Degica Games Weekend Sale: Time is Running Out!


It’s Sunday and that means time is fast running out on the Degica Games Steam Weekend Sale!

The sale ends tomorrow at 10am Pacific, and while there is still time to get involved with one of our many, many events, the chance to buy any one of our games for low, low, prices is slipping away!

So what kind of deals could you get?


Ready for some beat em up brawler action? Then pick up Studio Saizensen’s Code of Princess for 35% off! This brawler/RPG hybrid has hours and hours of fun, customization, and challenge.

As an added bonus, we’ve added Steam Trading Cards, just in time for the sale!


Or maybe you are interested in a game that spends less time with action, and more time tugging at your heartstrings? Then try out Nurse Love Addiction, a visual novel about life, love, and medicine.

Already have the game? Then why not treat yourself to the Original Soundtrack?


In the mood for something else? There is definitely at least one game in our catalogue for you, and now is the time to buy.

And don’t forget to jump in on our massive Giveaway with free Degica Games and $1,000 in Steam Wallet Code Prizes! Enter today for your chance to win!

The clock is ticking. Don’t let time run out on these amazing deals!


Degica Games Steam Weekend Sale, Events and Challenges!


It’s the Degica Games Steam Weekend Sale! And that means it is time to pull out all the stops.

More Streams, New Games, New DLC,  New Challenges, and deep deep discounts; we have it all! Make sure to check our Steam Weekend Sale Event and Release Page for a full list of the news, or keep reading for a few highlights!

With Super Players…


Our first Stream of the sale will be our regularly scheduled Thursday Fight Nights!

But there is nothing regular about this week. Join us from 7-10pm Pacific, when our normal host Brett is joined by legendary Fighting Game Champion Justin Wong, giving you the chance to test your mettle against one of the best of the best!


One of two games Justin Wong will be playing in our stream, you can pick up this fundamentals-heavy footsie based fighter starring gender-swapped versions of Romance of the Three Kingdoms characters for half price!

Easy to pick up, difficult to master, Koihime Enbu is the perfect fighting game for anyone!


And for the second game of the night, we brought in our good friends at Studio Saizensen’s game Blade Arcus From Shining: Battle Arena.

Developed and published by Saizensen, Blade Arcus brings characters from the long-running Shining series by Sega into a highly intricate fighting game where the key is knowing and balancing all of your resources: knowing when to use each for powerful offense, or lifesaving defense.


What better way to celebrate a recent release, and a big sale, than with score attack competitions!

The game: DoDonPachi Resurrection. The Challenge: The High Score. The Prize: More CAVE Games & DLC

You can find full rules for this contests here! So launch DoDonPachi Resurrection, and climb the ladder to glory.


Our second score attack, is also the second Judgement Silversword Contest we’ve held this month! Following our journey into Paradiso, it is time for a decent into the new Inferno Contest, get the details here!

And to compete, you can pick up Qute’s Judgement Silversword Resurrection for 40% off on the sale!


And many many more games are on sale, including such amazing deals as a whopping 80% off of the brawling beat’em up Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds, or 75% off the high flying RPG Skyborn!

Make sure to go to the Sale Page to see the full list of games that you can pick up for a great price.

So take a look at all our releases and events, and be sure to also take a look at the RPG Maker Learning Together Game Jam.

Get some games. Watch some streams. Smash some scores.




Per “pestro87” Strand & Luke “Aquas” Schirmer have covered the basics of Mushihimesama. They’ve covered the modes. They’ve covered Levels 1&2 and 3&4. Now it is time for them to finish off this guide: Stage 5 and the True Last Boss!

Stage 5


The final stage of the game takes us back into the forest but this time, you will discover a plethora of new enemies.

During the first half of Stage 5, you will encounter the same large moths that you fought on Stage 2 but there are also bushes that unleash a fearsome load of bullets along with larger plants that open a lid. As the lids are opened, large quantities of tiny insects will fly out and the plants will also fire bullets. Upon destroying these enemies all bullets on the screen will be cancelled.The difficulty has been raised yet again but

The difficulty has been raised yet again but, fortunately, there are quite a few bullet cancels this time around. You want to destroy most of the enemies as quickly as possible before too many bullets flood the screen and then cancel the remaining bullets using the larger plants.

The mid-boss is a flying insect that has a few patterns that can be challenging at first, so it is recommended to practice fighting it a few times. One of the final patterns on his first form can be challenging on Ultra, where he shoots a fixed pattern of bullets and then a more erratic pattern of smaller lines on top of that. On Maniac and Arrange mode you can get through this pattern with careful tap-dodging.

