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January 2023 Shooting HSC: Slap Fight


Steven Pendleton

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Last year (or last week, if you prefer) I decided to do this, so here it is.

 

This month we are playing Slap Fight, which you can find on your convenient Slap Fight MD game cartridge/Mega Drive Mini/etc. as the default game option. We will play Slap Fight MD next month, so

 

20230101_005121.thumb.png.753a22ee955ce2238fe1c8fd59c9ccf9.png

 

Rules:

Game type = normal

Difficulty = normal

Player = 3

 

These are the default settings, so you can just hit start on the title screen and immediately begin without having to change anything. The music option changes only the music, so feel free to use the original PSG soundtrack if you like it more than the arranged FM soundtrack.

 

You can disable the autofire if you want, but you probably won't want to, especially because it's very helpful for scoring. The hidden Toaplan mode defaults to disabled. Leave it disabled.

 

Submit scores using the following format:

 

NAME - SCORE - AREA - RAPID ON/OFF

 

As an example, if I got a score of 123,456 using the autofire function and game overed at area 2-20, I would submit like this

 

Steven - 123,456 - 2-20 - ON

 

Submit as many scores as you like. Your highest score for the month will be your score. Feel free to submit replays and/or screenshots if you want!

 

The deadline is 23:59:59 GMT on January 31st (2023, obviously). Yes, we are using GMT since it's the closest thing there is to a universally accepted time zone, and so that I don't have to favour anyone's specific time zone, as we are scattered across the planet. Yeah, I know it's not January 1st yet in that time zone, but it's good enough, so you can submit starting now if you want. I'm not going to be like SUPER SERIOUS about the times or whatever, but please do try to make it in by the deadline. Click here for our timer, just in case.

 

HOW TO PLAY SLAP FIGHT

Slap Fight's scoring system is not immediately apparent when you first play the game, but it does have one, and it is a very fun and interesting one. Aside from killing things, you get points from picking up stars, and, most importantly, from using the various weapons to uncover secrets. The weapon that uncovers secrets in a certain area is typically but not always the best weapon for that area! Scoring is heavily based on knowing the secrets and when to switch weapons. There are some areas with multiple types of secrets; you'll have to choose which secrets you want to get and use the appropriate weapon, but remember that some secrets are worth more than others!

 

Any enemies or secrets that are on screen when you switch weapons are affected by the properties of both the weapon you had and the weapon you switched to.

 

Remember also that you are completely invulnerable for about 2 seconds after changing weapons or attaching a set of wings! Use this to fly through massive amounts of enemy shots.

 

Finally, if you hold up+right+weapon change+shot as you start the game or respawn after a death without a star in your possession, you'll be given a star so you can get a speed up immediately!

 

If you want more information on Slap Fight, or just want to discuss this impossibly excellent game, let me know, as I know pretty much everything about the game. Go forth and blow up all of the things!

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Yes, just like that... although I think you missed something since your area is 1-0, which isn't possible.

 

You can post screenshots if you want, but doing it in this format makes it easy for me to arrange everything in the score table since I can just copy/paste and then sort by score, using area as a tie-breaker if needed. If we both have a score of 123,456, but I game over at area 2-30 but you game over at area 2-20, for example, that would put you ahead of me, as you managed to get the score before I did.

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I have decided that I will play for score this time. Since I've already counterstopped the game and don't want to just submit my 9,999,999 score and immediately win because that would be lame, I am going to restrict myself to only playing the first 3 loops, so I will suicide at area 4-0 and that will be my score.

 

For now, while I absolutely hate playing on emulators, I decided to record the first loop on Kega Fusion to show off the game a little bit. It's somewhat sloppy, I took a super embarrassing death at the final boss (which I intended to milk by letting it kill me as I killed it until I ran out of extends, but I ended up accidentally killing it before it could shoot at me lol), and it doesn't show every secret in the game since it's literally impossible to get all of them in one loop, but it works. I'll use this as my score for now.

 

Steven - 678,930 - 2-1 - ON

 

 

 

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Eh you'll do fine. Learning is part of why we are doing this. Use my replay as a reference, practice, and experiment; there are all sorts of things that I didn't show (the helper, how to abuse the Space Invaders alien for stupidly huge points, the secret 1UP items that I don't actually know how to spawn even though I know where they are since I've gotten both before, etc.), partially because you can't get everything on one loop, and I have not played the game for a while, so I am pretty rusty. There's probably stuff that I don't even know about in this game, as it has a ton of secret stuff in it.

 

Anyway, I got my score. I made a terrible, terrible mistake about 1/3 of the way through loop 3 when I tried something new and it didn't go as I had hoped at all and I ended up missing a ton of points. I may try to optimize this a little more, as I absolutely made mistakes, but I am pretty satisfied with how this went.

 

Please someone/anyone/everyone beat my score or I'll feel really bad. I am stopping at 4-0, but if you can go farther than that, or even counterstop the game, please do so! You have a month to practice, so you can definitely get the top spot if you try!

 

Steven - 2,819,510 - 4-0 - ON

 

Pic_0101_198.thumb.jpg.005f7f851f87463f18cacd6312012a6d.jpg

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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On 12/31/2022 at 8:51 AM, Steven Pendleton said:

Last year (or last week, if you prefer) I decided to do this, so here it is.

 

This month we are playing Slap Fight, which you can find on your convenient Slap Fight MD game cartridge/Mega Drive Mini/etc. as the default game option. We will play Slap Fight MD next month, so

 

20230101_005121.thumb.png.753a22ee955ce2238fe1c8fd59c9ccf9.png

 

Rules:

Game type = normal

Difficulty = normal

Player = 3

 

These are the default settings, so you can just hit start on the title screen and immediately begin without having to change anything. The music option changes only the music, so feel free to use the original PSG soundtrack if you like it more than the arranged FM soundtrack.

 

You can disable the autofire if you want, but you probably won't want to, especially because it's very helpful for scoring. The hidden Toaplan mode defaults to disabled. Leave it disabled.

 

Submit scores using the following format:

 

NAME - SCORE - AREA - RAPID ON/OFF

 

As an example, if I got a score of 123,456 using the autofire function and game overed at area 2-20, I would submit like this

 

Steven - 123,456 - 2-20 - ON

 

Submit as many scores as you like. Your highest score for the month will be your score. Feel free to submit replays and/or screenshots if you want!

 

The deadline is 23:59:59 GMT on January 31st (2023, obviously). Yes, we are using GMT since it's the closest thing there is to a universally accepted time zone, and so that I don't have to favour anyone's specific time zone, as we are scattered across the planet. Yeah, I know it's not January 1st yet in that time zone, but it's good enough, so you can submit starting now if you want. I'm not going to be like SUPER SERIOUS about the times or whatever, but please do try to make it in by the deadline. Click here for our timer, just in case.

 

HOW TO PLAY SLAP FIGHT

Slap Fight's scoring system is not immediately apparent when you first play the game, but it does have one, and it is a very fun and interesting one. Aside from killing things, you get points from picking up stars, and, most importantly, from using the various weapons to uncover secrets. The weapon that uncovers secrets in a certain area is typically but not always the best weapon for that area! Scoring is heavily based on knowing the secrets and when to switch weapons. There are some areas with multiple types of secrets; you'll have to choose which secrets you want to get and use the appropriate weapon, but remember that some secrets are worth more than others!

 

Any enemies or secrets that are on screen when you switch weapons are affected by the properties of both the weapon you had and the weapon you switched to.

 

Remember also that you are completely invulnerable for about 2 seconds after changing weapons or attaching a set of wings! Use this to fly through massive amounts of enemy shots.

 

Finally, if you hold up+right+weapon change+shot as you start the game or respawn after a death without a star in your possession, you'll be given a star so you can get a speed up immediately!

 

If you want more information on Slap Fight, or just want to discuss this impossibly excellent game, let me know, as I know pretty much everything about the game. Go forth and blow up all of the things!

How come we don't get to keep our powerups? seems kinda cruel

anyway, i'm not having fun with this one.

I guess I just don't like shooters

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5 hours ago, Frozone212 said:

How come we don't get to keep our powerups? seems kinda cruel

If you REALLY want to know, I can ask one of the original arcade game's designers/programmers on Saturday, but learning recovery is important for any shooter except for stuff where you are always at full power and respawn on the spot like Eschatos. Of course, the best solution is to simply just not die and then you'll never have to recover, but in general you absolutely must learn recovery.

 

Did you read The Full Extent of the Jam yet? If not, you should. I am going to read it again myself today to see if I can get anything that will help me with Tatsujin Ou and Kyuukyoku Tiger. The best thing I can tell you is to intentionally let the game kill you. Doing this will let you learn how the game tries to kill you, and then you use that information to figure out what to do to survive, and once you know how to survive you learn what to do to get good scores.

 

Practice regularly, but also stop practicing and take a break for a few hours or maybe even a day when you are tired or frustrated. Learn sections at a time, experiment with weird tactics since sometimes weird shit actually works, and then put it all together.

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21 hours ago, Frozone212 said:

really? i thought the game design looked familiar

Slap Fight = Xevious + Gradius (his other main influence, as he really likes that game) + accessibility. From this interview:

 

—Toaplan’s games are tough, but if you practice enough you can clear them.

Yuge: We aimed for a kind of game in which, when a player died and wondered what killed him, he would be able to say to himself “Next time I should do this.” In that regard I think we learned a lot from Xevious. In Xevious the speed of the game was designed such that players had to do devise all these plans, like moving their ship to a certain point when the screen had scrolled just so far. Things like that really taught us a lot. But we also thought of ways to get rid of the impatience inherent to the slow pacing of that game. What livened things up for us was when we added bombs, rather than making everything be about precise aimed shots.

