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Progear, known as Storm of Progear (プロギアの嵐 Purogia no Arashi?) in Japan, is a 2001 horizontally scrolling bullet hell arcade game developed by CAVE and published by Capcom for the CP System II board. Set in the fictional country of Parts, players assume the role of children controlling a plane equipped with the titular propelling engine to overthrow the Metoruin sages and their new world order. It was the sixth shoot 'em up game from CAVE, their first horizontally oriented shooter, and their eighth video game overall.

Initially envisioned as a vertical-scrolling shooter and intended to be their last game, Progear was created by CAVE as a collaboration with Capcom and served as their first horizontal-scrolling shooter title, with bullet dodging and enemy destruction being the main focus while adapting the company's shoot 'em up gameplay style in a horizontal format but faced a problematic development cycle before its launch to the market. Though first released in arcades, the game was later ported to mobile phone platforms, each one featuring various changes compared to the original version and has since been re-released as part of the Capcom Home Arcade plug and play game system. The game was later included in the 2021 compilation Capcom Arcade Stadium.

Progear proved to be popular in arcades among Japanese players and garnered positive reception from critics since its inclusion on the Capcom Home Arcade system, with praise given to the anime-style steampunk visuals, gameplay and accessibility, though the music was criticized. It was CAVE's only horizontal-scrolling shooter until Deathsmiles in 2007.

Gameplay[]

At the start of the game, the player is given a choice between two pilots/planes and three gunners, which determines the effectiveness of their respective modes. Each character's costume can be changed by holding the start button at the selection screen.

Fighters

  • TYPE-A Fighter Gambler: Wide shot type, slower speed.
  • TYPE-B Fighter Militant: Focused shot type, faster speed.

Gunner

  • Type Alpha: Focused missile strikes, medium damage.
  • Type Beta: Spread cannonballs, high damage.
  • Type Gamma: Homing missile strikes, low damage.

When selecting the gunner pilot, the formation of the gunners can be changed to the following:

  • 2 gunners below (Type-A) or behind (Type-B) fighter: Press A or B.
  • 1 gunner above and 1 gunner below fighter: Press A and B.
  • 2 gunners in front of fighter: Press Start button of the other player's controller, A and B button of own player's controller.

Weapons

  • Pilot Mode: This is the default shot mode when no button is pressed. When tapping A or pressing the C button, the pilot fires stronger attacks, while the gunner fires without locking on a target.
  • Gunner Mode: By holding down the A button, the characters assume Gunner Mode. The pilot's attacks become weaker and the plane moves slower, while the gunner automatically locks on and fires at enemies with increased firepower.
  • Bomb: Pressing B activates a bomb. The bomb will move forward towards the right side of the screen, slowing down when it hits something and inflicting minor damage. Once a certain amount of time has passed or the bomb reaches the right side of the screen, it will explode into a much larger blast that heavily damages any enemy caught in it.

Items[]

  • P: Increase shot power by 1. If the player collects it when shot power is full, 500 jewel points are awarded.
  • B: Increase bomb stock by 1. The player can carry up to 3 bombs. If player gets a bomb where there are already 3 bombs, following things happen for the duration of current life:
  • Jewel counter is increased by 10,000 in first loop of stages (20,000 in 2nd loop of stages).
  • Base jewel class is increased for every overstocked bomb, up to Large Emerald
  • Score for inflicting enemy damage and clear bonus are doubled.
  • MAX: Increase shot power to maximum. Appears when a player loses all lives.
  • 1UP: Increases life stock by 1 (max 9).

Scores[]

When (a portion of) an enemy is destroyed, the resulting explosions turn nearby bullets into rings or gems, depending on the player's weapon mode when destruction occurs. In pilot mode, bullets become rings. In gunner mode, bullets become gems. The bullets being converted also depend on weapon mode. In pilot mode, only bullets nearby the enemy unit are converted; in gunner mode, enemy bullets that are close to the enemy bullets being converted into jewels are also affected. In boss battles, all enemy bullets are always converted into rings when the life points of the critical portion of the boss's body is below a predefined value. A bullet is converted to a jewel of at least base jewel class. Jewels can be collected automatically by switching firing modes.

