Skill notes. These notes run from 0:15 to 1:15.
I can’t figure out how to do a page break on this silly thing. Maybe my brain is broken? I am kind of tired right now. Sorry for cluttering your dash like this.
-Short Term Memory
——Memory Span: There are only four main bits to remember for this part (this excludes knowledge needed for the rest of the game). I’ve long since moved these to long term memory, but learning this stage the first time, these are important to remember.
————Nothing spawns from the bottom, left, or top of the screen until the powerup that enters the screen at 1:00 (top left). You can hug whatever edge you want.
————On the other hand, the entire right side is lined with turrets.
————Doors will open to release enemies (watch the top of the screen at 0:25). This is infinite. This has a reliable timing you can memorize, too, but I haven’t.
————The teal-tipped openings release enemies, too (see 0:35). This has a reliable timing you can memorize, too, but I haven’t.
——Coding & Decoding (Chunking)
————You can memorize the individual placement of turrets along the right side, but that easily simplifies to “there’s a bunch of stuff to shoot there.”
————When do the infinitely spawning enemies appear? I don’t know, I just know where they’ll appear. I can wait for them in a safe spot and rely on my reflexes when they do appear.
——Hold and Fidelity
————This part will not tax your hold, since there’s only four main bits.
————No piece of information is very precise, either, so fidelity won’t matter much. In this video, I misremember the timing on a turret firing or an enemy spawning plenty of times, but it doesn’t matter. You have a big battleship on the right, so there’s going to be fire coming from that direction—it’s a clear cue. However, you can play a little better if you remember specific things like the fact that enemies won’t spawn from the top, left, or bottom of the screen.
————There are three main sources of enemies: the opening doors, the teal-tipped openings, and the turrets on the walls. You’ll need to balance between all three.
————Additionally, you need to pay attention to where you fire. Are your cannons facing in the right direction to hit the enemy you want?
————Enemies spawn at a consistent pace over this minute-long segment. If you can’t keep up, things are only going to get worse. If you can keep up, you’re guaranteed to stay afloat.
-Long Term Memory
——Loci, Emotion, and Repetition
————I just recognize familiar images. Big battleship: I know turrets are planted on it. Gray door with the red hinge and arrow: I know ships are gonna fly out of it. Upward-facing teal-tipped openings: I know guys are gonna come out of there.
————For playing Image Fight, it’s important to get ingrained in your fingers the experience of aiming your cannons. Red cannons (the ones to the left, right, and below my ship in this video) will aim the opposite direction from your movement. Move up, they shoot down. Move right, they shoot left. When you see a guy on the right, you can’t stop to think, “How do I aim right?” You just need to think, “Aim right!” and then have your fingers do the rest.
——Deleting, Flagging, and Moving Data
————It’s easy to clear this stage and think you can just hug the top left of the screen. It works for most of the stage, since you can hang out at the top, aim rightward, and kill turrets as they appear. The guys shooting lasers won’t die quickly enough, but you can use reflexes to get around that problem. The real issue is that powerup at 1:00—a real easy way to lose a life is to forget about that guy and crash into it the moment it spawns. It’s so embarrassing, too, since it’s a powerup.
————Image Fight lets you shoot in any direction you want using those red cannons, so you have a wide range of possibilities to explore for any given challenge.
——Because the battleship takes up space, you have less space to move around in. Additionally, you have to shoot the turrets from the side, so the distance is horizontal. Since the screen is taller than it is wide, having to approach something horizontally means you have to get pretty close. In short, you don’t have much space between yourself and the turrets, meaning you’ll need good speed.
——How long it takes to shoot down enemies and turrets depends on how quickly you can press the shoot button.
————Luckily, the Irem Arcade Collection comes with an autofire feature, which you can see me (ab)using here.
————Additionally, the PC Engine port has autofire available from the game start menu, and in the NES version, you shoot several volleys of bullets for each button press.
——When the turrets scroll onscreen, you’ll need to keep dodging fire for a while. After they’re all gone, you’ll have a break until the next set scrolls onscreen. The two sets are separated by the infinite enemy spawner at the top of the screen at 0:50. That enemy spawner juts out, acting as a shield for the turrets above it—there’s no way to shoot the turrets from below, so you’ll have to put yourself directly in their line of fire to get at them. Dodging is much tighter, and you’ll need to maintain stamina dodging between bullets until you can carve out a safe spot.
——If you get tired when hammering the shoot button, you won’t be able to kill enemies as quickly.
——If you have your ship speed higher (it’s at speed 3 in this video), you’ll need to exercise greater control. On the other hand, with higher speed, you can dodge obstacles with less time. A lower speed allows for greater control, but you’ll need more time to dodge stuff.
——When you move, you reorient your cannons. When moving, you need to keep in mind not only what will keep you safe but also what will get your cannons facing the right direction.
——If you’re good at finding safe spots, you can be efficient by just sitting there.
————I like staying just above the horizontal enemy spawners, since I can shoot down to kill the horizontally-spawning enemies and shoot up to kill the vertically-spawning enemies.
————If you sit at the top of the screen as turrets spawn, you can also kill them off before they complicate your life. The earlier you can kill a cannon, the less dodging you’ll need to do, creating a more efficient playthrough.
——You can learn the timing on each individual turret firing. I uh, just go by sight.
——When the doors on the side of the ship open, I know to get into place to shoot the enemies that will soon spawn. I judge other timers, like how long it’ll take a bullet or enemy to hit me, based on sight.
——Each obstacle here has its own static timer. Every playthrough, every shot will spawn with the same timing. (Granted, you can halt a turret’s timing by destroying it.)
——It’s hard to keep track of the firing for each individual turret, but the spawning enemies are slow enough that it’s easy to follow.
——If each enemy has its own static timer, then putting together the entire screen is a complex timer.
——Everything is regular, no changes in tempo!
——The infinitely spawning enemies spawn in response to one another, putting them on the same track: a side spawning enemy, an upward spawning enemy, a side spawning enemy, an upward spawning enemy, etc., in regular time. I understand the turrets along the wall as their own track, and go back and forth from focusing on one track and the other.
——Because Image Fight features the dynamics of space and time, there are no simple reflex tests. There are always an immeasurable amount of responses, since you can react at any moment and move to any adjacent space. It gets even more complicated when you try to decide which enemy to hit and how to orient your cannons.
——This happens in Terranigma. Image Fight, not so much.
——I guess I just explained above how each encounter is a choice test.
——You know, I never use this when I play, but the blue laser turrets make a pretty loud and distinguishable noise. These lasers are pretty dangerous, too, just because of their size.
————As in any shmup, fire can come from any enemy onscreen. There’s a certain lack of focus I need to achieve so that a bullet spawning in any location alerts me to its presence.
——Dynamic Visual Acuity
————Everything moves at a regular speed, so it’s pretty easy to keep track of when a single bullet will hit me. The trouble is when stuff gets layered (see eye movement below).
————As explained under timing, you’re forced into pretty cramped quarters here. There is only a very small visual warning for lasers firing. The bullets and rockets spawn in and start moving that instant. You’ll need good momentary vision.
————Check out all the stuff flying around at 0:57. You can technically fit through a lot of openings, but so many hazards move at their own pace that it’s hard to keep track of everything. I end up just seeing it as a wall of death. When I do break through at 1:01, there’s a break where I don’t have to watch any projectiles—they’re all to the right of me, and all I have to do is move up along the left side of the screen.