Here's some info that will help you out. But ultimately, you'll need to rely on your skills to get those high scores!
A number called rank determines some big factors in this game:
- The number of enemies that appear. The higher the rank, the more enemies you'll see.
- The movement speed of both enemies and enemy projectiles. The higher rank goes, the faster all of that will be.
- The duration of the encounters at the end of Stages 4 and 5.
Rank goes up when you do either of two things:
- Scroll the screen to the right.
- Defeat enemies.
However, the amount of the rank increase when killing an enemy depends on your current combo. If your combo is near-zero, the increase in rank will be small. If your combo is in the 20s or 30s, it will be moderate. Once your combo reaches 50 or so, the increase will be significant, and if you can keep the combo going even longer, you will eventually hit the maximum rank for the current stage.
Rank goes down if you take damage. The amount of the rank decrease depends on the amount of the damage. In Hardcore Mode, the rank decrease will be more significant.
Since most of your score will come from defeating enemies, and high rank will cause more enemies to appear, you will want to keep the rank as high as possible in order to maximize your score.
Rank has both a minimum and maximum value for the stage you're on. These are determined by the stage number and the difficulty level you're playing. Hardcore Mode's values are slightly lower. Also, the minimum rank will decrease somewhat each time you use a Continue. When clearing a stage and moving to the next, your current rank will carry over, as long as it's above the next stage's minimum (if not, the new stage minimum will be used instead).
You may see the current rank value by turning on "Rank Display" in the Options. You'll see two percentages: the percentage of the current stage's range (Stage), and the absolute rank value (Total), as a range from the lowest possible to the highest possible in campaign mode.
The Scoring System
This applies to all modes except Time Attack, which has its own scoring system.
The Short Version
To get the highest possible scores:
Kill everything in one big combo.
Never let your combo time run out.
Never get hit by anything.
The Long Version
Apart from the end-of-stage bonus, and other situations noted below, you score points when enemies receive damage. The amount scored is based on damage to the enemy. This can happen when:
- they take damage from explosions (from your ferrets, enemy missiles, bird explosions, etc.), or
- they take damage from falling.
Enemies are defeated when one of the following happens:
- their HP reach 0, or less.
- they fly more than a half-screen away, horizontally, or past the beginning/end of the stage.
- they fly up so high, so fast, that they have no chance of survival.
Generally, when enemies are defeated, the combo timer is reset to 3 seconds, and the combo increases by 1. But if Fever is active, the combo timer is reset to 6 seconds, and the combo increases by 2. You will also score 1 additional point (lol).
Each comboed enemy is worth 0.1x score. Examples:
2 combo: Score is 1.1x the usual.
3 combo: Score is 1.2x the usual.
11 combo: Score is 2.0x the usual.
21 combo: Score is 3.0x the usual...
If an enemy's HP gets far enough below 0, they won't just be defeated...they'll explode. This gives an additional 1000-point bonus. The bonus is unaffected by combo; it will always be 1000 points. Enemies defeated while Fever is active will always explode, regardless of their HP.
Birds will explode when they collide with anything, but if you are able to hit one with a ferret directly, you will score a bonus of 20000 points, multiplied by the stage you're currently on. This is also unaffected by combo. If the bird explodes for any other reason, you will not receive the bonus. The hitbox for this is VERY small, but if your aim is true, you'll be rewarded!
Because Quad Damage significantly increases the amount of damage dealt, you will score significantly more points while using it.
Picking up a Nuke eliminates all enemies on the screen immediately. Each will explode and score 2000 points, unaffected by combo. The combo will increase by however many enemies there were (doubled if Fever is active), and the combo timer will reset, but overall, you will score fewer points than if you had defeated the enemies normally.
You cannot score any more points once time has run out. Your combo meter will show you what you would have scored, for your amusement, but everything will score 0.
If you use a Continue, your score is reset to 0.
The end-of-stage bonus is based on kills during that stage (1000 points each) and time left (1000 points per second). In Normal mode, you will receive a bonus based on the state of the helicopter (up to 30000). If the helicopter wasn't damaged at all, you'll get an additional Perfect bonus of 30000 points. In Hardcore mode, if neither you nor the helicopter were hit during that stage, you'll receive a No-Miss bonus of 100000 points, multiplied by the stage number. You'll also get a Lives Left bonus after clearing the game. Each life is worth 250000 points on Easy or Normal difficulties, and 500000 on Hard.
Hints and Tips
The type of the next ferret is decided randomly.
Bullets will be cancelled if they collide with a ferret. While Fever is not active, this will increase the Fever gauge. Cancel bullets whenever possible to get Fever back faster. The yellow Heavy enemies are great for this.
If your combo timer is about to expire, activating Fever will instantly reset the combo timer to 6 seconds.
When the screen stops scrolling ("Defeat enemies to move forward"): it will start scrolling again once all enemies are GONE. Defeated enemies disappear after they've been dead for a few seconds, but enemies that explode disappear immediately. So, if you explode the last enemy, there's a much greater chance that you'll be able to continue your combo after that!
Normal mode: your character has a "safety net" that can be used once per game (not once per stage!). The first hit that would have killed you will instead reduce your HP to 1. The next hit that would kill you...does. If you choose to Continue, you'll get it back.
Hardcore mode: a 1-UP is available at the end of stage 3. You must satisfy certain criteria for this to appear...
Either mode: you will receive a code to unlock something good if you clear the game on Hard difficulty...
About Time Attack Mode
All enemies have fewer HP than usual. Also, more of them will appear than usual, and they'll fire fewer bullets.
The screen will scroll to the right automatically.
Defeating enemies resets the combo timer and will release "chips," with values from 1 to 5. The value is determined by your proximity to the enemy when they were defeated. Chips will fall to the ground, then begin to rise. The rate at which a chip rises is determined by its value.
When Fever is active, chip values are doubled, and cancelling bullets will turn them into "1" chips. Also, during Fever, the delay before you can throw a new ferret is lessened. The combo timer is also doubled, as usual.
The multiplier is displayed where combo ordinarily would be. It starts at 1. Picking up a chip increases the multiplier by the chip's value. If the combo timer runs out, the multiplier will decrease rapidly until the next enemy is defeated.
You cannot be killed, nor can your helicopter be destroyed, but if either take damage, you will be unable to move or attack for a certain amount of time. The amount is determined by the amount of damage you took. (You can activate Fever during this time, if desired.)
All enemies score 100 points X the multiplier's current value. Score as high as possible within 3 minutes...good luck!