Accurately-Named: Gundemonium

By Alec Meer on October 3rd, 2011 at 3:10 pm.

If I'd hated it, I was going to call this post Gundemoanyum.

A few people have nudged and winked us in the direction of Rockin’ Android’s (and there’s a name they must sort of regret, given they specialise in PC and PSN titles) Westernified J-indie bullet hell series Gundemonium Collection, which recently released on Steam. I quietly sneered my way through the big -eyed, Renaissance-frock loading screens and menus, and was rewarded by something delightfully ridiculous on the other side of it. Its base look might clearly declare which nation it orginates from, but it wastes no time in becoming absolutely batshit crazy, both in terms of the enemies it throws at you and in the powers it’s granting your floating gunwoman.

You’re up against a wall of death, but fortunately you can provide similar. Some by choice like the spinning cartwheel of doom which takes the place of the standard shmup bomb, and some automagically, like the giant laser cannon that pops up behind you when you suffer a wound and launches fury upon the other side of the screen. With the right character and the right weapon, a bloody great dragon flies on and biffs all and sundry.

Here’s a trailer showing off the stuff they’ve added for the Steam version:

I’m quite sure Gundemonium collection becomes masochistically tough after a while – this genre does so like its suffering – but the demo of the first game in the three-title package (and all I’ve played so far) made me giggle and succeed. Do try the Practice Mode too, wherein you can experiment with some of the bigger weapons.

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30 Comments »

  1. SpinalJack says:

    Hitogata Happa, the game where turning little girls into suicide bombers is a valid tactic, especially on some of the boss fights.

  2. clippa says:

    Excellent games. There’s no native controller support so you have to use joytokey if you want to use a stick or something.
    The first game (gundemonium recollection) has quite a bit of tearing, forcing vsync doesn’t work either, but the other two games are totally fine.

    • Dominic White says:

      The games DO have native controller support. They just don’t recognize D-pads as valid input, due to the controller itself insisting that it’s a POV hat. But yeah, Joy2Key takes 30 seconds to install and set up, so there’s no excuse not to use a controller.

      All you need to do is bind the D-pad to the arrow keys and you’re good to go.

    • clippa says:

      Oops, yes, sorry, that’s right, it does recognise the analogue sticks.

  3. pkt-zer0 says:

    Coincidentally, these games are developed by the same guy as Dicing Knight, the game I mentioned in the comments for the Binding of Isaac verdict. One of the floating gunwomen here is the unlockable alternate character there, I believe. Which comes with a sort-of bullet hell twist on the entire game itself as well.

    “Genre X + bullet-hell” seems a common pattern for their games, actually. Engage to Jabberwock is Zelda with bullet curtains. Bunny Must Die is a Metroidvania danmaku (with bunnygirls).

  4. Dominic White says:

    For those worried about these games being too hardcore, they all have easy modes that anyone with even a modicum of skill can waltz through. You don’t start getting into hardcore gaming territory until you hit Normal mode or higher. The top levels are pretty much there for insane masochists only, and I don’t believe that any human being is actually capable of beating either of the side-scrolling games on Demonic mode. Not without being some kind of crazy killer robot from the future.

    Also: READ THE MANUALS. These three games are all much more complex than their arcade setups would suggest. Right-click the game entry in Steam and pick ‘read manual’.

    And lastly: It’s $10 for the whole bundle of 3 shooters, each with a bunch of alternate playmodes and tons of replay value. Get it.

    • clippa says:

      “I don’t believe that any human being is actually capable of beating either of the side-scrolling games on Demonic mode. Not without being some kind of crazy killer robot from the future.”

      or “Japanese” as they prefer to be called.

    • Dominic White says:

      Weirdly enough, Japanese gamers think western games are more hardcore. It’s why a lot of Japanese games actually get tougher when coming to the US. Contra Hardcorps from the Genesis/Megadrive springs to mind – it had a health bar in the Japanese version. US/EU version? You die in one hit.

    • StormTec says:

      @Dominic White: It actually varies. It seems that some developers would think that the Western release should be harder, while other times they think it should be made easier. Most of the examples I could find where a game was made harder for the West were for games back in the 80s, so maybe it is an out-dated belief. Saying that though, DMC3 was made harder for the the US release (though that could possibly be due to the fact everyone complained the DMC2 was too easy). There are quite a few examples of both here

    • Baines says:

      Real “hardcore” gamers (the ones who actually play high difficulty games without cheating, not the ones who just say they want them) are worldwide a niche group.

      It was true that around the NES era, Japanese games were made easier for the US audiences. By the time of the PS2 era this has switched, with Japanese games being made easier for Japan and harder for the rest of the world. But the whole insane difficulty masocore thing is a niche audience anywhere.

