iffi here, I re-registered (after deleting my account for the sake of keeping myself focused on work as I enter college, which didn't work at all) because I wanted to tell you guys to play this game. That's how great it is.
I posted this long post on the Hellsinker article on the front page, but I doubt anyone will actually see that, so here's (a slightly modified version of) what I posted:
Not sure if anyone will see this, but...
I haven't been around here for a while (I actually deleted my forum account to keep myself from wasting too much time there), but I just wanted to say thanks to Noah! for posting this on the forums way back when. I didn't play it then, but I finally got around to playing it around two weeks ago and now I can't stop.
It took a lot more time than usual for a shmup to learn the basics of how to play each character, but the shooting just feels so satisfying (and your shooting technique actually makes a significant difference, unlike many shmups, Touhou especially, that deemphasize the shooting in favor of focusing on dodging, not that that's necessarily a bad thing), and there are a crazy lot of interesting ideas in the game. If you're interested in shmups, especially the bullet hell variety, and wonder what happened to all the innovation that seems to have gone missing from the genre, I highly, highly recommend this.
Also, don't get scared by how complex it looks, it's really simpler than it looks unless you're going for score; most of the bars on the sides of the screen correspond to things that should be familiar to avid shmup players. I recommend reading the Getting Started page on the Hellsinker Wiki (wiki.hellsinker.net), and after that the Game Glossary page and the pages for each of the characters in the user manual that comes with the game. Focus on getting yourself familiar with one character before trying others, though do make sure you try all of them, because the variety in the shot types is one of the things that makes Hellsinker special. I personally think Minogame's the easiest because of his(?) homing attacks and temporary invulnerability attack, but it's easy to get into bad habits by relying on those.
And do try to at least survive long enough to get into the Shrine of Farewell. It's probably the greatest thing I've seen in a shmup in a long time, and watching videos of it just isn't the same experience.
For those playing on keyboard: You can't really change the controls, only which of the fixed set of keys does what. In the gamepad configuration program, button 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 correspond to Z, X, C, V, O, P, and 1, respectively. If you use the English patch (which you should if you want to understand anything at all and you don't understand Japanese), the version of the game the patch requires doesn't support binding to Shift, so if you want to use Shift as the slow movement key then you're going to need to use something like Autohotkey or something to rebind it yourself after setting the slow movement key to, say, button 7 (which corresponds to 1).
tl;dr: PLAY THIS GAME. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF. Or at least listen to the music. But no, listen to the music by playing the game.
Also, I'm not sure if this is ironic or anything like that, but I've also been having a stupid lot of fun with Crimzon Clover for the past month. It's kinda mindless but it's immensely satisfying to get BREAK MODE and then DOUBLE BREAK MODE. I've been playing a bit of ring^-27 too, which I like as well but the low resolution makes it feel too claustrophobic for my taste.
So anyway, KEEP YOUR DIGNITY
. Over and out.