Kyokugen - how to get best ending?

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Door wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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27-05-2019, 16:01

I don't see people talk about this amazing game nearly enough, despite being easily one of the best shooters on the entire system (I'd honestly say it beats out even the Aleste games!). It's really mindblowing to think that it was made by one dude while he was still in high school!

Anyway, the game seems to have multiple endings, and based on the one longplay I've watched on YouTube, I can't figure out how to get to any of them beyond Ending Rank F. Basically, when I beat the boss of stage 8, the game ends abruptly with one screen labeled "Ending Rank F," then spits me back to the title screen. But in the longplay, there's a pretty cool cutscene after stage 8, followed by stage 9, then a time-travel story screen and stage 5', where you get to stop the event that destroyed Japan and see the true ending!

There are a number of possible factors I can think of that might trigger the rest of the game and the good ending -- there are 12 playable characters, after all, as well as 5 difficulty levels. And maybe the game only lets you through to stage 9 if you managed to get that far without continuing or something -- who knows?

I beat the official English release of the game on difficulty level 3 using the character Kujira, and I continued A LOT because I'm not very good at shmups (though good enough that I did EVENTUALLY beat it, I guess!), so literally any one of these factors could be the trigger. And I was kind of hoping that someone on here might know which it is, so I can focus my attention on working toward the true ending in future playthroughs -- if I need to beat the game with all 12 characters, for example, then I'll use someone different every time from now on. Or if I need to beat the game on difficulty level 5, I'll... cry. Wink

If anyone knows the trigger, or can help figure it out, please let me know!

(Incidentally, I don't think whoever translated the game to English knew about Ending Rank F, since Kujira's ending screen was still in Japanese!)

For your reference, here's the longplay I watched:

The point of divergence for me is at 34:20 -- after beating those two characters, the game just ended for me, whereas it continues for this LPer. (And yet this guy still only got Ending Rank C!)

Also, because this is a good chance to do so, here's my favorite track from this game's overall stellar soundtrack. Some really, really nice FM music in this one!

Thanks for any help anyone can provide!


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Van wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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30-05-2019, 06:30

I think I asked this question once before, and got no answer then either. Has no one here played through the game? It's so freaking GOOD!! Please give it a look, if you haven't -- and then get back to me when you can! Wink


Van meits

Scribe (6491)

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30-05-2019, 10:29

I've only played stage one because you don't have to touch the keyboard to finish it.
I think the game is far from bad, but does not come near the Alestes at all if you ask me. I wouldn't be surprised that there's not a big load of people who played the game that far, and if or if not so, they're not always frequent MRC visitors.
Nevertheless I do hope you get your answer.

Van Ivan

Ascended (9305)

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30-05-2019, 18:40

Pleasure Hearts seems to be pretty impressive, too: video

I do remember that it was sold many years ago on the MSX fair in Barcelona in a nice box:

Pleasure Hearts Box picture 1
Pleasure Hearts Box picture 2
Pleasure Hearts Box picture 3

A re-release of these games would be nice.

Van wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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30-05-2019, 23:52

Meits wrote:

I've only played stage one because you don't have to touch the keyboard to finish it.
I think the game is far from bad, but does not come near the Alestes at all if you ask me.

I think that's because you've only played stage one! ;) The thing that makes the game so cool is its sheer variety -- 12 characters to choose from (each with very different attacks and stats), and the stages are all really unique from one another. Stage 5 is where things get really impressive, though, as it tells a story unlike almost any other stage in any shooter I've played -- you're chasing an "earthquaker" across the coast of Japan, and follow it underwater, but you're too late: it generates a massive earthquake that levels all of Japan. As you resurface from underwater, you see the whole country burning beneath you -- and then, as you're flying over the ruins of Japan, you see a tsunami roll in and cover the ruins in water right before your eyes.

All the while, the music -- which had previously been hip-hop-inspired -- becomes really somber and mournful.

It's very striking, and really makes the stage feel like something special. And that's part of the reason I want to attain the true ending: because if you're able to make it to stage 9, you can go back in time to stage 5 (thus stage 5') and save Japan. Which is kind of a cool twist.

