mostly due to this. Shikigami no Shiro 3, the Milestone collection, Blast Works, the new Gradius, and some others, hit that console. Figured I'd mention this in case you have one. Nothing quite like the bullet hell lunacy of Cave though. Shiki is as close as it gets on that console (though, the Shikigami games are some of my all time favorites).

CCubbage
03-30-2010, 05:49 PM
Hope you guys don't mind me posting here.... I really love the SA reviews - quality stuff. Wish you did more.

I haven't played Danmaku Rave in a while, but I think when the platforms rise between each section.... can't you jump up onto the platforms when they start to rise so they're easier to get on? I think I found it much less frustrating to do this (but it's been about a year, so I'm not totally sure).

RockSauron
03-30-2010, 07:49 PM
I remember being addicted to this for a week until I finally beat it... with one life eyt, but I died two times on the slide, but still. Awesome boss. Loved it. LOVED IT :kz:

Bridget
04-01-2010, 09:09 AM
For those that read this, and are interested, the follow up to Rave, named Danmaku Gruidae, is just about finished. For the most part, only testing remains.

I've just posted some preview info and screenshots in the Ideas and Projects section; go find my topic in there if you're interested.

Shining Aquas
04-02-2010, 10:27 PM
I'll probably add it to the list.