Battle Garegga is a vertically scrolling shoot'em up game developed by Raizing and published by Eighting in 1996. It is notable for its rank system that dynamically updates the difficulty of the game during gameplay based upon the player's actions.
It was later ported to the Sega Saturn in 1998, and an updated version, Battle Garegga Rev.2016 was released in 2016.
- 1 Controls
- 2 Weapons
- 3 Ships
- 4 Items
- 5 Rank
- 6 Extends
- 7 Scoring
- 8 Strategy
- 9 Extra Modes
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Gallery
- 12 Video References
- 13 References & Contributors
Battle Garegga uses 3 buttons by default. Many arcade cabinets also feature an additional dial for controlling the game’s autofire rate.
- A (Press): Fires the ship's main shot and option shots
- A (Hold): Continuously fires the ship's main shot and option shots at the current autofire rate
- B: Deploys the ship's special weapon
- C: Changes the option formation
The auto-fire rate of the player’s ship may be adjusted in one of two ways. The first method is to tap the A button in the frequency that you want to set auto-fire to. The game counts the amount of frames between button pushes and will then set the auto-fire rate to the corresponding frequency. However, arcade cabinets often install a dial for selecting the rate of auto-fire. The second method, available on such cabinets, is to simply use the autofire dial to manually choose a desired autofire rate. The default autofire rate is 8.6 Hz, with available faster autofire rates of 10 Hz, 12 Hz, 15 Hz, 20 Hz, and 30 Hz available. Care must be taken by the player when choosing an autofire rate since higher rates will cause the game’s rank to increase significantly faster.
In the Battle Garegga Rev.2016 port, the player may assign multiple buttons on their controller as shot buttons and assign different autofire rates to individual buttons, allowing them to change the autofire rate without having to mash at the desired frequency. It is recommended that the player also sets a "clean" shot button without an autofire rate to be held down as their primary shot button so they have a means of inputting A (Hold). Otherwise, using an autofire button can cause the autofire rate to increase beyond the desired rate when the game encounters slowdown, such as during stage transitions or when there are a large amount of objects (such as bullets) on screen.
In addition to these core functions, the Battle Garegga Rev.2016 port also allows the player to set a quick restart button that when held will allow them to restart the game or start from their most recently loaded save state.
Each ship has a unique main shot that is fired by pressing the A button. Tapping the A button will fire a single volley while holding the A button will fire continuous volleys of the main shot at the current autofire rate. Rapidly tapping and then holding the A button can be done to increase the autofire rate, but care must be taken when doing so since this will also increase the rate at which the game's rank increases.
The main shot has five normal power levels and a secret "special" power level, and is powered up by collecting shot icons which drop from airborne enemies. The number of small shot icons required to power up the main shot increases depending on the current shot level, varying from one small shot icon required to level up the main shot from Level 1 to Level 2 to eight small shot icons required to level up the main shot from Level 4 to Level 5. Picking up a large shot icon will immediately level up the main shot regardless of the number of small shot icons collected.
Special Shot Level During the game, let five small shot items fall off the screen. If you pick up the sixth small shot item and are at shot level 5, your main shot will be upgraded to its most powerful shot level. The main shot will downgrade to level 5 upon the next death. If you pick up an option after the fifth dropped small shot item, the wide option formation is triggered. If you want to trigger special shot, you will therefore need to collect the next small shot item, then let 5 more small shot items fall off the screen before having another opportunity to activate special shot level.
Each ship has a unique special weapon, deployed by pressing the B button. The special weapons are the closest analogue to traditional smart bombs in Battle Garegga, but have subtle differences. The special weapon can be used to destroy enemy bullets and background scenery in addition to damaging enemies, but does not clear the screen of all obstacles as in other shmups. When a special weapon is triggered, the player will get a brief period of invincibility and the special weapon will then be deployed. All ships have different properties when it comes to special weapon deployment time and invincibility frames.
Activating a special weapon requires ammunition which may be gathered by collecting weapon fragments that drop from grounded enemies such as tanks or turrets. Picking up 40 small weapon fragments gives the player one full weapon stock, whereas a large weapon fragment will award a full weapon stock. Up to five weapons may be stocked at once. Activating a special weapon consumes one weapon stock. If the player does not have a full weapon stock available, the weapon will use the stocked weapon fragments to activate at reduced power.
Each ship can collect option power ups to gain miniature drones that fly in formation around the player ship. These options shoot when the main shot is fired and their formation may be manually cycled through five preset formations with the C button.
