By Enns 2 Comments
A Bullet Hell Blog Post
So last week I wrote an entry about discovering a love for bullet hells. Yeah, might have been overly optimistic about it. I ended up trying quite a few, from James Town to racy flying anime girl games. Some of them were okay, most were just meh. Haven't quite called it a false-positive yet, I still want to find some older games of the like, or maybe find something similar to what sparked this madness. I know bullet hells can be demanding but they always come off as simple games, and don't really engage me despite a bullet pattern that can melt eyes. My bias that a flying anime girl is a sign of a poor game has probably gotten stronger despite my love for SUGURI. Thanks to SUGURI though I seeked out more games made by Orange_Juice and found what I think might be the prequel to SUGURI, it's an educated guess since everything is in moon speak.
SORA is pretty much SUGURI in every way. There are some major differences if you get really obsessed like I did.. but anyway! The scenario is similar in that you play a flying cyborg girl fighting a legion of robots and other flying cyborg girls. The dash mechanic works the same for the most part too. There have been major improvements production wise so the graphics and menu presentation have gotten a whole lot better and a lot less doujin like. SORA also has some amazing electronica tracks like it's predecessor. Level and enemy design have improved by a whole lot. Destructible parts and weak points made enemies more interesting to fight. Something cool they added was the option to only use Sora's shield before she fires her special, the default is a typical smart bomb in that she has I-frames and fires a special. The advantage of using Sora's shield before firing is that she can have some I-frames then get into a better position for a special attack. Overall I really enjoyed SORA only that it's adjustments to the dash and heat mechanics kind of made it less awesome for me. Unlike SUGURI I can recommend SORA to people since it's a whole lot easier to complete. That's not to say it's an easy game, beginners should play on easy before stepping it up for sure. Or you can be a fool like me and brute force hard. =]
The reason I prefer SUGURI to SORA is all about the feel of combat. SUGURI (at least for me) ended up being all about dashing for evasion and building up specials to always have a defensive and offensive option. The nature of that made it feel a lot more like an action game than purely a bullet hell. SORA makes that strategy a lot less viable though. Dashing builds up heat a whole lot faster and the additional damage Sora takes because of it feels far more harsh. What's worse is that even canceling and weapon linking builds heat. Along side those changes bosses have attack patterns that promote normal flight over dashing making them less engaging. Sora is always better off avoiding bullets at normal speed or straight up taking hits and spamming attacks than dashing. Despite my gripes, which probably only apply to someone that is way too into it, SORA is still an excellent game. To illustrate my point about the combat are two videos, Suguri fighting Hime and Sora fighting Starbreaker. The final bosses of each game's story mode set to hard. Personally a great final boss should reflect the skills a player builds while playing a game. These bosses do that, so the videos provide an excellent example of what the play style boils down to at the climax of each game respectively. Also I should note that dashing allows safe passage through most energy based attacks, Hime's blue attacks don't apply.
I'll still keep an eye out for bullet hells, only I'll be a lot more selective of my choices. It might have been that I just found a couple of games that I really enjoyed and not so much about what genre they were. =T