Overview:
- Estimated achievement difficulty: 7/10 [Achievement Difficulty Rating]
- Offline: 10 [840]
- Online: 2 [160]
- Approximate amount of time to 1000: 3-4+ hours [Estimated Time to 100%]
- Minimum number of playthroughs needed: 3, one of each mode
- Missable achievements: None [arcade style gameplay]
- Does difficulty affect achievements: No, can lower difficulty in Original mode
- Unobtainable/glitched achievements: None
- Extra equipment needed: None

Introduction:
Pulstar is a side-scrolling autoscroller shoot-em-up game where you pilot a ship and shoot your way through various enemy ships and creatures attacking you. Along the way you can collect various types of power-ups for your ship to make things easier (relatively). For the achievements, this game unfortunately resets your score in Original mode if you use a credit to continue, so you'll need to heavily abuse the Create Interrupt Save to make it through Original Mode. After that, expect to put in a ton of practice to get the necessary scores in Caravan mode and especially Hi Score Mode.

Step 1: Original Mode
As noted in the intro, this game does not retain your score if you lose all your lives and have to continue. Because of this, make sure you definitely go into game settings to increase your lives to max and lower the difficulty to 1. Then make sure to abuse the Create Interrupt Save as you go. Refer to the "Score 600,000 points" achievement solution for more information. Once you reach 600,000 points, let yourself die until you run out of lives, don't continue, then post your high score. That'll get you 5 achievements for 400.

Step 2: Caravan Mode
I recommend doing Caravan Mode second because the scores are lower and more manageable than Hi Score Mode. For these achievements, you're going to need to beat the first level without dying and then progress a little way into the second level to reach 120,000 points. This will definitely take some practice to get used to the first level and learn it, but you'll absolutely need it for the next step.

Step 3: Hi Score Mode
This is the toughest part of this game. Reaching 200,000 points is going to require you to finish the first two levels without dying. The first level will eventually become a piece of cake, but the second level has some very bullet-hell parts to it that can drive you crazy. There is no way around it: you're going to need to practice both levels a lot unless you get really lucky. Once you beat the second level's boss without dying that should put you over the 200,000 point threshold. Let yourself die and upload your score to get your last achievements.

Conclusion:
Pulstar is a pretty generic shoot-em-up game with some very difficult scores and tough gameplay. Getting the last Hi Score Mode achievement will really test your patience. But if you managed it, congrats on a very well-earned completion.

[XBA would like to thank Necrophage33 for this Roadmap]

ACA NEOGEO: Pulstar Achievement Guide

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There are 12 achievements with a total of 1000 points

  • The score has been posted to the online rankings.

    After having game over in any mode, the game will ask if you want to post your score to the online leaderboard. Go ahead and do so, and this achievement will unlock.

  • High score has been updated.

    After having game over in Original Mode, if your score is high enough you'll be able to input your initials for the local leaderboard. This will come naturally while obtaining the achievements in Original Mode.

  • The score won 200,000 points.

    Refer to the "Score 600,000 points" achievement solution for more information.

  • The score won 400,000 points.

    Refer to the "Score 600,000 points" achievement solution for more information.

  • The score won 600,000 points.

    First off, be aware that this game resets your score if you lose all of your lives and have to continue. So make sure you definitely go into the Game Settings and lower the difficulty to 1 and increase your lives to the maximum. Even with these settings tweaked like this, this game is very difficult, so be prepared to use the Create Interrupt Save data.

    If you're not familiar with how that works, whenever there is a lull in the battle (to ensure you'll be safe) pause the game and choose Create Interrupt Save. You now have a checkpoint created for yourself to fall back on.

    As you destroy enemies in this game, they'll drop power ups. Pick up the blue P orbs until you get the one that has a charged up shot with the green blasts that fan around and circle back to the center. This is the best upgrade to your gun. Grab all the other upgrades, such as the red H and red B. You'll get homing rockets and a little thing next to your ship that also shoots when you do. Also be absolutely sure to grab all the S power ups. These increase your movement speed and are incredibly important to help you dodge enemies and bullets.

    Another important thing to be aware of is that when you upgrade your blaster and have that big thing in front of your ship, that thing actually serves as a shield. You can actually let projectiles hit that thing and you don't have to worry about dying from the front (unless you run into an actual enemy). So make sure to take full advantage of that and use it to soak up bullets to reduce the amount of dodging you have to do.

    Lastly, if you die you lose all your power ups. This makes the game pretty much impossible after level 1. So you need to be making interrupt saves every time there's a lull and make sure you complete every level without dying. This is not only imperative so that you retain your upgrades but also because you get a 50,000 point bonus if you beat a level without dying.

