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Summer Carnival '92 Recca [The 2nd Tournament Official Soft]

version: jp - year: 1992 - developer: naxat - publisher: naxat - format: famicom, cartridge - condition: good - rarity: very

The rarest shooter on Famicom and one of the rarest shooters on any format, Recca was produced in very limited quantities.

 

To get the maximum out of the hardware and display huge bosses, the status bar disappears when facing them. The Famicom chips and CPU were squeezed out to deliver the ultimate hardcore shooting experience!

 

If you thought Crisis Force pushed the Famicom hardware to its limit, Recca will make you reconsider. Here, an amazing warp effect in the background simply unheard of on Famicom.

 

Here, drop your speed to zero and aim at the center.

 

Another incredible warping background, but here sprite flickering is a bit annoying

 

Initially, bosses will seem impossible but they can all be disposed of very quickly if you know what to do. Here, get close to the boss when the laser arms are away and drop bombs. 3 of them will be enough!

 

In Recca, timing is everything. Take cover behind your charged up bomb and drop it as soon as the mini-boss prepares to drop its own smart bomb!

 

Very tricky boss indeed. Immediately drop a bomb and then quickly take out the two closest mini-turrets which are the only ones which fire homing missiles.

 

Set your speed to level 3 or 4, dodge the lasers and drop bombs on the boss'red eye.

 

Getting close to the end! Beware of gravity fields. Stay in the upper part of the screen and drop bombs while avoiding the boss dash-attack.

 

Level 4 consists of 9 bosses and a few alien waves before the final encounter with the last boss which moves twice your speed and drops homing missiles like there is no tomorrow. As soon as it appears, drop a bomb and hide into the explosion for cover. Repeat the process until it dies. But... is it really the end? A new boss shows up and a "To be Continued" message pops up. But to my knowlegde, a sequel never materialized.

 

The initial title screen.

 

Finish the game once and soft-reset it to obtain hard mode (note the flames). Access it by selecting normal mode. Good luck!

 

Hard Mode is even tougher although the insane amount of enemies makes obtaining extra lives easier. This shot is from hard Mode (although it still says Normal Game). I reached level 5 (out of 7) before being incinerated by a barrage of bullets and enemy ships... Bullet hell gets way worse in this mode but it is worth playing only to see the mind-twisting level 7 designed for the gods of the shmupping community.

Review - Recca (which should translate to “Raging Fire”) was released by Naxat along with Alzadick and Nexzr for an annual "Summer Carnival" shooting competition which was sponsored by Hudson and held in Japan during several years.

Hudson had of course its own lineup of overhead shooters such as Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, Soldier Blade or Gunhed. During these events, fans had the opportunity to compete against each other in a variety of games which featured “Time Attack” and “Score Attack” modes in 2 or 5 minutes time. The objective was obviously to maximize the score in the time-limit provided.

Recca has a Score Attack and a Time Attack too but more importantly, it has a "Normal Game" mode which consists of 4 very long levels.

If you thought Konami's Crisis Force was the ultimate shooter on Famicom, you'll have to seriously reconsider once you load up Recca. Simply put, Recca uses the Famicom hardware in such ways that you'll actually wonder how the programmers were able to push the envelope so far. Naxat reached and surpassed the known boundaries of Nintendo's 8 bit console squeezing it to the extreme.

Not only the screen gets virtually crowded with enemies and projectiles, but everything moves insanely fast with very little slowdown. Waving backgrounds, zooming sprites, sudden scrolling accelerations (even backward!), Recca will seriously test your playing skills and your retina!

When things get particularly hectic, some sprite flickering might occur partially obscuring the view but the limited Famicom hardware had to show some signs of distress somewhere! Recca is probably the first “bullet hell” shooter that ever came out, well before games such as Batsugun or Donpachi (which are often considered to be the first manic shooters to appear).

Gameplay is much better than any of the newer bullet hell shmups which I often find too chaotic and slightly unsophisticated with the single exception of Judgement Silversword (JS) on SwanCrystal. There are many similarities between Recca and JS both in terms of bullet patterns and in the ability to shield your ship. Unlike in JS, in Recca you don't have a real shield but when you're not firing your main weapon, a bomb will start charging up in front of your ship and it will protect you from regular bullets. So the bomb can be effectively used just like a shield. When the bomb gets fully charged, firing your main weapon will unleash it protecting you from nearly all enemies.

What truly sets Recca aside is the exquisite balance which pervades the entire game. This is one of the toughest shooters you will probably ever come across. There are no continues so you'll have to 1cc it right to the last level if you plan on finishing it!

Luckily, extra lives are awarded by accumulating points so the challenge becomes slightly less extreme. Also, pods can be collected and fired simultaneously along your main shot so make sure to learn how to use them because you'll need any help you can get.

Everything has a purpose in this game and everything must be taken into account. The nearly impossible difficulty level will gradually become less overwhelming once you start learning the game, and all of its little nuances which ultimately will make the difference.

Upon finishing “Normal Game”, by pressing the Reset button, the screen will literally catch on fire and “Hard Mode” will be unlocked. Hard mode consists of 7 levels, most of which include different background graphics although there are no new enemies (except one) and no new bosses.

Gameplay becomes even more extreme in this mode, and to have any chances at all you'll have to try to be constantly powered up in order to proceed through an apparently impenetrable wall of enemies and bullets. In particular, level 7 is simply ridiculous with a difficulty which simply is not from this world...

A special mention should also go to the trippy soundtrack which features some of the best techno beats in a videogame ever and it has that unmistakable European flavor which blends in with the rest of the game remarkably. The almost hypnotizing music sounds twice as good considering it comes out of the underpowered Famicom sound chips!

To conclude, Recca is a real gem from a golden past. It came out back in 1992 and was definitely ahead of its time. Even today, its qualities shine brighter than most modern shooters and believe me, it would be a sin not to play it. Be warned though, Recca is not for everybody. It is aimed only at the elite of the shmupping community as it is extremely challenging and exceedingly rare.

Only very few copies exists and they sell in the same price range of sought-after Neo-Geo AES carts. Of course, it is possible to download the ROM and play it on PC but if there is one game worth hunting down in its original form, this is it.

Recca is simply digital Art imprisoned in the shell of a Famicom cartridge and it really has no equivalent anywhere else. It's been called the Radiant Silvergun of the Famicom but in reality it is much more than that.

It is a genre-defining game, a reference by which any other shooter should be judged.

Buy it, no matter what. Play it, no matter what! And treasure it like a Van Gogh painting.

It will be the crowning jewel of your collection and when you'll wonder why you were ever attracted to videogames, grab it from your shelf, insert the cart into your Famicom and turn the power on. The answer will be right onto the TV screen.

Bottom line: The best 2D shooter money can buy. 10/10

 

NB: On a side note, there are several tricks to unlock such as a sound test, a level select and even infinite lives and they involve several joypad manipulations. I will not list any of the tricks here because this game (at least on normal mode) should be played to the end using only your skills. It took me about a month and a half to do that, and it was worth every minute of it. This game is such a masterpiece that it shouldn't be ruined by any cheap tricks!

 

 

The OST was released as late as 2005 and it features all of the bgms plus a nice color booklet with screenshots and text (in Japanese).

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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