After the mid-boss, a few new types of enemies will appear. Enemies that shoots out lines of bullets, followed by a series of large bullets and ant-like bugs that shoot out a large burst of bullets. The larger ants will cancel all bullets when they are destroyed. It is important to not leave too many enemies on the screen here, as it is easy to get trapped. This can be a very tricky section on the MAX difficulties, so it is beneficial if you have planned out a route beforehand.

The fifth boss is Aki standing on top of a large bug. Certainly not an easy boss fight but not one of CAVE’s harder boss fights. The first couple of patterns can be dodged on reaction but it is good to practice the later faster patterns in Training Mode so that you are prepared for them. The final pattern can be especially difficult.

True Last Boss (TLB)


Exclusive to Ultra mode. Appears if you manage to clear the entire game without using continues.As Aki falls off of the large bug that he was using to fight you during the fifth boss battle, a smaller bug rescues him from his fall and so the TLB fight begins. Notoriously difficult boss among shmup fans. Bombing during the boss won’t do any damage to him and if you shoot the boss before he has fully recovered from the bomb (this is indicated by a white aura around him) he will shoot out a stream of bullets.

On top of that, his final pattern is legendary for its difficulty. He spawns round shapes filled with bullets in the center of the screen. The bullets then move outwards. Due to the density of the patterns and how he spawns these shapes, each fight against the boss during the last phase won’t be exactly the same.

You also have to wait for the boss to recover after you have dropped a bomb and by that time the bullets will have flooded the screen once again. Over time, players have come up with various strategies for this form but the concepts are mostly the same: drop a bomb to clear all bullets and trick the boss into spawning mass of bullets in a favourable location so that you can dodge the bullets on reaction, while maximizing the amount of hits that you can get in on the boss. Once it gets too hard to dodge bullets again you drop another bomb and then rinse and repeat.

The boss remains largely the same between 1.0 and 1.5 with the main noticeable difference is that the revenge bullets that he shoots out if you shoot him before he has recovered have a trickier pattern on 1.0 than on 1.5 and Arrange Mode. The final pattern is also much easier on Arrange Mode.

This is a truly remarkable boss that will forever be remembered (and feared) by enthusiasts of the shmups genre.

And that concludes our CAVE Strategy Sessions for Mushihimesama! Join us in the future, when we look at another CAVE game!


Anime Weekend Atlanta: Post Con Degica Games Wrapup!

It has been a little over a week since we got back from our events at Anime Weekend Atlanta, and it was a blast!

It felt like a whole month of fun, jammed into a single weekend, and I am just now recovering from that much excitement.

So first, we’d like to thank all of the convention staff, in particular: Michael, Sean, Thomas, Kevin, Justin, and anyone else who helped in the PC Gaming Room, or just helped us out over the weekend in general. We couldn’t have put this together without all of you, and it was excellent to work with you to make our tournaments and free play the best they could be.

But I’m sure you are asking, what happened with the tournaments? Then let’s get started:

Tournament 1: Blade Arcus


We were very happy to work with Studio Saizensen to bring a Blade Arcus Tournament to AWA, and this tournament was everything we could have wished for.

Friday afternoon came, and we had around 16 competitors come to the table, for their chance to take home the win. From newbies to fans, all comers battled it out for the chance to be crowned the AWA Blade Arcus Champion.

The Competition was intense, I even saw one competitor literally fall to the floor after the stress of a tough win. And that competitor, in the end, managed to take it all the way to the finals. Winning out, and taking home the top prize.


Congrats Astarte!

Event: DoDonPachi Resurrection Hands-On Preview!


Saturday, we had a surprise event: A first chance hands on with DoDonPachi Resurrection (DaiFukkatsu in Japan)!

This was the first time the public was able to play the PC version of the game, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. One of the AWA Video Gaming staff and hardcore shmup fan, Kevin, took a break from all his hard work specifically to come check it out.

You, too, should check out DoDonPachi Resurrection, coming out later tonight on Steam!

Tournament 2: Koihime Enbu


But the weekend, of course, would not be complete without us bringing our own fighter, Koihime Enbu, to the table.

Going into the tournament, the favorite was MikuruX, who had done well in one of the online tournaments from around release time. He knew the game, and he knew the characters. But he had 19 other competitors fighting to take him down.

But, before long, he had been knocked into the losers bracket. It wasn’t looking good. But he buckled down, and then delivered a series of killer rounds, taking down one person after another, switching from fighter to fighter so they couldn’t learn his patterns on any specific one. Finally, he faced down the person who knocked him into the losers bracket. This time, it did not end the same, and MikuruX took the win!


Congrats to MikuruX and his… hat.

We had a lot of fun showing off Blade Arcus From Shining: Battle Arena and Koihime Enbu at the convention, both during tournaments and in free play, especially with the Hori arcade sticks provided by Hori USA to play on! If you are interested in either of these games, make sure you join us for our Thursday Fight Nights Stream, tonight, Oct 13th, at 4pm Pacific! Host Brett, of UnlimitedBrettWorks, will be playing both games. Jump in for free with the Blade Arcus DEMO, featuring fresh fighters this week.

