Espgaluda (How) 2

WoSblog has a tips sections now? Blimey, who saw that coming?

Alert WoSblog viewers will have noticed the absence of posts for the last couple of days. This is because almost every moment of spare time during that period has been spent playing Espgaluda 2.

I'm now reasonably good at it. A long way short of the absolute experts, but good enough to be (at time of writing) in the global top 25, out of over 5000 players, with a score of over 300m in iPhone Mode (Asagi) and scores over 100m in all six leaderboards. So I now feel able to offer a few tips, but more importantly, a reasonably comprehensive breakdown of the scoring system to help you improve your own performance.

Shmups traditionally under-explain themselves, leaving it to the player to uncover the complexities of their various mechanisms over many games. And while the brief tutorial screens at the start of EGL2 are entirely accurate in themselves, it takes hours of play to work out how to employ the powers they describe to the best effect.

Below, then, is a basic guide to the game's two very different modes, and how to get yourself at least on the road towards the monster scores. (There are countless further layers of subtlety which I might go into at a later date, once I've figured them out properly myself.)

Please note that everything in this guide is based on playing at Normal difficulty with Normal controls. Using other settings can significantly alter the optimum strategies.

CHARACTER SELECTION

First, a quick word on character selection. The three fighters you can select have their own strengths and weaknesses, (like, duh) and Tateha is probably the best choice when starting out, as her wide fire spread protects you from a lot of enemy attacks by killing them before they can unleash their torrents of bullets, plus it damages enemies even when you're cowering in a corner dodging for your life.

Asagi, however (despite being billed by the game as the weakest) seems to have the most potential for point-harvesting, with the global iPhone Mode highscore for the character at time of writing being a staggering 1.4 billion, compared to 414m and 568m for the other two. Her Absolute Awakened Perception attack (more of which later) is also particularly strong.

Ageha's merits lie mostly in that the powerful laser makes quick work of bosses (shortening the amount of time you're exposed to their overwhelming assaults), and in the fact that its narrow beam also helps to avoid killing enemies you want to milk for points, particularly in Arcade Mode. But personally I don't find it makes enough difference in those areas to compensate for the wider fire cover and other attributes of Asagi and Tateha.

IPHONE MODE

iPhone Mode, contrary to my first impression, is actually the most straightforward one to play if you're looking for big scores. There are more calm moments when you're free to concentrate on grabbing points rather than just staying alive, and a slightly simpler method of collecting them.

Both modes rely on the collecting of green Spirit Gems to power up Awakened Perception (AP), a heightened state which turns enemy bullets purple and slows them down. In iPhone Mode, AP freezes your character on the spot and enables the firing of an Awakened Pulse attack anywhere onscreen, by tapping where you want it to hit.

The pulse destroys or damages enemies, but more importantly also cancels (destroys) bullets, turning them into Spirit Gems. Every bullet you destroy  increases an onscreen multipliers, up to a maximum of 500. When you exit AP, all bullets onscreen are turned into gold bars, with their value determined by the multiplier.

(The blast radius of the pulse, incidentally, is roughly the size of the circle you can see around your character in some of these screenshots. Or maybe even exactly that size. It's hard to get a tape measure in when you're playing.)

Detonating the Pulse costs a big chunk of Spirit Gems (it seems to be around 50 per shot), and if you fire off two or three in quick succession you'll almost certainly exhaust your supply and automatically exit the mode. Since keeping AP going is the key to huge points, you don't want to do that. So the first thing to learn is that you should almost always fire Awakened Pulses at least two or three seconds apart.

By doing that, you'll give more Spirit Gems (released by destroyed enemies and cancelled bullets) time to be collected by your ship, refilling the AP gauge. If you choose the right moment to deploy AP, you can ensure that you build the multiplier up to 500, exit the mode to cash in millions of points, and then be able to immediately re-enter it because a big cache of Spirit Gems arrives at your ship along with all the gold.

An easy place to practice this strategy is the section of level 2 just before the boss. If you arrive at the docks (just past the midboss) with a full tank of Spirit Gems, you should be able to pull off at least two full 500x gold collections by cancelling the avalanche of bullets the smaller enemies fire at you with Awakened Pulses, then waiting until the screen is full of bullets before exiting AP mode.

(You can net lots of points on level 1 too, by entering AP immediately after destroying the first large transporter vehicle – the enormous square-ish thing that appears from the left just before the midboss – then retreating to the bottom-right corner and cancelling the streams of incoming bullets just before they hit you, until you get to 500x. Get it right and you can rack up almost 5 million here, before tackling the midboss with normal shots then going back to AP. With a little practice and very little danger you should be able to comfortably finish level 1 with almost 10m points.) 

