Kizuna Jigoku Tachi
/ AMI, 2002
| System | Fighters
| Gameplay| Graphics
Sound & music | Final
words | Screens
are all, as fans of the shmup genre, very lucky - very lucky indeed.
Not only did Cave bring out a ripping sequel to one of our
most treasured shooters Dodonpachi, but they also released
another fan bloody-tastic shmup on the side; Ketsui.
Kizuna Jigoku Tachi - which approximately translated means;
Ketsui [cutting] the bonds of hell - is a manic shmupfest
that will keep your eyes sore and bleeding for a long time to come
- if, that is, you can find a place to play it. I first spent some
time with this game in Japan earlier in 2003, but I did not have
the time or resources to give it a real bashing. Now I have my very
own copy to get intimate with, and it has not been a disappointing
relationship to say the least.
2054 the world is flooded by global warming, and the new changes
in the continents have caused a range of new warring factions to
develop. One evil entity in particular is the EVAC corporation who
are heavily involved in weapons manufacturing, much to the chagrin
of the United Nations. In response, the UN demands a stop to all
weapons manufacture, but of course the evil folks at EVAC refuse,
and a plan to shut them down is called for. The UN's great idea
is to fly in a special strike fighter and sabotage the corp's weapons
base. The catch is though, whoever takes the job can never return,
but will be freed thereforth from the world and its worries (or
something like that) if they survive. With the call to arms in the
wind, along come four young punks who sign their lives away to go
head to head with the evil and ridiculously well armed EVAC corp.
again we see a group of young, rebellious and obviously gifted young
kids taking on the evil corporate world. It is a bit washy, but
I loved it in ESP.Rade, and I love it here too.
your fighter has two firing modes, aided by a set of invincible
slaves that trail behind you; tapping the A button (or holding
the C button) fires your standard shot, while holding the
A button down causes your slaves to lock on to an enemy and
pound it with lasers. This also causes your fighter to fire a thick
and fast laser directly out in front. Combined, this does a lot
of damage. Your lock will automatically select the closest enemy
in a direct front line from your fighter, so there is no control
over this apart from moving left or right to line up with the object
you want to sight. Your lock can target more than one object, however
it's range is decreased if more than one enemy is locked. Your ship
also slows down when holding the A button - just like, well,
you know those other games.
course, hitting B lobs out a bloody huge bomb. You start
with three bombs, and collect more as you go, as well as powerups
to increase your weapon power. Initially you have only two slaves,
which increases to four as your weapon power grows. There are 5
scoring system is fairly straightforward however I have not figured
out exactly how the maths work, cuz' it is all moving so fast. The
idea is to collect numbered boxes that are released from dying enemies
to increase your multipliers. These boxes are numbered from 1 to
5, and are sucked into your ship as you shoot, so you don't have
to chase them down. The closer you are to an enemy when you kill
it the higher the box value. Each box you collect adds to your score
multiplier, which in turn adds to your total box score for that
level. This final box amount counts down as you fight the end of
level boss, so the idea is to blast him as quick as you can. Once
the level ends, this remaining box score is then racked up to get
your final score, along with any bonuses for having full lives and
chain system works on repeatedly getting high numbered boxes from
slain enemies. For example, if you kill a baddie up close and it
pops out a fiver, your chain goes to 5, and a chain timer counts
down from 55 (or 60, my eyes are too slow). The higher the counter
each kill, the higher the box you get. The idea is to keep this
pumping because it acts as a multiplier to your multiplier (as far
as I can tell anyway).
have not found any secret items like medals or bonuses as yet. That
does not mean they are not there though, and I would be surprised
if there wasn't the odd secret in there. Please mail
me if you know something that I don't.
(well, choppers to be precise)
are only two types of fighters in Ketsui, which is no more
and no less than is needed.
Type A is called the Tiger Shwert and is piloted by two kids
named Alice Blackburn and Lloyd Evansman. This little
beasty has a wide shot and moves at a medium pace. It's shot is
a little weak, but once it is fully powered it is a great screen
clearer. The Type B is named the Panzer Jager and is piloted
by two other kids named Steele Yurec and Yuma Nanase.
This chopper is faster, but it only fires a linear shot, which is
a bit stronger than the Type A. The wide shot of the Type A can
be good for clearing out the enemies at the sides, which is handy
for survival if nothing else, but the Type B's speed makes up for
its lack of peripheral reach.
which one is best? Don't ask me. All I know is that the Type A is
better for survival, whereas the Type B is much more fun to fly.
Basically, both fighters are pretty close, and their lock-on lasers
are of equal strength. A hare to a rabbit...
would have liked to have been able to write this bit without making
references or comparisons to other Cave shmups, but this
would be like trying explain the color green without referring to
the colors blue and yellow. Sure, it is a Cave no doubt,
but Ketsui has a style and appeal all of its own. Firstly,
it is a hell of a lot faster than any other Cave shmup I
have played, with exception maybe to Dangun Feveron.
that I have not played DDPDJ to any great extent as yet.
first sit down at Ketsui I freaked out and knocked over the
ashtray, even though I had spent the last few months embedded in
DDP. It may not be particularly harder than DDP, but
it sure comes at you quick. Secondly, it is much simpler - as far
as I can tell so far - than the others. The scoring and shot systems
seem very basic, but this is not a bad thing at all. There can be
so much happening at any one time that you will be far too busy
hooting with mad relish to worry about points.
definitely has all of the the manicness of DF and DDP.
Some of the bullet spreads are very reminiscent of DF bosses,
with cluttered, rotating and staggered bullet mazes that do no less
than short-circuit your brain - don't be surprised if you lose command
of your native language for a few minutes after playing! Come to
mention it, it is of a very similar pace to DF, however with
more bullets (you don't have to chase down score items either).
You can see the influences from both DF and DDP quite
and it scrolls backwards in some places, like when you descent into
the EVAC base, which is a nice touch.
has a great illustrative graphic style. It reminds me of Strikers
a little bit, especially the bosses. The background art is sensational,
as is to be expected from the Cave team. The
fighters, enemy bullets and enemies are like DDP; pink and
blue (the bullets I mean). Your fighter shots are big metal slugs,
similar to DDPDJ. The Type B fires huge, well, brass rockets.
I read that the artwork, like so many other great shmups, was
created by Junya
Inoue (or Joker Jun, as he is known to most).
music is very good. There are some really nicely composed tracks
in there with good beats to get you involved. I am not sure who
composed it, but you can buy the soundtrack at the Cave
website. Each track is nicely placed in the gameplay without
being too fast, slow, quiet or loud. Most of the music has been
in my head for the last 5 days, but I guess that's what happens
when you hear it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
sound effects are chunky and satisfying. Just what they need to
be. The Approach your target and attack! dialog is there
Kizuna Jigoku Tachi is very much a game that you learn how to
beat, while still demanding enough skill from the player to keep
it challenging, even when you know all the patterns and perils.
While to most it will seem a little simple compared to it's contemporaries,
it is overall a
freaking blast to play. The lock-on system is simple but very satisfying,
and the pace keeps you constantly immersed until the final bang.
shmup fans get their yens worth for sure.
for the blurry pictures. I guess these screens kinda show the movement
better, even though you can't really see whats going on too well...