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Donpachi

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Dodonpachi
Dodonpachi II: Bee Storm

Page 3:
Dodonpachi Dai-Ou-Jou
Daioujou Black Label
Black Label EXTRA
Dodonpachi Blissful Death

Page 4:
Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu
Daifukkatsu Ver 1.5
Black Label
Resurrection

Page 5:
Dodonpachi Resurrection HD
Dodonpachi MAXIMUM

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Dodonpachi Saidaioujou
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Dodonpachi Resurrection / Dodonpachi Resurrection HD - iOS, Android (August 28, 2010)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD (iOS)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD (iOS)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD (iOS)

In 2010, Cave decided to get into the booming smartphone market, and began porting their SH3 games (arcade shmups released after 2004) to iOS and Android devices. Their first release was a port of Espgaluda II, and was successful enough to prompt Cave into porting more of their SH3 games to smartphones. About six months after the release of Espgaluda II, Cave released their next game, Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu under the translated title of Dodonpachi Resurrection for English speaking countries. The game itself features updated HD graphics, translated endings and menus, as well as a new (barely) English-speaking Operator. While the original Japanese operator is available, it requires the user to change their device's origin to Japan for it to work. This release also contains two different gameplay modes: an Arcade Mode (a port of Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Version 1.5) and a newly optimized "Smartphone Mode", which features a new gameplay system, and, for the first time ever, the ability to play as the "Supreme Killing Weapon" itself: Hibachi. Also included are training modes for each gameplay mode, with the ability to select from the Normal, Omote, and Ura loops (though the loops and stages must first be reached in the game before selectable). The game also includes a decent tutorial explaining how to properly play each mode, providing a basic explanation of the different gameplay systems.

Gameplay

The controls have been modified to use Cave's wonderful touch controls. As in all of Cave's mobile releases, the player is always shooting by default. Players manipulate their ship by simply sliding their finger across the screen. Doing so will cause the player's ship to mirror the movement relative to its current position with a stunning 1:1 accuracy. This movement system removed the various movement speed limitations found in the arcade game, but it feels great and ultimately gives the player an unprecedented level of control. Players control the Shot, Hyper, Bomb, and Laser commands via on screen soft buttons, but they are spaced too far apart on tablets, making it very difficult to operate effectively without setting it on a table. Players can also adjust the size of the screen, or have it flipped (for better headphone jack placement) though the controls remain the same regardless of screen size or view mode (but they are flipped accordingly).

The new Smartphone Mode centers around a new system dubbed the SM Mode, where the S stands for Slaughter, and the M, Menace. Overall, the Slaughter and Menace Modes act like the Power Style's Boost and Normal Modes, respectively. Players will have a boosted Shot and Laser while the Slaughter Gauge is completely filled, otherwise they are forced to use a much weaker versions of their weapons. When in Slaughter Mode, the score multiplier will rapidly decrease, but players can gain more score items by destroying enemies up close. Menace Mode acts like the bullet scraping systems found in most doujin games (most notably the Touhou series). Menace Mode causes a red circle called the "Scrape Field" to appear around the player's ship. Players will want to maneuver the ship in such a way that enemy bullets will pass through the red circle, but not hit the player. This is called "scraping". In the Smartphone Mode, scraping against enemy bullets will shift the SM Gauge towards Menace Mode. When the Menace Mode bar is maxed out, the player's Hyper Gauge will increase at a much faster rate than normal. Regardless if the player is in full or only partial Menace Mode, so long as they are in Menace Mode, the score multiplier on the left side of the screen will increase up to x 1,000.

The Hyper Counter system has also undergone some changes in the Smartphone Mode. For starters, while it is possible to gain meter in Slaughter Mode, the only feasible way to fill the Hyper Gauge by being in full Menace Mode. When the Hyper Counter is activated, the player's ship will now be fixed to its current location, and the player can now have their ship attack in a particular direction by rotating their fingers around the ship. As the ship rotates, the player will start to gain "Hyper Charges", which power-up the strength of the Hyper Cannon, a separate attack activated by pulling the handles apart during a Hyper Counter. There are a total of three levels of Hyper Charge, with the highest level taking up the entire screen! However, using the Hyper Cannon will move the player's ship to the bottom middle of the screen, which can put the player in a very bad spot. See, after the Hyper Cannon finishes, the player is unable to move their ship for a few seconds after the fact. Normally that wouldn't be an issue, except in this case the invulnerability upon exiting the Hyper Counter expires before the player can regain control of their ship, which can easily lead to death if used in the wrong spots (such as the Laser turrets in Stage 5). Lastly, canceling bullets via the Hyper Counter will cause the gauge to shift towards Slaughter Mode, and using the Hyper Cannon will cause it to shift even faster; but, the score multiplier does not decrease while using the Hyper Counter, making it very useful for big score boosts. It is possible to stock up another Hyper Counter while in Hyper Mode, and before the shift to Slaughter Mode, however, as the shift usually occurs when using the Hyper Cannon.

