Cho Ren Sha 68K
Cho Ren Sha 68K is a vertical shoot 'em up game that has remained popular since the game's initial release and has been referenced in different games such as Graze Counter and ZeroRanger. The game started development on the Sharp X68000 home computer due to the popularity of doujin games for the system and had it's initial release at the 1995 Comiket. Cho Ren Sha 68K became popular enough to eventually see a port to the Windows Operating System in 2001. The game has continued to receive updates occasionally, with the latest update in 2017 making the game more compatible with Windows 10 machines.
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- Fire: Tapping the Fire button will unleash a couple of shot volleys with a semi-auto rate, meaning you can tap the fire button at a slower speed to get the full shot speed.
- Bomb: This uses up one of the bombs in the player's possession, deals a lot of damage, and grants invincibility during the bomb duration. It is worth noting that the further away an enemy is from a bomb, the less damage the bomb will do.
The player ship "Zanki" is equipped only with a vulcan set of shots with one forward-firing shot and side shots that fan forward to outward. There are 5 levels of power which will increase shot frequency and damage for each powerup collected. Its worth noting that max shot power only increases damage 1.375 times greater than the base shots damage. If the player ship is destroyed, they are reset to power level 1. The ship can also use any bombs that are picked up along the way to destroy enemies more quickly and to grant temporary invincibility.
Items in Cho Ren Sha 68K come in the form of a triangle shaped drop that powerup carrier ships will leave behind when destroyed. There are three possible pickups in this triangle:
- Powerup: Raises power level by 1 or gives excess points if at max power.
- Bomb: Increases bomb stock by 1 or gives excess points if the player already has 5 bombs in stock.
- Shield: Grants a shield or gives excess points if the player has a shield already.
If the player manages to get inside the triangle, it will start to rapidly spin. Remaining inside it long enough will reward the player with every possible pickup within that triangle (1ups included).
- 1up: For every 1 million points earned, the following shield item that appears (when the player already has a shield equipped) will instead be a 1up. If the player accidentally collects another powerup or the 1up flies offscreen, it is gone.
There is a 2nd loop with no requirements except to complete stage 0, continues can be used. The second loop introduces suicide bullets where killing an enemy will cause it to shoot bullets upon death. After Stage 2-0, the True Last Boss will come out of it`s Big Zanki disguise armor.
The most significant aspect of Cho Ren Sha 68K involves the scoring system. The player has to take risks to fly directly inside item triangles and remain inside them long enough to get the best rewards. It is a tricky technique to get down consistently and while in the middle of the action as well.
End stage bonuses are also responsible for a lot of points:
- Bomber Bonus: [20,000 x Bombs in stock]
- Shield Bonus: 50,000 if the Zanki has a shield up during the end stage tally.
- Zanki Bonus: [50,000 x Lives in stock]
- Cho Ren sha 68K strongly emphasizes never getting hit and rarely bombing, as collecting full item triangles will lead to point bonuses that will increase exponentially per item pickup. This means ANY item picked up with the indicated item at max capacity already (firepower, bomb stock, active shield) will increase the excess point value of all pickups, capping out at 25,600 points per item. Excess item bonuses are as follows: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600. This means that when successfully performing a triple item pickup with max power, 5 bombs, and an active shield the player will increase the excess value three amounts and at max value you can earn 76,800 points per item triangle. The item bonus is reset if the player ever loses a ship.
- Stage 1 features special bonus enemies that come slowly from the bottom two corners of the screen and will fire destructible spinners when weakened that are worth 1000 points each. It is very lucrative early score to weaken these enemies to low health and try to keep them alive while destroying all the spinners they shoot out. These enemies will only come out if you ensure that you kill all the enemies in the stage before them as soon as possible, so you will have to point blank a couple big enemies to ensure that they will spawn.
- Stage 1 boss has a special bonus with debris that it leaves behind when destroyed. Bombing this debris grants a lot of bonus points not normally attainable by just firing. Optimally there is a strategy to lightly damage the two parts of the boss and then stop firing. The boss then needs to have it's attacks directed so that it shoots both of it's opposing parts itself so that when they both get destroyed, one bomb will provide maximum point gain possible from the debris they will both release.
- Stage end bonuses further emphasize the importance of never dying and being careful with bombs as much as possible. Since there is no cap on number of lives a player earns, later in the game the player can potentially earn over 1 Million points in end stage bonuses alone. This can lead to lots of 1ups in the later part of the game further expediting score gains.
- Anytime the player picks up an item, they are given about 1.5 seconds of invincibility. During this time, the player can fly into enemies for additional damage before the invincibility wears off.
