Review: DoDonPachi Resurrection

dodonpachi-titleDoDonPachi Resurrection is one of CAVE’s best shooters, and as anyone familiar with CAVE will already know – these guys are the masters of their genre. Originally released for the arcade in 2008 and then ported to Xbox 360 in 2011, DDPR has now arrived on Steam, and comes complete with enough modes to stand out as the definitive version of the game.

04 Although many aspects of DoDonPachi Resurrection will come across as unfriendly to newcomers, the truth is that this is one of CAVE’s most approachable games and as an excellent introduction to the developer’s flagship series. Resurrection, or “DaiFukkatsu” as it’s know in Japan, is the fifth game overall, and although it retains the series’ signature difficulty level, the game also has extensive customisation options that can be tailored to suit the unfamiliar. If you’ve never played a videogame before then I’d recommend starting out on novice and with auto-bomb enabled, that’ll be your best chance at survival.

Yet there’s still no denying that the large number of modes – some of which only contain minute differences – and the numbers-heavy scoring system makes DoDonPachi initially appear confusing. The game does a relatively poor job of explaining itself, but then this information is easily available elsewhere. If you can’t quite remember which is the mode where the score counter’s size increases every 5th digit then might I refer you to the DoDonPachi Resurrection wikipedia page.

01The game itself is a manic shoot ’em up with a futuristic Tokyo setting, giant robot anime bosses, and a fast-paced soundtrack that complements the mayhem nicely. The main appeal is the insane waves of bullets you are tasked with out maneuvering. Literally thousands of bullets can be onscreen at once, at times appearing so dense that they seem impossible to navigate between. Yet they can be skillfully dodged thanks to your ship’s tiny hitbox, and weaving between them with expert precision is a hugely fun and addictive challenge.

It’s simple to credit feed your way through the game’s five stages in roughly half an hour, but DoDonPachi is a game that asks you to master it, and the well-thought-out mechanics make it a rewarding title to get into. There’s a complex scoring system in play and the challenge of completing the game using only one credit is a daunting task that requires many hours of practice. As with all great arcade titles, this is something you play again and again.

08There’s a wide selection of modes on offer including the (thoroughly excellent) Black Label and 1.51 content that was originally released as DLC for the Xbox 360 version of the game. However for those already familiar with the title it’s the Black Label Arrange Mode, or ‘Ketsuipachi’ that’s likely to steal the show, as this version was previously only available on the Japanese region-locked disc based version of DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu Black Label. This varient features the scoring system, ship, and rearranged music from Ketsui – another of CAVE’s best games.

03Aside from content, the user interface and presentation of the Steam version DoDonPachi Resurrection is the same as the Xbox 360 game. This isn’t really a bad thing, whilst there have been lackluster ports of CAVE games in the past, Resurrection certainly wasn’t one of them. The PC version has had a couple of small issues but some have already been fixed, I’m looking at you invisible boss in stage 5 of Ketsuipachi.

There’s still a lack of display options however, and simple tasks such as changing the resolution and enabling v-sync need to be modified in a .ini file. Oh, and when I first launched the game it defaulted to Japanese and then crashed when I swapped to fullscreen. Fortunately these are small issues that are easy to fix, and with a little tweaking you’ve got a version of the game that includes everything great about the Xbox 360 port plus the extra modes.

06Here at Dracula’s Cave it’s no secret that I’m quite the CAVE fan, but with so many different versions of the games as well as the Japanese region lock on Xbox 360, I’m hopeful that the rest of their catalogue will also make its way onto Steam in the future. Until then Deathsmiles and Mushihimesama are already available and Deathsmiles in particular is another excellent introduction to the bullet-hell genre. But of all the games DoDonPachi Resurrection perhaps stands out as the best bridge, coupling accessibility together with depth and difficultly. Because of this it’s easy to recommend to any type of player, and is an overall excellent entry in CAVE’s landmark series.



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