Blue Revolver

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Blue Revolver Logo.png
BLUE REVOLVER
Blue Revolver Cover.png

Box art

Developer: Stellar Circle
Music: Qygen
Hagane
Exemia
Program: danbo
Art: woof
Comic-Z
Release date: BLUE REVOLVER
October 2016
BR DOUBLE ACTION
TBA

BLUE REVOLVER is a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up developed by Stellar Circle in 2016 for Windows, Mac and Linux. It plays like a CAVE/Raizing hybrid, with strong emphasis on fast patterns and resource management. It is wholly designed to be a forgiving, beginner-friendly game that can serve as a "stepping stone" into the genre.

A large-scale rebalance of the game, BLUE REVOLVER DOUBLE ACTION, has been announced but is currently still in development with no ETA.

Gameplay Overview[edit]

BLUE REVOLVER is a three-button game (with an optional autofire button), with 2 playable pilots (Mae and Val) featuring 3 shot types and 4 special weapons each, for a total of 24 unique combinations.

Controls[edit]


  • Z (Tap) / C (Hold): Fires the device's primary weapon in unfocused mode.
  • Z (Hold): Fires the device's primary weapon in focused mode.
  • X: Fires the device's special weapon.
  • V: Fires the device's bomb.
  • P: Pauses the game.

Characters/Weapons[edit]


There are two playable characters, Mae and Val. Each character has three selectable shot types and four special weapons.

Shot Types[edit]

Mae Narrow
Mae Wide
Mae Variable
Val Narrow
Val Wide
Val Variable

Narrow and Wide shot types are standard fare - the shot pattern tightens slightly during focused fire. Mae Variable's options follow the player similar to Gradius options, and freeze relative to the player during focused fire. Val Variable's options sway similarly to DoDonPachi Type-B, and their angle is frozen during focused fire.

Special Weapons[edit]

All special weapons run off the same internal ammo gauge system. Players have 100 ammo, which is replenished via ammo pickups.

See Blue_Revolver/Damage_Comparison for a comparison of damage values and efficiency between most special weapons.

Blue Revolver Plasma Lancer.png

A fast-firing lancer weapon with limited enemy piercing capability. While easy and flexible to use, it does lack raw power.

Uses 2 ammo per shot, firing up to 10 shots per second.

  • One of the game's less consistent weapons - each shot has a random velocity, and damage potential is tied to the projectile's velocity.
  • Overpenetration can be a concern against small targets at short range.
  • On the very edge of being powerful enough to take down scoring targets in later stages, though only a few shots are needed in the earlier ones.

Blue Revolver Hyper Laser Mae.png

A slow-charging, wide and powerful laser. Eats through ammo quickly.

Firing produces a small "anticipation bullet" anchored to the player for 38 frames, after which the laser fires. This anticipation period consumes no ammo.

Firing uses 6 ammo per second at first, which becomes 18 ammo per second 55 frames after firing.

  • Due to the odd ammo consumption mechanics, Mae's Hyper Laser can be surprisingly efficient and viable for scoring if fired in short bursts.
  • The laser gains no additional damage or properties from the increased ammo consumption.
  • The anticipation bullet has a very small hitbox but can deal damage (about half the damage of the actual laser) and counts as a special projectile.

Blue Revolver Vortex Barrier.png

A defensive weapon that produces multiple bullet-blocking orbiting projectiles around the player. On release, the projectiles are launched upwards with considerable power and pierce enemies.

Produces 13 projectiles over time at 3 ammo per projectile. Holding a full barrier costs 4.6 ammo per second. Releasing costs no ammo.

  • The projectiles deal damage while functioning as a barrier, though the damage is fairly weak until they are launched.
  • Due to the piercing nature of the projectiles, they are most effective against big targets.
  • Projectiles are always produced to the top-left of the player.
  • Designed for players struggling against bosses.
  • A few projectiles can be produced and released for an offensive capability. Roughly on par with the Plasma Lancer in terms of damage, though much less flexible.

Blue Revolver Cluster Missile Mae.png

A slow-firing finesse weapon which produces a lasting explosion on impact. Tremendous scoring potential, but punishing on miss.

