8th November, 2005

After several runs chaining level 1, I took a long break. In fact, I still haven't gone back. The game is so precise, and after achieving the first-level chain, anything less than perfection just equals a restart. That many restarts, demanding such perfection, well...the game is difficult to enjoy. Anyways, today I'm here to update with a divx video of my 795-hit chain. This is level 1, and as detailed below, I missed one bee (damn!) Otherwise it's almost a perfect run, one I'm still damn proud to watch! The video weighs in at 10.5Mb, and is encoded with Divx 5.12. It can be found here. 23.7 million points by the first boss. Not bad! Now to have a solid run after, and my records would be shattered! That's the problem, of course.

26 September, 2005

Since my last elated update, I've since chained level one another half-dozen times. I'm finding better timing methods and scoring techniques. Last weekend, I strung together the ultimate chain, a whopping 795 hits, thereby destroying my old record.

Things aren't all perfect, I still screw up, a lot. But when things are on, they're often on. 23 million by the end of the first stage! 39 by the end of the 2nd (630 hit chain towards the end)! Then I die 4x on level 3. BAH! This run left me with my 3rd highest score ever, but a sad end to such incredible feats on the first two stages. Now, it's just a matter of putting together the perfect run. Once I can manage this, 50 million points is feasible. 2 Hypers on the first stage gave me 795 hits max, with one missed bee. I'm thinking I could hit 8, but that's not such a big deal.

In any event, I'm still getting better, but that top spot eludes me. "Just a couple more shots!"

14 September, 2005

2 and a half years later. I knew I could do it...this whole time, I knew it could be done. Last night, it was.

The final 'last run of the night', started at exactly midnight. Dozens of frustrating failures before it, if I couldn't do well this time, it's the hour to hit the sack. But what is this? I messed up on my 2nd hyper (after the 2 bees on the left). With no enemies to continue the chain and my 2nd hyper coming towards me, I was forced to use my hyper, thus losing the icon. However, this enabled me to move forward. The next tough part I've never reached...I see my combo going higher. I had hit 637 earlier in the day, but now it was 640, 650, 660! With utter precision and sheer panic, I hit the last 2 enemies. 682 Hits!

I Chained The Entire First Stage!!!!!

The rest of the run was just bad. Died three times on the 2nd boss. THREE TIMES! I had 23 million by the first boss, and I just blew it. But I didn't care. Only made it to level 3 and got my third highest score ever. But I didn't care. I chained the first stage! Now, to perfect it! Get that 2nd hyper and try to get the last bee icon w/ this ~700-hit combo intact (700 x 1,000 x 2 = 1.4 million). OMG. I can do this!

13 September, 2005

I proclaimed that I'd be in the top 5 again, but didn't expect it to happen so quickly. I did it yesterday.

My first run was awesome...for the most part. Perfect first stage, doing well on 2nd stage...but 3 and 4 were rough. It was my first run of the day, a rare good start, so little practice. I got just a few points under my old #5 score.

Then the obligatory screwed-up runs. Die a minute in, lose my chain at 110, whatever. The next good run though...

Incredible. I knew the record was to be broken. Nothing outright amazing, just a consistent run that got me to the 2nd half of the 4th boss. Relatively close to 1-crediting to level 5. That's never happened before! In any event, it was just a great run, and perfect through the areas I needed to be. Hypers are flowing now, getting them all over the place, and once again I'm near to chaining all of level 1. Getting...So...Close!

Hope for more runs in the near future. If so, I'll be writing...I've no doubt.

12 September, 2005

No new high scores to report here, but I had several 35-million point scores in the last day. Something happened earlier this year, I got better, and gained a confidence needed to pull off some sick stuff. I find myself challenging the last boss more, doing some new tricks, and just plain improving! It's rewarding, again, and to know that I'm hovering around my high scores which means that the records will be broken. Maybe not #1 just now, but I'll be back in, if I can devote some time.

Just gotta figure out this 2nd hyper pick-up (detailed below), continue getting 600+ hit chains, and defeat the arms of the boss (yielding at least 1 hyper) without dying.

11 September, 2005

Well, I've had quite a while off from DDP. Lots of life changes as well, but now that I'm somewhat settled into my new abode, and I finally have a weekend to myself, it's Dai-Ou-Jou time!

As usual, a ton of worthless runs. However, I've noticed that if I hold off on using my hyper on level 1, I can get a 2nd one just after the double bee section to the left of the level. Problem is, I can never get pick it up w/out dying or losing my chain! More practice needed!

The chaining is coming along, and I broke my record w/ a 627-hit chain. Unfortunately, I got pissed off when dying on the boss (would've had 3 hypers too!) and restarted. Things are progressing still, even after such a delay in play time. One run, I did particularly well (even though I died on the first stage) and this produced a 37-million point score, nudging out the old #5.

One other run was incredibly frustrating as I had 4 ships and 30-million points by the 2nd boss. I died twice there, then twice in the beginning of level 3 to end my run. BAD! Could've been something special.

I hope to get some more time to play soon, even just a few minutes here and there. Still the best shmup ever, still unrelenting and cruel in its rigid chaining system.

