okay but what if in a shooting game i refuse to do the exact thing in the genre name
Night Striker is a 1989 arcade game developed by Taito. The game is Taito's answer to Space Harrier but with a cyberpunk theme and branching paths. The Mega CD port was released in Japan on 28 May 1993, utilizing the Mega CD's scaling capabilities to attempt replicating the scaling effects and the CD storage to have a new arrange soundtrack exclusive to this port.
While the gameplay is remarkably close, the visuals got a heavy crunchiness to it due to weaker hardware and the area of movement is notably reduced. This reduction of movement is a notable problem for the end of Stage C for instance. There are also some parts of the game that are adjusted since the gameplay runs at around 15-20 FPS with lag here and there.
Since last month was Taito's 69th anniversary (nice) and this port is part of the Mega Drive Mini 2 and Genesis Mini 2, I wanted to do a TAS to show off this game. Despite what the British magazines at the time thought of the game (they really did not like it for whatever reasons) this is a fine port that tries its best to keep the spirit of the arcade game. There's even analog support, though I didn't use it because I didn't want to deal with that right now. Enjoy a lot of close dodging and weaving throughout.
- Emulator used: BizHawk 2.8
- GenplusGX core
- Plays on Hardest difficulty
- Pacifist run
Night Striker has a unique bonus generally not seen in a lot of shoot 'em ups or rail shooters where not using your shots and not getting hit nets a special bonus. This bonus is the main strat for high scoring in this game but actually pulling that off in real time requires heavy missile manipulation, dodging, and bullet despawning. Another factor is that it would require finding the best route to get points outside of those bonuses.
I didn't want to chase the high score since that would require extensive checking of all the branching paths. Instead I consider this a playaround because I chose a stage route that would show off the most amount of unique bosses. I'm pretty sure I missed one area type and a few bosses but what I do show is some fancy dodging and music grooving that wouldn't be seen in legitimate real time 1 credit clear runs.
Since this is a playaround I also chose the arrange soundtrack for this game. While there are tracks of the arrange soundtrack that I do like, for the most part I feel that they don't really fit compared to the arcade original soundtrack. Even with that opinion I chose the arrange soundtrack because the Mega CD port is the only port that has these tracks.
There are also ports for the PlayStation and the Saturn. The PlayStation port is pretty compromised with a reduced number of sprites and reduced frame rate, similar to the Mega CD port in that regard. The Saturn version is much more faithful and has its own special mode with new stages.
There is also, of course, the arcade version. Thanks to LibTAS being able to run MAME, and by extension the arcade version, that's a possible option to consider. However I don't have a computer setup for that at the moment. Even if I did I also don't want to mess with MAME analog configuration.
I have doubts about how acceptable this run would be since I'm not sure how entertained folks are with shoot 'em up (or in this case, rail shooter) TASes with weird categories, especially one that avoids using the very thing the genre is about. There's also the other idea I had of a "maximum score, non-pacifist" run that would take extensive work to figure out the optimal route. That would likely be done on either the arcade version of the game or the Saturn port.
Special thanks to Lord BBH, whose streams was how I learned about this game and many other interesting arcade games. Here's his 1 credit clear video of the arcade version.
Also a special thanks to Janet, who has 6 entire pacifist runs of Night Striker for each ending. These runs were helpful in seeing how a full pacifist run would be with real time play. The runs are listed here:
A note to encoders if this does get accepted
The encode I made used a longer file. This file was used to input initials after the credits and ends once the high score screen fades to black. It is linked below: