Tag Archives: shmup

Einhänder Review

_-Einhander-PlayStation-_Einhänder (Available exclusively on the Sony PlayStation)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Shooter
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Square
Release Date: May 6th, 1998

Parent Talk:Einhänder is rated E for everyone because it doesn’t feature any graphic violence or offensive language. This is the perfect game for everyone in the family, even young kids that are interested in spaceship shooters.

Plays Like: Virtually all shmups play the same except for a few variations here and there, and that’s absolutely correct with Einhänder. You select one of several crafts, and destroy everything on-screen. Along the way you’ll find enemy weapons you can steal, which increase your power, and if you’re really lucky you just might perform well enough to find some unlockable goodies.

Review Basis: I finished the game dozens of times over the years.

During the arcade heyday shooters, shoot ‘em ups, or shmups were the cream of the crop. Virtually every arcade game was a shooter of some sort. Some of the very earliest hits on the Famicom were also shooters, like Gradius, which was one of its first million sellers. The problem is, like all good things, there is such a thing as too much. The entire genre was over-saturated, and ultimately shooters fell out of the spotlight. Today they’re a genre dedicated to only the most hardcore fans. Bullet hell shooters tried to spice things up, but for the most part the genre is long past its prime. The same could be said in 1998, when Square took a chance and developed a shooter that was really unique. While it didn’t spark a revolution, it did prove that even in markets where almost everything has been tried multiple times before, it’s still possible to do something unique.

Ein2The Great:

Perhaps the best feature of Einhänder is its incredible use of moving camera angles. The entire game is fully rendered in 3D, but the action plays on a 2D playing field, and the camera is on rails. Often the camera will swoop in and out around your ship, sometimes even behind, and all the while you have complete control. It’s great because it makes for some really interesting boss battles, and gives the game a really unique flavor.

Ein3The Good:

+ At the game’s onset you have access to three unique ships, with another two waiting to be discovered. At any point you can adjust your ship’s velocity, which is a great touch. The game’s ‘gimmick,’ if you will, is that you have the ability to snatch over a dozen enemy weapons by destroying incoming enemies. Let’s say there’s a powerful enemy ahead that has a wicked looking rocket launcher, well as long as you destroy its body and not the gun itself, you can then steal that weapon for yourself! These unique weapons only have a limited amount of ammo, but it is great fun experimenting and finding the best one for your current situation.

+ The various ships also differ in the way they can hold different weapons. All ships can pivot their secondary weapons either over or below the craft. Some can only hold one secondary weapon, while others can hold three. Selecting the ship you feel most comfortable with is critical as you’ll need all the help you can get. This isn’t an easy shooter, and one hit sends you back to the previous checkpoint. Thankfully the adjustable difficulty levels make the game enjoyable to all.

+ Most PS1-era polygon-based videogame haven’t aged well, but Einhänder is different. It still holds up really well, with enemies nice and detailed, and the environments, while simplistic, still very much looking as they should.

+ Fantastic audio package. Not only is the soundtrack utterly fantastic, but the sound effects themselves pack a punch. This is one of those games where you’re going to want to get your hands on the soundtrack.

Ein4The Lowdown:

I’ve always enjoyed shooters, even though as I get older I find I’m getting worse and worse at them. My hand-eye coordination just isn’t what it used to be. That said, I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Einhänder today, revisiting it for this review. It’s just creative enough to help separate it from the pack, but retains that classic risk versus reward the genre is known for. If you’re looking for a great shooter, look no further than Einhänder, although do be warned that it’s not cheap and is currently only available on the original PlayStation. Sorry PS3 owners, no PSN version for you.

Final Score: 8/10

Neo XYX Review

NeoNeo XYX (Available on Dreamcast, and Neo Geo MVS)
ESRB Rating: NA
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Shoot ‘em Up
Publisher: NG:Dev Team
Developer: NG:Dev Team
Release Date: February 17th, 2014

Parent Talk: I’d say this is a game that would easily appeal to all ages, although the pilot of your craft does yell out some rather mature dialogue every now and then.  Most people won’t even notice what is written, but that’s about the only mature elements Neo XYX has to offer.  The rest is sprite-based death from above!

Plays Like: At its core Neo XYX is actually a really simple shoot ‘em up.  There are no power-ups, just your standard shot and bombs.  The rest is dodging trillions of pink bullets, and trying to collect as many medals as possible in order to boost your score.  The one unique gameplay element is that your ship moves at a far quicker pace than most shmups, and so there’s an additional action button which slows your ship down.  It takes some getting used to, but using it properly is the difference between reaching the next stage or dying right there and then.

Review Basis: Managed to make it to stage five, but I need quite a bit more practice if I’m to complete all six stages.  These games are designed for you to revisit them over and over again in order to not only get a higher score, but also to memorize each and every enemy pattern.

