BATTLE BAKRAID! THE CHOSEN!

After reading up on the rank system  of Battle Garegga I decided to try out Battle Bakraid. I’d never played this game before and knew next to nothing about it. So full of doubt I fired it up and decided to see what all the fuss is about.

Battle Bakraid is a game by 8ing and is the sequel to Battle Garegga. The game itself isn’t very much like its predecessor as described in Malc‘s review. I shouldn’t go into details about the differences as I haven’t clocked enough hours on Battle Garegga to have a valid opinion yet. One change is easy to see and anyone who’s played a bit of both should spot this difference immediately. The graphics instantly tell you that these games are related but the biggest plus point for me is that the bullets have been changed. In Battle Garegga I struggle because I have to collect medals, shoot enemies, keep an eye on rank and dodge bullets. This is made difficult because the bullets are slim and hard to see. Half the time I die is because a bullet I never even saw hit my ship full on. I can appreciate that it makes things more realistic and thus harder but I’m honestly just not at that level yet. I’m not knocking Battle Garegga at all. I’m admitting that I don’t have what it takes to manage all the game requires yet.

I truly love Battle Bakraid. There is so much to it. The game oozes options from the mode select menu to the huge amount of fighter planes. Just selecting your ship with a different button each time will change the way it reacts in battle fundamentally.

Then there’s the medal, scoring and rank systems to consider.  There just seems to be so much to this game. So much to read about and try out. It will take time to perfect the layers of complexity in this game but damnit I really want to commit to it. Battle Bakraid is easy to get into but hard as nails to masters but I’m just so into it.

From here on out I will be bending all my attention towards 8ing‘s brilliant little shooter. This is the game I want to 1CC frist but I want more than that. I want to get good at the game. I want to learn it inside out and learn the techniques needed to attain a killer score.

A played Battle Bakraid seriously for about an hour today and this is what I’ve achieved. It’s nothing great and the score is laughable but that will change soon enough!

The first steps

SIDEQUEST 01 : RANKING SYSTEMS

Once again there is no quarter given and not a shred of mercy shown.

I’ve been looking at some STG’s lately in the hopes of finding something to practice on. Mainly I’m looking for a game that I can play on the side, something not by Cave. OK I’ll be honest… I’ve been looking for something a little easier to start with! If Ketsui is my main quest, then I want something a little more light-hearted to be my lover on the side. Something relaxed and distracting. There are a few candidates for this, games I’ve spotted around the net and on random forums. I’ve tried a bunch by now and was starting to get worried. Why can I make it to stage 3 on one credit in DonPachi when I die all the time playing games like Battle Garegga, Shienryu and Strikers 1945? I think I would have gone mad if I hadn’t stumbled across a great review of Shienryu over at Edward’s 1CC Log for Shmups. It was here that I read about rank management for the first time. I’d seen the term in other places before of course, but I’d never thought much about it. Turns out I should have.

 I followed a link on Edward’s blog to a review of Daioh by shmupper called Battletoad and continued from there across forums and blogs as if following a digital grapevine. Slowly understanding dawned on me. One glance at the strategy section for Battle Garegga over on the Shmups! forum told me all I needed to know. I’d been going about it all wrong. I’d been holding the fire button down and dodging bullets for all I was worth. Looking for something a little less manic in terms of the labyrinthine bullet patterns of Cave games I’d found something else, something decidedly unsettling. Here was intelligence, even thought perhaps. In the code behind the detailed and inviting graphics something lived, pacing to-and-fro in the gingerbread house. That something wasn’t very nice either. It watched you from behind the shiny reflection of the screen, greedily caressing your fingertips from beneath the buttons. Battle Garegga sneers at your feeble efforts at fame and wants nothing more than to bring you to your knees.

I think I may have flinched a bit when I realised just how many things affect your rank. I tried to find something less bullet heavy and succeeded in finding something far more manic in a totally different way. Not passive, as bullet patterns mostly are, but active and constantly evolving. Not only was it menacing, it had teeth.

Scratch the surface and you’ll be amazed how many shooters employ some sort of rank system. Few are as psychotic as Battle Garegga though. In my mind the AI trapped in 8ing/Raizing’s shooter has the cold calculating voice of HAL from A Space Odyssey 2001.

I would have simply put this damned thing in my rear-view mirror if the game itself wasn’t so incredibly fun. I can understand why this particular shmup has such a devoted following within the community. Just have a look at the list of TV tropes attributed to Battle Garegga for instance. You can feel that there’s something special about the game just by looking around the internet randomly. This is perhaps why I hate the game a little. I wanted to find something easy and fleeting and what did I end up with? I fell in love with a game that would need even more attention and hard work! It’s like dating a girl who’s really terrible for you. You know this, yet for some ungodly reason that you’ll never understand, you simply keep at it.

You drift, a slave to every sweetly torturous moment.