And thanks again to all the AWA staff that helped, and thanks to all the fans who stopped by. Seeing people play and enjoy these games in person was a true pleasure, and we hope you all continue to enjoy them for a long time.

We are also looking into helping with other events. If you have an event and would like to run a Koihime Enbu or Blade Arcus From Shining: Battle Arena tournament, or even just an exhibition, please contact us at!


Judgement Silversword Resurrection Leaderboards and Guide!


Judgement Silversword and Cardinal Sins now have Online Leaderboards, as well as some amazing scoring contests for the next week! You can compete against people from around the world for the top score, and to help you along the way, we’ve prepared a guide teaching you some tips and tricks to get that score as high as possible.

Judgement Silversword and I

Hello, and welcome to my Judgement Silversword guide/manual! My name is Adam Milecki, Game Producer for Degica Games (publisher of JSS and it’s sequel ESCHATOS.) Degica Games actually brought this fantastic trio of games to the PC before I was with the company, and them doing so is actually what drew me to work for them (a great event that lead to a great decision!)

Copies of the WonderSwan cartridge of JSS can go for hundreds of US dollars on eBay, and the fact that you can get all three games in the series for ~$20 USD brings joy to my heart. Heck, those original WS carts don’t even include the JSS sequel/variant, Cardinal Sins, as it required a WonderWitch to play.

Now!… I will not claim, by any stretch, to be an expert at JSS, but it is one of my favorite shoot-’em-ups (or “shmups”) of all time, despite its initial obscurity. This guide will also serve as a manual of sorts for those of you who are new to the game or want to improve your JSS groove. I will be drawing from my own experiences and various other sources (which I will try to credit when possible!) If you spot any errors or omissions, please let me know!

Enough about me.

Judgement Silversword and I

What is JSS? JSS is a bit like an odd and wonderful missing link between the shmups of yore (such as Galaga) and modern bullet-hell shmups. It’s a shmup that focuses on speed and efficiency of enemy destruction. You are given an agile ship with two different weapons and a shield: a simple toolset with depth and power when used effectively. Enemy patterns and attacks are challenging but fair, and there always seems to be a good counter for every situation. You will find this to be true if you stick with it.

Judgement Silversword and You

First, the controls. The default keyboard and XInput/360 controller mappings (I recommend a controller)…


…Ignore the “Super Shot” for now. That’s related to a cheat/debug feature.

Below are my advanced… and very advanced suggested controller mappings…


…setting RB as the shield makes it easier to quickly activate the shield when in a tight spot. Setting LB as the frontal shot makes it easier to perform a tricky frontal/wide hybrid shot, but this is an advanced technique. You can change these as you like. The goals of these reconfigurations are comfort and speed.

Judgement Silversword and You to the MAX

Now it’s time to discuss how the game works and how you can be better than not good!


If you’re not super familiar with shmups, you may not know this scandalous little secret about all that impressive bullet dodging you may have seen. It’s easier than it looks because of something known as a “hitbox”. Look closely at these two screenshots…


On the left, an enemy bullet is colliding with the nose of the player’s ship. On the right, an enemy bullet is colliding with the left side of the player’s ship. These are not deaths! The only way for the player’s ship to actually be destroyed is to have a projectile or enemy collide with the little cockpit in the middle of the ship. This lets you really squeeze between thick bullet patterns.

When dodging enemies and bullets in JSS, be aware of pushback. When damaging some enemies, they will be pushed back slightly. When using your shield, you can be pushed back slightly. Keep this in mind when avoiding collisions.

Weapons and Shield

Below you see the frontal shot, wide shot, and shield respectively…


…The frontal shot is best for keeping a distance from danger while doing a large amount of damage to one enemy at a time. Keeping it targeted on an enemy with minimal missing increases your score multiplier.

The wide shot is best for doing a smaller amount of damage to multiple enemies at a time. It can also increase your multiplier more quickly than the frontal shot when damaging multiple enemies (or missiles) at once with minimal missing. Using the wide shot while very close to an enemy is a great way to quickly increase your multiplier, as well, but it’s dangerous.

Advanced Technique: In the controls section, I mentioned a hybrid shot technique. I learned it from this video. It’s tiring to perform after a while, but this can be done by holding the frontal shot button down and quickly tapping the wide shot button. This allows you to have a powerful mixture of both shots that also increases your multiplier quickly, and it seems to make the game more likely to slow down due to the immense number of projectiles on screen. I could be wrong, but even when using this technique, it seems that sometimes you may want to opt for firing just the frontal shot.

