First Look

Crimzon Clover: World Ignition is a 2014 update to the already popular and fantastic Crimzon Clover from 2010 that takes almost every flaw the original game had and fixes, then some. It was made by Japanese indie developer Yotsubane and published by Degica who are also known for publishing the Aveyond series and a few CAVE games. Additionally a Japanese arcade version of the original came out in 2013.

Crimzon Clover: World Ignition and the original are both arcade-style bullet hell SHMUPS similar in design to the DoDonPachi games but, in my opinion, far more focused on its quality. While a bullet hell, World Ignition, actually has quite a few difficulty modes that can range from that of ordinary SHMUP games where there are very few projectiles and lots of explosions; to “Unlimited Mode” that can sometimes surpass the insane difficulty found in the likes of Mushihimesama Futari Black Label’s God Mode. It borrows mechanics from a few different bullet hell games and combines them into what I believe is one of the best bullet hell games from 2014. (Whoops; foreshadowing, I guess.)

When the revised World Ignition came out in 2014, it was placed on both Steam and GOG.com where it can now be purchased for a mesely $9.99 — far less than it should cost.

Now, let’s begin.

 

Graphics/UI

At first glance, the graphical fidelity of World Ignition has definitely not aged well over time. One will find that the sprites and backgrounds are low-resolution, being pixelated and kind of dirty. I would have prefered if the update had made the sprites fit their new resolution of 1280×720. Instead, they’re still at a scaled-up 640×480. It’s kind of jarring to see considering how good the title screen looks in the new resolution. Speaking of the title screen, it actually uses a different art style than the sprites. It brings me to the point that the graphical quality would be much better if they hadn’t used a realistic style and went for what the title screen did with harder shading, flatter colors, and less but not minimal detail. Thankfully, this is one of the few poor aspects of the game. Additionally, they’re not actually that bad; they just fit in a different era. The backgrounds and UI are an exception, as they don’t suffer from the resolution issue.

Now, the biggest and most impressive part of the graphics is actually the special effects. They’re the star of the show in this game, because they fill pretty much 90% of the screen. I’ll be including explosions, bullets, and particles in this. Now, the special effects don’t actually look bad at all. In fact, they’re really nice. Almost every enemy bullet in the game goes on the top layer and are bright, neon colors; the player bullets are slightly transparent and only become an issue when you enter “Double Break”, the explosions are extremely satisfying and entertaining to watch while only providing slight annoyance, and the particle effects are so minimal that you won’t even notice them. Of course, there is one issue with the SFX: Stars. Stars are an item in the game that drop when you destroy enemies and hit things while in Break Mode. The issue is that they can become so dense and numerous at times that, even while on a very low layer, they can still distract the player at times and can sometimes cover up bullets that can lead to a player’s death. Granted this doesn’t happen very often, it can still become very annoying to deal with.

One would expect that all of this induces some serious sensory overload. You’d be right to a point, but an experienced player or someone playing on anything except Unlimited Mode probably won’t have that happen to them. It takes some getting used to, so new players to either the game or the genre will probably have that complaint. The game handles the issue very well by including a Novice difficulty that offers slower and fewer bullets, allowing the player to only need to focus on watching the explosions and occasionally paying attention to the barrages. The boss transition is a good example of this, where the player can mostly relax and follow their trance for the stage, but then the boss comes and everything stands still for a minute. Then, the boss starts and the player now has to focus on many times the amount of projectiles that the stage had while the background effects fall back quite a bit. There are very few bosses where multiple explosions occur during the fight and only one where it’s hard to keep track of the pacing.

Despite the fuzzy and low-resolution sprite graphics and somewhat distracting special effects, the game makes up for its shortcomings with its sheer flashiness and fun factor. Plus, it does a very good job of being both playable and explosiontastic. If I had to give a numerical score, I’d say 84/100. It’s good in all the right places.

 

Progression

In my review of Ether Vapor Remaster, I made an additional segment called “Levels”. I thought about it and decided that “Progression” is a more tact way of putting the same thing. Hence, this is the segment where I discuss all the levels and how they play out. For the sake of time, I’ll just summarize the layout of each stage overall.

