Although rather less active than it once was, Cave was once an extremely prolific producer of some highly varied and creative shoot ’em ups.
Some of their series — such as DoDonPachi, Espgaluda and Deathsmiles — managed to attain mainstream appeal, or at least the closest thing an arcade-style shmup can get to “mainstream appeal” in this modern age. But others are largely unknown for one reason or another.
Muchi Muchi Pork very much falls into this latter category.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Muchi Muchi Pork
My first encounter with DoDonPachi Resurrection — also known as DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu — was in its iOS incarnation.
I’d never really played a danmaku shooter before, so it was to be a new experience to me, but I’d been assured by people whose opinions I trusted that I would have a good time with it. Those assurances turned out to be emphatically true — which is just as well, because at the time I originally purchased it, DoDonPachi Resurrection was rather expensive for a mobile game.
Since that fateful initial encounter several years back, I’ve since sought out the various other versions of this game, and have found it an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience whatever form it takes — and absolutely one of Cave’s finest games to date.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: DoDonPachi Resurrection
The shoot ’em up genre is one in which it is quite difficult to innovate.
This has, of course, led to a number of games over the years that can quite reasonably called knock-offs of other, popular titles that became well-established, though that doesn’t mean that said knock-offs aren’t interesting in their own right.
One such example of this being the case is Warashi’s Shienryu, a game which unashamedly draws great inspiration from the legendary Raiden series, and which was originally released for arcade, Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation. It was subsequently bundled in with an all-new sequel, Shienryu Explosion, as part of D3 Publisher’s Simple Series for PlayStation 2, and this is the version we’re concerned with today.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Steel Dragon EX
Shoot ’em ups, being one of the oldest genres of gaming there is, have been a pretty constant presence in every major generation of gaming hardware.
The early years of the 21st century were no exception, offering us a wide variety of top-notch shoot ’em ups of all types, including bullet hell, traditional side-scrollers, vertical scrollers and full 3D efforts.
Psyvariar by Success Corporation, a company today primarily known for its Cotton series and puzzle game Zoo Keeper, is a particularly solid example with some interesting mechanics, and a game that remains eminently playable today.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Psyvariar
Those with a longstanding interest in the worldwide shoot ’em up scene may well be familiar with German developer Hucast Games.
A developer primarily known for helping resurrect Sega’s defunct Dreamcast platform for modern audiences through the release of original, new arcade-style games for the system, Hucast’s work has had mixed reception over the years — though not necessarily entirely due to the quality of the games themselves, as this article from Segabits in 2015 explains in more detail.
As we move further into the “digital age”, however, it becomes a lot easier for developers such as Hucast to ply their trade — and, should mistakes occur, to correct them. Which is how we now find ourselves, two years after its original Dreamcast release, with an HD version of Hucast’s shmup Ghost Blade for Windows PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One.
And hey! It’s really good.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Ghost Blade HD
It may seem faintly sacrilegious to include a game like Deep Space Waifu in the same column as legends such as Thunder Force II, Raiden IV and Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours. But the fact is, this rough-around-the-edges, budget-price affair is actually well worth your time and attention.
Developed by the mysterious “Neko Climax Studios”, whose only online presence appears to be a Facebook page under the ID “@nekohentaiking” and whose credits consist entirely of initials, Deep Space Waifu describes itself as a “casual strip ’em up action game, full of colours and girls”. And, really, that’s pretty much the perfect description.
At first glance, this appears to be a game that does not take itself at all seriously. But beneath the neon colours, chaotic visual effects and questionable artwork, there’s a surprisingly solid shoot ’em up that has clearly been designed with some care and attention.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Deep Space Waifu
Sega’s Mega Drive console — or the Genesis to those of you in the States — was a wonderful machine.
In many ways, it started the process of making gaming “cool”, and laid the groundwork for Sony’s solid efforts to make our whole form of entertainment a lot more mainstream with the first PlayStation. But more importantly, it played host to a wide variety of absolutely fantastic games.
One such title was Game Arts’ Alisia Dragoon, an unusual action game that combines elements of disparate genres to produce an extremely memorable, enjoyable and addictive game that still holds up well today.
Continue reading Mega Drive Essentials: Alisia Dragoon