The shield can be used to slow, shrink, and eventually cancel bullets completely. It even does damage to enemies and missiles. While in use, your shield will eventually deplete (indicated by its size and the blue percentage in the bottom left of the screen), but it can be refilled over time and by firing. So why would you ever use it when you can just dodge? Not only can it get you out of a tight spot, but it increases your multiplier. Note that there are some guided enemy lasers that pierce right through your shield and must be dodged.

Advanced Technique: You can actually get a static addition to your score multiplier every few areas as long as you don’t die or use your shield. Of course, it goes away if you do either of those things and playing this way is more difficult.


Keeping a steady stream of fire on enemies, avoiding missing shots, and using the shield effectively (or not at all) are all key to a good score. It’s important to keep the score multiplier up as high as possible. Destroying enemies and missiles will give you more points the higher it is. In addition, just about every potentially destructive action you take (shooting an enemy, canceling a bullet, etc.) will give you a steady feed of a small amount of points just for doing it. In other words, even if you don’t destroy an enemy, shooting it some will still get you that feed of points as long as you’re hitting it. You can even sometimes score points by shooting an enemy that’s already been defeated but is remaining on screen.

Advanced Technique: Always be firing (or shielding). The wide shot button overrides the frontal shot button, and the shield button overrides both. This means you can have zero delay between switching from one to the other.

Know your limits. Playing aggressively can be good for scoring and keeping up that multiplier, but if you die, your multiplier drops, you lose time, and you lose a life.

Areas and Speed


JSS is broken up into “areas” that flow quickly from one to the next…

…Just as the game rewards efficiency, it also rewards speed. Eradicating all enemies and missiles in an area as quickly as possible gets you more points.


Judges are the bosses of JSS. Getting your multiplier as high as possible before defeating a judge will provide a big increase to your score, so keep your firing focused and be careful.

Judgement Silversword and SHHH!

As you score points, your option level will go up. This unlocks new options in “Set Up”, but changing some options may disable ranking (highscores) for subsequent plays. Setting your options back to the “Default Setting” will re-enable ranking.

There is a secret unlockable ship in JSS, “G-XACALIA”. (The normal ship is called “S-AIXRK”.) To obtain it you need to complete normal mode without continuing. This unlocks Special mode. Then you need to complete Special mode without continuing. This is very difficult, but can be done easily by unlocking “God Mode” at option level 33. Enabling “God Mode” will disable ranking (as mentioned above), but you can still unlock G-XACALIA.

Cardinal Sins and You to the MAX

Cardinal Sins is a breath of fresh air, and more than just more JSS. It’s a bit similar to the WarioWare series in that it has quick, bite-sized gameplay variations. There are seven main stages based on the seven deadly sins each with their own objective. You will be graded on your performance in each stage and as a whole.

I’m not going to discuss CS at length here, but for the most part, your JSS skills will serve you well here. However, there are some exceptions.

In the “Sloth” stage, you must collect as many lives as possible. The twist is that the lives can be destroyed by your shots, so you must shoot carefully! In “Greed”, you need to collect data on the various enemies by doing things like allowing the enemy to finish various attacks, so destroying the enemy as quickly as possible is a bad idea there. Those are just a couple examples of how you must change up your strategy.

The ability to get a static addition to your score multiplier (mentioned in the above “Advanced Technique”) still exists in CS, but the huge multiplier boost you can get from using your shield likely outweighs the usefulness of the static addition, as CS is a bit on the short side.

Finally, be aware that unless you complete all seven stages without losing all of your lives, you will not be able to play the additional sequence.

You to the MAX, Thanks to…

  • Written by Adam “TideGear” Milecki, Game Producer for Degica Games with thanks to:
  • M-KAI and Qute for this fantastic game
  • Degica Games for bringing JSS (and ESCHATOS) to everyone
  • iatneH and the forum for this super helpful guide/info
  • Sapzdude on YouTube for their video of the hybrid shot technique
  • VioletHatPurple on YouTube for info on how to unlock the secret ship
  • The 1CC Log for Shmup’s articles on JSS and CS

CAVE Strategy Sessions: Mushihimesama Part IV – Stage 3 & 4


We’ve made it to part IV of our Cave Strategy Sessions articles on Mushihimesama! Last week, Per “pestro87” Strand & Luke “Aquas” Schirmer covered the first two stages of the game. This week, it is time to tackle Stage 3 and 4. Let’s get started!

Stage 3


Upon exiting the forest you enter a fire mountain where you are chasing an enormous insect. Throughout the stage, you will fly above various sections of the insect and destroy them. The difficulty will start to ramp up during this stage.

At first, you are greeted by a series of smaller moths. You will fight these moths multiple times during the stage. Their patterns can be tricky on the MAX difficulties, as it’s easy to get trapped, especially when there are many other bullets on the screen. To avoid being trapped on MAX, you typically want to switch direction when you are the end of the bullet pattern for each moth.