Firing uses 10 ammo per shot, at a fire rate of 1 missile per second.

  • Launches behind the player before accelerating up the screen - the player can use this to their advantage by deploying the missile while above enemies, in effect "bombing" them.
  • Excellent at exploiting "Zero Flourish".
  • Has a very limited piercing capability (4 frames) before exploding to ensure good effect on target.
  • The "particles" produced by the explosion deal no damage to bosses. The explosion sprite alone deals damage. Despite this, it is a very capable boss nuker in many cases.

Blue Revolver Arc Caster.png

A fast-firing, target-seeking arc weapon. Very easy to use, though lacks raw power and is imprecise.

Firing consumes 5 ammo and produces 3 bolts per shot, at just under 3 shots per second.

  • Only the visible "bolts" at the end of the arcs deal damage. The chains deal no damage.
  • The weapon scans a 80*170px rectangle in front of the player and targets the first three enemies it sees. Note that these may not be the closest entities to the player.
  • If only one or two enemies are found, more bolts are projected randomly in front of the player.
  • The caster can target the multiple hitboxes of large, complex enemies - but can also target things like Boss 4's arms, which don't take damage.

Blue Revolver Hyper Laser Val.png

A single-shot beam with long recovery time. Excellent for sweeping the playfield, but players may find it hard to control ammo consumption.

Uses 10 ammo per shot.

  • Has an "anticipation projectile" much like Mae's variant.
  • Takes about 12 frames to fire.
  • The projectile lasts on-screen for 55 frames.
  • Produces splash damage particles at the point of impact, making it more consistent against groups. A lot of the laser's damage potential comes from these splash particles.
  • Can exploit "Zero Flourish".

Blue Revolver Stasis Field.png

An unconventional defensive weapon; a circular field projected directly in front of the player. Sucks kinetic energy from bullets, slowing them down - the stored energy is launched around the player on release, cancelling enemy bullets caught in the field.

Uses 7.2 ammo per second to maintain the field - uses 10 ammo to discharge.

  • The stored energy discharge is spread in a 360-degree spiral pattern, making it very hard to effectively use.
  • It takes a very long time to fully charge the field from only a few bullets - clusters and patterns of bullets must be leveraged to use the weapon effectively.
  • The field does a very meagre amount of contact damage to enemies.

Blue Revolver Cluster Missile Val.png

A slow-firing finesse weapon which produces a lasting explosion on impact. Tremendous scoring potential, but punishing on miss.

Firing uses 10 ammo per shot, at a fire rate of 1 missile per second.

  • Almost identical to Mae's variant.
  • In Val's variant, the particles travel further and control more of the screen, but deal less damage.

The ammo-generating effect of the bomb in action.

Bombs[edit]

Bombs are uniform among both characters - a short-range projectile is projected in front of the player, dealing decent damage to anything in its vicinity. Bombs also convert all enemy bullets on screen into ammo pickup items, grant 6 seconds of invulnerability and reset any applicable chain timer. They also count as special weapons for the purposes of scoring (see Flourish section).

BLUE REVOLVER has a 3-frame counterbomb window. When the player is hit, an internal "about to die" timer is set for 3 frames. If the player uses a bomb during this period, their death will be cancelled. (This includes the frame the player was hit on.)

Bombs cancel all enemy bullets on-screen for 30 frames after firing. During this time period, every second bullet that is cancelled via the bomb is replaced with an Ammo Pickup.

Items[edit]


Blue Revolver Ammo Pickup Item.gif
Ammo Pickup items are dropped by ground enemies and resupply ships. Bombs also convert bullets into Ammo Pickup items. Each item replenishes 2 ammo, or gives 2,000 score if the ammo meter is full. Resupply ships drop 30 ammo items, for 60% ammo in total.
Blue Revolver Bomb Item.gif
Bomb items restore one bomb or grant 50,000 score if the player has the maximum amount of bombs.
Blue Revolver 1UP Item.gif
1-UP items grant an extra life.
Blue Revolver Score Item 200.png
Blue Revolver Score Item 2000.gif
Blue Revolver Score Item 20000 Animation.gif
Score Items are generated by special weapon usage or by clearing boss phases. Score items are always worth either 200, 2,000 or 20,000 points each.

Rank/Difficulty[edit]


An early boss phase at Rank Level 1.
The same boss phase at Rank Level 5. Dangerous!

BLUE REVOLVER uses a rank system for two of the three difficulty modes. Rank is divided into five "Rank Levels" (RL) based on an internal variable. The Rank Level only affects enemy and boss bullet patterns - enemy health and other such things are not affected at all. Rank is not intended to be something the player must manage, rather it simply eases up on the player after a death for a short while.

  • Normal mode is the game's novice mode and locks Rank to the first 2 Rank Levels. Normal mode also features Autobomb - however, it is unusually punishing, consuming all bombs in stock when triggered.
  • Hyper mode is for shmup warriors and allows rank to go through all 5 Rank Levels.
  • Parallel mode is for wizards and locks rank to Rank Level 5 at all times.

Each difficulty setting also has its own extend system. Parallel mode is therefore actually more plentiful with resources if the player can keep pace with scoring, and can handle the Rank Level being locked to 5.

Normal 5,000,000 10,000,000 20,000,000 30,000,000
Hyper 5,000,000 15,000,000 25,000,000 50,000,000
Parallel EVERY 15,000,000 ... ... ...

Rank typically increases with scoring and additionally has a per-frame increase depending on the current stage. Firing the special weapon also increases rank, though only to a small degree. Bombing is entirely rank-neutral. Rank decreases on player death - for Rank Levels 1-3, the player's rank variable is halved on death, and for Rank Levels 4-5, rank is reset to Rank Level 3 on death.

Hyper Mode "Rank Drain"[edit]

There is an additional rank mechanic applicable only to Hyper mode. At Rank Level 5, the rank variable is immediately set to a high value and drains passively over time. Scoring actions, per-frame rank increase and special weapon rank increase do not apply at this point. The passive drain is per-frame and is increased as the player loses lives. Once the rank is drained back down to the Rank Level 5 breakpoint, rank is reset to Rank Level 4. Therefore, high-performing Hyper mode players will see a constant see-saw between Rank Levels 4 and 5.

RL5 drain sets the internal rank variable of 200,000, and the breakpoint to go back to RL4 is 140,000. Per-frame rank drain is 10 under normal circumstances, 16 if the player has 1 or 2 lives remaining, and 32 if the player has no lives remaining. Therefore, it will take 100 seconds to go back to Rank Level 4 under normal circumstances, 62.5 seconds at 1 or 2 lives remaining, and 31.25 seconds at zero lives remaining.

Scoring[edit]


There are two primary scoring mechanics in BLUE REVOLVER - Flourish, and Break.

Flourish[edit]

Each enemy in BLUE REVOLVER has a point value that is granted on destruction. This point value varies depending on the enemy and generally becomes higher at the later stages.

Additionally, destroying enemies fills a chain meter. The chain meter takes roughly 3 seconds to drain if nothing is happening, and maxes out at 8 hits. Building a chain on its own does not provide any scoring benefit - rather, the player must destroy enemies with the Special Weapon in order to get value out of their chain. Enemies generate point items on destruction with a special weapon according to the following multiplier table:

Hit Point Value Multiplier
8 64x
6-7 32x
4-5 16x
1-3 8x

However, firing the Special Weapon engages Flourish Mode - which locks the chain value and forces the timer to drain from a hidden maximum value. It takes 4 seconds to finish Flourish Mode generally, but it can be extended a little if many enemies are destroyed.

Therefore, the basic scoring strategy is to build up an 8-hit chain on weak, poor enemies, then use Special Weapons to cash in by powerful, lucrative enemies, and keep repeating that process while being as efficient with ammo as possible.

Bombs, uniquely, reset the chain timer to maximum both inside and outside of Flourish Mode.

"Zero Flourish"[edit]

One interesting quirk in the scoring system is that Flourish Mode cannot be activated when a chain is not active. Three of the special weapons are notably able to exploit this - Val's Hyper Laser and both variants of the Cluster Missile. Some other weapons can exploit it to a small degree, but these weapons have long uptimes and large potential areas of effect, making them ideal. Because they only trigger Flourish Mode on firing and not while they're destroying enemies, the player can activate the special weapon at a zero or 1-hit chain and use it to both increase the chain and generate score items.

