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RF Generation Message Board | Gaming | Community Playthroughs (Moderators: techwizard, singlebanana, wildbil52, GrayGhost81, Disposed Hero, MetalFRO) | October 2018 Shmup Club - 1942 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: October 2018 Shmup Club - 1942  (Read 3746 times)
MetalFRO
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« Reply #45 on: October 17, 2018, 12:39:56 PM »

Good call, Crabmaster2000 - I kind of discovered that strategy on accident, trying to avoid the bullets, and flew off to the left side and just sort of took out the first boss by shooting the edge of its wing. That plane goes down pretty fast if you can pelt bullets at it rapidly, so you don't have to dodge very long.
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Golem
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« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2018, 04:11:04 PM »

Thanks for the explanation and video, Crabmaster. You do make short work of it there!

It makes for somewhat of a comical boss encounter. Taking it down by scratching the far tip of the wing is like David and Goliath, only if David struck him on the pinky finger instead of the forehead.
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EZ Racer
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« Reply #47 on: October 17, 2018, 10:09:18 PM »

A trick I have found with the boss plane is to get right behind the wing before the plane starts shooting (you'll actually be ahead of the tail), and as long as you're tucked in close right behind the wing, the tail shots never come up at a high enough angle to strike you. The main danger is making sure you don't accidentally run into the wing, but the boss plane really doesn't move fast enough for that to be a major issue.

Don't know if this strategy works in versions other than the NES though.
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Golem
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« Reply #48 on: October 18, 2018, 05:13:13 AM »

EZ Racer, that worked great, especially with autofire. (MetalFRO, I'm curious if you're using the TURBO on your NES Advantage!)

On the NES version, I got up to stage 17 or 18 (it's a little hard to remember because every stage looks the same):


The green fighter jets that come in around stage 16 are so refreshing. I think they circle around like a regular green biplane, then swerve towards you once their heading is south--is that right? (Or... I don't know my World War II history. What direction are we travelling here? Surely this game does not take place on a strictly south to north trajectory.)

Other than that, it really is the same few planes over and over and over. It becomes a fight against highway hypnosis, or I guess in this case, (Battle of) Midway hypnosis, where you watch the same planes do the same maneuvers repeatedly and try to maintain focus. Autofire definitely helps in this regard, since I haven't developed endurance for rapid fire much longer than 30 minutes. Not that my thumb falls off, but it doesn't feel good.

Is it just me, or is the first stage weirdly hard? I always lose a couple of lives there and think my credit is scrapped, but then I'll survive past it and have a fine run.

I keep forgetting to try the Raiden V soundtrack with this game.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 05:16:53 AM by Golem » Logged

MetalFRO
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« Reply #49 on: October 18, 2018, 09:09:38 AM »

@Golem - I most certainly use auto fire on the Advantage! Without the usual clicky arcade stick, I wouldn't want to continually hammer away at the fire button. I think I have the dial set just below halfway, so it sort of mimics the auto fire options in the Saturn port.

@EZ Racer - that's a good strategy, tucking up just under the wing. Very smart move!
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Normatron
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« Reply #50 on: October 19, 2018, 04:00:11 PM »

I may try a little more on the NES version of the game but this is my high score I was able to take a snapshot of. Its funny, I can get much farther in this one and the one on the capcom collection arcade one I like more ......even though it drives me crazy.


* High score.jpg (1006.25 KB, 3001x2178 - viewed 27 times.)
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MetalFRO
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« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2018, 12:39:40 PM »

Great score, Normatron! I haven't managed to quite hit that level yet, but I did get farther yesterday, managing to score 646,850 points on the NES version:


And I would agree with you - the arcade version is more frantic, and keeps you on your toes more, upping the fun factor. It has faster action, better graphics, and the sound isn't audio barf like on the NES. But because the NES game is so much slower and easier, it's possible to progress way faster in it. I haven't even reached the first boss in the arcade game yet, but have done so several times in the NES game, and I think I'm close to the halfway point, and the second boss. I'm curious as to how far off I am from reaching that goal. I sort of lose count in the stages, about 8 or 9 levels in.
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Golem
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« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2018, 02:21:53 PM »

I think the main thing about the NES version is its framerate--the arcade version feels so much smoother. The aspect ratio doesn't help either, since it feels like the plane squads are designed for a vertical aspect.