The first stage starts with the player launching off of a submarine/aircraft carrier hybrid thing and flying at mach 1 across the ocean towards the mainland. Once there, you’ll be bombarded by dispensable enemies that are mostly harmless except on Unlimited mode. This cannon fodder is soon mixed with drill-shaped enemies that are invulnerable until they open up, in which time you have about a second to half a second to destroy it before it starts firing. They become a problem when you play on Arcade and Unlimited. Several seconds of the barrage later and you encounter roads full of cannon fodder that pose no real threat below Unlimited, coupled with more drill ships. Oh, and they are the first enemy to use lasers on Unlimited mode. Soon, you’ll come across giant whirling ships that fire in all directions and are a bit harder to kill, but Type-III and Z can take them out in just a second or two. They’ll come a few times to help the cannon fodder and drill ships until you reach the tanks. The tanks in the middle of the stage are bullet sponges that have about a quarter of the boss’ health and can pose a significant threat on Arcade mode if you use Type-I or II. These are accompanied by more drill ships that all combine to together to make the hardest part of the stage. After a few waves, you come to another wave of cannon fodder before you run into the final stretch where you destroy respawning turrets in the ground, more tiny vehicles, and more drill ships before reaching the boss. The boss for this stage is a tank a little larger than the ones in the stage section. It has a main gun on top that rapid-fires towards you and is very annoying, two side turrets that do little more than nothing, a gun on the left that fires to the left and usually misses, and a double laser cannon on the right that can lead to some inconvenient zoning. It feels like a weak, heavy boss and has no extra stages, so it’s fairly good as a variety boss for novices.

Stage 2 is where the difficulty really ramps up. In this stage, you’re still met with many cannon fodder enemies, but they often are able to fire off a round before being destroyed. If not, they may suicide into bullets on Unlimited. Even the stronger enemies that come on screen are pretty weak with the exception of 3 pink ships that can take a huge beating and act like mini-mini-bosses. There are also a lot of ground-based enemies such as tanks, mining carts, and mining carts with tanks in them. The main thing this stage is trying to teach you is how to stream targeted bullets for long periods of time. This is especially true on Unlimited where you’ll be bombarded with so many targeted bullets that you’ll be wishing for the bomb meter to charge up faster every few seconds. The boss in this stage is a massive crawler that charges you while clinging to the walls. Unlike the first boss, it has 3 stages. In the first stage, it gives you a taste of its attack coverage with massive walls of bullets that zone you in and fire down your lane of movement. The second stage is when it starts using physical attacks that become utterly devastating on Arcade. In the thirds stage, it goes haywire and pelts you with constant omnidirectional attacks, lasers on Unlimited mode, and it tries to close its body in on you. This is a huge wall of a boss for almost any player and will judge whether or not you’re ready for the difficulty in question. Fortunately, this can be an easy stage on Original if you can manage your breaks well enough. It also has a pretty strong miniboss that splits its cockpit into two drones when you take it down to half health, so that’s cool.

Stage 3, at first glance, seems like an extension of stage 2 with a different theme. There are boatloads of cannon fodder and most of the attacks are aimed in some way, but this time you’re wading through a massive jungle and fighting plasma-shooting flowers and insectoid crawler robots. Its miniboss is a massive crawler tank that has a mounted double laser cannon on its back. It mainly attacks by swivelling its weapons around and trying to sweep the streams against you. Its second phase has it just using a basic wave-based omnidirectional spray. Despite its rehashing of stage 2, this one does introduce two unique enemies. One that appears later is a ship that attacks in a wide cone of bullets from both sides, forcing you to attack its front. Pretty bulky, but still easy to deal with. The second only appears here and is a flying worm-like ship that has destructible segments and doesn’t really do much other than look cool. At this point, you reach the boss that seems like an underwhelming floating ball at first. Then you hit its second phase a short while later, in which the orb opens up to reveal its core. Now it fits the theme of the stage by look like a flower. Here, its attacks drastically increase in intensity and it begins using lasers. Its most dangerous attack is when it uses its petals to fire lasers in all directions and then rotates, speeding up gradually for a while. It can be hard to sustain damage on this phase, and it lasts for a while. After you manage to beat that, it’ll explode and its core will eject, launching into the air where you chase it and proceed to finish it off in its miserably weak third phase where it just uses a basic omni attack. In Original, the first and third stages become much harder with early lasers and denser patterns. In Unlimited, the boss doesn’t become nightmarishly difficulty, but it becomes incredibly flashy and is still aesthetically impossible to dodge. In fact, Unlimited really just makes the whole stage flashier. This is one of the easier stages overall and is there to give you a bit of a break after the nightmarish stage 2.

