By William Haderlie / November 30th, 2016
|Developer||Cave Interactive Co.|
|Genre||Bullet Hell Shooter|
|Age Rating||General Audiences|
As I stated in the review for Deathsmiles, I’m an unabashed fan of Cave shooters. And what a time it is to be a fan of this genre. Unfortunately, for many years, it was quite frustrating to be a fan of this developer. Console ports of these games were very rare and difficult to find, and even then the quality was often not up to snuff. Even when arcades still littered the urban landscape here in the United States, it was very rare to find a true bullet hell shooter, let alone one from Cave. This developer has always been equivalent to Square Enix with the JRPG; they are the kings of the bullet hell shooter. In fact, for many that genre is even named ‘Cave shooters’ instead of ‘bullet hell shooters’. But now we are getting complete versions of their games released on Steam, and DoDonPachi Resurrection is the third one released this year.
Not only have we been getting the arcade perfect renditions of these games, but Cave and Degica have gone the extra mile to include every version of these games available in one complete package. For DoDonPachi Resurrection that means there are eight different Arcade Modes and then Score Attack and Training. Because the bullet hell shooter genre is such a technical series of games, and because their audience is so passionate, it is very important that they include as many screen options as possible. The developer has definitely followed through on this, making an already amazing package of releases even more definitive.
Even though this is the third Cave shooter on Steam this year, DoDonPachi Resurrection has a particular distinction among that group for me personally. It is the first of the three which was completely new to me. Even though this was one of Cave’s first games, it has been extremely rare outside of Japan. With Deathsmiles and Mushihimesama, they were rare but I was able to find and play them in years past. Deathsmiles is possibly their most famous game franchise, but from all indications DoDonPachi seems to be their number two most popular. As such it was a bit of a glaring hole in my bullet hell past. Now that I’ve actually played through all the different versions of this game through the years, I can see why it was so well regarded. The game story is somewhat nonsensical, but that is pretty standard with all games in this sub-genre. The characters however are quite appealing, and I would place its story and characters somewhere between Deathsmiles (at the top) and Mushihimesama (at the bottom). But, really, adding cute robot waifus to any game makes it better.
The eight arcade modes are each interesting in their own right, but in many ways they can be split into three different categories. One of the very few issues I had with this game is the lineup of modes. I would prefer they lined them up in a different way to make it a bit more obvious to newcomers what order they should play them in. The first category belongs to the original arcade game, with a couple alterations. Those modes are called Normal ver 1.5, Normal ver 1.51, and Training. If you are a newcomer to this game, or especially to bullet hell and Cave shooters, I would strongly recommend you try Training first. Training reduces the bullets coming at you by quite a bit and gets you used to some of the mechanics. For any veteran of bullet hell shooters, you should be able to beat that mode easily with no continues, as I was able to my first try.
Normal ver 1.5 would be the next one you should try, but you may want to go into its individual options (after you select the game type) to lower the difficulty and increase your number of ships. It’s fairly easy to beat these games because they have infinite continues, but that is not really the point of the games. The point is to beat it without having to continue so you can rack up the highest score possible. Also the final stage is inaccessible if you have to continue (as it is in almost every bullet hell shooter). Normal ver 1.51 is a Cave Matsuri special edition of the game which changes up the scoring and the controls a bit. In general, I like the combo system of this mode better than the original version.
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