Just nabbed the 1CC in the NES version (should be 1,246,700 points, but the game cuts off the 1):

The special planes they whip out 4 stages from the end are super scary. They shoot bullets relentlessly and are not afraid of slowdown.

Things I am curious about:
  • Which powerup do you consider the most useful?
  • How useful is the roll maneuver?
  • Which enemy gives you the most trouble?
  • What gives each stage a sense of character? (Do some stages "stick out" more than others?)

Some notes on interplay:
-Like Crabmaster said, you don't get multiple shots; you just get one wider shot. This means that enemies clumped together shield one another; you can only hit one enemy at a time, so even if you have multiple bullets lined up, only one will connect. This can give an enemy a sense of "health" just by being in formation.
-The flipping gray planes will flip once they approach your vertical position (I think?). This means that you can stay near the bottom and get more time to shoot them or press upwards to shoo them offscreen. (Need to test this to make sure...)

EDIT: Editing this in. I was stuck on stage 7 for a while, but then I just broke through to stage 11 on the arcade version:

Although the first few stages are still pretty boring, they introduce new enemies earlier than in the NES version. There's just a little more variety. I'm interested to see if the game keeps it up. There's a yellow powerup that gives extra rolls that I don't remember being in the NES version, too.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 05:14:06 AM by Golem » Logged

MetalFRO
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« Reply #53 on: October 23, 2018, 10:26:05 AM »

Excellent run and score, Normatron!  To answer your questions:

1. I consider the 2 side planes to be the most useful powerful. It widens your field of fire, and while it doesn't make your shots any stronger (neither does the 4-shot), it gives you a much broader swath of coverage to take out enemies.
2. I haven't found the roll very useful, but that's just me. I suppose if you timed it right, it could work. One thing I've noticed while playing both the NES and Saturn versions, is that the hit detection is pretty lenient. For example, if a plane is coming in at the bottom of the screen, and begins to encroach upon your plane's tail, you have a brief moment where that won't cause a collision, so you can use the roll maneuver to get out of that situation. But for dodging bullets or small plane swarms, I haven't found it to be very effective, because I typically don't execute it in a timely enough fashion.
3. The enemies that give me the most trouble are the grey plans that shoot bullets at you right as they reach the perigee of their approach, when they're right on top of you, before they roll and double back. They seem to snipe me quite a bit in that mode, and it's my own fault for putting my plane into a position where they can!  laugh
4. There's very little character in the various stages, outside of the boss levels, or the last few, where you're actually flying over port cities. Outside of that, really it's a matter of which stages have really aggressive enemies that fire bullets at you, and which stages don't, or the handful of stages that have an extra power-up plane squadron that will garner an extend, or extra bonus. Outside of that, they tend to blend together quite a bit. This is an area I think Capcom improved upon greatly with 1943, for example.

Strategically speaking, there's some definite merit to staying somewhere toward the center of the screen, once the green planes begin to descend, because they can swirl around you, and you can have a relative modicum of safety, while still making movements out of that center space to dodge incoming bullets or planes you can't destroy before they get to you. Also: ALWAYS go for the green side planes that yield the Yashichi. ALWAYS. That extra 5K bonus will help you boost your score, and get you that much closer to another extend, and if you're anything like me, you'll burn through your life stock quickly, as you're making adjustments.

@EZ Racer - I tried your strategy on the boss planes, and couldn't get that to work. I got swarmed by bullets within about a second. However, if you stay in the lower-left corner, and sort of tap dodge up and down, or right and left, to avoid the bullets that are coming directly at you, it's incredibly easy to dodge through the bullet spray, once you kind of learn the pattern, and get a rhythm. Thankfully, the bullets are slow enough to dodge, if you stay close to the bottom corner.


Speaking of burning through lives, I managed to finish the game on the NES last night with a single life remaining:


Total score of 1,363,200 points. The 993,700 was the high score at the end of the stage I was on, flying to the aircraft carrier, before the end level bonus was calculated/added, and pushed me over 1 million. I didn't reach Crabby's score, but I'm very happy with the 1CC, so I'll take it! Now, back to the Saturn version, to see if I can finally hit my 500K point goal, and reach at least the first boss...
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Golem
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« Reply #54 on: October 25, 2018, 12:17:45 PM »

Congrats on hitting the 1CC! I also cleared the game with a low life stock--I think I maintained 9 right up until the end, and then I lost a ton on the same checkpoint.

