Blog: Podcast Outtakes and WTF Happened to Shmups?

I hope you've had a chance to listen to Episode 0 of the IMPLANTgames Podcast. If not check it out here. Austin and I spend about 55 minutes talking about retro games, YouTube culture, and game collecting. It's very entertaining and I look forward to making more in the future. The current schedule is to record every other Saturday, so we're only 6 days away from Episode 1. 

Another thing I've wanted to blog about is shmups. I've recently purchased Death Smiles and Mushihime-sama Futari (region-free import) for the Xbox 360. Both are shooters by the legendary Cave. And I must say they are ridiculously complicated. The biggest problem I have with both is how many modes and variations there are. I'll take Mushi for example. When you fire it up, you have to choose between Version 1.5 and Arrange. After selecting Arrange you can choose between Novice or Arrange. Didn't I just select Arrange?

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Novice mode is aimed directly at someone new to the genre. Though you have to newb stumbles into this mode. The bullets are relatively easy to dodge, you automatically drop a bomb when you are hit, opposed to dieing, and the gameplay is straightforward. This is the most old-school shmup mode in the game. Arrange-Arrange (seriously?) mode is confusing. You can select between both playable characters on the fly. One character can slow down bullets, and then switching characters can send the bullets back at the enemies. Despite knowing what's supposed to happen, I have no idea how the hell to do it.

Playing through classic games like Super R-Type, Sonic Wings 2, and Raiden, I wonder how the genre got to this point. These 3 games are amazing and don't rely on scoring gimmicks and dozens of game modes for re-playability. They have awesome level design, tight controls, challenging bosses, and memorable music to be great. Why does Shumi have just 5 levels? What on Earth is filling up the 5GB disc, it's certainly not content.

Maybe I'm just getting old and the shmup genre has since passed me by. Maybe I just don't get "Cave" games. I'm not sure. Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.