Serving both as the primary battle mechanic and platforming utility, the Flashfield in tandem with the Kudos system is the game-defining aspect of Azure Striker Gunvolt that sets it apart from other side-scrolling platformers.
Gunvolt can surround himself with an electrical sphere called the Flashfield. This consumes EP.
When using the Flashfield in the air, Gunvolt will hover, slowing his descent and allowing him to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
More importantly, the Flashfield is Gunvolt's primary form of attack. While using it, he will automatically deal damage to tagged enemies regardless of their position. If a single enemy has been stacked with multiple tags, the Flashfield will deal even more damage.
The Flashfield also deals a small amount of contact damage to enemies who enter it, whether they're tagged or not. It can even block incoming projectiles, but be careful: energy-based projectiles are unblockable.
The Flashfield is Gunvolt's most effective mode of damage output. Its overall mechanic also provides opportunities for technical plays that may help Gunvolt effectively outmaneuver enemy attacks.
Gunvolt can "tag," or target, enemies by shooting them with "bolts," or weapons, he uses in battle. Tagged enemies can then be electrocuted continuously through the activation of the Flashfield—even at a distance. Gunvolt can mark enemies with up to three tags; each additional tag opens up more channels through which electricity can flow, thus increasing the damage per second. Gunvolt's weapon capabilities permitting, multiple enemies may be tagged at once, allowing for multi-kills.
Each bolt permits a different maximal number of tags at a time, which slightly determines battle style and gameplay. For example, the weapon "Naga" can tag up to five times at once, which opens up opportunities for multi-kills and ensures that a single enemy can be tagged for the greatest damage output. Conversely, the weapon "Mizuchi" allows only one tag at a time, making the weapon ill-suited for extensive battling.
Flashfield & Kudos
By utilizing the Flashfield, Gunvolt can accumulate score multipliers called "Kudos." The Kudos count determines the overall performance score in a stage, which in turn determines the rank received at the end of a mission.
As Gunvolt damages enemies with the Flashfield, the Kudos count increases. The rate of increase is accelerated when Gunvolt utilizes additional tags. Furthermore, technical kills with the Flashfield rewards Gunvolt with larger quantities of Kudos and are essential in attempting to achieve a high stage rank (i.e., S or S+). The different types of technical kills are listed below:
- Full Strike: Kill an enemy that is marked with three tags. +10 Kudos.
- Air Strike: Kill an enemy that is marked with three tags while Gunvolt is airborne. +30 Kudos.
- Double: Kill two enemies within a second. +100 Kudos.
- Triple: Kill three enemies within a second. +250 Kudos.
- Electrifying: Kill four enemies within a second. +400 Kudos.
Note: Full Strikes / Air Strikes can be stacked with Double, Triple, or Electrifying kills.
The Flashfield doubles as a protective barrier against most enemy projectiles, including missiles and bombs. Such projectiles will detonate upon impact when they make contact with the Flashfield, leaving Gunvolt (ideally) unharmed. In some cases, Gunvolt may activate his Flashfield too close to an incoming explosive, and the resulting explosion will hit Gunvolt. Energy-based projectiles such as raygun shots cannot be blocked with the Flashfield. Note: The Flashfield cannot shield Gunvolt from Copen's bullets.
|Stalling a surface-level attack|
The Flashfield has a secondary effect of slowing Gunvolt's descent during a fall or jump. This aspect can be utilized to stall the duration of a surface-level attack (e.g., Jota's lasers) or allow Gunvolt to glide over his enemies in anticipation of a sweeping attack (e.g., Viper's sliding kicks). Performing a dash-jump and then activating the Flashfield mid-air increases the speed at which Gunvolt can move laterally as he descends, allowing for quick glides across the screen.
The stages (and some boss fights) throughout Azure Striker Gunvolt challenge Gunvolt with a plethora of platforming tricks and puzzles which can be solved with the use of the Flashfield. In most cases, it's a simple matter of tagging specific objects and then charging them with electricity, but there are a few interesting platforming puzzles that require skillful use of the Flashfield. Below is a list of puzzles (named arbitrarily) which Gunvolt may encounter throughout the game:
In many cases a switch-activated door or elevator will hinder Gunvolt's progress throughout the stage. The only way to solve this dilemma is the find the switch, tag it, and then charge it with the Flashfield. In some cases, there may be multiple switches involved and thus require multiple tags at once.
- The elevator at the beginning of 1st Sumeragi ~Anthem~ introduces this puzzle.
- A pitfall-like door in Pharma Lab ~Garden~ requires Gunvolt to play this puzzle in order to proceed.
- Light switches are riddled throughout the Stratocombs ~Underworld~; in some cases, there are multiple light switches. Activating them is not only essential in terms of stage completion but is also very helpful in that activation lights up certain portions of the dark stage, making progress much easier.
- In the fight against Nova's second form, Nova's core (his one and only weak point) is shielded by a protective barrier. The one way to gain access to the core is to tag and electrocute the septimal entities on either side of Nova—doing so removes the barrier and gives Gunvolt the opportunity to tag and electrocute the Nova.
Disabling Barriers via Contact
This puzzle only appears in the boss fights against Nova (first form) and Asimov, both of whom are protected by barriers of sorts. Solving it grants Gunvolt the opportunity to deal significant damage to the bosses.
- In the fight against Nova's first form, Gunvolt must activate the Flashfield within the radius of Nova's barrier in order to temporarily disable it; once disabled, Gunvolt may proceed to tag and electrocute Nova.
- In the fight against Asimov, Gunvolt cannot damage Asimov by any means (e.g., shooting or Flashfield contact) unless he temporarily disables Asimov's Pervasion. In order to do so, Gunvolt must induce a voltage spike by activating his Flashfield within the radius of Asimov's; the resulting Overheat leaves Asimov temporarily vulnerable to tags and damage.
Hovering Across Magnetic Fields
Exclusive to Datastore ~Spintronics~ and all other emulations of the stage, this platforming scheme gives Gunvolt an alternative route in moving past spike pits. When Gunvolt activates the Flashfield under a magnetic roof, he will be propelled upwards but can still move laterally, allowing him to hover across enemies, traps, and objects on the surface below.
- Note: Air Hops and Air Dashes can accomplish the same goal but at a much higher EP cost.
Increasing Visibility in the Dark
Exclusive to the Stratacombs ~Underworld~ and all other emulations of the stage, this platforming scheme allows Gunvolt to see in the dark of the stage.
- Lamp-like, flying enemies that are scattered across the stage can be tagged and electrocuted to shine a cone of light underneath them. They will move away from Gunvolt's location upon being charged.
- Activating the Flashfield also provides visibility within its radius, allowing Gunvolt to observe the stage layout immediately surrounding him.
Moving Magnetic Objects
Exclusive to Datastore ~Spintronics~ and all other emulations of the stage, this platforming scheme oftentimes hinders Gunvolt's progress in completing the stage unless it is solved.
- In some instances, there are magnetic objects that serve as blockades to stage bottlenecks. Simply activate the Flashfield at a distance to draw the objects away from the bottlenecks to pass through.
- In other instances, there are magnetic platforms embedded within stage walls that can be pulled out through the activation of the Flashfield; these such platforms allow Gunvolt to proceed upwards at certain points of the stage.
Powering Mobile Platforms
Shielding Against Stage Hazards:
Slowing Descent / Increasing Lateral Reach: