Here's my progress in learning to play the shmups Pulstar, Einhänder, Radiant Silvergun, and DoDonPachi for score. You can read more about the details of this project here.

A jaunt through the forest

So I've taken to Pulstar more than any of the other games. I suppose there's no surprise there; I did gush over it in my "Shmupping for score" article. I haven't even really given Einhänder much of a chance yet. Somebody warned me when I started this project that it's tough to focus on two shmups at a time much less four when you're playing for score. Yup, I get that now.

I'm stuck in Stage 5. I haven't gotten much farther than where I die in this video. I think my problem is that although this stage doesn't necessarily throw more enemies at you than any previous stage, the enemies shoot a lot of projectiles. And many of them can't be blocked by the pod.

Since getting stuck on this stage I did start paying attention to my score. It appears that the only way you score points in Pulstar (besides stage end bonuses and such) is by killing enemies. It doesn't matter if you kill more than one of them with a single shot, etc. In that regard, scoring should be a simple matter of killing as many enemies as possible in a run. It would seem, then, that there must be a score cap; if you can kill all the enemies in a stage then you will get the maximum score for that stage. But the game is a bit more nuanced than that. Some enemies break apart or shoot projectiles that themselves can be shot down and counted for points. So it benefits your score to keep such enemies alive and onscreen for as long as possible, provided that you can also destroy their projectiles.

There are two instances in this video where you can see me practicing this exploit. At 0:10 the blue and gray walker shoots yellow balls into the air. And at 1:29 the crawler continuously shoots off his armor into four separate pieces and regenerates it.

Double KO

Here I'm playing through the first stage of Pulstar. It's not nearly as hard as later stages, but it's no cake walk, either.

Pulstar is the only game in this group that I have a bit of prior experience with. I think I'm decent at the first stage, but inconsistently so. I miss a number of powerups, shots, and kills in this recording. I also die at the boss via double KO. Carelessness.

Unlike DoDonPachi and Radiant Silvergun, Pulstar kicks you back to a checkpoint with no powerups when you die. This can make it rough to progress. I'll definitely be using save states to practice this one.

One other thing I'm noticing is that my screen recording method tends to drop more frames than I'd like. I'll have to experiment to see what I can do about that.

I have a sword

This is the first stage (stage 3?) of Radiant Silvergun. I've cranked the number of extra lives up to the maximum setting, which I need because this isn't easy. I think I should stop moving around so much. That seems to be what gets me into trouble.

I added subtitles to this video to serve as running commentary. Not sure if I'll keep it up for future recordings.

Oh, and you get a badass sword in this game. I accept.

An easy first stage

Here I am working my way through the first stage of DoDonPachi. I only die once, but this stage is fairly easy. I do use a bomb at the boss.

There are three ships to choose from with two options each to modify how they shoot. I'm playing as the red ship with the "Shot" option. :shrug:

Notice that when the game starts I pause it and select an option called "Wait On". This is supposed to emulate the slowdown of the original arcade version of the game. The PlayStation and Saturn versions by default run without any slowdown at all, making later stages brutally difficult. To be honest, I haven't really noticed it kicking in yet.