The standard option formations, which are cycled through in order, include:
- Spread: The default formation. Options point forward with a slight outward angle for more coverage.
- Tail: Options point backwards in a fan shape.
- Front: Options point straight forward, giving a much narrower shot than the default formation.
- Rotate: Options rotate around the ship in a ring, allowing for shooting in all directions.
- Trace: Options follow behind the ship, pointing in the opposite direction of the player's movements.
In addition to the standard five formations, there are several hidden formations activated through specific circumstances:
- Wide During the game, let five small shot items fall off the screen. If you pick up an option item before the sixth small shoot item falls off the screen, you will activate the wide formation. Options in the wide formation provide wider coverage than the standard spread formation, being aimed nearly horizontally. This formation will persist until death or cycling option formations with the C button.
- Homing During the game, let five small bomb fragments fall off the screen. If you pick up an option item before the sixth small bomb fragment falls off the screen, you will activate the homing formation. Options in the homing formation will automatically fly across the screen to shoot enemies from point-blank range. This formation will persist until death or cycling option formations with the C button.
- Search During the game, let five option items fall off the screen. If you pick up the sixth option item before it falls off the screen, you will activate the search formation. Options in the search formation will automatically rotate in place to aim at enemies on screen. This formation will persist until death or cycling option formations with the C button.
- Shadow During the game, let five medals fall off the screen. If you pick up an option item before the sixth medal falls off the screen, you will activate the shadow formation. Options in the shadow formation will follow the player ship while shooting straight up, similar to the options in Gradius. This formation will persist until death or cycling option formations with the C button.
- Chain In a two-player game, the chain formation will have a 50% chance of activating whenever the conditions to activate any secret option formation are satisfied. Options in the chain formation will link the two player ships while shooting upwards. The options of the player who did not activate chain formation will remain unaffected.
- Rolling In a two-player game, a player with the chain formation active will obtain the rolling formation when their partner game overs. Options in the rolling formation will rotate around the player ship while shooting upwards. If the player's partner continues, the rolling formation will revert back to the chain formation.
If a secret option formation is manually deactivated by pressing the C button, the options will change to the spread formation.
When the player dies, the ship will explode into a wave of shrapnel. This shrapnel has penetrating properties, meaning it will travel through enemies. It deals damage and cancels bullets, although enemies killed by shrapnel will never award any points. The shrapnel deals a set amount of damage to bosses, but will never kill a boss.
Dying awards the player with 20 small weapon fragments, but will also weaken the player's main shot by one level and take away their options. However, the explosion will release a large shot icon (even if they were already at shot Level 1) and an option power up for each option lost, allowing the player an opportunity to regain their previous power level.
There are four playable ships in Battle Garegga by default, as well as four additional secret characters who originally appeared in the earlier Raizing game Mahou Daisakusen. The secret characters are unlocked by inputting the code "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, B, C, Start" at the title screen of the arcade version or enabled in the option settings on the console ports.
The button the player uses to select their ship will change its color as well as slightly influence its speed and hitbox size.
|A button||Default speed and hitbox|
|B button||Increased speed|
|C button||Smaller hitbox|
|A, B, and C buttons simultaneously (or wait for the selection screen to time out)||Increased speed and smaller hitbox|
Upon the start of a credit, the player starts with shot level 1, a fire rate of 8.6 Hz, and 20 weapon fragments (equivalent to ½ weapon stocks). These default settings will reset upon continuing after a game over.
Main Shot: Forward shot that becomes a 3-way shot at Level 4.
Option Shot: Large swords that function as penetrating bullets.
Special Weapon: Magic circle that deals area-of-effect damage in front of the ship.
There are a number of power up items in Battle Garegga. Shot power ups, option power ups, and medals drop from popcorn enemies according to the item drop order. Grounded enemies will drop weapon fragments.
Normally, collecting shot power ups, weapon fragments, and option power up items awards no extra points. However, when at maximum shot level, weapon ammunition or options, picking up excess power ups will award bonus points. However, this is generally not recommended since the bonus points awarded does not outweigh the rank increase from picking up the items.
Shot Power Ups
|Icon||Bonus Point Value||Description|
|100||Small Shot Power Up |
Dropped by popcorn enemies based on the Item Drop Order.