Resurrection HD features an Auto Bomb ability that cannot be turned off. The Auto Bomb feature is present in both the Smartphone and Arcade Modes. In this version of the game, the Auto Bomb works much like it did with Bomb Style, only using one bomb if triggered, though it will reset any currently active chains or score multipliers if used. The bee items are still present in the Smartphone Mode, and have been modified for use with the new system. In the Smartphone Mode, collecting a green bee item moves the SM Gauge towards M; likewise, collecting a gold bee shifts the SM Gauge towards S. Collecting a flashing bee icon does not affect the SM Gauge, instead increasing the score multiplier by 150 points, even if the player is in Slaughter Mode.

Smartphone Scoring

Scoring in Resurrection HD is a constant push and pull between the Slaughter and Menace Modes. Players will want to raise their score multiplier to its maximum value of 1,000 as fast as possible by scraping bullets in maximum Menace Mode. Then, once the multiplier is maxed, they will want to shift into maximum Slaughter Mode as fast as possible and destroy enemies at point-blank range to generate the large point items. Players should try not to let the multiplier drop below 500. In practice players should only stay in Slaughter Mode for a short time before dashing back over to Menace Mode to the multiplier back up to 1,000. Players will also want to gain a full Hyper Gauge as fast as possible, and then trigger it when surrounded by bullets, causing numerous bullet scrapes and thereby giving a decent Hyper Gauge refill without decreasing the multiplier before the Hyper Counter ends, leaving the player in Slaughter Mode with a x1000 multiplier. At which point the process will just start all over again. Be mindful of the Hyper Cannon though, as improperly timed uses can lead to a cheap death.

Smartphone Mode Music

Resurrection HD features an exclusive soundtrack composed by Kenichi Maeyamada. Resurrection HD's soundtrack isn't bad, it's just very underwhelming. Kenichi Maeyamada really went for a completely different feel than the original music, causing it to fall short more often than not. The new track against Golden Disaster, "Where's the Happy Ending?" actually fits quite decently, even if it just a remix of Black Label's "Desperado". But then other songs like Hibachi's theme, "Battle for the Last" just don't match up with the action onscreen. The original composition, "]-[|/34<#!" captured the fight perfectly. It was blisteringly fast, and overwhelmingly chaotic. "Battle for the Last" has none of these elements, instead opting for a brisk upbeat electronica tune that just doesn't belong.

Final Thoughts On Resurrection HD

The Arcade Mode of the game suffers from some extensive slowdown in the later stages (especially on the higher difficulties), but other than that it's a good representation of the original game. The slowdown is a real shame, because the specs for the iPad are much higher than the original Arcade version, which means that this is the result of a poorly optimized port. There are also some odd glitches that can occur if the player is fooling around during gameplay. Rapidly tapping the screen multiple times in different places can cause the ship to jump around the screen, or even offset the input detection, making it harder to control. The only way to fix it is to exit the current run.

Scoring in the Smartphone Mode is not fun. Actually, the Smartphone Mode itself isn't fun. The enemy locations and bullet patterns remain unaltered from the Arcade Mode, which makes it very difficult to maintain Menace Mode unless playing on the Hard difficulty. Regardless, the mode has some serious problems with the core system itself. As it stands, not having a maxed out Slaughter or Menace Mode is a serious detriment to scoring, and because of high amount of enemies, it can be very hard to maintain Menace Mode for very long. Being able to play as Hibachi is a nice little treat, but Hibachi is nowhere near as powerful as he is in his True Last Boss form, though he would probably cause the game to lag so badly that the game would become unplayable. The Xbox 360 release of Dodonpachi Resurrection may have been one of Cave's greatest and fullest releases, and puts the iOS version of this game to shame. That said, Resurrection HD isn't a bad game by any means, it is just that the Xbox 360 port of the game is the vastly superior version of the two ports.

