Cho Ren Sha 68K

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Cho Ren Sha 68k
CRS68K side art.jpg

Box art?

Developer: Famibe no Yosshin
Music: Loser Kashiwagi
Release date: 1995

Cho Ren Sha 68k is a doujin vertical game released for the Sharp X68000 in 1995, and eventually ported to the Windows Operating System in 2001. It has remained popular since its release and has influenced several later doujin games. The game has continued to receive updates occasionally, with the latest update in 2023 for the release of the X68000Z.

The game is widely considered a prime exemplar of the pseudo-manic subgenre, emphasizing player movement and rapid pacing with moderate bullet counts.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Controls

  • Fire: Fires shot volleys semi-automatically. A fast tap rate is not necessary to achieve maximum fire rate.
  • Bomb: Uses up one of the bombs in the player's possession, dealing a lot of damage, and granting invincibility during the bomb duration. The further away an enemy is from a bomb, the less damage the bomb will do.

Weapons

The player ship is equipped with a vulcan weapon with one green forward-firing stream and two yellow side streams that fan forward to outward. There are 5 levels of power which will increase shot frequency and damage for each powerup collected. Power level 5 damage is 1.375 times greater than level 1. The player is reset to power level 1 upon losing a life.

Items

Item triangle

Items in Cho Ren Sha 68k come in the form of a triangle-shaped arrangement that item carrier ships leave behind when destroyed. There are three possible pickups in the triangle:

  • Powerup: Raises power level by 1 or gives points if at max power.
  • Bomb: Increases bomb stock by 1 or gives points if the player already has 5 bombs in stock.
  • Shield: Grants a shield or gives 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 all three pickups within that triangle.

1up item
  • 1up: For every 1 million points earned, the following Shield item that appears will instead be a 1up, if the player has a shield at the time. If the player does not have a shield, the 1up's appearance will be delayed until they do. If the player fails to collect the 1up after it appears, it is gone.

Upon collecting any item, the player is invincible for about 1.5 seconds.

Loops

There is a 2nd loop with no requirements other than to complete stage 2-0 (which is actually the end of loop 1); continues can be used. The second loop introduces suicide bullets and is otherwise identical to the first. After Stage 3-0 (the end of loop 2), the True Last Boss will come out of its giant player ship form.

On hard mode, the game plays through loops 3 and 4, starting on 3-1 and ending on 5-0. Enemies produce different suicide bullet patterns on each loop.

Scoring

  • Collecting excess items grants increasing score bonuses of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, and 25600. This bonus applies to all excess items. The item bonus is reset to 100 if the player ever loses a ship.
  • At the end of each stage, the player is awarded a bonus:
 Bomber Bonus: [20,000 x Bombs in stock]
 Shield Bonus: 50,000 if the player has a shield up during the end stage tally
 Zanki Bonus: [50,000 x Lives in stock]
  • Damaging enemies produces tick points. The green bullets of the shot weapon are more efficient than the yellow ones. Ramming enemies while invincible produces even more tick points.
Score from the first enemy wave, plus any suicide bullets, for loops 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  • Each spawned suicide bullet produces points. Suicide bullets immediately cancelled by a bomb still give points, but sealed bullets do not.

Strategy

  • 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. When successfully performing a triple item pickup with max power, 5 bombs, and an active shield the player will increase the excess value three times, and at max value can earn 76,800 points per item triangle.
  • 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.
  • Many bosses shoot destructible missiles or release spinner enemies that can be milked for points.
  • 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.
  • If the player waits long enough on the first phase of the Stage 2 boss, it will release 8 high-value option enemies upon entering its second phase.

Development History

Cho Ren Sha 68K was first developed for the X68000 by Koichi "Famibe no Yoshin" 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 Tatsujin Ou. 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 Sharp X68000 home computer. 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.

Version Differences

  • 0.10: Comiket 48 (1995). Doujin release for X68000. Early prototype. 150 sold.
  • 0.25: Comiket 49. 240 sold (for X68000)
  • 0.35: Comiket 50. 400 sold (for X68000)
  • 0.37: Osaka Pasoke 49. 30 sold (for X68000)
  • 0.45: Comiket 51. 420 sold. (for X68000)
  • 0.46: Comiket 51. Bugfix release. (for X68000)
  • 0.60: Comiket 52. 520 sold. (for X68000)
  • 0.61: 1997 9/6 Osaka Pasoke (for X68000)
  • 1.00: Comiket 53 (1998). 500 units sold (for X68000)
  • 1.01: Comiket 53: Bugfix release. (for X68000)
  • 1.01: Windows port
  • 1.10: Major revision for X68000 and X68000Z only.
  1. 2001: Initial port to Windows. Added 60 FPS support
  2. 2005: Update for 1.01 which added a Hard rank difficulty and various bug fixes.
  3. 2017: Another update for 1.01 which improved sound issues and compatibility with Windows 10 systems.
  4. 2023: 1.10 released. Unique backgrounds for every stage, some enemies redrawn, borrowed sound effects replaced, better performance via build with newer GCC, countless other small changes.
  5. Source for the X68000 versions are available in the README of the X68000 disk. This has a lot of info on changes between versions too.

Secrets

  • Kakus[h]i Menu: There are several options to toggle here with varying effects. This menu is accessed differently in the Windows and X68000 versions.

Windows: In the main menu within the config screen, holding UP for 4 seconds will reveal the Kakusi Menu. Holding UP for 4 seconds again brings back the default config menu.

X68000 (v1.10 only): There are two ways to activate this menu. The joystick method requires a controller with a SELECT button (FM TOWNS-style):

  1. Select CONFIGURE on the title screen while holding RIGHT and TAB on the keyboard.
  2. Select CONFIGURE on the title screen while holding RIGHT and SELECT on the joystick.

Once open, the menu provides the following options:

  1. VWAIT: No known effect.
  2. MUTEKI: Invincibility
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. TD_SPEED: Bullet enemy speed
  6. JK_SPEED: Player movement speed
  7. BOSS_ONLY: Skip stages and only fight bosses. The player remains stuck at initial equipment due to the lack of any powerup carriers.
  8. DEBUG: Will show various information such as enemy values when destroyed based on the setting of this value.
  9. KASEGI (Windows-only): Cannot be changed and does nothing.
  10. SAVE DEMO.REP (X68000-only): Writes the game demo to disk.
  • Debug Mode: In X68000 v1.10, the debug mode described above can be activated on startup without entering the Kakushi menu by holding both joystick action buttons or CTRL+SHIFT on startup. You can release your inputs when the game starts printing asset loading messages.
  • 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.

Trivia

  • In versions prior to 1.10, 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. As of 1.10, it now defaults to a message thanking players and STG developers, although entering an empty name will instead produce the name of an X68000 model or type of accelerator board.
  • 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.
  • ZeroRanger contains several references to Cho Ren Sha, including the shot weapon of its Type-B ship, and enemies based on the Stage 0 boss and player ship.
  • The powerup carriers are referenced in Graze Counter. The Triple Item Grab technique is also used in Graze Counter GM.
  • The powerup items seen in Crimzon Clover are a reference to the Cho Ren Sha item triangle.

Download

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

Gallery

References

  1. Famibe no Yosshin's web site
  2. Cho Ren Sha 68K Development Postscript, translation on Shmuplations
  • This page was assembled using a template provided by CHA-STG and Plasmo.