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Video Game / Cho Ren Sha 68k

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Cho Ren Sha 68k (超連射68K, lit. "Super Rapid Fire 68K") is a 1995 Shoot 'Em Up by Famibe no Yosshin that will take you back to the classic era of shoot 'em ups. Back to a simpler time where shooters didn't needed a complex plot or an engrossing story to be fun; just simple graphics, catchy chiptune music, simple to understand yet fun gameplay, a desire to destroy all sorts of enemy spaceships, and LOTS of bullets.

You take control of a space fighter armed only with an upgradable spread shot and a handful of screen-clearing bombs to take on the onslaught of enemies and bullets that come in your way. There are also triangular power-ups where you choose one of three items that can either boost your ship's firepower, refill your bomb stock, or a one-time shield that saves you from harm while ditching the other two. If you know the trick, however, you snag all three power-ups at once.

Cho Ren Sha 68k was made for the Sharp X68000 Japanese computer system, but there is also a freeware version available for Windows PC. You can find the downloads here.

In 2023, the game got an Updated Re-release, numbered version 1.10, for the Sharp X68000 Z microconsole. This version features new sound effectsnote  and backgrounds, among other enhancements. It was later released on the developer's webpage on June 8, 2023, although only as a floppy disk image for Sharp X68000 computers and emulators thereof; no Windows-native port exists at this time.

