This is something I thought of several years ago, if the “date modified” on the adjacent text files is to be believed. In short, it’s a hypothetical shoot-em-up based on the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, but with a clashing medieval/robotic motif so that there’s no need for all the projectiles to be arrows, rocks and crossbow bolts, and the characters would have something to ride into battle besides horses or mythical creatures.
The game itself would play like a slightly toned-down Cave shoot-em-up, with large and small power-ups for your guns and bombs. (The rest of this is written in present tense to sound less confusing.)
You can charge up your normal guns in two ways. By letting go of the Fire button, you prepare a Burst Shot. By holding the Fire button, you charge up a Power Shot. What these do depends on the character you’re playing as, but Burst Shots usually spread out in some way, while Power Shots tend to be more focused.
You have a melee weapon like in Vasara, and by pressing the Slash button you swing it in front of you. This can heavily damage enemies, and knock small ones into each other. On top of that, your weapon will block regular bullets that are within range. Using melee attacks drains the Attack gauge, and it refills on its own. On average, the gauge lasts for an average of 10 attacks, and after a delay of 2 seconds, it starts recharging at a rate of 1 attack per 1.5 seconds. The number of attacks, delay and recharge rate depend on the character you choose. The characters’ melee weapons also vary in strength, speed and attack radius. Getting Sword power-ups extends the Attack gauge and makes your weapon bigger and stronger. If you use up the entire Attack gauge, you have to wait for it to refill all the way before you can Slash again. Grazing enemy bullets will make your Attack gauge fill up faster.
Shot Power-ups come in two sizes- large and small. You need to get a bunch of small ones to level up your guns, but a large one levels them up right away. Bombs also come in these sizes, and it takes 20 small bombs to get an extra smart bomb, or just one large bomb. Very rarely you can find an Extend, which gives you another life. At certain score milestones you also get Extends. If you die, then depending on the game settings you’ll drop one, half or all of your Shot and Sword power-ups, and have to pick them up again when you respawn. Whenever you lose your last life, you drop a Full Power item. Pick this up after continuing, and your guns and melee attack will be powered up to the max.
Grabbing a Bomb when you’ve already got a full stock of them activates a Maximum bonus. This will continually give you points until you either die, use a bomb or encounter the level boss. The Maximum status acts like an extra bomb, and it’s more powerful than a normal bomb too.
You get bonus points for hitting multiple enemies or blocking multiple bullets with one Slash. Destroy three enemies or six bullets at once and you’ll start a Bonus Chain. During one of these, everything you destroy releases a medal, and the medals are worth an increasing amount of points for each one you grab. A Bonus Chain normally lasts for 5 seconds, but every enemy you destroy with a Slash will give you 1 more second of bonus time, and every bullet you Slash will give an extra 2/5 of a second. Shooting down an enemy with your guns only gives 1/3 of a second. You can also graze bullets to get more bonus time. There’s no set maximum to bonus time, but once you have more than 10 seconds of it, everything but grazing bullets starts to give less bonus time. If you manage to beat a boss with some bonus time left, it’ll stop counting down the moment you deplete the boss’ health, and you’ll get bonus points for the time you have left. Getting hit during bonus time won’t kill you- instead you’ll lose some bonus time. Small bullets take away 1 second, bigger bullets take away 1.5 of a second, and colliding with an enemy or laser takes off 2 seconds. You get only a small amount of invincibility time when you absorb a hit with bonus time, but this invincibility time is slightly extended if the hit depletes the last of your bonus time.
I realize the whole bonus time thing is probably terribly imbalanced, but I suppose increasing the amount of time lost when you get hit could make for a proper level of challenge. Possibly your bonus time would only allow you to take one hit without dying, but it’d have the slightly extended invincibility afterward. Even that’s more lenient than just about any Cave shoot-em-up, but I did intend for this to be a little bit more accessible, while also including the option to make it as hard as Cave’s games.