"I LOVE IT!!!"
There are shmups, and then there are 'SHMUPS!'. Yes, we
all know how fantastically great Donpachi was (besides those
who play FPS' all day), but somehow, Dodonpachi manages
to be 110% better then it's predeccessor. Just like any
Cave shooter, Dodonpachi has mega-frenetic gameplay, superb
graphics, a good soundtrack (for once), and is also one
of the funnest games I've ever played! Let's (excitedly)
take a look.
Cave has pulled out all the stops with this one graphically.
The backgrounds are exquisitely detailed, enemies have great
mechanical design, and absolutely everything has gobs and
gobs of animation. It's not 'living cartoon' quality or
something lame like that, but instead is just right for
a shmup. In all, this game is a sight for the eyes.
Some excellent hard-rock accentuates the action, but after
stage 3, the music repeats from stage 1, and doesn't fit
the action as well as it does at the beginning. Also, they
got rid of the gruff-voiced guy from Donpachi, who I really
thought was great! I loved how he kept calling you rookie,
even into the last stage, and how he had great lines that
made my day like 'look at the size of that brattleship!(sic)'.
Instead, you get the same robotic sounding womans voice
you've heard in every space themed game since... er, I don't
know, but trust me, it's very atypical.
Simply fantastic. You can choose from 3 different ships
(all from Donpachi)-A very Raiden-ish ship, a helicopter,
and a blue guy with a wave shot. You can power up each ships
weapons to about level 3 or so, and can either rapidly tap
fire for a wider shot, or hold down the button for a beam,
which is better against stronger enemies and bosses. At
the beginning of the game, you can also decide from Shot
mode, which gives you more a wider and more powerful normal
shot, but a weaker beam, and Laser mode, which gives you
a shorter normal shot, and a more powerful beam.
During the actual game, it's pure craziness.
Enemies fire hundreds of shots at you, and bombard you almost
constantly, but there are some ways in which you can take
advantage of their large numbers. First, there's the combo
meter from the first game. This works almost exactly like
the combo meters in mostly every fighting game, whereas
the more enemies you destroy in a row, the higher the points
multiply. It's quite a challenge to stay alive while constantly
destroying enemies, and stopping from your killfest will
cause your combo to stop in it's tracks.
You've also got a bomb to destroy all the weak enemies,
and turn all shots into stars for incredible amounts of
points. There's also a secondary 'bomb' where you use a
bomb while using your beam, for a simply HUGE (think 1/3
the screen) mega-blast, which does immense damage to all
enemies, as well as taking away a ton of boss health. Part
of this games strategy is learning when to use your bomb,
and when to super laser blast.
Yes, Dodonpachi is one of the greatest shmups of all time,
and I strongly urge you to go out and play the game (if
you're in Japan), or get the rom! Beware, this game consumes
your cpu like a ravenous monster, (it makes my PIII 800
look like a 486) so use Raine for faster emulation, or get
Slightly less then Great:
-Repitition of Music past stage 3.
-The game ends, eventually.
It seems that Cave have singlehandedly invented the "manic
shmup" genre, with games like ESP Ra.De, Dangun
Feveron, Guwange and Donpachi. Their games
always seem to be the most graphically intense of the whole
genre, matching even the likes of G.Darius and Batsugun
in intensity. Dodonpachi is the sequel to Donpachi, and
continues on the predecessor's traditions. And THEN SOME!
Dodonpachi improves on it's predecessor almost flawlessly.
Graphically, Dodonpachi manages to keep the fantastic super-drtailed
look of every Cave game going, and even seems to improve
on it with all the special effects going around, such as
warping, super-transparency, hyper-scaling, speed scrolling
and many more. Everything you see goes berserk and still
manages to retain clarity. Nothing ever gets crowded, and
you know exactly where everything is at all times - it's
that neat. The bullets are easy to see, the enemies are
crisp, and your firepower never overwhelms the screen to
an extent where you can't see anything. Even the explosions
Audio-wise, all the many "BOOMs", "BANGs"
and "WHOOSHES" sound amazing - almost like there's
a small war in your game system. Lasers sound like lasers,
tanks rumble like tanks, planes sound like planes. It's
all very nice ear candy. You even get the background announcer
as well, although it does sound slightly different to Donpachi,
almost basic at times. But it suits the game well.
The game itself is very easy to get into. You have three
ships to select (all from Donpachi) - the red ship with
forward firepower, the green ship with variable firepower
and the blue ship with a very wide shot. However you get
a choice of which weapon area you get to power up - Shot
(for more powerful shots) or Laser (for a more powerful
laser, invaluable for bosses!), so it brings in a bit of
strategy to the game. Should I go for easy levels, or easy
The ships handle fluidly and are always controllable. The
game is totally fair when it comes to collision detection,
as much like Radiant Silvergun, you can only be destroyed
if a bullet completely hits you. You will find that at many
a time you will just graze a bullet or thirty, and yet you
stay alive. Be thankful, it's all part of the gameplay...
The enemy patterns and shot patterns are easy enough to
guess, but it's the sheer volume of bullets that make this
game hard. However, there is so much you can do with this
game to save your ass. Bombs, when used normally, will turn
every bullet into a point star, thus giving you the option
of playing like Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh (ie. recklessly).
Or you could play it like RayCrisis, and kill everything
as quickly as possible (my preferred method). Or you could
be a showoff, going through the game without using the bombs,
lasers or main shot. The scope for altering your game style
Dodonpachi is a very beautiful game, and a huge acandidate
(along with Guwange) for the anchoring of the shmups genre
in 2D. Practically all of Cave's output proves the fact
that "who needs 3D for a good shmup?" It's CPU
and RAM intensive already! And it's so manic it's fun! Highly