Collect multiple small shot power ups to level up the ship's main shot.
|5,000||Large Shot Power Up |
Dropped by popcorn enemies based on the Item Drop Order, or by the Player when losing a life.
Levels up the ship's main shot.
|Icon||Bonus Point Value||Description|
|1,000||Small Weapon Fragment |
Dropped by grounded enemies such as tanks or turrets.
Adds one weapon fragment to the player's weapon ammunition. 40 weapon fragments are required to create one full weapon stock.
|10,000||Large Weapon Fragment |
Obtained as a pickup by destroying all parts of large tanks in Stage 4 and Stage 6.
Adds a full weapon stock to the player's weapon ammunition.
Option Power Ups
|Icon||Bonus Point Value||Description|
|500||Option Power Up |
Dropped by popcorn enemies based on the Item Drop Order, or by the Player when losing a life.
Summons one option drone to assist the player.
Medals are golden icons dropped by popcorn enemies based on the Item Drop Order that may be collected for points. The value of medals ranges from 100 to 10,000 points. Usually, the value of a medal will be one increment higher than the previous medal collected, allowing the player to create a chain of high point-value medals. However, if a medal falls off the bottom of the screen, the next one to spawn will be of the lowest value.
More specifically, the value of the next medal to spawn will be either
- one increment more valuable than the last medal collected, or
- base value, if the last medal fell off the screen.
This means that if a medal falls off the screen, the chain may still be salvaged if another high-value medal has already spawned and is collected before a base-value medal is dropped by an enemy.
Medals can also be found upon using a special weapon to destroy certain parts of the background scenery.
From 100 to 900 points, medals increase in value by 100 points each:
From 1,000 to 10,000 points, medals increase in value by 1,000 points each:
Item Drop Order
Popcorn enemies may drop items when destroyed. Under normal circumstances, every fifth enemy destroyed will drop an item. However, in Stage 3, Stage 5, and Stage 6, grounded popcorn enemies appear which are guaranteed to drop items. When an enemy drops an item, the item dropped is determined according to a specific order, governed by the following table.
|6-10||Repeat of entries 1-5|
|11-15||Repeat of entries 1-5|
|16-20||Repeat of entries 1-5|
|26...||Repeat starting from 1|
The game features an adjustable difficulty system (rank) that will increase difficulty based on the actions of the player. As rank increases, more popcorn enemies spawn, enemies gain more health, enemies shoot more frequently, enemy bullets travel faster, and items fall off the screen faster. Uncontrolled increase of the game's rank can quickly turn it into a manic shooter. In brief, things that increase rank are:
- Time: rank increases by a set value every frame, the value primarily determined by the player's autofire rate
- Shots: rank increases by a set value for every shot fired, the value determined by the player's ship, shot level, and number of options
- Items: rank increases every time an item is collected, with the value determined by the item
- Special Weapons: rank increases by a set value every time the player deploys their special weapon
- Bullets Sealed: rank increases by a set value for every enemy bullet sealed (note that cancelling bullets by bombing does not affect rank)
Losing a life will decrease the rank. The fewer lives a player has when they die, the more rank is decreased. Thus, the game rewards a player who doesn't stock up many lives at a time by more drastically reducing its difficulty.
Although rank is hidden from the player in the arcade release, in the Battle Garegga Rev.2016 port rank may be displayed in a widget on the side of the screen. The rank is displayed on a graph as a percentage ranging from 0.0% to 100.0% that updates in real time during gameplay.
Simple Rank Mitigation Strategies
There are many rank mitigation strategies you can implement in order to keep rank relatively low. Some of the more common strategies include:
- Playing with the default or 10 Hz autofire rate
- Keeping ~two extra lives and trying to suicide slightly before you gain an extra life
- Powering up slowly with large shot icons and playing with fewer than four options
- Avoiding unnecessary item pick-ups, focusing instead on what you need in the moment
- Exercising a little shot discipline by not firing when there are no enemies on screen (you can also often tap fire to wipe out popcorn waves)
Luckily, none of these strategies are strictly required to clear the game and mistakes can almost always be played around, so it is probably better to think of them more as guidelines to keep things from getting too crazy rather than rules to abide by. In addition, sometimes deviating from these strategies can make things easier. For instance, while collecting every weapon fragment might increase the rank a fair bit you may still find yourself often collecting them anyway to bomb scenery for score and secrets. This helps get you extra lives that you can then use to lower rank, or you can simply keep a few fragments in stock in case you need to panic bomb.