The current jewel class can be seen at the lower left of the screen. Jewels are ranked in the order of amethyst, ruby, emerald, diamond. Except diamond, all jewel types come in 3 intermediate classes, in the following fashion:

Jewel class Ring score Gem score Jewel counter increment
Small Amethyst 10 10 1
Medium Amethyst 20 10 2
Large Amethyst 30 10 3
Small Ruby 40 20 4
Medium Ruby 50 40 5
Large Ruby 60 80 6
Small Emerald 70 160 7
Medium Emerald 80 320 8
Large Emerald 90 640 9
Diamond 100 1280 10

Jewel class can be increased by collecting rings with a higher class than the current jewel class. Higher class rings can be found by destroying a large number of bullets at once. However, when the player's weapon is in gunner mode, bullets only become gems of current jewel class regardless of the number of bullets converted at once.

Jewel class is decreased to the basic level when:

  • Switching back from gunner mode to pilot mode when there is a gem on screen
  • Switching back from gunner mode to pilot mode after collecting at least 1 gem
  • Player uses a bomb
  • Player loses a life

Furthermore, if the player dies, the jewel class is reduced to Small Amethyst, and the current jewel counter is reduced by 25%; when the player uses a bomb, the jewel counter is decreased. Base jewel class can be increased by repeatedly collecting bombs after having 3 in stock, up to Large Emerald. For every 10000 jewel counter points, the player gains 10 extra score points for inflicting enemy damage.

Gunner relationship[]

At the end of each stage, the gunner's relationship with the pilot is evaluated based on the player's performance. The relationship is defined by:

  • Active: Increases when gunner mode is used more often.
  • Safe: Increases when no life is lost, and decreases when the player dies more often.
  • Lovely: The average of Active and Safe. The final value is ranked in 6 levels, with 1 the lowest and 6 the highest.

The ratings are accumulated between stages. Higher Lovely levels increases bombs' penetration level, which can increase score. Furthermore, Lovely level affects the attacks of enemy units in the upcoming stage, and the game's ending between the Pilot and the Gunner.

Stages[]

The difficulty of a given stage depends on the score of previous stage, with increased difficulty for higher score. The game has 5 stages. After completing all stages, a different ending occurs after the generic pilot escape ending, depending on Lovely level. However, the player can enter a second loop if at the end of stage 5, only 1 life is lost or at most 2 bombs have been used. When that occurs, the ending shows the Stage 5 boss is alive before the game enters the second loop.

The second loop has the following changes:

  • Jewel counter bonus is doubled.
  • Jewels fall at a faster speed.
  • Enemy patterns are changed, usually firing more bullets, in denser patterns, and travel at faster speeds.
  • Enemies fire circular bullets when destroyed, unless the player is close to the enemy.
  • When a player loses a life, they resume at a predefined checkpoint of a given stage, except during boss battles.
  • The player cannot earn extra lives based on score.
  • Each boss's dying speech is different. In the case of stage 5, a different picture is shown.
  • In Stage 1 and 5 boss battles, each boss has an extra attack phase after the loop 1 counterpart's final attack phase was ended by life point depletion.
  • Ending includes staff credit section.

After completing all stages, the player receives a clear bonus, which is equal to 10 score points for every jewel counterpoint.

Story[]

The plot summary of Progear is explained through supplementary materials. Sometime in the past, people of the country of Parts found a way to become immortal but only with elderly nobles. Among these elders who obtained immortality were Ballossum Pench, Gabriel Hammer, Jimchuck Spanner, Olsorro Slasher and Leonard Drill. They later became known as the Motoruin sages, eventually attempting to take over the Parts kingdom and began a new world order, collapsing the government and destroying villages of the country in the process. As their plans unfold, five children decided to battle the Motoruin using another new invention: the titular semi-automatic propelling engine.

Characters[]

Art of the characters.

Pilots[]

  • Ring pilots the Gambler, which is the slower of the two ships and features a wide shot type.
  • Bolt pilots the Militant, which is the faster ship and features a focused shot type.

Gunners[]

  • Chain pilots the Alpha, which has focused missiles and deals average damage.
  • Nail pilots the Beta, which has a spread shot and deals heavy damage.
  • Rivet pilots the Gamma, which shoots homing missiles but deals low damage.