There are four sections on Stage 3 where the screen will stop scrolling and you will have to fight a larger piece of the insect. On these sections you want to apply the same scoring strategies on Maniac and Arrange as on the mid-bosses mentioned in the last article. It is worth noting that the ideal auto-fire rate is slightly higher on Maniac MAX compared to Stage 2.

The first part of the boss is the tip of the tail that also has what appears to be blue eyes. It is important to increase the counter here as much as possible but on Arrange Mode. You also need to be concerned about how much damage you have dealt to the tail, as there will be a large gap between the next wave of enemies if you destroy it too quickly.

After the tip of the tail has been destroyed, you will continue to fight alongside the main body of it. On Arrange, your main concern is maintaining the overall counter and it is recommended to tap A so as to not leave a gap in the waves of enemies.On Original, you want to avoid destroying the parts since each part will shoot out popcorn enemies that you can milk. On Maniac and Ultra, you want to move in an eight-way pattern to dodge the bullets and stay relatively aggressive so that you get rid of all of the parts on the tail before there is an overwhelming amount of bullets on the screen.

On Original, you want to avoid destroying the parts since each part will shoot out popcorn enemies that you can milk. On Maniac and Ultra, you want to move in an eight-way pattern to dodge the bullets and stay relatively aggressive so that you get rid of all of the parts on the tail before there is an overwhelming amount of bullets on the screen.

Next, you will fight a few more moths while popcorn enemies are shooting out bullets. This can be a tricky section on the MAX difficulties. Then you will fight one of the insect’s claws. Each claw has two parts that you can destroy but destroying the larger part will also destroy the smaller one. Once the claw has been destroyed the screen will scroll upwards and then to the left where you will fight the second claw.This section where the screen scrolls

This section where the screen scrolls has a few tricky spots on higher difficulties, thankfully there are a couple of parts on the insect that you can destroy during this section that will cancel all bullets on the screen. You want to tap dodge during here and then destroy these parts for bullet cancels.

After the second claw, you will fight the main body of the insect. As the screen scrolls, you will notice that a bomb item will appear on top of the insect. If you are playing on higher difficulties then you want to hold off on picking up this item until the screen has stopped scrolling since it is easy to get killed by the vast array of bullets.

As the screen stops scrolling and you engage into battle with the final larger part of the insect you will notice that you are fighting the main body of the insect as well as two arms. Each part of each arm is shooting out bullets and your main objective here is to destroy all of the parts on both arms before destroying the main body. If you do that and avoid destroying the main body with a bomb, you will be rewarded with a 1-up.

The third boss appears shortly after and it will be your most difficult boss fight so far. It is recommended that you use both A and C on higher difficulties (alternating between tapping A during macro dodges and otherwise holding down A) to shorten the length of the boss fight. You might want to drop a few bombs if you are playing on Ultra.

Stage 4


Out from the depths of the fire mountain and into a deceptively serene archipelago that will prove to be even more difficult. This stage has lots of popcorn enemies that shoot out large quantities of bullets on higher difficulties and you also encounter large green beetles that shoot an array of bullets.

Occasionally, you will fight insects that walk on water which can cancel all bullets on the screen. You can utilize the scoring strategies on them on Maniac, Ultra, and Arrange as they can be somewhat profitable for score but the fourth mid-boss is much more lucrative on said modes. You want to use the same strategies as on the Stage 2 mid-boss here.

During the second half of Stage 4, you will encounter water-based eel-like insects with a short yellow tail that has two tips on it. The head will fire bullets as well as each part of the body. Your main objective here should be to try and squeeze in just below the head of the insect so that you can quickly destroy the parts of the body while avoiding all of the bullets that it shoots out.

The tail will also cancel all bullets when it’s destroyed. This is particularly useful when there are popcorn enemies that shoot out bullets or when there are multiple of these insects on the screen. You can then use the tail bullet cancel to gain an opening so that you can squeeze in behind the head of the next insect.

The fourth boss has a few tricky patterns but thankfully a couple of them are aimed towards you which means that you can lure him into firing the bullets in a direction where you don’t have to dodge them. It is recommended to play through the boss fight a couple of times in Training Mode so that you are prepared for when he does these patterns.

With Stage 3 & 4 covered, all we have left is to cover the last stage… and the True Last Boss! Make sure to jump on next week for more CAVE Strategy Sessions!


8ing Takes to the Sky in DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours

Hello, everyone! Once again, Adam Milecki, Game Producer for Degica Games, is here to drop some science on you. In case you somehow missed the announcement, Degica has two shiny new DLC packs on the way for DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviors (in addition to standard and limited edition physical releases for DBCS)!

