weakboson wrote:Hmm, sounds like there might be more to like about Arrange B than I thought. Might put some time into it once I'm done with Sexy Pardoius. Could you explain a bit more about the mechanics? I seem to remember there being all sorts of stuff flying about and changing colours.
I can try to explain, yes.
There IS a guide for the game, see, on the shmup forums..... but it's inaccurate, as it was written for the original form of this mode. The mode recieved some heavy changes with a patch a couple of months or so after the game had released, due to some rather massive imbalances.
Ok, Arrange B.
A video of it that I just posted: http://youtu.be/kpwjGfTXX2w
This shows just how nutty the rank/difficulty can get, as well as various scoring techniques, uses of bombs, and the boss going absolutely insane. Definitely one of my better runs.
First, to start, obviously this mode is stage-based, not involving a run through the entire game. You'll select a stage before you start. After selecting a stage though, you'll come to a little menu with 3 other options, Bomb, Hyper, and Laser. Turning these on... they're yellow when on... alters things a bit. Having the bomb option on means your bombs are stronger, more like a proper bomb instead of like an auto-bomb, but the 2 meters take longer to fill. Hyper option will give you a bit of invincibility after activating a hyper, but the hyper will last shorter. With this option turned off, there is no invincibility during hyper, so keep that in mind. And Laser will make your beam attack stronger, but your ship a little slower. Which ones you want depend on your playstyle and the stage. For the level 5 video there I have Laser and Hyper active, but not bomb.
On the right side of the screen, below your score displays, there are two numbers, a blue one and a red one. These are the rank counters, and the entire mode pretty much revolves around them. The blue counter increases the speed of enemy attacks. The red counter increases the density. These counters rise depending on which "mode" you are in, and they drop if you should take a hit. Your score also drops if you take a hit. These drops appear to be percentages. You can really hurt your score bad by getting hit, so try your best not to.
There are 4 different "modes" in this. "Clear" mode is the one you start in. There's nothing too special about it, and enemy patterns will tend to resemble what they normally are in the main game, though with the rank counters having some effect on them. You start in this mode, and will also enter it if you either die, or grab a flashing bee without hyper.
"Red" mode is entered by grabbing a red bee. In this mode enemy attacks are slow, but tend to be pretty dense, often having a high amount of really tiny bullets. As long as you are in red mode, the red rank counter will rise at a decent speed.
"Blue" mode is entered by grabbing a green bee. In this mode, enemy attacks closely resemble the types of attacks fount in Futari's Original mode, fast bullets, but very low density. As long as you're in this one, the blue counter will rise.
"Green" mode is a bit different. There are two ways to enter green mode. 1. by having your current score surpass your top score, and 2. by grabbing a flashing bee while using a hyper. In green mode, BOTH counters rise at a good rate.... but green mode is also always the most difficult. It's actual effects on enemies varies, depending on the stage and the individual enemies, and also depending on the current level of the 2 rank counters. Green is where you can usually get the really, REALLY dense bullet patterns. You'll notice that there's a new type of bullet that appears only in this mode, which looks like a little pink spinning blade... expect to see ALOT of these, usually in big, thick groups/walls. Green mode is generally where you can get the most points.
You might also notice numbers that appear above every enemy. You dont need to pay too much attention to them... they basically indicate how much rank the enemy is being given, as well as how much health it has, and point values. The numbers wont make too much sense just by looking at them, so just ignore them. But as a rule, for scoring, the higher the better.... which means that you want the two rank counters to be as high as they can go. Enemy health levels DO in fact rise as the rank counters increase. It never goes TOO high though, unlike BEFORE the patch, where it'd go so high that even basic foes were nigh-invincible. Glad they fixed that.
Killing enemies isnt your only source of points though. The other is those shiny metallic looking things that you see. Grabbing these is one of your main goals here. The amount they are worth, again, changes based on the two rank counters. There are two ways of getting these to appear:
1, killing enemies in rapid succession will cause a barely-visible meter on the sides of the screen to fill.... seriously, this meter is hard to really watch, and you might not even NOTICE it when playing, but it's there. A thin vertical line. When it's high enough, defeated enemies will start to drop piles of the silver items to grab.
And 2, cancelling bullets will turn them into the items.
Now, these items, normally, are a bit different from items often found in Cave's games. In most of their games, you have this huge radius around your ship, and if they are within this huge area, they'll just get pulled in. In THIS mode, the radius is very small, you have to be pretty much right next to them in order to grab them. Using a bomb though will pull all items towards you, as well as starting a hyper.
Bombs are interesting here. There is no penalty for using a bomb. Unlike in most Cave titles, bombs are tools to be used, not things to be avoided. Depending on the situation, they can really help in terms of scoring, but you have to know how to use them. It takes some experimenting.
Oh, I suppose I should explain HOW you get bombs. At the top of the screen is 2 meters, that look just like the usual Hyper meter in the other game modes. The right meter will not begin to fill until the left one is already full. These 2 meters are used for both bombs AND hypers. When one or both is full, you can use it for either of them. Tap the "bomb/hyper" button for a bomb, and hold it down for a moment to activate a hyper. Either one will always drain exactly one of the two meters. These meters fill in 2 ways. 1, destroying enemies, as well as using your beam on them, and 2, by grabbing the "star" icons dropped by ground foes. This means that these stars actually become very important in this mode.... pay attention to them. The large stars are the best and give you a large chunk of meter. If you use a bomb, you not only pull in all silver items onscreen, but ALSO all of the stars currently onscreen. This will not work with auto-bombs though.
As for the Hypers, they're MOSTLY the same as in other game modes, with one important difference: You can only cancel PINK bullets. It will do absolutely nothing to BLUE bullets. Pink bullets are cancelled into those silver items; obviously, the more pink stuff there is on the screen, the more silvery things you can get by using a Hyper. Your actual beam does not cancel anything, but your shot does. Hyper does not last very long, and only has invincibility if you chose that option before starting. It is very important overall though, definitely.
Part of the challenge of this mode is learning when to use bombs, and when to use hypers, and when to conserve them, as well as learning good ways to refill the meters without dying. It takes some experimenting. Generally though, massive amounts of pink bullets onscreen will be the best time to use hypers.
And then you need to do all of this while raising the ranks, switching modes as needed, and NOT DYING.
Often, the key to high scores is to do a few runs that are entirely to build up rank; runs where you do the entire stage in either red or blue mode to raise those.... and then after this, attempting a full-green run where you're after nothing but points.
Overall, this is probably my favorite of the arrange modes in Cave's games. It's just such a blast, and there's so many different approaches to each area, and the challenge never wavers, but only gets harder and harder as you get more and more skilled.
Any questions, if I missed anything, do feel free to ask!