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Dodonpachi Resurrection HD(iOS)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD(iOS)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD(iOS)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD(iOS)

Dodonpachi Resurrection HD(iOS)


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Dodonpachi MAXIMUM - Windows Phone 7, iOS (March 7, 2012)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

After porting several of their arcade titles to mobile phones, Cave finally decided to make a shmup experience tailor made for smartphones and the current state of mobile gaming. Dodonpachi MAXIMUM is Cave's the first shmup style game that was designed from the ground up for mobile devices. Originally developed exclusively for Windows Phones, Dodonpachi MAXIMUM breaks away from the traditional DonPachi series' staples, instead focusing on shorter, more compact gameplay, a simplistic scoring system, and high replay value. Cave focused on having the game act like a simulation, allowing them to reuse existing ideas and patterns from existing games. Cave really took the "simulation" aspect and ran with it, allowing them to make the game a celebration of Cave's military shmups, and not have to worry about creating a new world and enemy designs, while allowing them to come up with new gameplay systems designed for mobile devices.

Story

The story is very simple, and it actually was not in the original Windows Phone 7 release, but was added into the iOS version when it was released on October 26, 2012. EVAC Industries researcher Dr. Ingram K. Daugh invited the player to have a glimpse at EVAC Industries' history in developing cutting edge weaponry. To do this, he has created the Maximum Bullet Simulator, or MBS. EVAC Industries (from Ketsui) is having a technology showcase to demonstrate their weapons technology and capability to the world/potential investors, one of whom is the player, who boards the Maximum Bullet Simulator (MBS), where the game takes place.

Characters

Dr. Ingram K. Daugh

The lead researcher at EVAC Industries and responsible for the creation of its overwhelming weaponry.

Tour Conductor

A mysterious person who fully supports Dr. Daugh. Despite her looks, she is quite capable and will everything in her power to ensure that this technology showcase runs smoothly.

1 minuite Ray

Wants to sabotage Dr. Daugh's plans, so that the world will see that she is superior to the Doctor's weapons. She plans to do this by dropping the simulator's difficulty level so that anyone can beat it, and in doing so tarnish his reputation. Wears what looks to be a Nintendo Powerglove.

Gameplay

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM serves as a celebration of Cave's military shooters: the DonPachi series, Ketsui, and Akai Katana, compiling various stages and ships together in a sort of "best of" or "dream match" scenario, allowing players to see how ships from one series would fair if set against a stage from another series. The core gameplay and scoring systems are very simple, removing any sort of power-up items, and score items spawning from enemies as they are defeated. In addition to simply surviving, players are tasked with completing three objectives in each stage, and determine what version of the next stage is unlocked. That's right, MAXIMUM features branching paths, with more difficult versions of each (sans the first stage). Clearing a stage will unlock the next stage along the same path, but if the player successfully meets at least two of the three requirements in a single run, the harder version of the next stage will unlock instead. Despite being a mobile game, the enemy patterns (especially on the harder levels) are very close to the patterns used in the original games. Additionally, MAXIMUM contains an Easy Mode, which features slower bullets and less dense bullet patterns. The Easy Mode also has its own separate story, with 1 minuite Ray. A nice touch.

In MAXIMUM, players control their ship just like they do in Cave's other mobile ports. The player's ship in MAXIMUM will always be firing, and this feature cannot be turned off. There are two different types of weapons in MAXIMUM, the Shot and the Laser. The Laser is generally more powerful, and increases the combo gauge when attacking enemies, but it does not fill the Laser Bomb gauge when destroying enemies like the Shot does. Speaking of, the Laser Bomb is MAXIMUM's equivalent to the Smart Bomb / Hyper Laser seen in other Cave shmups. Players can only hold one Laser Bomb at a time. There are two ways to activate the Laser Bomb: by default, the Laser Bomb is activated by pressing two fingers on the screen, or can be triggered automatically if Auto Bombing is enabled and the player has a Laser Bomb ready for use. The Laser Bomb is a powerful blast that attacks every enemy on screen every few frames for massive damage. The Laser Bomb also causes the combo's HIT counter to skyrocket, due to the "Laser" part of the Laser Bomb. As per usual, the Auto Bomb version of the Laser Bomb lasts for a much shorter duration than if it was manually triggered. Finally, players can turn the Auto Bomb feature off, as well as change the Laser Bomb trigger to be just one finger touching the screen (sort of an "automatic" option).

