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Super Famicom Pilotwings High Score Runs

Started by Princess Rescuer, February 06, 2020, 03:27:13 AM

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Princess Rescuer

Hi, I am Princess Rescuer. I came up with the insane High Score challenge in Umihara Kawase, a challenge that doesn't really have any serious competition going on, given that high scores seem tacked onto Umihara as an afterthought. Although the High Score challenge never gained any traction, seeing a six-digit score that began with a 4 on that main menu sure was satisfying. A high score challenge in the Super Famicom classic, Pilotwings (my favorite Super Famicom game ever, at least as far as 1st/2nd party goes) is arguably even more artificial. You do rack up points in the game, but they are only for getting a passing grade. Worse yet, if you happen to score the required amount of points before completing all the tests, the Flight Area ends immediately. Even if you were to tack on an imaginary score, it doesn't help that you have to make sure to do well but not too well or else your session ends prematurely.

Basically, this is the kind of High Score I propose for Pilotwings: You do all 10 levels in a row (or all 5 levels if you're just doing the Expert Half or Normal Half). You are not allowed to Retry ever. You can fail individual tests (and optimal scoring strategy may even demand you do so) but if you come up short on points when all tests are over, the run's over. If you beat the final Helicopter mission, you can have an F next to your score which means you've finished the game. Obviously, this is the tiebreaker for tied scores.

High Score runs in Pilotwings are brutal. They're supposed to be. Pilotwings is normally a very short game with questionable replay value and the small, flat environments you can just fly over don't exactly lend themselves to a great deal of emergent gameplay. So devising a run involving getting all the Bonus Chances with one opportunity AND making sure you do the Skydiving last, which has a 1-in-3 chance of giving you the bonus area with the opportunity to score 70 points as opposed to just 50 or 60 is sure to make the game last.

The Nintendo Switch Online has renewed my interest in Pilotwings. I'm sure a PS4 re-release of all the Umihara Kawase games would renew my interest in those, too. Fun fact- the bonus chance you get is determined as soon as you pick the activity.

A good player should be able to get at least 2000 points. Brutal luck and no continues make Pilotwings a more interesting and intense game.

One more thing- I think more games should have High Scores taken seriously because unlike speedrunning, they're the only place where slower versions/older consoles have a fighting chance and may even provide an advantage. I think I might buy a PAL SNES just for this challenge.