Pleasure Hearts is indeed a really good game, but it's much more basic than Kyokugen -- the stages are much less diverse, and there's not as much variety in the gameplay styles. It's also a much shorter game. In general, it just doesn't have the sheer amount of CONTENT that Kyokugen has.

Anyway, I do hope someone is able to figure this out sometime! And in the meantime, I'll keep trying myself, and will report back if I figure anything out.


Van wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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04-06-2019, 16:09

Figured I'd bump this, in case anyone cares:

I've beaten the game with two characters now -- Kujira (my favorite), and Maki (the one featured in the longplay video I linked) -- and still gotten Ending Rank F with just a portrait and a line of text each time.

I thought maybe the key was to beat the game without continuing, though, so I reduced the difficulty to difficulty level 1 (of 7 -- not 5 as I previously stated) and beat it again, indeed without continuing (though just barely!), using Maki. Unfortunately, it still ended right after the boss of stage 8, this time with a black screen and a line of (untranslated) text that just read "OK, done!" -- and it was listed as Ending Rank H.

I then noticed that the longplay shows Ending Rank C at the end of the credits, so I have a new theory: I think the person who played the game for this video had the difficulty level set to 5, and I think the Ending Rank is determined SOLELY by the difficulty level you've selected -- H for 1, G for 2, F for 3, D for 4, C for 5, B for 6, and A for 7.

I'm going to ATTEMPT to beat the game at difficulty level 4 next, to see if I do indeed get Ending Rank D (and possibly get past stage 8!), though I only JUST BARELY beat the game each time on difficulty level 3, so I'm not sure I have the skill to beat it on level 4.

If anyone else who's better at shooters would be willing to give it a try, though, I'd love to hear your results! Wink


Van Grauw

Ascended (10558)

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04-06-2019, 19:43

You could give level 2 a try as well, curious how it differs from level 1 Smile. Would be cool to know what each ending is!

Van wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

afbeelding van wyrdwad

04-06-2019, 23:45

Yeah, I was thinking that too! Might have to give that a try. Maybe tonight!


Van wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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06-06-2019, 01:35

Beat the game on difficulty level 2 last night, with my favorite character Kujira (1CCed it, too!). As expected, I got Ending Rank G -- and while it was identical to the ending I got on difficulty level 3, in that it was just a character portrait and a line of text, the line of text WAS different. So it seems like there are at least minor differences for each difficulty level and each character -- which is pretty impressive, since that means there are probably 84 different "endings" in this game!

Since the longplay on YouTube got Ending Rank C, and also 1CCed the game, it's still not 100% clear what the exact condition is for playing stages 9 and 5'. But I suspect (read: hope) it's just to beat the game on difficulty level 4 or higher (Ending Rank D or higher).

I'll keep trying to beat the game on difficulty level 4, and let you know if I ever succeed. I'll probably keep trying with Kujira, since I'm best with him/her (and he/she is also one of the strongest characters in terms of pure damage output, which helps a lot!).

(I say he/she, BTW, beause Kujira is apparently a hermaphrodite/futanari. That's basically his/her entire story.)


Van FiXato

Scribe (1733)

afbeelding van FiXato

06-06-2019, 09:19

You could use an emulator with tool assisted speedrun capabilities, such as openMSX with its frame-forward, savestates and reverse features, to more easily survive on any given difficulty. That way you can see what effects losing a life, and/or using a continue, have on the ending, without having to replay the game over and over again. (Though of course you'll still have to replay it if you want to try a different difficulty or character.)

Van Takamichi

Hero (542)

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06-06-2019, 14:41

Kyokugen has many cheats and unlockable characters. Yes, the final stage/true ending is reachable by beating eighth round at Rank D or better which requires the difficulty above certain degree.

The cheats were fully explained in Kyokugen Disk 3 disk magazine once released by M-kai. I have one but the disk is now unreadable by age, though I was careful to retain the image so I can explain the cheats if you would like to hear. Most useful one is that if you start stage 1 with N key pushed the lives are 99 Smile Disk 3 also tells a lot about Izumic Ballade.
I remember invincibility is achieved by modding only one sector but I forgot the details.

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