There are a total of five ships in MAXIMUM, with each ship hailing from a different game. As a little bonus, each ship uses the original announcer from its original game. The first ship is the "Shot Type" RSF-45 Type-A (From Dodonpachi Blissful Death), and is unlocked by default. The Type-A focuses on using the shot weapon, which results in more Laser Bombs, as the Laser Bomb Gauge is filled by destroying enemies with the Shot. The second ship is the "Laser Type" Delta Sword (The Type A from Dodonpachi Resurrection), and is also unlocked by default. This ship focuses on using the Laser weapon, making it very good for increasing the combo HIT counter, but fills Laser Bomb Gauge at a slower pace than the Type-A ship. The third ship is the "Lock-on Type" Tigerschwert (From Ketsui), and must be unlocked by beating any version of Stage 5 with any ship at least once. This ship is a scoring monster, and is the highest scoring ship in MAXIMUM. Although its Laser only goes 3/4 of the screen, it is very powerful and can rapidly increase the HIT counter. The Tigerschwert's options act as its Shot, and can be locked onto a target and continue to attack it even if the player decides to shift focus and attack something else with the Laser. The fourth ship is known as the "Bomb Type" Orchid (From Akai Katana), which must be unlocked by beating Stage 5 with the Tigerschwert. The reason this ship is known as the "Bomb Type" is due to its numerous Shot projectiles (focused in front of the ship), with the option and the outermost shot being acting as the Laser. Since destroying enemies with the Shot is what fills the Laser Bomb Gauge, the Orchid therefore excels at filling the gauge the fastest. The fifth ship is the "Variable Type" MX-07 Uoratou (From Uo Poko & Dangun Feveron). This ship was added in the iOS version of the game, and was later made available in the Windows Phone version via an update. Uoratou is an odd ship to use, consisting of two different firing modes that fire either the Shot or Laser exclusively. When the ship is not moving, Uoratou will fire a powerful Laser in front of him, but if the player moves at all, even a tiny bit, Uoratou will switch to firing his Shot weapon. The Shot features five different streams of bullets, three of which fire directly in front of him, and his two options automatically fire towards enemies.

In most shmups, the game's stages serve as nothing more than a background for the action or provide a theme for the enemies. MAXIMUM is no exception to this observation, in fact, MAXIMUM's stages exist for that very reason, yet they are important enough to list each stage individually, as MAXIMUM's stages all hail from other games. Although each stage of MAXIMUM comes from a different game, the stage order itself matches that of the original game. For example, MAXIMUM's Stage 1, "2008 Tokyo", is also the first stage of Dodonpachi Resurrection. Likewise, Stage 2 "Battle City" is from Dodonpachi, and is also the second stage in that game. The third stage, "Defensive Line" is the third stage from Ketsui. Stage 4 "Fortress", is also Stage 4 in Dodonpachi Blissful Death, the stage's original game. And the last stage, Stage 5 is Dodonpachi Resurrection's final stage "The Dividing Road of Fate".

The enemies, mid boss, and stage boss, are all taken and adapted from the stage's original game. The enemy placement and bullet patterns attempt to be as true as possible within MAXIMUM's system, and for the most part, succeeds in this regard. As a special bonus, successfully completing Stage 5-C, 5-D, or 5-E will have the player face off against Taisabachi/Golden Disaster (from Dodonpachi Resurrection) after defeating the regular boss. And, if players manage to beat him on Stage 5-E, then will then face off against Hibachi (from Dodonpachi Blissful Death). Of course, there is a special round which ends with a face off against Evaccaneer Doom.

Although there the enemies of MAXIMUM come in all shapes and sizes, with the exception of the bosses, enemies only come in three different color types: green, blue, and red. If a player comes into contact with a green enemy, they will lose a life. Players can touch blue enemies all they want with no consequence. Red enemies are indestructible and usually represent pieces of scenery. Running into red enemies will destroy the player's ship just like green enemies do.