Development[]

Progear was a collaboration effort with Capcom by most of the same team that worked on previous projects at CAVE, serving as their first horizontally scrolling shooter game, in addition to being the six shoot 'em up title from the company and their eight video game overall.[1] Kenichi Takano served as producer with director Junya Inoue.[1][2] Tsuneki Ikeda served as chief programmer alongside Satoshi Kōyama and Takashi Ichimura.[1][3] Akira Wakabayashi, Fusayuki Watariguchi, Hiroyuki Tanaka and Kengo Arai acted as designers.[1][4][5][6]

The project originally went under the working title Propeller Wars early in development, before being renamed as Garden of Progear プロギアの庭 (Purogia no Niwa?) and was first envisioned as a vertical-scrolling shooter but Capcom remarked that the name was "too highbrow" and one of the higher-ups at CAVE told the team during their presentation pitch that the project should be a horizontal-scrolling shooter instead, with Ikeda revealing in a 2010 interview that the project was also intended to be their last release as the company was considering leaving the arcade market due to several factors at the time.[7][8][9][10][11] The team decided to make bullet dodging and enemy destruction its main focus, while adapting the company's shoot 'em up gameplay style in a horizontal format but the project would go through a problematic development cycle until it was released.[7][10][12][13][14] Both Ikeda and Inoue stated that working with the CP System II platform, which marked the second time CAVE made use of an external arcade board, proved to be difficult as the hardware was underpowered compared to the previous board used for Guwange, with designers using a limited number of colors to remake drawings created in Photoshop.[9][10][13]

Inoue stated that the main characters were named after mechanical parts, while the reason having children as lead characters was both from an idea intended for a scrapped adventure game and due to his fascination of kids fighting against evil.[7][2][13][14] Ikeda revealed that the team intended to feature four playable ships but the idea was scrapped due to time constrains, while Inoue also stated that the gender-based firepower pairing mechanic was a repurposed idea originally intended for a sequel to Batsugun.[7]

Music[]

The soundtrack was composed by Yukinori Kikuchi, with Ryūichi Yabuki creating the sound effects.[1][15][16]

Release[]

Progear was first released in arcades by Capcom in 2001, using the CP System II board.[17][18] The English version removes all of the voice acting from characters.[19] On 26 September 2003, an album containing music from the game was published exclusively in Japan by Suleputer.[15] On 20 March 2014, another album was released by SuperSweep in Japan, featuring the original uncompressed music as well as a collection of official artwork.[20] In 2004, the title was later ported to mobile phone platforms such as EZweb, i-mode and Yahoo Mobile.[21][22][23] Both the i-mode and EzWeb versions were split into two separate releases, while another version titled Progear DX for Yahoo Mobile phones contains all five stages.[21][24] In 2019, it was re-released as part of the Capcom Home Arcade plug and play game system.[25][26][27] In February 2021, it was included as part of pack 3 in the Capcom Arcade Stadium compilation.[28][29][30]

Reception[]

In Japan, Game Machine listed Progear on their 1 June 2001 issue as being the fourth most-popular arcade game at the time.[31] Rhizome's Thomas Bey and William Bailey noted its steampunk-style visuals.[32] The game has been met with positive reception from critics since its inclusion on the Capcom Home Arcade plug and play system.[33] Pete Brown of GameSpot noted it to be "a standout side-scrolling shooter with beautiful 2D graphics and a reasonable difficulty curve, the latter of which is somewhat rare for the genre".[34] Damien McFerran of Nintendo Life gave positive remarks to the graphics and steampunk design.[35] Carlos Leiva of Spanish website Vandal gave positive comments to the game's action, bosses, gameplay and original steampunk setting.[36] David Jenkins of Metro praised its anime-style steampunk artwork design and accessibility, regarding it as "one of CAVE's best".[37]

Jeuxvideo.com's oliveroidubocal praised its visuals.[38] However, Hardcore Gaming 101 remarked the music to be "the most lackluster thing" from the game.[39] Nintendo Life's Will Freeman regarded it as a standout shooter within the Capcom Arcade Stadium compilation due to its depth, visuals and replay value.[40]

Legacy[]

Progear was featured in the music video for the song "Ikaruga" by the band Discordance Axis.[citation needed] According to Digital Reality director Theodore Reiker, the game served as one of the influences for Sine Mora.[41] Likewise, the title also served as influence for Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, according to Final Form Games' Mike Ambrogi.[42] Ring's Gambler plane appears as part of a Capcom-themed DLC for Dariusburst Chronicle Saviour.[43]

Trivia[]

  • Alternative costumes for the characters can be chosen by holding down the start button on the selection screen.
  • Pressing A+B to select the gunner instead of just A splits them into a secret 'one on top and one below' formation.

