It’s the fifth of November, and this week I have found a reason to use that middle screen on the main header. As a huge fan of shmups I’ve been playing the Gundmonium Collection of games on Steam, and this week I start Jet Grind Radio for the third round of the Replay Challenge.
It happened. It was going to happen sooner or later.
You’re probably laughing about me making a big deal about it since I live in Alaska. I do like winter, but only if I can just look at it through a window and not go outside. Snow always looks good until people and cars start coming through and the dirt and mud underneath gets mixed in. Oh well, such is life up here.
Anyway, with so much money that I got on my birthday, I’ve decided that I’m gonna send my Wii in to Nintendo to get it repaired. I was thinking about fixing it myself because I didn’t want to pay a lot of money for it, but at this point, I might as well pay them. I won’t run the risk of breaking something, and there aren’t any other games I’m looking to buy until the Steam Christmas Sale. I already pre-purchased Skyrim and that’s going to last me for a long time. Also, I have Skyward Sword preordered from Amazon and I really want to play it. I don’t think I could wait a year just to play it on the Wii U.
I am a big fan of shmups. You should probably know that by now if you’ve been following this blog for a while. I was pleasantly surprised to see three bullet hell shmups available on Steam as a 10 dollar pack, called the Gundemonium Collection. These three games include Gundemonium Recollection, the first game, GundeadliGne, the second game, and Hitogata Happa, the third game. Like with a lot of bullet hell games, I don’t often reach the end, but just the time that I spend playing one of these games is satisfactory enough.
Gundemonium Recollection is the first in this trio of games, and it is a horizontally scrolling shmup. There’s a story of some sort that is told in intermissions between levels, but that’s not really important. Who cares about story when you have a bunch of bunny girls riding on cannons and giant guns shooting at you? The design and look is steampunk, mixed with a lot of things like the bunny girls that I mentioned that will make you know that this game is from Japan. Actually, you probably needed to see just the title screen in order to know that this is a Japanese game.
In bullet hell games, you expect there to be a lot of bullets and projectiles, and there are. Most of their patterns are designed so that you maneuver them like a maze, but they don’t get very large and complex because your character sprite is so large, and the game’s resolution is only 640 by 480, so not very big. And even with a big character sprite, the hit box is incredibly small, and that’s crucial for these kinds of games. Recollection is a pretty solid and fun game, although I am not as fond of horizontally scrolling shmups as I am of the vertical scrolling ones.
GundeadliGne is the second game in this collection, and it is the only title among the other two that I have no real idea how to pronounce. Also, why is the second “g” capitalized? Oh well, doesn’t matter, as the game is Gundemonium Recollection part 2. Only in this game, you can change the direction your character shoots.
If you’ve played games like Deathsmiles, this is like that. It’s a horizontally scrolling shmup like Recollection, but you can shoot at enemies from behind. When you switch to the opposite side, the game goes into a temporary bullet time mode, and you can go in and out of it by switching positions. However, when the bullet time on the reverse side is done, switching to the forward direction activates the bullet time, and the process repeats itself. I don’t really have much else to say. Recollection and GundeadliGne are pretty much the same game. I believe both share the same universe and characters. Wait, what am I doing bringing up story in these games? That’s not the point!
Last game in the collection is my personal favorite of the three, Hitogata Happa. Best part about the game? I have a reason to rotate my monitor 90 degrees and play the game like old arcade vertical shmups. Mores games of this type need this amazing feature!
Okay, maybe that’s not the defining feature of Hitogata Happa, but the game itself is a lot of fun. For one, the game is vertically scrolling, which is already good in my book. Also, game is really hard, even on the easiest difficulty. That was something I was not expecting, and I kinda questioned it a little. In other games of this type you expect there to be a few seconds of invincibility frames after dying and losing a life. Maybe there are invincibility frames but the time window is super short, but it felt like there weren’t any.
Anyway, the neat concept behind the game is the concept of different dolls that you control. There are eight dolls with their own abilities, and you buy multiple dolls that you are allowed and those are your multiple lives. You can switch between the order of the dolls that you will spawn as if you die, but even better your doll will eventually be able to suicide bomb into enemies. The tricky part though is navigating the many bullets and projectiles, because if those hit you then you won’t take anyone down with you. Either way you still lose a doll so there’s some risk.
All three games have similarities options wise. You can choose the game to be fullscreen or windowed (but still no resolution options of any kind), lock the game at 60 or 30 FPS, and switch between either original or arranged soundtracks for the games. I just stuck with the arranged soundtracks since that is what the games default to, and they’re pretty good already.
Ten dollars well spent.
Replay Challenge: Round 3
Day 1: Starting the GGs
Figured I’d go through the tutorial level since loading my last save would make me miss out on the opening cutscenes. Oddly enough I screwed up on the Tab’s last challenge before he joins your gang. That should not have happened. Whatever, time to start painting the streets. JET SET RADIOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Day 2: Shibuya GG
Okay, so my original plan was to load up my last completed save and go through the rest of the game with all characters and graffiti unlocked. Turns out my last save was left off at the second chapter. So because the game only saves one file to the VMU at a time, I’m gonna go through this game on a clean save. Anyway, started the first mission of chapter 1, and finished it with the second highest rating. Would have gotten the highest if I went through the mission as Gum instead of Beat, but I’m not necessarily going for the highest scores on this run.
Day 3: Love Trap
Man, I just love how this game looks. A lot of games on the Dreamcast I like the graphics for the same reason, but this one in particular. It’s just so bright and saturated. There’s not a cloud in Shibuya-cho’s sky as I go around knocking over Captain Onishima and spray painting his back. That’s always fun to do. Also, it’s pretty ridiculous that the police would have to call in a SWAT team and deploy tear gas in order to catch a single vandal, but I guess that the game would be less interesting without something dumb as that.
Day 4: The Monster of Kogane
Now we are heading to the city of the city of the sunset, Kogane-Cho, and this time playing as Gum. Even at dusk, the colors are still bright and vibrant. Also, police dogs are perfectly reasonable means for going after a vandal, but a helicopter is overkill. Seeing it reminded me of the broad idea I had of making tribute to helicopters as enemies in games, spawning from Ryan’s hatred of helicopters. I may or may not act on that idea, who knows?
Day 5: No. 540
Garam has joined the GGs, and then I use him in the second Kogane mission at a huge junkyard. And guess what? The helicopter returns, this time with two others. However, I take them out by spraying graffiti on the windshield and let them crash. I assume that no one died in all three of those crashes. Man, the police are really pragmatic about going after a bunch of vandals.
I'm running out of things to say for this as well as the intro. Gotta fix that or something.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I'm contemplating whether the next entry should be posted on Saturday as usual or a day earlier. I'm all set to play Skyrim the whole weekend and don't want to stop for anything else on Saturday. Next week's games are gonna be Uncharted 3 (so far it's fantastic) and Four Swords Anniversary Edition (which I had no idea was already out on the eShop/DSiWare and free).
See you next week.