Cho Ren Sha 68K was first developed for the X68000 by Koichi Yoshida, who was said to have been inspired by various arcade shoot 'em up games while brainstorming ideas for the design of his game. While creating the game, Koichi wanted the game to have a manual firing system as it was a dying trend during development and autofire started to become implemented in other games he had seen such as Batsugun and Truxton II. He ultimately settled for a semiauto shot, where pressing the Fire button once releases a couple shot volleys and tapping the button slowly would still produce a standard rate of fire.
Cho Ren Sha 68K saw an initial release in 1995 for the X68000 Sharp system. As the game gained popularity in the Doujin scene, it would later be ported to Windows in 2001. This Windows version port allowed the game to be played at the original 55 FPS or at 60 FPS. In 2005 a patch was released to address issues with modern hardware and improve compatibility with newer Windows machines. In 2017 another patch was once again pushed out for Windows 10 systems while continuing to fix various compatibility issues.
- 0.10: Comiket 1995 Doujin Release for Sharp X68000 home computer.
- 1.00: Completed and released as 1.00 in 1998.
- 1.01: Windows ports
- 2001: Initial port to Windows. Added 60 FPS support
- 2005: Update for 1.01 which added a Hard difficulty and various bug fixes
- 2017: Another update for 1.01 which improved sound issues and compatibility with Windows 10 systems.
- Kakusi Menu: In the main menu within the config screen, holding UP for 4 seconds will reveal the Kakusi Menu. There are several options to toggle here with varying effects. Holding UP for 4 seconds again brings back the default config menu. (NOTE: This menu is inaccessible in the x68000 version)
- VWAIT: No known effect.
- MUTEKI: Invincibility
- STAGE: 1-7 will pick stages 1 through 0, while setting the digit to F and then hitting Continue in the main menu will let you play Show Time.
- ACCHO: 0-7 will determine which loop you start the game on. The normal game only has 2 loops and later loops wouldn't be seen unless the player Continued after beating loops 1 and 2 in a real game.
- TD_SPEED: Bullet enemy speed
- JK_SPEED: Player movement speed
- BOSSONLY: Skip stages and only fight bosses. The player remains stuck at initial equipment due to the lack of any powerup carriers.
- DEBUG: Will show various information such as enemy values when destroyed based on the setting of this value.
- KASEGI: Cannot be changed and does nothing.
- Show Time: A special boss rush of three bosses alternating infinitely. The bosses use different attacks than what they would use in the normal game and one boss makes an appearance which does not appear in the main game at all.
- The default high score table when first turning on the game is populated completely with the names of other Toaplan games: Slap Fight, Tatsujin, Flying Shark, Twin Cobra, Same3!, Tiger Heli, Batsugun, Dogyuun, Out Zone, V-V.
- In the beginning of stage 1-1, there is a brief background color transition and some pieces of debris that are seen coming from the bottom of the screen. When you complete stage 0 and get sent to loop 2 stage 1, the same color transitions and debris appear. This implies that 1-1 has a stage 0 that happened before the player started playing or that there is a cycle occurring.
- Big Zanki (the Stage 0 Boss) makes an appearance in ZeroRanger, a shoot 'em up game by System Erasure released on Steam in 2018.
- The powerup carriers are referenced in Graze Counter, a shoot 'em up game by Bikkuri Software released on Steam in 2017.
- The Triple Item Grab technique is also used in Graze Counter GM.
The game was available as a free download on Koichi Yoshida's website at the following link, but the page appears to have been changed and the download is not available on the site: http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~yosshin/my_works/download.html
For now the latest Windows version is available at the following link: https://web.archive.org/web/20200804060107/http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~yosshin/my_works/CH170523.ZIP
The following link has all 3 Windows versions, plus the original Sharp X68000 version. The Sharp X68000 version will run in Sharp X68000 emulators (such as RetroArch's PX68K core) giving you the advantage of the original framerate = 55fps. This is nearly 10% slower than the Windows version, and hence much more enjoyable! Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20190927084456/http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~yosshin/my_works/download.html
An updated release of the Sharp X68000 version of Cho Ren Sha 68k to version 1.10, was made on 2023/06/05: https://yosshin4004.github.io/x68k/crs68k/official/index.html The updates made are currently unknown, but is possible that it was in preparation for the release of the Sharp x68000 Mini: https://www.suruga-ya.com/en/product/124010485
- Cho Ren Sha 68K Development Postscript : http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~yosshin/my_works/postmortem.html