I think good game design should communicate ideas, which means arranging elements in an order so as to express something. (The same way we expect music to arrange its notes into keys rather than randomly strewn about the scale.) This means good game design will draw the player's focus towards the task at hand.

In part, this means working within a player's field of view. If you're trying to communicate something, you want the important part to be within the player's central vision.

Shooting games in particular can strain a player's field of view. Your ship and enemy ships alike are free to roam anywhere onscreen, not to mention that automatic scrolling is constantly pushing new things into view. Although I don't know how to measure how much of the screen is in my central vision, I've definitely felt it. When I get shot down by a bullet I didn't see, even though I'm staring at the screen, that bullet took cover within my peripheral vision.

Compare this to a platformer, like Super Mario Bros., where nearly every object observes gravity, pushing everything to the same floor level. You can walk at your own pace, as well, controlling how fast new things come into view.

In the past, I've used long-term memory to overcome this. In Gradius, enemies shoot goodbye bullets as they leave the screen, so I've memorized that I need to watch enemies as they pass behind Vic. Or environmental cues can help, like in stage 4 of Metal Black, where openings in the cavern indicate that an enemy will use that as an entrance point onto the screen.

In 1942, enemies spawn in randomly-spaced formations. Although one segment of a stage will have the same type of enemy, you won't know where each enemy ship will be until it comes onscreen. You will also encounter enemies that overlay each other in different flight patterns. For instance, one squad of green planes will loop around the bottom half of the screen, while another squad will fly from the top of the screen down to its bottom, then up again. Since so many enemies can be onscreen flying along different paths in different places, you can't memorize their positions. I also don't know how to tell when planes are about to shoot. (The exception is the gray flipping plane, which I think shoots a few moments before flipping.) The randomized spacing and indeterminate timing means that I don't know how to focus my eyes on the screen.

This only gets worse when I get to the islands. While the blue water strikes a nice contrast against mud-red bullets, the busy grassy background does not.

I get the sensation that I need to widen my field of central vision. I feel like I need to read the entire screen all at once without any preference for one region over another. I think that means exercising my peripheral visual perception (like this game). (Here is someone who wanted to do the opposite and someone who wanted to do the same.)

But, if I did have a better grasp on my peripheral vision, then that would take some pressure off of my memory. I could observe the goodbye bullets in Gradius on the spot rather than memorizing that they are coming.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 12:51:12 PM by Golem » Logged

MetalFRO
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« Reply #55 on: October 25, 2018, 01:50:41 PM »

Very insightful thoughts here, Golem! There's an interesting meta-discussion of this in the latest episode (16, or XVI, as it's listed on the site) of The Electric Underground podcast, a fellow shmup-themed endeavor. They discuss the science of the eyes, and how your vision works, in terms of interpreting images, and how that relates to eye movement, perception, and talking about how much time it takes your eyes to refocus between movements, and then how that impacts what data you take in, or are able to interpret. I recommend it anyway, because it's a good podcast, but this was a particularly interesting rabbit trail they went down.

https://soundcloud.com/user-306325657

I have found that the best strategy with 1942 is to watch my plane, and vaguely observe the general vicinity I'm moving within. Generally speaking, I can better see bullets as they approach my plane, and there's enough peripheral vision above that to see incoming planes enough to judge position and trajectory, so I can then use the previous attempts at playing to try and predict their behavior as they approach me. That certainly helped me with the NES port, and I think will help me progress on the arcade port as well.
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Golem
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« Reply #56 on: October 25, 2018, 04:07:31 PM »

Thanks for the link! I haven't listened yet, but the blog post (https://dunpachi.com/2018...es-perception-and-shmups/) is a great review of the literature.

Thanks for the breakdown of strategy as well, I think I understand. It's kind of like you handle enemies in the peripheral vision and bullets in the central vision, more or less.
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Square_Air
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« Reply #57 on: October 26, 2018, 03:53:57 PM »

Ah, more NES clears, good show everyone! Oof. I came so ridiculously close to clearing arcade about 2 days ago, but it just wasn't the run Sad. At this stage of the game the large planes shoot very fast and move all the way down the screen to pointblank you, which can still trip you up even if you bring 5 lives with you  Roll Eyes.