    Even with that bonus, you're going to need to get to level 6 or so to reach 600,000 points, so be prepared for a ton of saves and reloading. There are tons of places that are cheap or just bullet hell where it's very easy to die. But persist and practice and you'll be able to reach this score eventually.

  • The score has been posted to the online rankings in the "HI SCORE MODE".

    After having game over in Hi Score Mode, the game will ask you if you want to post your score to the online leaderboard. Choose to do so and this achievement will unlock.

  • HI SCORE MODE 100,000 points.

    Refer to the "HI SCORE MODE 200,000 points" achievement solution for more information.

  • HI SCORE MODE 150,000 points.

    Refer to the "HI SCORE MODE 200,000 points" achievement solution for more information.

  • HI SCORE MODE 200,000 points.

    Hi Score Mode doesn't allow you to change the game settings, so you'll be playing on a decent difficulty. You also only have two lives, but for the sake of these achievements you won't be able to die anyway. Dying makes you lose all of your upgrades, and there's virtually no way you're going to be able to progress without upgrades. You also get a 50,000 point bonus for beating a level without dying, but only 10,000 if you die. So essentially you're going to need to beat the first two levels of the game without dying. That'll put you around 210,000 points. That's not to say you can't die, but dying will make things insanely difficult depending on where you die, probably even impossible if you die in the thick of level 2.

    As far as tips, read everything written in the "Score 600,000 points" achievement solution. I have posted a video below showing my successful run. You'll see at 1:42 I grab the power up that gives the green blasts I referred to, and you'll notice I dodge all other P power ups. I recommend keeping this one throughout your attempt. Aside from those general gameplay tips, here are some more specific to this mode:

    Level 1

    • There isn't anything too complicated here. Just always have a charged up shot ready for the long red worm enemies to shoot their heads and kill them in one shot. Especially the third one, notice how I back against the wall to get a shot at its head.
    • As noted above, grab all the power ups up to that P at 1:42 to get the best gun upgrade, then avoid all the gun power ups after that.
    • The green miniboss of sorts can be killed in three fully charged shots. Have the first one waiting, and you should easily be able to get the third off before his first shot reaches you. Also, take all your shots from as far back as possible so your green blasts can converge on him.
    • For the boss, three charged shots will take out the snake head. For the body, shoot from as far back left as possible (something I didn't do often enough in the video) and don't forget about those little enemies that get sent out. Make sure they don't get you from behind.

    Level 2

    • You absolutely need to have a charged up shot ready for the huge pincer beetles, especially the long yellow worm enemies, and the long red horizontal enemies. Shoot the yellow worm enemies in the head to kill them in one shot before they can start circling the area and shooting at you from all sides. These enemies need to be top priority.
    • You'll need to make heavy use of the shield in front of your ship in this level. Try to keep enemies and bullets in front of you as much as possible.
    • The level really starts getting difficult when you go down to the bottom and the water is above you. This is where the pincer beetles come in from both sides. Just charge up a shot and alternate between the top and bottom. The most important thing here is going up to the top with a charged shot to hit those spider like enemies on the ceiling. They can really surprise you with a shot directly down at you. Get rid of them ASAP. Also, don't be afraid to move ahead of enemies here, but be careful you don't get clipped from behind.
    • Right after that part, be ready to shoot the heads of the yellow worms again.
    • After that section you'll be swarmed by those red yarn ball things and then lots of small enemies. Your shield is critical here. Just alternate semi charged shots between the top and bottom to always keep the projectiles in front of you.
    • The boss isn't terribly difficult, the problem is just that you don't get much practice on him. The main tip here is that when he releases all of those dark orbs, go up and shoot them above him like I do. You want to destroy them as far away from you as possible so the projectiles they release have time to spread out by the time they reach you.

    Even with all those tips, be ready to practice. It may even be worth playing in Original mode with a save state at the start of level 2 and just practice it a bit, especially the bullet hell sections and the boss.

  • CARAVAN MODE 40,000 points.

    Refer to the "CARAVAN MODE 120,000 points" achievement solution for more information.

  • CARAVAN MODE 80,000 points.

    Refer to the "CARAVAN MODE 120,000 points" achievement solution for more information.

  • CARAVAN MODE 120,000 points.

    In Caravan Mode you can't change the game settings and you have 5 minutes to get as much score as possible. To reach 120,000 points, you're going to need to complete the first level without dying. Doing so will put you at around 110,000 points at the start of the second level, so you can just shoot up the first few sets of enemies to easily get the remaining score you need.

    Completing the first level without dying will be the hard part, but with some practice it's pretty readily doable. Refer to the "Score 600,000 points" achievement solution for multiple general gameplay tips, and then to the "HI SCORE MODE 200,000 points" achievement solution for tips on the first level as well as a video of the first two levels completed without dying.

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Author

  • Necrophage33

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