Zero Flourish becomes an increasingly more lucrative trick in the later stages, where the popcorn enemies the player would typically simply use to build a chain have increased point value - but it does require some self-control.

Break Bonuses[edit]

Break bonuses are static point bonuses awarded for fulfilling specific conditions. Typically, these conditions are during midbosses and bosses (destroy both wings of the Stage 1 midboss in quick succession, for example) - but there are a few in-stage break bonuses like destroying over 80% of an enemy rush.

A Break Guide can be found both in-game and on the official game website: http://bluerevolvergame.com/breakguide/

Other Scoring Mechanics[edit]

Boss phases cancel all bullets on screen when they are cleared, and this follows the same logic as enemy destruction with a special weapon - ie, point items are generated in their place. The base value of each bullet is fairly low (100 points on the last boss, therefore 800 points per bullet cancelled), but in the few cases where a chain can be built up and a lot of bullets cancelled, they will receive the 64x value multiplier.

There are notably no mechanics in BLUE REVOLVER that reward the player for holding on to resources - no stage/game clear bonuses for lives/bombs remaining, etc.

Strategy[edit]

See Blue Revolver/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.


General Tips[edit]

  • Self-destructing here and there is highly encouraged by the game systems. On death, rank is decreased outside of Parallel mode, 2 extra bombs are granted without resetting the existing stock, and 50 special ammo is replenished.
  • In stages 3 and 5, there are almost no ground targets, meaning the player must rely on self-destructs and bombs to generate most of their ammo. Players would be wise to ensure they have enough bombs to keep up during, for example, the Stage 3 zako rush break without wasting resources.
  • The last boss and TLB will counterbomb the player outside of Normal mode. Their invulnerability period lasts half a second longer than that of the player and their counterbomb prevents ammo from being generated.
  • Almost all special weapons fire straight upwards by design, requiring the player to at least pass through the most dangerous areas of the playfield. The most notable exception is the Arc Caster, which can often be used from across the screen.

Story[edit]

BLUE REVOLVER takes place in an Earth-like world where magic has a code-like structure. Using scripting and various forms of technology, reality can be manipulated to the user's will - however, irresponsible use of this power creates hazardous "junk data". Stringent safety laws are enforced by groups of Technicians, and one such group is called "Blue Revolver".

Recently, a massive data anomaly has been sighted in the mountains - the work of a relatively gifted but flawed magic user called Mae. Blue Revolver set out to investigate this anomaly and hopefully curtail it.

Version Differences[edit]

  • v1.01: Score Info option, readability options (background darkening, alternate bullet colour schemes), bugfixes.
  • v1.02: Fixed the stage 2 boss instagibbing the player during Boss Rush mode.
  • v1.05: Achievements.
  • v1.1: Replay functionality added, Steam leaderboards, Break Guide, Experimental Weapon, shot type / weapon rebalancing.
  • v1.11: Fixed replay desync issues.
  • v1.12: Added the DOUBLE ACTION soundtrack by Exemia and Hagane as an in-game option,

Trivia[edit]

  • BLUE REVOLVER was originally going to be a clone of Muchi Muchi Pork. Then it was going to be a clone of Ketsui. In the end, it ended up being a mix of both - though perhaps a clone of Cyvern, too.
  • Despite the variety in bullet visuals, all bullets in BLUE REVOLVER share the same hitbox size of 2 pixels by 2 pixels. This is incidentally the same size as the player's hitbox.
  • All shot types have a different default player speed, however their focused speed is always the same for the sake of consistency.
  • While probably impossible to actually achieve, if the player can score 100 septillion points, they will be granted an extend every frame the game is running due to inelegant programming.
  • Blue Revolver has no boss timeout mechanic outside of midbosses and the TLB. One or two boss phases are milkable to a degree, but the rewards are very low and it is very hard to avoid damage being done to the boss.
  • "DSP" is among the various phrases censored by the game's highscore system.
  • The Stage 3 boss and several attack craft flying out of the midboss on destruction is a shameless reference to Battle Garegga.

References & Contributors[edit]

  1. Technical information supplied via code inspection. danbo did this.