In the penultimate stage 4, you transition to a city (somehow) and begin with plenty of cannon fodder as usual. This stage uses a lot of enemies from the first and second, plus it introduces quite a few new ones including a stealth fighter thing that fires streams of edgy bullets and are easy to destroy, carriers with tons of turrets on them which take a hell of a beating, and a ramming ball of spikes whose only goal is to piss you off. Most of the stage takes place over this city, inside of a damn storm cloud, making for a very atmospheric level. There’s also a segment where a bunch of rotating UFOs will circle around you and entrap you with sideways lasers while firing direct shots from all angles. They take a huge beating to kill and make up a large portion of the stage. Directly afterwards, you encounter a giant battleship as the miniboss. It appears intimidating at first, but it really relies on its turrets and accompanying enemies to actually beat you. Otherwise, it’s just a glorified sponge. You proceed to wade through a barrage of spike ball rammers that suicide into bullets when killed and come in hordes to reach some more of those stupidly hard pink ships from stage 2. Finish those off and you’ll be slapped with yet another quick wave of fodder before reaching the boss. Oh, and if you thought Unlimited mode stage 2 was hell, you’re in for a surprise if you play this nearly impossible stage on Unlimited. The boss here is a giant fighter with three phases. In the first phase, it gives you a full-frontal assault without warning. The entire front of the ship fires every single weapon it has and tries to completely demolish you in an instant. Luckily, you can squeeze through its attacks. It then switches to swivelling its guns around for an omni attack that lasts for a few seconds, then it switches to criss-crossing dual double laser cannons that sweep across the field with its movement. After you blow it up, the top comes off and reveals that it has two massive turret slots. It has two drones that you can’t destroy constantly refill its turrets between a cycle of four weapons: a gatling gun, a multi-barrel turret, a saucer turret, and a laser cannon. Each time you destroy one, the screen is cleared of bullets and it brings in yet another. Keep destroying them until the ship explodes again and goes into its third phase. In this short phase, the ship brings out four massive guns from behind and mounts them on its back, which then unleash all hell in a pseudo-random barrage of omni bullets that then transitions into 4 giant lasers fired straight down while it jets streams of bullets down upon you. If you can finish this phase without dying on any Arcade mode, you basically win at this game. This is easily one of the most memorable bosses, and a fantastically flashy stage altogether. Unfortunately it becomes less fun when you switch to Unlimited.

Now comes the final stage: 5. When we start out, you arrive at a decrepit facility of some sort in the middle of storm where tons of weak enemies have gather together in a conveniently explosive group. You can blast through the first part of this stage relatively easily, but then they start sending in some upgraded ships to suicide blast you while more fodder swarm and begin to bombard you with increasing difficulty. Soon, you encounter quad-barreled laser cannon turrets. Lots of them, too. They’ll be firing constantly and recklessly upon you with mountains of lasers until you blow them up, while you’re still getting attention from all of the ships. This ends when you come upon two tanks near the end of this first segment that use four turrets each to form two crosses of bullets. Destroy these sponges and you’ll be assaulted by some more heavy ships that fire streams of missiles at you and need to be approached head-on.

After defeating them, you’ll head deeper into the facility where you’ll be met by infinitely respawning fodder from every direction but behind. Afterwards, some more suicide ships will try and fail to attack you, followed by more mountains of fodder and the side-blasting ships from stage 3. There will also be a few more of the cross-firing tanks from earlier that are dispatched easily followed by a unique spinning ship that uses its drones to attack but is otherwise pretty easy. Now you’ll head in even deeper and encounter the miniboss. You’ll be speeding down a massive assembly line of fodder tanks and blowing them up by the dozen until a massive truck-tank with at least six guns mounted flies up from behind you, out of nowhere and starts attacking immediately. It’ll begin by using its two shoulder guns for direct fire, then switch to forward missile spam at half health. When that fails, it’ll use its central gun to bombard you with columns of bullets. Blow this thing up and you’ll go to the next section.