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23 hours ago, Frozone212 said:

first shooter was xevious for the GBA. not a good gift for a seven year old 

That depends on the seven year old  😁   I was about 6 or 7 when I first played Xevious in an arcade.  Well... it was an arcade machine in a grocery store, but I spent a LOT of hours on that thing before they rotated it out and brought in a new game.  I had to stand on something (crate, chair, something) to comfortably see the screen and reach the controls.  It was, and still is one of my all time favorites, and that stayed true when I got the Atari 7800 version years later, and then the NES version after that (which I think is the version on the GBA cart, but not 100% sure)

 

 

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Raiden? Now that's a player-hating ass kicker for sure. The original Japanese arcade version is a particularly difficult game. If you like that, though, play Kyuukyoku Tiger (not Twin Cobra, the one you want is the original 1P Japanese arcade version of Kyuukyoku Tiger), as Raiden is essentially a blatant copy of Kyuukyoku Tiger's ideas and some of the mechanics of the 2P version of Same! Same! Same!, namely that 2P side ship is stronger than the 1P side ship for some reason, although the difference in Raiden is much greater than it is in Same! 2P. Kyuukyoku Tiger is a super badass game.

 

I've got the MD version of Kyuukyoku Tiger on the schedule as the last shooting HSC game for this year, but be warned: it's somehow even harder than the already exceptionally difficult arcade version. I can get to stage 9 on 1 coin on the arcade version, but I typically game over on stage 2 on MD because it's that much harder. It's also the only game on the system that I can think of that has a very obvious typo on the front cover.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Let me know if you get stuck/need advice/etc..

 

Missile is super terrible against the final boss, but if you are just looking to survive in order to do your routing and then focus on score later, it might be helpful to do a few runs with just missile and switch to something else for the final boss. Missile can get you killed since it only lets you have 1 shot on screen at once, but it's somewhat safer here than on the arcade version due to the smaller screen size, and you also have the side shot. I once saw someone online say "lol why would you ever want to shoot sideways?" but the side shot is a very important tool, especially since it will keep you alive when you have your 1/only missile shot on screen.

 

You'll miss a ton of points by only using missile, but revealing the missile panels is one of the best things for score in the game aside from pointblanking stuff with the auto. Destroying the missile panels isn't actually worth many points compared to revealing the missile panels, oddly.

 

Speaking of the final boss, it's completely ruined by the combination of small ship size + shot + the game's internal autofire, and naturally the game spawns you small and with shot when you die, so if you want, you can do a tactical suicide at area 72 to become small (obviously don't bother if you are already small at that point), pick up a few speeds, get enough stars to switch to missile, insta-kill the final boss with shot, and then immediately switch to missile to get the missile panels on the way out from the final boss and into the loop.

 

Too bad there is no other way to become small, but that ability was added to Slap Fight MD with the Typhoon Bomber, one of the greatest mechanics in any game ever made.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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This game does not have specifically defined stages and loops infinitely. Difficulty increases from loops 1-8 before resetting to loop 1 difficulty on loop 9. If you can get to loop 9, you're basically guaranteed to get the counterstop.

 

As for the screen, it's that way and you can't change it; this was intentional, as it helps to somewhat preserve the arcade version's intended aspect ratio.

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BTW I am still thinking about what to do for March. Slap Fight MD is up next, but for March I still don't really think any of the games I proposed are all that great.

 

Thunder Force III's scoring is essentially "don't die so you can get the no miss bonus", Gleylancer has an infinite score thing on stage 9, and Zero Wing is really long, significantly more difficult than Thunder Force III or Gleylancer, and some find it to be a very awkwardly designed game (including the dudes that actually made Zero Wing), but it at least has a super awesome soundtrack.

 

I should have planned this better, but I'll see what I can do. Maybe we will just end up playing those games anyway and calling it good. I kind of want to play Zero Wing since I am terrible at the last 2 stages and want to get better, but it's a super long slog to actually get to those last 2 stages.

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I'm saving CD and 32X games for next year, as I want to focus on just the regular system for now. I don't know much about this game, but I'll put it on the pile of suggestions for next year, which I am already working on.

 

So far, the (incomplete) list for 2024 looks like this, in no specific order:

 

  1. Bari-arm (CD)
  2. Stellar Assault/Shadow Squadron (32X)
  3. Slap Fight MD
  4. Same! Same! Same!
  5. Sol-Feace (CD)/Sol-Deace (cartridge)
  6. Silpheed (CD)
  7. Robo Aleste (CD). Not Dennin Aleste, as the Japanese version is considered to be not that great in comparison.
  8. maybe Hellfire, but I know many people don't really like this game, including the lead programmer/designer/composer from the original arcade version. This version plays very differently from all 3 (??? I think there might actually be a 4th, but I'll have to check again) of the arcade versions, though; it's closer to a remake than a port, and I don't know if anyone from the arcade version was involved in this version. This version has deeper scoring than the arcade versions, but it's still basically just "pick up the things and don't die".
  9. maybe either Viewpoint or Parasquad/Zaxxon (32X)

So yeah, next year has a heavy CD focus and I want to bring in as much 32X as possible, but the selection there is very limited. The only things that I'm planning on bringing back are Same! and Slap Fight MD; even regular Slap Fight is going away. Now if people decide that there is something from this year that should come back next year, then I have no problem with bringing stuff back. This isn't finalized, or even finished, right now.

 

Of course, having more people would be nice. You who are reading this (yes, you!!!!!!!!!!!!): play Slap Fight this month and submit your score(s)!

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