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Battle Garegga

バトルガレッガ

Developer / Publisher: Raizing
03 February 1996
Battle Garegga [バトルガレッガ] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.95 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
125 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#376 All-time
#9 for 1996
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1996 Raizing 8ing  
XEU
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2016 8ing M2  
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2017 Raizing M2  
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Title
Garegga is one of the most highly regarded shooters of all time. Its fanbase is very passionate and quite cult-like, and encompasses many intermediate players that get suckered into thinking that Garegga is the deepest, most complex and most genius Shmup ever made as if that were some kind of undeniable truth. Now, don't get me wrong, Garegga is a great game, but there are so many other shmups that are endlessly fascinating the deeper you went into them. Basically, Garegga is an unique game, but it isn't the only unique game, getting deep into score tactics will result in awe of the design and complexity in various other shmups not only by Raizing but also Cave and Team Shanghai Alice.

The first thing you're likely to notice getting into this one is the presentation. Highly influenced by an earlier game called Gun Frontier, The art style is intricate with a stunning attention to detail all the way across the game, the journey itself tells the whole story visually, the feel of the game is more light hearted in the earlier stages and becomes increasingly oppressive only to culminate with one of the most adrenaline pumping final stages I can think of. This is all thanks to the perfectly executed presentation. The style is cold and mechanical yet the music helps retain some highly needed warmth to help the game feel more accessible. Namiki's Detroit Techno influenced soundtrack has some real highlights to be sure, my favorites being Stab & Stomp and Subversive Awareness. The aesthetic accomplishments cannot be understated, you simply have to play it to understand. It is without a doubt one of the best looking games ever made.

The incredible attention to detail isn't just for show. In fact, it synergizes well with Garegga's gameplay. I'm not talking about the realistic-looking bullets or certain explosions that causes visibility issues for some players, but all the destructible parts sprinkled throughout the game that can be interracted with in various ways for different results. Bosses and big enemies are made up of multiple parts that you can blow off both to influence the pattern usage and to optimize your score, for example, blowing up certain parts of the stage 4 boss will cause it to spawn enemies you can milk for points. The stages are full of hidden medals you can uncover by using bombs (the bomb is referred to as "weapon" in Garegga). The variation in said details makes each stage feel different from the next, and that's not even getting into the thematic variations.

The basic gameplay has three buttons. Shot, Weapon and changing your option formation. To elaborate on that last bit, you can pick up to 4 options and there's 5 unlocked formations you can switch between. For example, your options can shoot forwards in a spread, or backwards. Or, you could shoot to the opposite side of where you're facing. This mechanic is very nifty to say the least. There's also hidden option formations you unlock by collecting items in a certain way. Even the basic shot button is important, because you can manually increase the fire rate, which has both upsides and downsides (I'll get more into that later). The weapon (bomb) system works different from most games as well, you pick up little fragments throughout the game, once you have enough, that will form a full weapon. You only need to carry 1 fragment to actually be able to use it, though, in other words, you can use a partial weapon but it'll just last much shorter. The character variation is also quite good. There's 8 ships, 4 of which are guest characters from Mahou Daisakusen. It might not seem like it on the surface, but the strategy is all very different. For example, Gain has piercing options, which causes his interraction with boss parts to differ somewhat. Weapon and power differences are also important, as a lower power means you shouldn't raise the rank quite as high, and proper weapon usage is instrumental to playing Garegga.

I think the rank system is the most infamous part of Garegga, It's also something that is too often misunderstood on a very broad scale. A lot of people think that controling the rank as a beginner is some kind of rocket science, when it is actually very simple and only takes more learning when you get better and want to optimize your score more. Rank is the difficulty of the game at any given time, and that is not a new thing, Shmups often had this well before Garegga came out. What Garegga did differently is that it made rank deeper and more dynamic. Rank controls most notably the enemies volume of bullets and their health, and the game is designed so that you have to control it, if you play the game "too well", it will get too hard in the later stages and there is no way to get the rank down to a very noticeable degree any more. Every time you gain an extend, the rank goes up. Every time you collect items, the rank goes up (some items are worse culprits than others). Every time you freaking shoot, the rank goes up. In fact, the rank even goes up every frame of gameplay. Sadistically, the rank stays up in between credits, and is hilariously brought down by watching the attract sequence. In order to bring the rank down in-game, you have lose lives and not hoard them, as the rank punishment is greater the more lives you have. You should also avoid collecting needless items as they add your rank, and being more powerful will increase your rank more when you shoot. This ties in with the shot rate I mentioned before, increasing it will also increase your rank from shooting. If you only need 2 options, then don't bother collecting 4 of them. You can also limit your shooting when there's nothing much to shoot at. The rank counter is invisible, but it is a numerical value that always fluctuates during gameplay, and with a good familiarity of the game you can learn to play with roughly the same ranks everywhere every time.

As long as you control the rank by dying and chaining medals and so forth, the game doesn't really live up to its reputation of being a particularly difficult shmup by arcade standards. Sure enough it's harder to beat than most games out there, but I think even a beginner could learn to do it with some perseverence. The difficulty throughout most of the game isn't high when you're playing with a low rank, with only a few difficulty spikes. Black Heart MK II, the first of two final bosses, is probably the toughest part for a beginner, but you can simply get here with decent resources to finish the game. As long as you learn a good approach, I think Battle Garegga is quite an average-difficulty 1cc, one of the perks is that there is very little need for memorization. You can just freestyle much of the game.