Scoring

Scoring in Dodonpachi MAXIMUM is relatively simple compared to the other DonPachi releases. Actually the scoring system is a combination of DonPachi's chaining system and Ketsui-style proximity shooting. MAXIMUM's main scoring component is the chaining system, which acts like the GP System from other DonPachi games, with a very generous combo timer. In MAXIMUM, enemies have a specific point value displayed somewhere just outside of the enemy's sprite. When an enemy is destroyed, the combo timer is refilled, the combo counter is incremented by 1, and the enemy's point value is then added to the combo's bonus point value, in addition to having the new value be added to the total score. Hitting enemies with the Laser will increment the current combo's HIT value, and add 10 points to the combo's point value, and destroying enemies with the Shot will fill the Laser Bomb Gauge.

In addition to the enemies having a set point value (which is then multiplied by the combo counter) when destroyed, they will also drop a star item that awards additional points when collected. There are three types of star items: small star items worth 100 points, medium star items worth 300 points, and large star items worth 1,000 points. These points are added to the player's score, as well as the point bonus of the current combo. The closer the player is to an enemy when its destroyed will determine the size of the star item. To create the large star items, players will need to destroy enemies from point-blank range, meaning that memorization of enemy placement and shot patterns are essential if the player wishes to generate them consistently.

That said, the real goal with this game isn't so much score, as it is making at least two of the three requirements for unlocking the harder version of the next stage. The three requirements are: No Miss (don't lose a life), No Bomb (don't use the Laser Bomb), and destroy 100% (destroy all enemies in the stage). Of the three, the No Bomb is the hardest requirement to make, with No Miss being the easiest, as triggering the Auto Bomb does not count as losing a life, although it does count as a bomb. But once the player has used a bomb, there is no reason to hold back and can now use bombs freely throughout the rest of the stage. Now, for scoring, it is dreadfully simple: point-blank every enemy, spaced out properly so that the combo gauge never drops. Note that the combo gauge always drops before and after a mid-boss or boss encounter, but does not drop when using a Laser Bomb.

Music

Much like the game itself, the music of MAXIMUM consists of remixes of each stage's specific track from their original game. The original music was composed by Manabu Namiki, Azusa Chiba, and Yoshimi Kudo, of Basiscape, with Tetsuro Sato, otherwise known as WASi303, remixing and arranging their tracks for MAXIMUM. Overall, MAXIMUM's OST is very bass-heavy, too bass-heavy, in fact. The original track's melodies and main musical lines are present, but they are drowned out by the overwhelming bass. Additionally, the tracks just seem too...safe. Perhaps this is due to the bass, but the tracks have this feeling of just "going through the motions" with no real heart or emotion put into them. The Stage 3 track "Inception" (from Ketsui) is one of the few tracks to escape this trend, but only due to the original's simple, yet effective melody and backing track. Other tracks such as Hibachi's remix retains its blisteringly fast tempo, but it no longer has its "hyper-aggressive, in- your-face" feel that propelled the encounter to an even higher level of insanity.

Final Thoughts on MAXIMUM

For a mobile outing, MAXIMUM hits the necessary marks. The game is broken up into smaller segments of various lengths, allowing players to play according to how much time they have available. And due to the branching path and ranking systems, the game offers an incentive for replaying stages multiple times, and rewards players for doing so with more challenging gameplay. The rank system itself is fair as well, only requiring players to achieve two of the three possible requirements to unlock the harder path. There is also an easy mode for players who are not as skilled at shmups, or just want less of a challenge than the standard offering. Still, the bright colors can cause eye strain after even medium length sessions, especially when closing the game and doing something else. This effect is not quite like the "Tetris Effect", but feels more like the player's eyes need to readjust into "normal operation" from the optical overload MAXIMUM was unleashing upon the player. The game is great fun, and the simplistic gameplay systems combined with the ability to pilot different ships on numerous stages from different Cave games is a real treat, and very enjoyable.

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  • Daisuke Koizumi

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Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)

Dodonpachi MAXIMUM (iOS)


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Intro
Donpachi

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Dodonpachi
Dodonpachi II: Bee Storm

Page 3:
Dodonpachi Dai-Ou-Jou
Daioujou Black Label
Black Label EXTRA
Dodonpachi Blissful Death

Page 4:
Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu
Daifukkatsu Ver 1.5
Black Label
Resurrection

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Dodonpachi Resurrection HD
Dodonpachi MAXIMUM

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Dodonpachi Saidaioujou
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