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Published on Jan 18, 2010
Ok, this mode was made as "trial/score attack" where you face all the stages in a pre-defined order, unlike the regular arcade mode. The mechanics differ a bit as well, the encroachment becomes crucial and you have to keep it low at all costs, even if it includes suiciding to get a bomb and destroying as many enemies as possible. It's also there for those that wanted a longer mode and further challenge but it lacks all the story bits and end of stage score reports.
Enemy formations also come more packed, appear faster and, overall, you'll be kept at the edge and attacking nonstop. Like Thunder Dragon II, more stuff will come the better and faster you destroy it. However, if you do bad, the encroachment goes up, less enemies appear and, overall, less score.
Enemies in red will spawn pink translucent items that reduce the encorachment. Other enemies will spawn blue items, which increase your available live up to ⑨ (sorry, had to). This is key because you get a huge bonus at the end for your remaining lives and the amount of encroachment left (less is better here). Bosses also spawn a bunch of items depending on your performance... or according to some random calculation.
But there is also another item that is key (and seems just as random as some of the items spawned by the bosses) and that is the 2X score item. A green crystal that if you pick it will double your score so even if you play horribly, that item alone can make the difference from a 50 million run to a 90+ million run! Yeah, not too balanced I guess but it's still an awesome game.
The Special Mode is pretty much intact in this PC version, which I must remind is the Cyberfront/Sourcenext reissue. In fact, this version flows smoothly without loading times. It also contains an entirely new set of music composed just for this mode... and which I don't think was put in the official OST release, which is a pity because it's damn awesome.
You'll also notice the stages run in synchrony with the music, a Taito treat you'll see applied by ZUN who, oh surprise, also used to work for Taito.