Remember the second stage boss that kicked your ass inside out? Well he comes back directly after this. It comes up from behind as you’re scaling the next part and will attack you from there while fodder rain down upon you. It surprisingly isn’t that hard to dodge or destroy, but destroying it will trigger more heavy fighters to murder you. When you reach the top, you’ll be met by 5 tanks that all spray and pray with the desire to kill you, but are easily dispatched. Following this is a hellstorm of fodder, drill ships, and a few of those gigantic flower robots that fire omnidirectional lasers from their petals. They have about as much health as the third phase of the third boss. Finally, after traversing this final task you meet the final boss.

This stage on Unlimited mode is literally Satan. I mean, it’s fun and all, but don’t expect to ever beat it in a regular run. You know those cross tanks? They rotate while firing. The cannon fodder? Most of them suicide bomb. The tank truck? It changes completely. The returning stage 2 boss? It resembles its original in difficulty. The flower cannons? They fire three times the lasers.

Now, the final boss here is interesting: it actually has an EX form if you can beat it without having used a continue through the entire run. When you first encounter the boss, you’ll be greeted by a massive orb connected to the wall by a bunch of tubes, but only after surviving the minimal attack of some stray drones. In the first phase, the Crimzon Heart as it’s called will use its massive central eye to spray walls of bullets at you in waves, then fire a giant fuckoff laser beam while its sides spout out columns of bullets to restrict your movement and make dying easier. In the second phase, its tubes will explode and it’ll start flying, then immediately bombard you with extremely fast streams of bullets in tri-shot after slowly closing you in with a wall of bullets on both sides. A few seconds in, it’ll start spouting tiny walls of bullets from its sides that also move rather quickly and become progressively faster until you destroy it again. The third phase is the easiest, as it’s just the thing half-heartedly and randomly spouting off lasers while it streams bullets in your direction. When you get it down to its final phase, it will drop to the bottom of the screen and start bouncing off of it, towards you. You have to weave in and out of its bounces while damaging it, which takes a surprisingly long time. In Arcade mode, it also fires omni shots! Unlimited mode causes the first couple phases to become borderline impossible without TASing, the third phase to become far more dangerous with aimed lasers, and the final phase to become…easier? At least, arguably. It’s an interesting twist, but I don’t recommend it.

 

If you beat the final boss without continuing that run, you get EX Crimzon Heart, which explodes from the final boss and flies into the stratosphere where you chase it for the true final battle. Now, upon seeing the new form and having Type-Z, you’ll notice something peculiar. That’s right, Type-Z is a scaled down Crimzon Heart EX. Besides that, you’ll also notice the massive barrage of lasers about to destroy you. If you’ll try to bomb, you’ll notice that the boss will actually put up its own invincibility shield! And if you try to use your lock-on after breaking or bombing or dying, it’ll use its own to intercept yours! That’s right, this boss breaks the rules completely. At least it can still be hurt by bombs in Unlimited mode. Anyways, the first attack that it’ll use is a random barrage of slow-moving orbs that can get really dense at times. It will then switch to using its massive laser and sweeping it across the field, which can actually result in it being impossible to dodge normally. In arcade, it will also shoot walls of bullets at you! The only way to reliably beat this attack is to get behind it. Next, it’ll resort back to sending out a hurricane of bullets at you in random orientations, but this time only with one type of bullet. Finally, it will swoop across the screen several times to rain down a literal wall of giant lasers down on you while also firing enormous bullet columns in the same direction to make sure you can’t dodge it. Same as before, you have to get behind it or die trying. After this, it’ll repeat the attacks until you beat it.

After beating that phase, its tip will explode and start the final phase. It will begin attacking immediately by flying high into the air and firing an omnidirectional flash of lasers alongside a cyclone of neon fireballs that move incredibly quickly. In mere moments, it’ll switch its attack to that of a nova of oddly shaped bullets while it sprays columns of fireballs in your general direction and flies erratically at the top of the screen. Another few moments later and it’ll start to float around while sending homing missile fireballs in barrages directly at you, rapid fire. You have to just keep moving to dodge this and occasionally weave out of it with about a millisecond of error space. It’ll repeat these three attack types rapidly until you get it down to 1/3rd health, at which point it’ll start to spit out random fireballs in an attempt to confuse and overwhelm you. They’ll change velocity in a pattern, so get used to the rhythm of the attack and just deal with it. Endure this long enough to defeat the boss and you’ll have defeated Crimzon Heart. The credits roll with their terrible flash-style animation in the background while triumphant music plays and you’ll have beaten the game. Now, I have to point out that I definitely recommend the Unlimited version of this boss, because it doesn’t exactly make it much harder but does make it a lot flashier, which is always good for a final boss.