Square_Air - 1,411,440 - 30 - ShmupMAME v4.2 (Rev B)

Since the final stage is just a % & point stage, I had only a stage and a half (plus the final boss plane) before that coveted ending and generous 10,000,000 point bonus, but alas I am still tormented by this frustrating endurance test. Also, it's basically impossible to get a 100% rating in arcade consistently because of the way the RNG works with planes leaving the screen immediately after they enter. I think there may even be planes spawning & despawning off screen to sabotage the 100% rating since I've shot every plane in a stage multiple times (legitimately and with a little bit of separate tool-assisted experimentation) and I still just get 99%. I'm curious if this is a glitch in MAME, the original arcade PCB, or with any of the ~accurate arcade ports, so any input from other members playing these versions would be appreciated.

  • Which powerup do you consider the most useful?
  • How useful is the roll maneuver?
  • Which enemy gives you the most trouble?
  • What gives each stage a sense of character? (Do some stages "stick out" more than others?)

1. If we're not counting the extends, I would actually say the normal shot power up is the best one. The width increase is quite small, but it really makes a difference when the screen is filled with enemies. The options are also a contender, but in the late game in arcade they're so difficult to keep alive that they often won't give you as much mileage as the normal shot power up.

2. The rolls are very risky to use and take some foresight to really implement them properly. While they can end up killing you sometimes with that vertical movement lock, they are nearly essential to use in the later parts of the game.

3. The large planes that I talked about in the beginning of my post. Though, to be honest, the RNG itself is really the most dangerous foe here.

4. The city stages at the very end are visually ambitious for 1984, but it's not really the best for bullet visibility.
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Square_Air
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« Reply #58 on: October 30, 2018, 03:12:19 AM »

Small update. Still not a clear at 1 stage from the end, and I am very disappointed. I also have a few choice words for this game as I'm feeling quite vexed no.



Square_Air - 1,567,190 - 31 - ShmupMAME v4.2 (Rev B)

While this might seem hyperbolic, after giving it some thought, I honestly consider 1942 to be a genuinely poor arcade shmup. On a surface level the game seems merely somewhat simplistic and generic, and if this game had a few small fixes I would consider it to be pretty good. The problem lies in how heavy they leaned into the RNG and showed no restraint at all. Because of this, scoring at a high level is a joke, and survival doesn't fare much better. At most times I feel like this game resembles a slot machine more than a shmup since the skill ceiling is actually lower than you would expect, but the random elements that can't be prepared for spread out over 70 minutes turn this game into a nightmare.

I should also mention that I have managed to get 100% in a stage, but it still seems like there's no possibility of doing this consistently due to the RNG, especially on the last 2 seconds of every stage where it so rudely spawns enemies while you're uselessly landing, almost always holding rewards from you arbitrarily. I don't think RNG is a bad thing in shmups, but It really needs to be handled carefully. Robotron: 2084 came out 2 years earlier and implemented RNG nearly perfectly. Even compared to it's contemporaries around the early to mid 80's, 1942 still feels old and slow. Juno First from 1 year earlier is a much faster and exciting game, all the Williams shmups handle RNG in a much smoother way, and Toaplan's Hishouzame/Flying Shark/Sky Shark from 1987 is a very similar game with much better level design.

If you enjoyed this game then I congratulate you, as this is something I struggled to achieve. 1943 and 1943 Kai seem to be so clearly upgraded from this chassis that I just can't really recommend 1942. I guess on some level I just enjoy playing shmups with a group, so it wasn't all doom and gloom playing this game, but I'm certainly exhausted by this leviathan. I'm still going to attempt to use the last bit of time I've got to keep banging my head against this brick wall, so wish me luck!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 04:01:31 AM by Square_Air » Logged
MetalFRO
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« Reply #59 on: October 30, 2018, 03:59:08 PM »

Some great thoughts, Square_Air, and I echo a lot of what you're saying. The game can be fun in short bursts and small doses, but as long as it is, it feels like a real slog. The NES version, because it's significantly easier, despite close to the same level of RNG, is at least slower and more manageable. You also have more room to maneuver, so there's less chance of getting boxed in with its more "vertizontal" orientation. As a result, after just under 2 weeks of playing it, I got a 1CC. The arcade version is so difficult that I haven't even been able to reach the first boss yet. I cap out around 240K-250K in a typical play through (single credit), and I just haven't been able to progress. I will probably credit feed this one to the end, just to see the end, so I can talk about it on the podcast, but I would totally agree that 1943 is a significant upgrade over this, and is a better game in every regard. I don't see myself returning to this one much, other than for a quick blast when I'm in the mood for something old school.
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