So I got a new personal top score in Ikaruga, which is nice. I've never been hugely good at Ikaruga, I reached roughly 50th place on the UK-only net rankings I seem to recall, which isn't brilliant, but that's in Challenge mode, which is Normal with three lives, and an extra life at 3 million points and every 5 million thereafter - not the easiest settings. The easiest settings, on which I've had the highest scores, are Easy mode with five lives and an extra life every 2 million points. Until a few days ago my record was around 11,000,000 points, which I have on tape and hope one day to make available online. On Monday (2005-04-18) I randomly smashed that score and got 13,243,890, on the second of only two occasions I've actually managed to beat Ikaruga on a single credit. It's really sad that I wasn't taping, but such is life.

The chapter breakdown goes something like this:

  • Chapter 1: 2,550,440 points, max chain 51. This was my third best score ever on Chapter 1 and, as one would hope, I lost no lives.
  • Chapter 2: 3,071,910 points, max chain 92. This was my top C2 score ever, mainly due to the fact that I chained almost the whole of C2-2 and C2-3 (not optimally, because I'm not brilliant at chaining, but still without breaking chain) without dying, which is almost unheard of for me. I usually either die or break chain at some point in C2.
  • Chapter 3: 1,568,860 points, max chain 20. Less hugely impressive but I did chain a larger than average amount of this very difficult-to-chain chapter. My third best C3 score to date. Lost a life or two here but not sure how many exactly.
  • Chapter 4: 2,385,040 points, max chain 22. My best C4 score to date, probably due to the fact that I made it all the way through it on the same credit which isn't a particularly common occurrence for me.
  • Chapter 5: 3,116,540 points, max chain 38. I am hopelessly inept at C5-1, I always die against the ridiculously small white enemies, it's all rather embarrassing, which is why I have so small a max chain here. The bosses went quickly but not without loss of life. Highlight was C5-3 where I managed to survive the Stone-Like boss losing only one life, which is a first for me. Dodging the first two waves of attacks is relatively straightforward, but there are small projectiles which randomly wink into existence and fire themselves at you throughout this section. If you die once, they dry up, to make things easier for you. I always lose one life to those things before the end of the second wave of attacks, and this was no exception. The surprise was when I survived the third wave of attacks without dying once, something I have NEVER to my knowledge done before.

(If you're wondering why the scores don't add up... I also had one life left over at the end (compared with my previous best score when I finished with no lives remaining), which was good for a 500,000 point bonus, and you have to add in score accumulated for bullet eating during the final boss.)

I was extremely pleased with the run after I did it but disappointed on two counts - firstly, I wasn't taping (I haven't taped anything in a very long time, actually) and secondly, after I got the score, I rushed off to find a pencil to write it down... not realising that if you leave the game at the "enter your initials" screen for too long the game automatically enters "TRE" for you. So many of my top scores are now listed as "TRE" instead of "SAM". Foolishness.

I hope to get a better score on tape at some point.

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