Now, I personally like all of the levels here. Well, maybe not stage 2 but it has an important function as a difficulty buffer. I have to respect how they had such a wide variety of enemies that all served mostly different functions, and that all of the ones that looked the same also behaved the same. It makes identifying a viable strategy at a moment’s notice actually viable. I also like how the majority of enemies were one-shot fodder or massive hulks, so I’d immediately know what I’m up against depending on how quickly the enemy is destroyed. It fits itself well to the fast-paced gameplay is utilizes and keeps your attention through the entire course of the game. The only flaw with that is it can really drain the player if they play for extended periods of time. You may want to pause between levels and take a break in order to simply recover from the fatigue of going through some of the harder ones. Each stage was also sufficiently flashy but also mixed with challenge to further immerse and sometimes overload the player, which can be a double-edged sword. Definitely not good for epileptics, but good for thrill-seekers. Fortunately, the Novice difficulty allows for more conservative players to enjoy the game as well. If I had to give it a numerical score, it would be 77/100. There’s not really much wrong with it, but the major complaint I have is the lack of more complex patterns in stages. Some bosses were also lackluster, even if their presentation was nice. It can be easy to mix up different stage segments, which really hurts the unique feeling each one should have.

 

Gameplay

As I have stated multiple times, games live and die by their gameplay more often than not. In this case, a game with no plot needs to have some really good gameplay to be enjoyable. I can say with confidence that Crimzon Clover World Ignition does this very well. So where do I begin? The controls?

So the controls are incredibly simple and require only the arrow keys and Z, X, and C. Meanwhile, W is the start key. Moving the player ship is just a simple tap of the arrow keys standard of any SHMUP, while the Z key is your main form of fire which is completely automatic. You’ll never have to let go of Z except maybe to see the patterns a little better. The X key can be held for a lock-on attack in case you need some extra damage output. It can lock on to a maximum of 24 targets and 28 in Break Mode for every ship. This is especially useful on bosses. The C key is used to activate Break Mode or to bomb, both of which are instantaneous and give you invulnerability. So throughout the whole game, you’re usually just holding down Z while moving and keeping your finger on the C key in case of emergency. More dexterous players may tap the X key a lot for the lock-on, but that’s optional. Not a whole lot going on there, so the player is mainly free to pay heavy attention to what’s happening on screen.

The main mechanics of the game are the scoring system and the Break system, barring the traditional SHMUP mechanics such as OHKs (One-Hit-Kills). The scoring system is relatively simple and passive; you get points for collecting Stars, shooting things, and destroying enemies. You get extra points in the form of a multiplier for chain kills and using Break Mode. The multipliers make their presence very known. The Break Mode is the major mechanic and what the whole game bases its balance around. To activate it, you have to press C when the green bomb meter on the right side of the screen fills up. On Boost Mode in either Novice or Arcade, it is activated automatically and you can’t Double Break. In the other game modes, you have a yellow bar below the green one. When you enter Break Mode, the entire green bar is depleted and then filled with the yellow bar, which is therefore depleted. If the green bar fills again while in Break Mode, you can hit C again to enter Double Break which gives you screen-destroying shots and tons of damage. Both modes add 10 seconds to your Break counter on the left, so you can activate both in rapid succession to get 20 seconds of Double Break for maximum overbreak. Yes, it gets pretty insane. More minor mechanics are OHKs, the Stars that drop from dead enemies that allow you to unlock the fourth ship for 3 Million and  to get extra lives via a counter in the top right, boss limb destruction, starting with two lives, and getting to choose one item from a circle that drop when a boss dies. There’s a green E that fills your bomb bar, one that resembles said bar with a back arrow that places the bomb marker back some ways, a star item that increases the Star counter by a certain amount, and a 1UP that gives you an extra life. The latter only appears on one miniboss in Arcade and all bosses in Novice. Oh, and bombing while in Break Mode cancels it. And you can’t bomb while in Double Break.