Trying to internalize all of this can be difficult when you first pick up the game, especially since there is rarely direct feedback if you are doing something "wrong". In this case, it is probably better to pick one or two rank strategies to focus on while you learn the stage layouts. You can then slowly add in more rank control strategies if desired as you become more comfortable with the game. Here is a simplified view of rank factors in order of relative importance:
Autofire >>>>>> Collecting excess low-value medals >>>>>> Options > Extra lives >> Main shot level > Collecting excess weapon fragments
See Battle Garegga/Advanced Rank for a detailed discussion on rank in Battle Garegga.
Extends, or extra lives, are gained every 1,000,000 points or from collecting the secret 1UP in stage 3.
For world record scores, please refer to the World Record Progression entry.
See Battle Garegga/Strategy for a detailed discussion on score routes and character-specific considerations in Battle Garegga.
Scoring in Battle Garegga involves many mechanics, listed as follows:
- Item Collection The primary intended scoring mechanic of Battle Garegga is to maintain a chain of maximum-value medals throughout the entire game. In addition, other items will award (very meager) bonus points when collected in excess at the cost of high rank increase.
- Damage Optimization Many enemies throughout the game will award different point values depending whether they are destroyed with a special weapon or standard non-penetrating shot. In addition, many enemies will drop set items under special conditions, often medals or valuable resources. See Battle Garegga/Stages for more information.
- Boss Destruction and Milking Nearly every boss may be destroyed in a specific way to yield more points than normal. Most often this involves dismantling a boss (i.e. destroying individual components before destroying the main core, often with damage optimization), milking respawning targets, or tick point milking. See Battle Garegga/Bosses for a detailed discussion on boss fights in Battle Garegga.
- Scenery Destruction There are many background elements throughout the stages that may be destroyed by the player's special weapon. These reveal many secrets, including hidden items (often large medal caches), extra points, and other targets such as extra enemies or the infamous pink flamingos. See Battle Garegga/Stages for detailed information on the stages in Battle Garegga.
- Tick Points Hitting a target will award a meager amount of tick points. However, some targets (generally boss parts) are invincible and can be hit continuously for points until time out.
See Battle Garegga/Strategy for a general FAQ and detailed discussion on routes and character-specific considerations in Battle Garegga.
See Battle Garegga/Stages for a detailed information on the stages in Battle Garegga.
See Battle Garegga/Bosses for a detailed discussion on the boss fights in Battle Garegga.
Even for a survival clear, it is recommended for the player to devise a strategy that accounts for the rank system in order to keep the last few stages of the game playable. Since the player gains an extend for every 1,000,000 points scored, the rank system encourages players to make at least a modest attempt to score points to gain extends that can then be traded for reduced difficulty via intentional suicide. Other rank mitigation strategies that focus on reducing the rate that rank increases include keeping a low autofire rate, slowly powering up, and conserving shots fired. It is possible to finish the game in one life, but this requires intricate knowledge of the game's rank system and an ultra-prudent playstyle.
Some useful tips for beginners aiming for a 1 credit clear:
- The ABC variant of Wild Snail (aka "Golden Bat") is a popular ship for obtaining a first clear because of its powerful main shot whose penetrating bullets simplify many boss fights. Miyamoto is another good ship due to his powerful options and defensive special weapon, but only if you can handle his speed.
- It is more important to learn the stage layouts and boss attack patterns then to stress out about rank when first picking up the game.
- Think of the game as having two distinct parts. During the first part, Stages 1 through 5, you should aim to control rank by suiciding and maintaining a lower than maximum power level. Stages 6 & 7 are very difficult even at low rank and seemingly impenetrable at high rank. During these stages you should stop worrying about rank control and fully power up, activate homing options, and horde lives and bombs to maximize your chances of surviving the Stage 7 bosses.
- Use your options! The default spread formation is good for most situations, but the other formations can provide quite a bit of utility. At minimum, becoming comfortable with switching to and from the forward formation can allow you focus fire as you would with a CAVE-style laser for some extra damage and precision.
- Keep an eye out for easy scoring opportunities such as the pink flamingos or partial boss dismantles to more quickly gain extra lives. Learning how to maintain a max-level medal chain is a fundamental first step that allows you to use special weapons to harvest lots of max-value medals from background scenery in Stages 3 & 4 for lots of points at little risk.
- Learn how to obtain the secret 1-up from the Stage 3 mid-boss.
