Some Cave game difficulty rankings have been going around the Twitterverse recently, so thought I’d post my opinions and list, with some motivations behind the entries.
This is how I’d rank the difficulty of most Cave games in one credit. Videos of me clearing them are attached for all titles.
- This does not cover the more difficult modes of the games, so no Mushi Ultra, SDOJ EX or similar.
- This is for 1-ALL for multi-loop games
- Entries are grouped into five difficulty groups.
- Entires within groups are pretty similar in difficulty, but somewhat ordered by hardest (top) to easiest (bottom). This is much more vague than the overall grouping though, since the difficulty will be similar-ish.
- Some comments why they are placed where they are is attached
- Dangun Feveron (B-Roll or C-Roll)
Very hectic game that’s easy to mess up in. Don’t go for TLB, and time out last boss (it takes a while). Still hard.
- Dodonpachi Saidaioujou (A-Shot)
Overall high difficulty. Last stage is really hard, and its best to try and save bombs for it. Ideally no-miss to S4 midboss extend, which requires pretty strict routing.
- Ketsui (Type A)
You get a lot of extends and bombs in this, but even considering this, a lot of routing is needed for the last three stages. The bosses are quite hard. The lock-on system rewards quick lock ons for survival which means strict routing.
- Ibara (Bond Type C)
The harder bosses can be skipped by saving up Hadou charges, but you still need to deal with the last two stages, which are hard unless you manage the rank . This means intentionally dieing a lot, and correctly. Requires a good amount of routing, and Garregga-esque rank management.
- Dodonpachi Saidaioujou Exa Label (D-Shot)
Overall easier than regular SDOJ if keeping rank low, but still hard. Some boss/midboss patterns are significantly easier.
- Guwange (Any character, Gensuke is easiest)
Most of the difficulty comes after full life refill in last stage. Getting to it requires some work, but is easier than the rest of the game. Later part of last stage is hard to no-miss, and you want to have some resources for last boss. Final boss pattern is real random and can mess you up unless you have some life to tank it.
- Guwange Blue Label (Any character, Gensuke is easiest)
Overall easier stages due to bullet slowdown on Shikigami, but some patterns are harder (especially phase 1 of final boss). About the same difficulty to clear.
- ESP Ra.De. (Yusuke or J.B.)
Last two stages require good routing. S4 boss is a little hard. Final boss has a lot of phases and is tricky.
- Ibara Kuro (Dio Type D)
No need to control rank like in regular Ibara. Some easy graze safespots for setting up score for extends. Still need to deal with stage parts of last two stages, but still an easier clear than vanilla.
- Mushihimesama Futari 1.0 Original (N Palm)
Plays similar to 1.5, but Ab Palm is garbage, and N Palm is a better option. S4 boss has a pattern with broken safespots that needs bombing. Last boss is also harder. Overall a much harder clear.
- Akai Katana Exa Label (Type C)
If keeping rank low, the patterns aren’t too bad. Just like in Shin, you can’t just reflect bullets on hard patterns, so you need to learn them, and bomb the trickier parts. Type C’s Spirit attack is extremely powerful and can melt hard boss phases like S6 boss phase 2.
- Akai Katana Slash/Shin (Type B)
Much harder than regular Akai Katana, due to Spirit form not reflecting bullets, and additional stage. Still not too bad. Worst patterns can be bombed, and the sword attack does good damage. Type B is real strong in this.
- Progear no Arashi (Bolt + Nail)
Recommend going for 11M extend. That gives a good amount of resources, which helps with the clear. Not much to say otherwise. Medium difficulty patterns, where the hardest can be bombs.
- Espgaluda 2 (Asagi survival route)
Tateha/Ageha is very hard, but Asagi can “cheat” due to her Kakusei being so strong. Save gems for bosses, then just melt them. Allows basically skipping last boss. Still needs routing and resource control though.
- Muchi Muchi Pork (Any character, but Rafute is easiest)
Some hard patterns, but you get 10+ lives pretty easily, and the bomb is strong, and can be used often. This allows for many mistakes while still clearing.
- Pink Sweets (Kasumi B, inifinite lives glitch)
Without infinite lives, this game is extremely hard. Setting up infinite lives require strict routing and careful play, especially on S3 midboss. I’d argue its similar in difficulty to many other clears.
- Dodonpachi DOJ Tamashii (B-L)
Basically same as BL. Maybe a little harder, but not much.
- Dodonpachi DOJ Black Label (B-L)
Needs some routing, but you get enough resources in terms of hyper and bombs to skip a lot of the harder parts. Some early game scoring is sufficient to hit all score extends.
- Dodonpachi (C-L)
Just bomb when things are scary.
- Donpachi (Type C)
You get so many bombs, and are encouraged to use them due to the end of stage recharges. Some bosses have easy safespots.
- Espgaluda (Ageha)
Very easy except for last boss, which is hard. Practice that a lot.
- Mushihimesama Futari 1.5 Original (Ab Palm)
Very straightforward game. Ab Palm is real strong, not much to say here.
- Mushihimesama Futari Black Label Original (Reco)
A little easier than 1.5 probably, but basically same thing.
- Dodonpachi 2 – Bee Storm (Without triggering TLB)
Keep score low enough to not trigger TLB. Most boss patterns are 100% static so learn the safespots. Abuse energy recharge glitch.
- Mushihimesama Original
Recommend using S-power for the good speed. Fast sparse patterns that aren’t too hard.
T5 (Very Easy)
- Akai Katana Climax/Zetsu (Type C)
Similar to regular Akai Katana but one extra stage, thats not very hard. Energy recharge glitch doesnt work, but doesn’t make things much harder.
- Akai Katana (Type C)
Spirit form + energy rechage means skipping all hard patterns are possible. All the slowdown also helps. Type C just melts things in spirit form.
- Deathsmiles (Rosa)
Learn a simple route for first stages. Use hyper and don’t bomb Jitterbug to get the 2-up, which means you can just bombspam last boss. Silly.
- Dodonpachi DFK 1.5 (Strong C)
You can just autobomb through this basically. So many bombs.
- Deathsmiles 2 (Casper)
Easy patterns. Easy clear. Bad game.