Crimzon Clover also offers two different difficulties with 4 game modes. The difficulties are Novice and Arcade, which are self-explanatory. In both, you can choose between either Original or Boost mode. Original is just the base game with no tricks. Boost Mode is like original, but scoring is lower, Break Mode is unlimited, activates automatically, and gives bonuses for keeping it on longer; and you have no Double Break. In Arcade, you get two more modes: Unlimited and Time Attack. Unlimited Mode is hard. No, not just hard, it is the hard; harder than anything I’ve ever played before, harder than the most CAVE games, and about on par with Lunatic in the Touhou series. Seriously, don’t even try this until you can complete Arcade without dying. Meanwhile in Time Attack, you have infinite lives, a time limit, and have to just get a high score. Time Attack has its own stage, gives you three minutes, and lets you just go ham on everything on the screen, including boatloads of expendable enemies and two bosses. The stage can be completed with time to spare, so scoring is proportional to how well-timed your Breaks are and how many enemies you kill. Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds. About on par with Hellsinker’s bonus stage in fact. In addition to all of this, there is a Training Mode where you can set the exact parameters of which part of the game you want to practice. It even goes as far as letting you decide how you score! Sure, it’s just numbers, but this is possibly one of the best practice modes I’ve ever seen in a game. This is less of a mechanic, but it also supports replays, ranking, a stat screen, and many tweaks in the settings. All of these options make it an extremely fine-tunable game overall that you have few excuses to not get better at by utilizing them.

Next comes player ships. You have 3 ships at the start to chose from, and a 4th one to unlock with Stars. The first is Type-I: a wide-shooting, slow-moving ship that has what appears to be plasma beams as its lock-on weapon and has red as its color motif. It’s okay, I guess. Type-II is a blue ship that moves at medium speed and uses the gimmick of following options to widen its shots. It also has rockets as its lock-on weapon, which is really cool. It’s pretty bad, though. Type-III uses a yellow motif and is the fastest of them, plus it has decidedly the most powerful shots with them being extremely close together and more rapid. It uses laser turrets as its lock-on weapon and is arguably the best ship. The unlockable Type-Z is like Type-1, but has a wider shot radius, is about as fast as Type-III, and is one of the most powerful, being probably tied with Type-III.

Finally, we come to bullet patterns. Overall, I’d say that this is one of the few places where it comes somewhat short, but even that doesn’t mean much when you compare it to other bullet hell games. When you first start playing on Novice, you’ll see that most of the bullets in this game are aimed at the player and consist of moderately large ellipses of varying color and giant lasers that move slowly across the screen. They’ll be slow enough that almost anybody could see them coming, and the only real trouble would be the bosses. This changes up a bit in Arcade where the bullets get denser and faster. However, one thing I have to mention is that faster bullets in bullet hell games is often considered a form of fake difficulty or an overall aesthetic choice. This game kind of dances around the whole subject, which I must fault it on; I would have prefered if it didn’t change the speed and just made them more complex and dense. Ideally, it does this better in Boost Mode where many of the patterns actually fundamentally change! One prime example is the turrets that fire thick barrages of lasers becoming turrets that fire columns of smaller bullets. This also changes greatly in Unlimited Mode where the bullets become impossibly dense, incredibly fast, and almost completely change every pattern in the game to become an extremely hard punch in the face. It’s the game’s way of saying, “Oh, you thought you were done? Screw you.” You’re going to have to really git gud to even stand a chance against that. One thing I definitely like about the patterns is that they aesthetically fit the enemy they’re affixed to. It’s often like I’m actually seeing the enemy fire its weapons and not just some sprite spraying only tangentially related bullets from a few key points. For example, the tank boss in stage one looks like it’s actually fire tank-like weapons. Well, tank-like weapons in a bullet hell. I never said it was realistic. Generally, you’ll be able to easily recognize and remember each boss and many enemies only after a few times playing. It may be very basic without Unlimited Mode, and then too hard, but I think that the uniqueness of each pattern makes up for it and gives the game a unique feeling.