The second of the two packs is the 8ing pack. 8ing (also known as Eighting or Eighting/Raizing) is another developer that, like CAVE Interactive Co., Ltd. and others, shares DNA with the father of bullet-hell games, Toaplan. The three games featured in the 8ing pack are BATTLE GAREGGA, Sorcer Striker (Mahoudaisakusen in Japan), and Terra Diver (Soukyugurentai in Japan).


Sorcer Striker (aka Mahoudaisakusen) was released in 1993, before the dawn of bullet-hell, and was a more traditional shmup with a unique medieval-fantasy-yet-futuristic setting. However, it was still a challenging game, full of memorable moments! Sorcer Striker had four characters to choose from: Gain the fighter, Chitta the witch, Miyamoto the (dragon) samurai, and Bornnam the necromancer.

Regarding Sorcer Striker’s English name, “Sorcer” should have been “Sorceror” or even Sorcery/Sourcerous, but the title was decided by the dev team based on previously released games such as Sorcer Kingdom. The Japanese name of the game, Mahoudaisakusen, can be translated as The Great Magic Operation, a title derived from the Poul Anderson SF novel “Operation Chaos”, called Daimaousakusen in Japan.


Terra Diver (Soukyugurentai in Japan) was released in 1996 and was a shmup with lock-on shooting, somewhat similar RayForce (another DLC for DBCS!) Terra Diver used a combination of 2D and 3D graphics to create impressive visuals and a sense of depth. Players were able to attack enemies at any altitude using the N.A.L.S. or “No blind spot All range Laser System”.

Terra Diver’s English name has to do with it taking place on and around Earth (“Terra”) with the “Diver” being a reference to diving through the atmosphere. The Japanese name, Soukyugurentai, is a bit of a mouthful, but it literally means blue (Soukyu) and red (gu) gang (gurentai). The colours represent Earth (blue) and Mars (red), the imagery being that the former is being dyed red by the latter and that the gang is the private strike force that the player characters belong to.


Battle Garegga (Battle Garegga in Japan ^_~) was also released in 1996 and had a visual style one could describe as “futuristic World War II”. Battle Garegga is known for its rather devious and hidden adaptive difficulty as well as its initially more realistic visual take on bullets that made keeping track of the hail of gunfire a challenge. Battle Garegga was designed by Shinobu Yagawa who also worked on Famicom (the NES’s name in Japan) shmup, Recca, a technically, mechanically, and visually brilliant game with a legendary soundtrack from Nobuyuki Shioda.

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CAVE Strategy Sessions: Mushihimesama Part III – Stage 1 & 2


Welcome back to CAVE Strategy Sessions for Mushihimesama! We’ve already taken a look at the basic mechanics of Mushihimesama. In Part II, we covered all the modes you can choose from.

Now, it is time to get into the stages themselves. Per “pestro87” Strand & Luke “Aquas” Schirmer are here to tell us about the first two stages in this bug riding adventure. Let’s get this beetle in the air!

Stage 1


Stage 1 contains many larger bugs and semi-large flying bugs. During the first section of the stage, there are also three larva colonies hiding in the tree stumps. The larva colonies can be used for linking the overall counter in between the waves as each larva can be destroyed individually. On Ultra the larvae also shoot out a large spray of suicide bullets when they are destroyed.

As per CAVE tradition, Stage 1 has the lowest scoring potential compared to the other stages. From a scoring perspective, the larger bugs are somewhat lucrative for score on all modes but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t add very much. On Original and Arrange Mode you want to point-blank them and on Maniac/Ultra (no-MAX) you want to hold C and tap A while you shoot them. On Maniac/Ultra MAX you want to hold C on the tree stumps with the windmill on them and then switch to tapping C rapidly as the laser counter turns red.On the other larger enemies you want to slowly tap A and then switch to rapidly tapping C as the laser counter turns red, as outlined previously in the section about enemy specific counters.

On the other larger enemies you want to slowly tap A and then switch to rapidly tapping C as the laser counter turns red, as outlined previously in the section about enemy specific counters.

The Stage 1 boss is the easiest boss in the game but he does have a few patterns that can be challenging on higher difficulties. For the first phase, you want to slowly tap-dodge the first pattern and macro-dodge the fast stream of bullets. During the second phase, there is a safe spot on top of the boss on Ultra for the first bullet pattern.

Stage 2


During the first half of the second stage, you will encounter large moths, ground enemies as well as flying popcorn enemies but most notably are the flower-like enemies that opens and closes their shell. These enemies are invincible when their shell is closed. This makes them lucrative for score as you can build up the counter quickly by point-blanking them during their invincibility period. They will keep their shell closed as long as you stay on top of them. This can be dangerous, though, on Maniac and Ultra as they shoot out bullets when they open their shell.