      Mind, I think small/indie games help sustain the whole maintain the masocore titles. Not even necessarily because of the audience, but rather that it is easier to balance a game to being “barely possible” than to balance it to a consistent moderate level.

  5. Bull0 says:

    “Westernified J-indie”

    Oh god.

  6. thekeats1999 says:

    Must buy these. Been getting interested in these after playing Jamestown and Deathsmiles on the iphone. I enjoy bullet hell no matter how bad i am at them.

  7. Strife212 says:

    Why not just play Deathsmiles and Touhou respectively?

    • Dominic White says:

      Because those cost literally 10-20 times as much.

    • thekeats1999 says:

      Deathsmiles involves getting an Xbox and paying ridiculous prices.

      I would love to play the Tohou games but the creator is apparently a bit of a xenophobic idiot that distrusts all foreigners and refuse to let anybody not Japanese give him cash for his games. That’s what i have heard an could be completely wrong.

    • tech7 says:

      Simply play both. I wouldn’t say that Gundemonium or Touhou is better, but imo both are wort-playing. Some thinlks are better in touhou, some are better in Gundemonium.

    • Spindrift says:

      These ones are on Steam. That makes a pretty big difference.

  8. danimalkingdom says:

    Gonna stick with Jamestown for the time being methinks. Sorry I know that’s not constructive; but my god have you seen the pixel art in that baby

    • Gnoupi says:

      And the music!
      And the gameplay which is challenging but starts gently, to not slap you in the face with a giant bullet hell right after the opening.

      That’s a game which is made to create fans of the bullet hell genre, and for my part, it works nicely.

    • thekeats1999 says:

      Jamestown was a gateway drug for me to this genre. While i would much rather see games like the Raiden series get released i will take what i can.

      Even better would be to get some Cave games on the PC legitametly.

    • Dominic White says:

      Word is that Cave are looking at other platforms now that they found a surpising level of success in iPhone/iPad ports of their arcade stuff. Hopefully interest in the genre on Steam will pick up – apparently

      No denying that the Gundemonium games aren’t as pretty as Jamestown (localization aside, they’re all by one dude, and he’s no great artist), but they’re a lot deeper and more varied in terms of gameplay, and the easy mode is a cakewalk, so it’s not beginner-unfriendly. It’s a good (and cheap) step up if you liked Jamestown.

  9. Crescend says:

    Insta-sales for me :D ’nuff said.

  10. squareking says:

    Hitogata Happa is a thing of beauty. Interested parties would do well to look into Hellsinker as well. :)

    • Dominic White says:

      I would only recommend Hellsinker to folks who can get through Normal mode in Hitogata Happa without breaking a sweat.

      Blindfolded.

      With one arm tied behind their back.

      It’s a very cool game, granted, but it is sadistically, hellishly hard.

  11. Ayam says:

    I stuck a microphone in front of myself as an experiment to see what kind of sounds I made playing my first bullet hell game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XYLzF7xV00

    And that was just on novice, I’m terrible at and terribly affected by tense gaming experiences, it seems.

    • Dominic White says:

      To be fair, that IS the final boss. One HUGE tip, though: Bind a button to rapid-fire. You can shoot about ten times faster than you were doing so in that video, although be careful not to use it too much or your guns overheat.

      Also, you were barely using your Mana Shot at all – it fires a spinning cross that slows all enemy bullets down while it’s in contact with an enemy, which also makes that last fight a lot less stressful.

    • Ayam says:

      Just checked the game manual based on your advice, looks like I’m equipped to take on the next level with these new tools, thanks!

      As for hitogata happa, I tried it and found the dodging not as exciting as what gundemonium offered. HH seems a lot less winding through arranged bullet patterns and more dodging classic random patterns, if that makes sense. I prefer the dance of gundemonium, definitely.

  12. LGM says:

    So this is Cotton crossed with the later Raiden games crossed with any number of bullet hell side scrollers.

    Also, where is the character’s hit box? In the videos, bullets are passing through her head and lower body. I don’t like that, it’ll make it confusing as to where the hit box is and lead to lots of lousy deaths.

    I’m still interested in this, as I enjoy the shmups.

    • Spacewalk says:

      It’s where the character’s heart is. If I’m remembering correctly (it’s been a few years since I last played it so I may be wrong) you can toggle the display of the hit box in the options if you’re still not entirely sure where.

    • Dominic White says:

      In the side-scrollers, each of the characters has a little accessory on their neck – a scarf or a bell. Something that stands out, colour-wise. That’s your hitbox.