So as you can see, I absolutely adore the gameplay. There isn’t really much bad that I can say about it, except for maybe the patterns being somewhat lackluster in the lower difficulties. Even then, it gets made up for, so I have to go ahead and say that it’s almost perfect for what it is, and the only thing I could ask more of it would be more complex mechanics. Then again, this isn’t exactly geared towards that type of niche and is more for a general arcade SHMUP audience. If I had to give a numerical score, I’d say 85/100. Yes, it’s really that amazing. There’s a lot more to the gameplay as well, but writing all about it would make this review another thousand words long. Let’s just say it’s packed to the brim.

 

Sound

Right off the bat, I have to announce how grateful I am that this game has a damn volume adjustment. You don’t know how many games I’ve played that need one but don’t have it, so thank you, developer, for including it. Next, I’ll say that while it’s not spectacularly memorable, the music in Crimzon Clover is still incredible. It has a very cyberpunky sound to it, which is great since I absolutely love cyberpunk. I especially like the high tones and electronic sounds it constantly uses that really get your attention up, make the game really upbeat/energetic, and sound pleasant in a harmony. Each piece when listened to in its stage also greatly fits the environment and offers immersion that you rarely see in SHMUPs.When listened to on their own, you may even be able to remember them or at least the general sound. It’s not ideal, but it’s still definitely above-average. Oh, and did I mention that it has a new soundtrack? Yeah, two soundtracks in one game. The new one plays during Unlimited Mode, but you can fix that for each mode in the settings.

But now comes the part where I have to stop praising so much. While I do like the music, the SFX is a different story. I had to turn down the sound effects because they overshadow the music to an unreasonable degree by default, and the sounds themselves can be really repetitive and grating. Like the gameplay itself, they can really drain the player. I would recommend turning the SFX down to about 50 or 60 and making the music about 80. Oftentimes, the effects are really high-pitched and — while they do allow blind play —  can give one headaches.

I’m afraid that because of the SFX being fairly graitng and the music not being as memorable as I’d like, I’ll have to refrain from recommending that you keep headphones on while playing. However, the soundtrack is still a nice purchase if you want it. If I had to give it a numerical value, I’d say 68/100.

 

Compatibility

I had very few issues with Crimzon Clover World Ignition in the technical department. The entire game is very tweakable in that sense and it’s not exactly too demanding, plus there are no crashes. The only thing I can fault it on here is that at times, the framerate may dip significantly due to many factors. It could be slow because of the operating system, the engine itself, the computer’s processor, RAM, etc. If you have issues with it, try a lower resolution. If that doesn’t work, make sure you’re not running Windows 8, 8.1, or 10. It may also have performance issues in emulators for Linux and MACOS.

Otherwise the system specs are incredibly low, requiring merely a shitty pentium 4 3.4GHz at most, a single gig of RAM, almost any graphics card (even integrated), DirectX 9, and about a gig of HD space. There’s really no reason it shouldn’t be running smoothly in most parts. One thing I really like about it is that it supports vertical resolutions (TATE) for the authentic arcade gaming experience, plus the fact that even when it runs slowly, it still looks fucking fantastic.

Again, very few issues. Those that I do have are also easily fixed. If I had to assign a numerical value, I’d say 90/100.

 

Conclusion

Crimzon Clover World Ignition is and utterly fantastic game overall and a gem of a SHMUP that I’m glad to have played. It acts like a CAVE game, but it overshadows them sevenfold and creates a hybrid experience the likes of which you rarely find in action games. Over-the-top explosions and visuals, very fluid controls, easy-to-learn gameplay, content for all degrees of players, make this a shining example for the rest of the genre. If some arcade doujin SHMUP made by one guy can blow the biggest bullet hell developer out of the water, then there’s no excuse for those onwards to strive for anything less. Over the course of  sections, Crimzon Clover scored a cumulative 404/500 or an average of 80/100 with a standard deviation of 8.52 and population SD of 7.62, making it exceptional. It’s best parts are the gameplay features and the compatibility, but its special effects definitely compete. This is easily one of the best modern bullet hells ever created, and it holds a candle to the greats of the genre. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’m gladly giving this game a new award I’ve dubbed the Legendary Seal, given only to games that will and/or do stand the test of time as the best of their class or competing for it.

Want a show of the game? There’s plenty out there, but here’s my attempt at Unlimited Mode. Excuse the poor quality, I’m still tweaking OBS.

This has been The Doujin Appraisal, bringing you in-depth reviews of indie and doujin products from now to time undefined; good night.

 

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