- Finally, don't worry if you accidentally make a mistake. The rank system is not so strict that a single slip-up will lead to a game over, and often allows the player a degree of flexibility to adjust their strategy accordingly.
If rank is the fundamental gameplay system underpinning Battle Garegga, than the result of that is a cycle of resource management at every level of play, whether for survival or score. Broadly speaking, the resources available to the player are weapon fragments and lives. Weapon fragments are critical for much of the game's scoring, including enemies worth more points when destroyed by special weapons, destructible scenery, and one-off tricks such as the pink flamingos in Stage 2. Smart use of weapon fragments throughout the game will greatly increase the player's score and net them more extra lives, but it will also significantly increase rank as well. In comparison, lives are a resource that may freely be "traded" for weapon fragments and reduced rank at nearly any time via dying (whether intentionally or not). Finally, adjustments to the player ship's power via upgrading the main shot, collecting options, and increasing the autofire rate can be considered in a resource management context as well since the timing of these adjustments may have critical implications for survival, optimal scoring, and rank.
In a survival context, the primary question the player should ask themselves throughout the game is "How much am I increasing rank during this section?" Rank will always increase regardless of the player's actions, so it is worth identifying the scoring tricks can be performed at relatively low risk, low power, and low rank increase to balance the rate at which score extends are earned and the rate at which rank increases. Ideally, the goal is to establish a feedback loop: The player gathers resources that they use to score enough points for an extra life, suicides to negate the rank increase they incurred while scoring, and repeats the process. If done correctly, rank will not increase to an egregious level and the difficulty of the game remains reasonable. In general, following the quick tips above will go a long way in establishing this feedback loop.
In a scoring context, the focus shifts to a question of "What resources or conditions are required to maximize the points scored at any given section of the game?" Often times a scoring route will require dying not for decreased rank but rather for weapon fragments or a scoring trick that requires a suicide for shrapnel damage, invincibility, or both. Rank control is still important for keeping the difficulty of the game reasonable and scoring tricks easier to execute, but many scoring tricks involve taking actions that will increase rank at a much higher rate than in the survival context such as using lots of special weapons (often immediately using single weapon fragments), or tick milking bosses for extended periods of time. Rank can still be controlled in a scoring context due to the relative surplus of score extends, but the primary reason for controlling rank is simply that certain sections of the game (such as the flying platforms in Stage 5 or the laser turrets in Stage 6) are far easier to play for score at low rank or outright require low rank when played for score.
The following modes may be played on the arcade release by inserting a coin and holding a specific button combination when pressing start. These modes change the game as follows:
|Harder||Hold A and Press Start||Starting rank is 43.2% (PS4/XBox One), 0x960000? (Hex).|
|Extended||Hold B and Press Start||Two loop mode. First loop is normal. Second loop has starting rank of 43.2% (PS4/XBox One), 0x960000? (Hex).|
|Special||Hold A+B and Press Start||Two loop mode. First loop has starting rank of 43.2% (PS4/XBox One), 0x960000? (Hex). Second loop has starting rank of 70.3% (PS4/XBox One), 0x5D0000? (Hex).|
Super Easy Mode
Unlike in most other scrolling shooter games, where bullets are often brightly colored to distinguish from the background, bullets are realistically colored, making it difficult for players to see them. Exploding enemies and objects also create flying debris, further camouflaging incoming fire. This was ameliorated to some extent in the Type 2 version, which replaces most of the standard bullets with yellow dots.
Note: Not sure if this is the best place to put it, but it seemed like an OK option - feel free to move if it doesn't meet standards
A fan website, The Genius of Garegga, presents a thesis about the game's design. It argues that the entire game is intentionally designed to encourage intuitive learning, that the game is designed around a philosophy of opportunity and consequence, and that it rewards thoughtful play and intentionality more than raw execution. To quote the abstract:
Unlike the large majority of games which primarily exist to be good games, Battle Garegga has a thesis which flows through every facet of the game’s design: You can do anything, but everything has consequences. ...take what you need and make the most of what you have. ...your wits can make up for where your reflexes fail.
Though not universally accepted within the community, it's an interesting and valuable perspective regardless, and presents compelling evidence for some claims.
References & Contributors
- Battle Garegga Rev.2016 Online Manual, https://m2stg.com/en/battle-garegga/ps4/manual/index.php
- Icarus, ST: Battle Garegga, https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=351
- Primary info provided by IrateIrem
- Additional info provided by VxD