That's basically about it for iPhone Mode strategy. As you progress through the levels you'll find more and more opportunities to use AP, until eventually you're spending almost the entire game harvesting purple bullets for gigantic multiplier points.

Bosses are the most dangerous areas, ironically because the bullet streams do let up more often, making it hard to keep your AP tank from running out. So be ready to use your Charge Barrier, either to get out of sticky situations or to get the boss down to a break point where they release Spirit Gems to top the gauge up again.

As a rough guide, you should be aiming to achieve at least 10m points by the end of level 1, 30m by the end of level 2 and 60m by the end of level 3.

ARCADE MODE

Arcade Mode plays very differently to iPhone Mode. It's a bit more frantic and a bit more complex in terms of the manoeuvres you need to pull off under pressure, so I'd recommend getting reasonably good at iPhone Mode first if you want to play Arcade for competitive points rather than just survival.

Everything in the two modes is the same except for Awakened Perception, which operates very differently. In Arcade Mode, you can move around freely in AP and there's no multiplier in the iPhone Mode sense. Also, when you run out of Spirit Gems you enter a new state called Awakening Over, in which enemy bullets turn red and move faster than the normal blue ones.

The payoff is that while you're in Awakening Over, destroyed enemies release gold bars rather than Spirit Gems. The longer you stay in AO, the more valuable the gold bars become, but the faster the enemy bullets get. You can get a pretty decent score just by playing the whole game in AO, but the really huge points come from an advanced state, exclusive to Arcade Mode, called Absolute Awakened Perception.

You enter AAP by holding down the normal AP button until the screen flashes white. For as long as you have both gems and gold, AAP slows bullets to their "purple" condition, and destroying enemies causes the bullets onscreen to release both gold and gems, and more bullets.

However, every second that you're in AAP both your gems and gold deplete rapidly, so the key to maintaining it is to continually be destroying enemies. What this means is that it's almost useless during boss battles, because there are few or no destructible enemies onscreen other than the boss. (The exception is that if you finish off a boss in AAP, you get big points.)

For as long as you can keep destroying things, though, AAP is enormously valuable. That's because every time you kill an enemy it gives you gems and gold from all the bullets onscreen, but still keeps the screen full of bullets which can then yield even more gems and gold. (Ageha's narrow laser is at its most useful here, as it destroys fewer enemies at once.)

The last aspect of the Absolute state is Absolute Awakening Over, which is like normal AO only more so – gold values rise faster, but so do red bullet speeds. So if you think you can handle fast bullets, get into Absolute AO as soon in the game as possible. If you do it as soon as you've collected a single gem and gold bar in level 1, and then keep it on all the way to the end, you should be able to pick up over 5 million points by the end of the stage.

Because it's harder and takes longer to build up stocks of both gems and gold at once, you'll get fewer chances to enter AAP in Arcade Mode than you do to use AP in iPhone Mode. It's also slightly fiddlier to trigger in the heat of battle, so make sure you get the maximum value out of it when you do.

So that's that, really. The basic tactics for starting to get nine-digit scores in Espgaluda 2 are pretty straightforward, and can be summarised thusly:

In iPhone Mode, spend as much of the game as possible in Awakened Perception, coming out only briefly when your Spirit Gem gauge gets low, or to collect your gold when you've got the multiplier to 500. Use it particularly in enemy-heavy areas, and try to use your Awakened Pulses to destroy bullets from large enemies without damaging the enemies themselves, to ensure the bullets keep coming.

In Arcade Mode, use AO or AAO to get your gold value up to the max (1000), then switch to normal fire to max out your Spirit Gems (500), then go into Absolute Awakened Perception in areas where there are lots of small baddies so that you can keep destroying them and thereby keep their bullets spewing out gold and gems over and over. When you finally exhaust it, go back into AAO and start building up your gold again.

Following these simple strategies should start to pay dividends in your score very swiftly. Once you're able to get through the whole game regularly, you can start thinking about Hard mode, where the difficulty moves up a big step, but the potential rewards rise accordingly. I've got a way to go yet before I reach that point myself. See you there.

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One Response to “Espgaluda (How) 2”

  1. Great guide and thanks for writing it 🙂 I'll give those tiplets a go now to see if I can break 50m for the first time!

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