Gallery[]

Videos[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Staff roll.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.).
  3. Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.
  4. archive link (dead link) (Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.
  5. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.
  6. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 cite magazine|title=プロギアの嵐 超集; プロギアの嵐 - ケイブ開発者インタビュー|magazine=Monthly Arcadia|issue=12|publisher=Enterbrain|date=May 2001|pages=35–41, 42–45 (Translation by Gamengai. Archive link.
  8. cite magazine|title=井上淳哉 - 「エスプレイド」「ぐわんげ」を創った男|magazine=Continue|volume=6|publisher=Ohta Publishing|date=September 2002|lang=ja|isbn=978-4872337006 (Translation by Gamengai. Archive link. Transcription by Gaijin Punch. Archive link.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Archive link. Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 cite magazine|title=Dossier Shoot 'em up|magazine=IG Magazine|issue=8|publisher=Ankama Presse|date=May–June 2010|lang=fr - (Translation by Gaming.moe. Archive link.
  11. cite book|title=Art Collection|work=Sound & Art Collection - プロギアの嵐|publisher=SuperSweep|date=20 March 2014|pages=3–107|language=ja
  12. Youtube link
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Archive link
  14. 14.0 14.1 Translation by Shmuplations. Archive link.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Archive link.
  16. Archive link.
  17. Archive link.
  18. Archive link.
  19. http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/progear/
  20. Archive link.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Archive link.
  22. Archive link.
  23. Archive link.
  24. Archive link.
  25. https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/4/16/18410478/capcom-home-arcade-price-release-date-street-fighter-mega-man
  26. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-04-16-capcom-takes-on-the-mini-console-craze-with-a-massive-gbp200-stick
  27. https://www.kotaku.co.uk/2020/01/17/at-home-with-capcoms-home-arcade
  28. https://www.siliconera.com/capcom-arcade-stadium-brings-retro-hits-to-switch-in-february-2021/
  29. https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-12-10/capcom-reveals-capcom-arcade-stadium-switch-collection-of-arcade-titles/.167312
  30. https://www.gematsu.com/2020/12/capcom-arcade-stadium-announced-for-switch
  31. cite magazine|title=Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - TVゲーム機ーソフトウェア (Video Game Software)|magazine=Game Machine|issue=635|publisher=Amusement Press, Inc.|date=1 June 2001|page=21|lang=ja
  32. https://web.archive.org/web/20180126184940/https://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/feb/7/danmaku1/
  33. https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/nov/06/capcom-home-arcade-review-authentic-retro-gaming-machine
  34. https://www.gamespot.com/gallery/a-quick-look-at-every-game-in-the-capcom-home-arca/2900-2741/
  35. https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2019/11/hardware_review_capcom_home_arcade_is_the_most_ludicrous_micro-console_yet_and_were_in_love
  36. https://vandal.elespanol.com/reportaje/analisis-capcom-home-arcade-merece-la-pena
  37. https://metro.co.uk/2019/11/06/capcom-home-arcade-review-the-biggest-mini-console-ever-made-11050690/
  38. http://www.jeuxvideo.com/news/1142837/test-capcom-home-arcade-aussi-bien-qu-une-borne.htm
  39. http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/progear/
  40. https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/switch-eshop/capcom_arcade_stadium
  41. cite magazine|last=Shinichi|first=Yamoto|title=Sine Mora (シネモラ):『Sine Mora』 開発者インタビュー - Digital Reality creative director Theodore Reiker氏|magazine=Shooting Gameside|volume=5|publisher=Micro Magazine|date=31 May 2012|pages=38–41|lang=ja|isbn=978-4896373899 - Translation by Shmuplations.
  42. cite magazine|last=Shinichi|first=Yamoto|title=で遊ぶ海外シューティング - Jamestown:『Jamestown』クリエーターインタビュー - Final Form Games Mike Ambrogi氏|magazine=Shooting Gameside|volume=5|publisher=Micro Magazine|date=31 May 2012|pages=104–107|lang=ja|isbn=978-4896373899 - Translation by Shmuplations.
  43. https://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/290833/New_DARIUSBURST_Chronicle_Saviours_Capcom_DLC_and_PhysicalPS4_Release_Coming_Soon.php


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