13 February, 2005

After figuring out that key missing element last night, I had to return tonight to play.

Chaining almost the entire first stage is now possible. I got to the boss with ~15 million (as high as 17.5) consistently today but lost my chain between 560-600 on an average of a good game. Definitely played for a few hours tonight, one of the heaviest sessions in a long while. It was well worth it.

- Highest Combo ever (609)
- Highest Score ever (44,019,860)
- Third Highest Score ever (38,149,070)

These were all separate runs and each was solely due to the first stage.

Somehow I've gotten a little better at the first boss, and will sometimes risk destroying the arms before the main body. This can yield up to 2 hypers I've noticed.

Not that this is news, but 15 million on the first stage (usually a 500 hit combo + not dying will achieve this) is the key. After years, I've finally figured out how to do it. Oh, btw, I broke my high score!!!! Took me 9 months! Almost 2 years after the release of this game, it remains my favorite. Now to calm down a little bit!

11 December

Some people claim that they have problems watching games such as DDP3. They say that it makes their eyes hurt or bug out. Fortunately I'm not one of those people. However, today I played the game and my eyes were freaking out. Unblinking, my eyes burned, tears ran down my cheek; unflinching I set my 5th highest score.

After a failed run in which I had 10 million at the end of the first stage, I came back with some big combos. My score only topped the previous record by 300,000, and I didn't even make it to the 4th stage. This is all due to several combos around 300. Even after all this time off, I had good timing on my hypers, clearly a necessary ingredient for success.

It's cool that I'm still hovering around the same point region. I'm not playing nearly as much as I used to, but a few games now and again show that I still have it...

27 September

Haven't played since the last update and had about 4 rounds in all. The first was terrible, but I ended up with about 20 million. After 2 more restarts, I managed to beat the first 2 levels w/out dying. Always a good sign. As detailed below, I need a certain amount of points on the first level to really contend...and I wasn't even close. However, I knew if I could get to level 4, I had a shot to get in the top 5.

Here's the problem. 31.9 million just isn't good enough. So, I don't know exactly how many points I got, nor what my max combo was. Never liked that about the system. Once your game is over, that's it. No way to find out. But the score was my 7th best ever and highest since mid-May (4 months ago). This is reassuring...had I managed to combo level 1 properly, I would've been top 5. As is I only missed by a million points.

This game still remains my favorite shmup ever, even with the steep difficulty and strict combo requirements.

7 August

I've had one quick go w/ DDP3 in the past few months and it was pretty bad. Today I sat down and had 2 consecutive runs.

I opted to just go with it, even with my silly deaths. A practice run was just what I needed. Fortunately the first run tallied just under 17 million. That's worthy of another round. The next run was around 27, I believe....

This isn't really a killer score, but considering the time I took off, it felt pretty good. In addition, looking on my high score chart, it looks like it's a top-10 finish, or near it.

The 3-month hiatus isn't really anything new though. September of last year I stopped for almost 6 months. And prior to that I had a few month layover. As the game ages I wonder if this is it. Being able to come back to the game and do fairly well (being able to rememberr enemy patterns is surely key) is a reassuring thought.

19 May

After a 5th place 33 million point run last night, I came home and did horribly at first today. It's so easy to get discouraged now that a 33 million point score is needed to crack the top 5.

But a 596 point combo to begin stage 1 gave me the boost I needed to shatter my high score. 41 million broke my record by over 6 million, roughly 15% higher. The massive first level chain was lost towards the end (clearly) and I know if I can get this down, I can (and will) chain the whole first stage. All 10 bees as well of course.

So, when I defeated the boss and saw 17.5 up on the score section I realized...this is how I'm going to break records in the future. No need to play the 2nd level if I can't get over 10 on the first stage. Simply no way. So...this may ruin my gaming experience in the future, at least until I can average 13+ on this level. In any event, I died twice, foolishly as always, on the 2nd boss but had reached him w/out losing a life. Oh I hate dying w/ 3 bombs in stock. I usually use 2 for the 2nd half of the boss, so 3 would have done me just fine. I had a 500+ hit combo on that level as well which tell me the 2 new rules are:

- At least 10 million by the end of the first boss
- At least a 500 hit combo on level 2

Level 3 pissed me off with that sub-boss in the middle section...Still one of my least favorite parts of the game.

I got pretty far into level 4 before dying and it seems I've got a new benchmark on this level.

41 million...I'm so psyched!!!

17 May

The fateful words, "One more run before bed" was the reasoning behind this latest entry. Of course I died 2 or 3 times on the first level due to stupidity before the reason became clear.

543 hit combo on the first stage is my record by far. I've had more hits (probably at the end of level 2) but managed to combo this from the beginning of the stage, a real triumph for me! Better yet, I think I may have found a way to combo past my problem section (200 hits)...so if I can get this, I could in theory chain the whole stage. Surely that's getting ahead of myself...but I need goals.

