The bosses in Azure Striker Gunvolt are carefully crafted, each featuring a distinct set of attacks that evolves over time. How do these attacks work together to give the boss a distinct identity? In other words, what gives a boss its theme?

But wait, that’s not all! Zuntata also performed the final stage tune from Darius II live. Lyrics and all! It’s not too different from the arranged version, but it’s still worth a listen just because this song kicks ass. And hey, there’s some extra flourishes here and there with the horn!

Zuntata has a bunch of live Darius stuff, too. You should check it out!

On one hand, it’s really cool that Zuntata went all out and gave lyrics to the final stage tune from Darius II. On the other hand, I think it’s a love song addressed to “papa.” I try not to think about it too hard.

Anyway, whatever. I just like the idea of blowing up giant space fish bosses while this lady sings about romance.

Whoa! After a couple downgrades, here’s an upgrade to the final stage theme from Darius II. The lead synth initially comes in as a haunting choir thing, only to be replaced by a triumphant brass section, exaggerating the odd mix of tones found in the original tune.

These PC Engine CD soundtracks would always throw in their own special bits, and this is no exception. Check out the rad bridge at 1:48 that turns into a guitar solo at 2:02!

In all, a goofy and satisfying take on the original. But there’s no one saying “papa”!

Darius II also got a Master System port, and here’s the final stage theme. While the Genesis version is a successful downgrade, this version doesn’t fare so well. The sound chip just can’t handle some of the subtler things Darius II goes for (check out 2:34). All the notes are there, but the hardware is too crude to make them sound right.

Here’s the Genesis/Mega Drive version of the final stage theme from Darius II.

The “ooh”s come across as pretty weak organs, so I’m not a fan of that. On the other hand, the lead synth comes in stronger. In the original version, the lead synth has more subtle dynamics. You might say the Genesis version is a downgrade in this sense, but I find it enjoyable in its own right. This is matched by a stronger bass in the Genesis version, as well. In general, the mastering plays up the poppy angle of the tune, although the overall structure still hits that proggy sensibility.

Then, the lady who says “papa” has that raspy voice problem that Ristar did.

This here is the final stage from Darius II (also known as Sagaia). The entire Darius II soundtrack is great, but this track in particular goes beyond the scope of the rest of the tracks and ends up as some kind of pop prog thing. It’s also interesting that the final stage—chock full of tough foes and the height of the game’s difficulty—is so energetic and hopeful.

Also, there’s a lady that says “papa.”

A friend wrote this, and I was curious to hear what you folks thought of it.

Here’s a snippet:

Invariably it must be remarked that the developers and localizers of Azure Striker Gunvolt probably didn’t “mean anything” by their characterization of their sole transgender character. The concept probably evolved naturally in conceiving an embodiment of Lust (the game has a seven deadly sins motif). They probably didn’t approach it any differently from their Pride character who spouts “thee”s and “thou”s and makes for the honorable fool. It must also be remarked that intention does not matter at all. The game propagates negative stereotypes to its audience, whether through ignorance or choice. Transgender people are very real and in choosing to present a transgender character, Inti Creates now owns the stereotype that a trans person is nothing more than a thrusting phallus of deviant sexual predation begging to be beaten to death. 


neat looking games to vote for on steam greenlight round 3! [vol 1 / vol 2]

i dunno whats going on with greenlight nowadays. looks like they stopped doing batches and are just stealth-greenlighting individual titles. i think they might be starting to phase out the whole system. anyway here’s…

In Azure Striker Gunvolt, one mechanic permeates all gameplay: the flashfield. Let’s look at all its facets!

Also, let’s review the world of Gunvolt. The game offers distinct visual designs, plot twists, and even some issues regarding localization.