Cho Ren Sha 68k features trope examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Stage 2 boss comes up from the bottom of the screen (where you are likely to be, since enemies usually come down from the top), but does not have a Collision Damage hitbox until it reaches the top, so that you don't suddenly lose your shield or die with no warning. The same thing happens again with the Stage 3-0note  Final Boss, as it also comes up from the bottom of the screen, but it remains without a collision hitbox for the entire fight.
  • Beam Spam: Some bosses and enemies favor this in addition to their bullets.
  • Boss Rush:
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The secret "Show Time!!" Boss Rush features a repeating set of three bosses with very difficult attack patterns not found anywhere else in the game, including a secret Giant Spider boss not found in the main game at all. There are no powerup carriers so you can't get shields or additional bombs or power up your main shot at all.
  • Bullet Hell: This game will bombard you with a hailstorm of bullets throughout the game.
  • Collision Damage:
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: In versions prior to 1.10, the first six stages of each loop have the exact same looping background, and while Stage 0 does feature a different one, it's simply the same background but with an ominous palette of reds and blacks. Version 1.10 changes things up by giving each stage unique background tiles.
  • Direct Continuous Levels: The entire game takes place in a dark corridor-like structure.
  • Debug Mode: Made available by going into the options menu and holding Up until the menu changes. Some of the changes you can make include:
    • The aforementioned Boss Rush mode.
    • Your ship speed.
    • "Muteki" (Invincible) mode, in which every time you get hit, the game will act as if you have a shield, so you will never die. The game will show "MUTEKI" on the HUD to reflect this.
    • A stage select mode. However, be careful when setting the stage variable to 0. Starting this stage with the Boss Rush flag enabled will dump you into an empty version of Stage 0 where you immediately fight the Stage 5 boss, but starting the stage with the flag off will put you in the same stage, scrolling endlessly, rendering the game Unintentionally Unwinnable and forcing you to quit out of the game executable.
    • Enemy bullet speed.
    • A debug counter shown during the game. One option shows some statistics, while the other option shows the point value of the last enemy you killed.
  • Disc-One Final Boss:
    • The Stage 6 boss is built up to look like the Final Boss, with the huge first form and powerful second form and the imposing music, but after defeating it, you have one more stage to go.
    • Even the Stage 0 boss is this, as defeating it simply takes you back to Stage 1 this time with suicide bullets. Unless you're on loop 2, in which case prepare for the actual Final Boss.
  • Dual Boss: At the end of Stage 1.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Every 1 million points, the next powerup triangle that shows up when you have a shield active will replace the shield with a 1-Up. Miss it and you forfeit the extra life.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The game's title translates to "Super Rapid Fire". Which is basically what you and the enemies do in this game. Ironically, the game does not have a full-autofire button.
  • Fake Difficulty: The Windows version runs at 60 FPS, which doesn't seem particularly problematic...but the original Sharp X68000 version runs at 55.45 FPS, so the Windows version is about 10% faster.
  • Gainax Ending: In version 1.10, after defeating the Final Boss in Stage 3-0, your ship inexplicably turns into a biplane with a new weapon. You fly over a ruined town while the caption "THE REAL WORLD" appears, which carries some cryptic implications of the entire game setting up to this point. You eventually make your way to a runway where people are waiting for you, as one last message appears:
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: You can make the Stage 1 bosses shoot one another with the giant orb attack.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Stage numbers follow the format of "(loop)-(stage)", with one particular exception: Stage 0. Stage 0 comes after Stage 6, but is considered part of the next loop for numbering purposes.
  • Last Ditch Move: Starting with loop 2, enemies will fire revenge bullets at the player upon destruction, and enemies with multiple phases or parts will also fire revenge bullets when they lose a phase or have their parts broken off. Later loops, which can be set either by completing the game and then choosing "Continue" at the menu afterwards, setting the difficulty to Hard/Impossible, or setting a specific flag in the secret options menu, have different and more difficult revenge bullets patterns available. If an enemy is close enough to you when you destroy it, it will not fire revenge bullets (known as "sealing" bullets).
  • Meaningful Name: Why is the 7th stage called "Stage 0"? Because after you defeat the Stage 0 boss, you see the explosion from the beginning of Stage 1, followed by the beginning of Stage 1 of the subsequent loop.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Several ways to trigger it: Get hit with your shield active, fire a Smart Bomb, die and respawn, or collect an item.
  • Minus World: In the secret options menu, setting the stage number to 0 but leaving the Boss Rush flag disabled will dump you into a version of "Stage 0" where the Final Boss theme plays but nothing happens. Since there's no command to quit your current game session, and you can't even die since there are no enemies, the only meaningful action you can take is to exit the game.
  • More Dakka: As is standard of the shmup genre, your ship shoots a long stream of bullets every time you tap the fire button. In fact, the title of the game is a reference to this trope; it literally means "Super Rapid Fire".
  • New Game Plus: If you can beat the game, you start over again with your all power-ups. Only this time, the game will be harder and bosses and some enemies will release revenge bullets upon destruction. It's not an infinite loop because defeating the Bonus Boss at the end of your second run finishes the game.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Not a single plot or story exist anywhere in this game, though it doesn't seem to stop the game from introducing a few twists, such as Stage 0 transitioning into Stage 1. Version 1.10 adds an actual ending where it turns out the protagonist is a biplane pilot coming home from war. The exact nature of the conflict you just fought is left unstated.
  • Playable Epilogue: After beating the True Final Boss in version 1.10, there is one last playable sequence where the player ship is revealed to actually be a biplane in the "Real World". You can move around and shoot, but there are no enemies. Eventually it will land onto a military base's runway and be welcomed by a crowd of people, ending the story.
  • Power-Up: A firepower upgrade, a shield, or an extra bomb forming a triangle. Picking one means losing the other two, but if you position yourself in the middle of the three, you can grab all of them at once. This can be tricky to pull off, especially in hectic situations, but it's very helpful.
  • Scoring Points:
    • You get extra points if you shoot enemies with the center green bullets instead of the yellow bullets that spread out.
    • At the end of each stage, you get 20,000 points per bomb, 50,000 points for having a shield active, and 50,000 points per remaining life.
  • Shout-Out: The default high score entries prior to version 1.10 are all titles of Toaplan games. In order from first to last place:
    1. Slap Fight
    2. Tatsujin
    3. Flying Shark
    4. Twin Cobra
    5. Same3!
    6. Tiger Heli
    7. Batsugun
    8. Dogyuun
    9. Out Zone
    10. V.V
  • Single-Use Shield in the form of a triangular power-up.
  • Spread Shot: Your primary weapon.
  • Smart Bomb; Your other weapon. Use them wisely.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: And then some.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Cho Ren Sha 68k.
  • Taking You with Me: Starting on the second loop, enemies will fire "revenge bullets" at you upon dying, forcing you to keep moving after every kill. The type of bullet and pattern changes with each loop.
  • Uncommon Time: The standard boss theme, "Chips!!", is mostly in 5/8 with an occasional measure of 7/8, then briefly becomes basic 4/4 before looping.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The scoring system means a run that sees few or no lives lost, a constantly-full bomb stock, and an active shield at the end of every stage will have large sums of points due to all the spare lives (and even more because you get an extra life every 1 million points), but a "barely hold on to your lives and bombs" run will be very much a low-score run.
  • Wham Line:
    • When the stage after stage 6 starts: "STAGE 0". Furthermore, dying and ranking in on this stage shows the stage you reached as "2-0", indicating that officially, this stage is part of the second loop, even though it's your first time getting to this stage. This along with the background turning red indicates that there's something pretty off about this stage...
    • When Stage 2-0 is completed, an explosion happens — the exact same explosion from the beginning of the game — and the game displays "STAGE 1", implying a space-time loop.
    • Upon beating version 1.10, you return to "THE REAL WORLD" as a biplane pilot.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Remember that explosion your ship outruns at the beginning of the game? At the end of Stage 0 on an odd-numbered loop, the exact same explosion happens and Stage 1 of the next loop begins.
    • The ending of version 1.10 has the player ship be revealed as a biplane in a war-torn city, implying the whole adventure against futuristic alien forces was really a soldier coping with the horrors of war.
  • Where It All Began: That explosion at the very beginning of Stage 1? Kill the boss of Stage 0 and you trigger that very explosion.
  • A Winner Is You: Beating the game results in a simple "MISSION COMPLETE" message. In version 1.10, this is changed entirely to a very surreal ending about being taken back to "the real world".
  • Wolfpack Boss: Stage 4's boss fight features multiple large-winged ships that appear and attack in succession, rather than a single boss entity. Destroying all of them is not necessary to advance, but if you don't destroy at least some of them, they may trap you against the edges of the screen and kill you that way.

"CRS68K is heavily inspired by 80/90s STGs. Thx to all the creators. Also thanks to everyone for keeping the X68K scene alive."


Video Example(s):


Cho Ren Sha 68K (True Final Boss)

This ran on the X68000? (Footage provided by Jaimers91 on YouTube)

How well does it match the trope?

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