10 million by the first boss, 22 million by the 2nd. Apparently this is the benchmark now. If I'm at 15 million by the 2nd boss the run is essentially worthless unless perhaps I have full bombs and lives. I lost 2 lives on the 2nd boss which irritated me, but not enough for me to lose my focus. The 3rd level had one lame death but the rest was done nicely even if my combos weren't too high.

Once again, level 4 can be a great level. If I can manage to avoid dying stupid deaths, I can get pretty far into the stage and with so many enemies, filling your Hyper meter is easy. Big chains are relatively easy here.

My newest tactic is focusing more on staying further up in the screen. Too often players get stuck pressed at the bottom of the screen. So with each opening I move forward a little bit allowing for more maneuverability. It's hard to do b/c it's so easy to let yourself get pushed back.

So...35 million and for the 3rd time in the past month, I've broken my high score. Fantastic.

6 May

I took a well needed and much deserved break from DDP3 and returned a little over a week later. It's difficult to remain patient as I do poorly the first few runs through. 17, 21 and even 25 million point runs are clearly not enough any more!

On the 25 million point run I had 10 million by the boss of stage 1, a new high record. I had a 400+ hit combo in the middle of the level and I began to start comboing after the section which I *always* lose it. Getting there!!!

Unfortunately I lost everything on the 3rd level, dying several times and totally destroying my chance of doing better.

After a large number of other failed and frustrating runs I took a brief break and returned to it...

561 hit combo stage 1...new record
15.5 million by the stage 1 boss...DESTROYED my record of 10 which I set earlier.
25 million by the 2nd level boss...another record

In fact, I got my 2nd extra life (at 20 million) where I used to get my first. Now that's progress!

Good runs usually end in disaster and I lost 2 lives early on in level 3. My run ended with just over 33 million, 3rd best ever.

It was still a very satisfactory run. Top 5 at this point is essentially 30 million so currently I can't complain. I love this game.

26 April

30 Million, Part II!

31 million as I played and watched The Swan on Fox. I'd made at least a dozen runs, yielding 15-24 million at best. Just a month ago several of these would've landed in my top 5. Now they're crap.

I arrived on level 4 with 3 ships and made it almost to the end. My 505 hit combo was made on this level.

Some Thoughts
I used to hate it when I would get a 2nd hyper on the first level, just before the boss. Using one at the boss usually kills me, but I learned another technique about hypers. I began to use these almost as bombs, a brief window to clear the screen of bullets. So, rather than facing the first boss and using a hyper immediately, I save it until the enemy shoots out the shells (3rd attack) where I used to use a bomb. This way I can still dodge the next set of attacks relatively easily and can use a bomb if need be to save myself...as I usually need this.

To bomb naysayers, I'm not good enough to not use them. In addition, if I have a good game, the main purpose here, I will collect another bomb at the end of level 2 to give me my max, or I'll die beforehand and won't miss the one I've used.

The next goal is to get my first level combo up over 300, even if I lose my chain around 200 like I always do. If I can do this, I'll get myself a 2nd hyper, something I no longer detest as I used to.

25 April

A late night session had me far into level 4. I've always found this level a bit easier than 3 if you are in the proper groove. In fact, there are a lot more bullets and it doesn't really seem to be easier. But once you get going, and if you've got 25 million and a few extra ships when you get there, it can be a very fun level...or quite frustrating.

Comboing this level can be slightly easier as well based solely on the sheer number of bullets and enemies. Strategic use of the hyper allows me to chain otherwise difficult parts and the entire middle section, while insane, yields a 400+ hit combo if done well.

34 million was more than 20% higher than my prior high score. It was probably about 2am when I got this and I knew my night was done.

The following afternoon had me playing several other sessions. The final one (the real, "this is the last one") showed a 27 million point run, my 3rd highest and 2nd of my top 3 in just 10 hours. I barely made it into level 4 when I was distracted by a visitor. I should've done better.

20 April

Moving the bar up, a pair of high scores (in consecutive games no less) gave me my biggest thrill yet. 27,101,590 (484) and then 28,108,290 (524).

I was pumped up to say the least, having broken my old scores (pre-April 2004) by 10 million. The progress felt fantastic.

April 2004

In September of 2003 I switched dolls from Exy to Leinyan, a good choice for the simple fact that she provided more bombs. Still using ship type B, I enjoyed a more powerful laser and wider regular shot. This switch helped me break my records several times over.

Next came a change over to ship type A in early April. This proved to be a great decision as every record of mine was broken within 2 weeks. The weaker laser of the ship coupled with the faster speed gave me precisely what I needed to accomplish my goals. With a weaker laser it forced me to utilize it more thus filling my hyper meter faster. The narrow regular shot assisted in my combos. Fewer stray shots ended up killing combos and while my max combo total didn't increase much, I had more combos of 200+ hits.

Finally, bee icon pickups...I began collecting these strategically. One major oversight was the 2nd icon in the level, I had been missing this entirely for all these months. A 200 hit combo (x1000) helped in points and also gave me a hyper much more quickly. I also started grabbing the 3rd icon before my combo ended...which it still does around this section. A 3rd 200,000 point icon yielded the hyper then and there. Now to get my combo over 300 in this section.