Garegga is an unforgettable experience and from a surface standpoint it is a masterpiece with its deep and rewarding system and stage/boss designs, and incredible atmosphere and visuals. The reason I'm not rating it higher is because, well, I don't really enjoy it all that much any more. I tried getting into scoring and I didn't like it, and for me, this is a huge flaw in an otherwise outstanding shmup. Scoring in the early stages is tedious and not fun, it just feels like the game is taking up your time when you gamble with the flamingoes and mad ball or tick milk the first boss. The entire 3rd stage just bores me and I wish I could just skip past it. There's even a milking trick on the boss where you sit immoble for like 2 minutes to get tick points. Garegga does get more fun in the second half, I particularly enjoy the rather difficult survival of stage 6, but the actual scoring gameplay just kinda leaves me cold. That said, it's still pretty fascinating how it works and the best Garegga players like Kamui are awesome to watch. In a nut shell, the score is about exploiting everything I've discussed, as well as chaining medals, and a lot of more unintuitive things I didn't go into such as shooting invulnerable parts for tick points, killing things with the right kind of weapon, and more. The game's scoring isn't really about just understanding an overarching game system and routing around that, but rather about learning about how each detail works on an individual level. The infamous flamingoes is a good example, early in stage 2 there is a building you can bomb and flamingoes pop out, handling this for score is quite different depending on your character. You can even do a totally radical "game over" trick here where you lose your last life and gain an extend a moment afterwards from the points you got from bombing right before you died. If you get the extend in time, the game won't count it as a game over. Honestly, the game is just too cool and fascinating to give a lower score even though I didn't end up enjoying scoreplay. No game is perfect, and it just so happens that the most important judgement I make on shmups is how much I enjoy actually getting good at them by reaching a high score. Unfortunately, Battle Garegga, although I might recognize it as a masterpiece otherwise, was not my cup of tea in that area. Another similar Raizing game I prefer to this one is Armed Police Batrider, one of my all-time favorite shooters, which I might try to review in the future. Batrider also has many problems but ultimately I find it a lot more enjoyable, it is sooo much more difficult with a higher skill ceiling overall, which suits me pretty well. Either way, if you are interested in this genre AT ALL, then both Garegga and Batrider are must-plays. There's also a direct sequel to Garegga which is ironically completely different called Battle Bakraid which has one of the most off beat scoring systems ever, that game is its own beast entirely.

Finally, if you are interested in Garegga, this strategy guide written by Icarus from Shmups Forum is good: http://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=351
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Title
I don't even think this game has code, just a series of arcane symbols inscribed in blood that someone taped to the PCB. While the employees of Raizing may have sacrificed their souls to release the game, I do have to admit that the presentation is excellent. Banging, grimy Detroit techno soundtrack and bleak visual palette make for a much more atmospheric experience than you'd find in most shmups.

Playing Garegga is way scarier than any other bullet hell game - to counteract the skyrocketing difficulty rank you're forced to burn away any extra lives the moment you get them, and on top of the risk of unceremonious game-over the scoring is incredibly punishing. You can't really beat the game without putting effort into scoring, either, since you need to score to get enough extra lives to sacrifice for rank lowering. There's a couple scoring tricks, mostly involving chip damage abuse, that are incredibly lucrative but also finicky and arbitrary to a positively Kafkaesque degree - one infamous one actually involves getting a well-timed game over just as you roll over your point value to the next extra life. What I'm saying is, you have to be made of something else if you can beat this with anything but Golden Bat. For those willing to persist, there's very few games in the genre with a higher skill ceiling, but I personally don't think that's a reward worth the struggle.
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Catalog

666LILGILGAMESH666 バトルガレッガ 2024-05-26T15:16:08Z
Arcade
2024-05-26T15:16:08Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bci9215 バトルガレッガ 2024-04-26T13:56:00Z
2024-04-26T13:56:00Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
FirstMate バトルガレッガ 2024-04-23T06:03:40Z
2024-04-23T06:03:40Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
zelmire バトルガレッガ 2024-04-16T00:39:52Z
2024-04-16T00:39:52Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
_asher バトルガレッガ 2024-04-13T20:08:29Z
2024-04-13T20:08:29Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
xtremedante バトルガレッガ 2024-03-17T06:34:23Z
Arcade
2024-03-17T06:34:23Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eliottstaten バトルガレッガ 2024-03-14T00:08:33Z
2024-03-14T00:08:33Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Action52 バトルガレッガ 2024-03-11T02:13:11Z
2024-03-11T02:13:11Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Giann96 Battle Garegga 2024-02-22T23:50:52Z
Arcade • XEU
2024-02-22T23:50:52Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
5.555598416172731e+23 バトルガレッガ 2024-02-04T22:06:01Z
2024-02-04T22:06:01Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Athenz バトルガレッガ 2024-01-28T01:51:24Z
2024-01-28T01:51:24Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hevykofe Battle Garegga 2024-01-14T07:32:02Z
Arcade • XEU
2024-01-14T07:32:02Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • ... 2022-01-07 19:51:35.329467+00
    just reset if you fuck up during the flamingo part
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  • megadave83 2022-04-22 11:01:47.008059+00
    really nice looking game. but way to hard. Bullets everywhere
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  • Aysenthesys 2022-09-04 03:43:05.964643+00
    Such an underrated bullet hell type of game. Looks great, it's difficult but fair, and the music kicks ass.
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  • twinkiemachine 2023-01-01 23:36:24.869874+00
    chitta haters DNI
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  • bulletaurbulle 2023-04-08 19:34:20.857039+00
    BOMB THE BIRDS
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23 mar 2015
8 apr - 12 may 2015
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