Once you have reached the half-way point of Stage 2 you will be greeted by the first mid-boss in the game. He has a few tricky patterns that require you to tap dodge through them. On Maniac you want to utilize the “tap A then tap C” strategy as he is very useful for score. This is a re-occurring strategy for the mid-bosses on Maniac, so keep it in mind throughout the game.

On 1.5 Maniac MAX, he is an incredibly useful enemy for increasing your counter in the entire game. For example, by utilizing an A (2/12) and C (1/5) auto-fire rate you can bump up the overall counter from 0 to 800k-900k during the boss fight but you need to prolong the first phase until the boss times out.

If you are playing for score on Original then you want to speed-kill this boss since the overall counter will not go up during the boss fight, only when the boss is destroyed. If you speed-kill him then a few more regular enemies will appear afterwards as well. This is another re-occurring strategy on the mid-bosses in Original mode.

After the mid-boss a new type of enemy will appear, large insects that come from a pit of quicksand. You will fight a couple of these enemies in addition to the regular enemies that you previously fought, before reaching the boss. The insects that appear from the quicksand, fortunately, have an easy pattern to dodge and upon being destroyed they will cancel all bullets on the screen.

Right before entering the second boss fight there is a bit of a gap and you will notice that your counter will decrease a significant amount during this period. As such, you want to keep the flower enemies alive for as long as possible and then destroy the last two flying enemies once the flower enemies are off-screen in order to keep your overall counter from going down too much. This takes a little bit of practice on higher difficulties.

During the first phase of the second boss ,you can destroy six of his smaller legs, three on each side. Each leg will shoot out bullets. You want to apply a combination of micro- and macro-dodges throughout this fight as the bullet patterns are rather varied. A little persistence, and you’ll catch on to the patterns and make it through.

What do you think? Are there any strategies you use in the first two stages  to help your score? Have some questions? Join us in the comments below!

And don’t forget to join us next time as we explore stages 3 & 4!


Shmups: They’re Just Fun

Hi, my name is Nick Palmer, I’m the community manager for Degica Games. And I have a confession to make: I don’t really play a lot of shmup games.

Luckily, we have people at the company who do, but my personal experience with them up until we started picking them up was playing Raiden II in a bowling alley arcade when I was a kid.

My impression of shmups was that it was a niche, hardcore gamers game. They have complex scoring systems, require tons of memorization, and quick reactions.

There is so much going on right now.

There is so much going on right now.

But, being that I have to talk about these games pretty often, I obviously needed to play these. It’s an interesting thing to face, most people don’t have to play games that are outside of their normal comfort zone. And in the end, I learned one thing:

Shmups are an excellent genre of game for every skill level. They can be enjoyed by casual players, hardcores, or anyone in between.

My journey with our shmup games started soon after I was put on our Degica Games social media (before that, I was handling only the RPG Maker social media). We had several shmups coming up with the Triangle Service Collection. I played each of them for about 30 minutes, and one hooked me in. Shmups Skill Test. I also enjoyed the others, and played TRIZEAL quite a lot as well, but Skill Test triggered something special.

Empty. Cans. Go. In. The. Trash.

Empty. Cans. Go. In. The. Trash.

This game shows the perfect reason that you don’t have to be a hardcore player to enjoy shmups: You can pick it up, play for about 10 minutes, and put it down. It is just a collection of shmup minigames one after another, and then it gives you an age score. After a while, I found that I’d started using it to clear my head between different tasks at work.

In fact, I just played a quick round of another shmup between this sentence and the last.

… And again.


I really should actually do my work…

I don’t know all the scoring systems (well I’ve learned a bit about some just to help with the social media), I don’t know all the inner workings of how to maximize points in every part of the game. What I do know, is that it is a lot of fun to run and gun and see how far I can get.

It is the quintessential arcade experience, something that has been somewhat abandoned in video games as time has gone on. It is the type of game that you can learn in a couple of minutes, and it challenges you, you enjoy yourself, and in 10-30 minutes (depending on how good you get) you are ready to try again.

I always feel like I can get just a little bit farther. Just a little bit higher score. I know my scores don’t compare to the people who play these games all the time, but just beating my last score is exciting.

Just a week ago, I was only hitting 3mil.

Just a week ago, I was only hitting 3mil.

And the high skill ceiling means it will be a long time before I run out of room to improve. So I can continue to enjoy the games from time to time, and I will probably never feel like it is a breeze.

Shmups are just fun. They are a fun challenge. Don’t think you have to be competitive on online leaderboards, or even be able to do a 1 credit clear to enjoy the genre. You don’t even have to understand the nuances of scoring. All you need is to have fun trying to do better than you did the last time.

Pick up a Shmup. Have fun. Shmups are a niche genre that can still be enjoyed by anyone.

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CAVE Strategy Sessions: Mushihimesama Part II – Modes


Welcome back to CAVE Strategy Sessions! Last time, we looked at the basic mechanics of Mushihimesama. In Part II, Per “pestro87” Strand & Luke “Aquas” Schirmer give us an overview of the various modes you can select to play.

Let’s jump right in!



First arcade release of the game. In 1.0 the difficulty/rank will scale relative to how long you have survived.


The counters are displayed on top of Reco. The basic strategy for score is to point-blank the enemies with the C shot. It is also beneficial to point-blank while the enemies are slightly off-screen and invulnerable as each hit adds to the overall counter so you can get a few extra counter increments that way. The overall counter increases when you destroy enemies.


More difficult than Original with more bullets and changed bullet patterns. The overall counter is displayed on the left hand side of the screen and the enemy specific counters are displayed on top of each enemy. If you are playing for score then you need to follow a rhythmic approach to optimizing the counter resets as outlined previously in the last article about the counters. The overall counter will start to deplete within a relatively short time-frame after you don’t hit any enemies with your shot. On top of that the counter will deplete rather quickly so it is important to strategically plan your routes on many sections in order to maintain a healthy counter.


Expands upon Maniac while increasing the difficulty even further. In addition to that there is a True Last Boss (TLB) that appears after the Stage 5 boss if you manage to clear the entire game without using continues.



Version 1.5 features the following changes compared to 1.0:

  • New OST by Ryu Umemoto
  • Background palette changes
  • Gems will move towards you if you hold down A
  • Each mode is now accompanied by a MAX version which will start you off at max fire power but the bullet patterns are more difficult- You start with two options (set to Formation) on no-MAX difficulties
  • Shooting enemies with the C shot at point blank range generates gems
  • Enemies have a longer invincibility period when they are entering the screen. This is useful if you are playing for score as you can bump up the counter and generate gems during this period if you point-blank with C shot
  • The overall counter increases faster
  • It takes longer for the overall counter to start depleting if you do not hit any enemies with your shot your on Maniac and Ultra
  • The overall counter depletes slower on Maniac and Ultra

On no-MAX the rank will scale relative to how long you have survived, just like in 1.0 but not on the MAX difficulties. More on this later.

On MAX difficulties you start out with one bomb as opposed to three but it has auto-bomb which means that if you get hit while you have any bomb in stock, your stock will deplete to zero but a bomb will be dropped.


Much easier than 1.0 Original with slower bullets but Original MAX can be vicious with fast bullet patterns if you play for score since the speed of the bullets are dictated by how high your overall counter is. The bullet patterns are less dense than on Maniac but the size of the bullets are larger. The basic strategy for score is to point-blank all enemies using the red shot type. Each shot at point-blank range will generate large gems and add a lot to your overall counter.


No-MAX remains largely the same in terms of difficulty compared to 1.0. Maniac MAX ups the difficulty from no-MAX but the rank does not increase when the overall counter increases. There is also no survival rank on Maniac MAX. Since the counter is more lenient on 1.5 Maniac compared to 1.0 Maniac, the required routing to maintain the overall counter value is less strict.


Similar to Maniac 1.5 in that no-MAX retains the same difficulty as 1.0 and Ultra MAX ups the difficulty but retains a constant rank. Ultra MAX gets especially hairy during the later stages.



The PC/360 Arrange Mode in Mushihimesama features:

  • New OST by various composers from Basiscape
  • One available mode only. Difficulty-wise it re-uses the bullet patterns from Maniac but tones down the speed on them. The TLB also appears after the Stage 5 boss if you don’t use any continues but the difficulty of the final pattern of the TLB has also been decreased
  • The maximum amount of options has been increased to 6 compared to 4 in 1.0 and 1.5
  • You start with maximum fire-power and 6 beetles
  • You start with a 30k counter unlike in the PS2 Arrange Mode
  • The entire bomb stock will deplete if you get hit just like in 1.5 MAX. This is also different from the PS2 Arrange Mode
  • The shot counter is displayed on top of each enemy in a larger font compared to 1.0 or 1.5
  • You can switch shot type by pressing D
  • Rank increases the longer you survive
  • Uses the same colour palette as 1.0

If you are playing for score you want to point-blank as many enemies as possible with A using either the Blue shot or the Green shot. You want to use the Blue shot on the bosses and the first two stages and the green shot on the last three stages. It is worth noting that the increased firepower also means that it’s easier to get gaps in the waves of enemies if you just hold down A or C. This can hurt your score as the overall counter will start to decrease during longer gaps. On Stage 3 it’s recommended to control the damage output by tapping A in order to maintain the overall counter value.

And that covers all of the play modes for Mushihimesama! In next week’s post, we’ll start looking at the individual stages, so be on the look out!

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