For the past decade NG:Dev Team has been keeping not only the Neo Geo MVS alive, but the Dreamcast as well.  Each of their four games (Last Hope, Fast Strikers, Gunlord, and Neo XYX) began life as a Neo Geo game, and then shortly afterwards made their way to the Dreamcast.  These games are designed from the ground up to be challenging, and offer countless hours of arcade fun.  With their latest release they’ve continued that tradition.  If you long for the days of old, Neo XYX is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Neo3The Great:

This no-nonsense shmup is extremely simple, and yet for whatever reason works so bloody well.  There are no power-ups, no special gimmicks, just your ship, your bombs, and your will to survive.  There is one unique twist, which some could call a gimmick, which is that your craft moves much faster than most shmups.  This means it’s extremely easy to get out of tight spots, but almost impossible to slowly weave in and out of enemy fire.  Thus, the slowdown button.  This slows the ship’s speed down tremendously and allows you to more easily dodge incoming bullets.  Only by using both speeds will you be able to make it out alive, and even then there are no guarantees.

Neo1The Good:

  • There are also bomb fragments you can collect, which eventually reward another bomb, and believe me, you want as many bombs as you can get.
  • Medal chain system works very well.  As you defeat enemies they drop medals, continue to collect them and watch your score soar.

  • Your ship’s hit zone is incredibly small, which takes some getting used to because even if a bullet hits your ship’s wing you don’t die.  It has to hit the little bluish circular center of the plane in order for you to be killed.  This gives you some breathing room in tight spots, but it by no means makes the game easy.

  • Incredibly challenging.  At no point does the game feel cheap.  If I had to say whether or not this was a traditional shmup or a bullet hell, I’d say this one leans much more heavily towards bullet hell than traditional.  Each of the game’s six levels gets progressively tougher than the last, and by the time you hit stage five there will be pink bullets virtually everywhere.  Good luck!

  • Fantastic sprite work and amazing soundtrack and sound effects.  The sprites are nice and large with a good amount of detail to them, and the backgrounds look great.  The game runs at 60fps and is compatible with the Dreamcast’s VGA mode.  The soundtrack is one of the best parts of the game, as we’ve come to expect from NG:Dev Team.  This game looks professionally made, and that’s the biggest compliment I can give an independent studio.

  • Multiple gameplay settings, from horizontal, to vertical to even lying on the floor style.  Yes, some people actually do that.  I play in vertical mode as it was originally intended, and you should to!  It’s still nice to have the option to switch things up if the mood strikes.

  • Great quality in the packaging and instruction manual.  Yes that’s a good thing, because how many games today give you a ten page, fully-colored manual?  Yeah, virtually none.

Neo4The Bad:

  • Occasional sprite-tearing.   You can see it in the video review, where the ship’s sprite is torn away, or when a bomb is cast and doesn’t display properly.  This doesn’t happen very often, but is noticeable when it does.

Neo5The Lowdown:

NG:Dev Team strikes again, with another fantastic shooter that Dreamcast and Neo Geo fans shouldn’t miss out on.  The MVS release sold out instantly so you’ll either have to wait for a reprint, or hit up eBay and pay exaggeratedly high prices.  The Dreamcast version is still available through NG:Dev Team’s website and the asking price is 34€ for the regular edition and 49€ for the collector’s edition, which includes the game’s killer soundtrack.  If you’re an old-school arcade shmup fan this is one you really don’t want to miss.  It’s fantastic! If you’re a fan of product reviews you could find more at top 9 rated reviews.

Final Score: 8.8/10

Mars Matrix Review

Mars MatrixMars Matrix (Available exclusively on the SEGA Dreamcast)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Genre: Shmup
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Takumi Corporation
Release Date: April 30th, 2001

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Mars Matrix E for everyone and lists animated violence in the warning box. Like all arcade shmups (shoot ’em ups) of the time, the action is 2D sprite-based with a mix of 3D polygons, so you’re going to see lots and lots of ships exploding…mainly yours. This is the type of game I loved when I was younger, classics like Gradius and Life Force were just as violent as Mars Matrix and I turned out just fine…depending on who talk to.

Plays Like: Mars Matrix is a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up that takes no prisoners. It’s a simple to learn, impossible to master shooter. Make no mistake about it, if you’re new to the genre DO NOT start here. This game will literally destroy you. Gameplay is simple, you have one of two projectiles you can shoot, you don’t explode when smashing into enemy ships, and you can level up your craft by collecting experience cubes. Finally there’s an absorption barrier you can use if the GHB (Gravity Hole Bomb) gauge is full, which protects you for a short period of time, and can also be used to detonate a powerful screen-clearing bomb.

Review Basis: While I’d love to say I finished the game, that would be a flat-out lie. This is an early bullet hell shmup, meaning there are literally hundreds if not thousands of bullets on the screen at any given time. Like most shooters in the sub-genre, the first level is manageable, but by level two the game hand’s you your ass. If by some miracle you make it to level three, the difficulty only increases from there. I managed to make it to the fourth boss on four stars, which is the default difficulty level. Like I do with most of these retro reviews, I only played for a short period of time to reflect on a classic gem from the past. That said, I have every intention of finish all six stages.

Sometimes your mind plays tricks on you. I thought I had played Mars Matrix before, but apparently I was wrong. Steven sent me the game to review and I ended up playing it for about four hours straight after just wanting to try it out and capture a little footage for my video review. That’s always an excellent sign when a game does that to you. I was stunned by the game’s overall difficulty. Make no mistake about it, this is a shooter for fans of the genre or veterans; newbies look elsewhere. Even on easy you won’t make it very far. Since I have quite a bit of experience with shmups I stuck to the four-star difficulty, and got destroyed time and time again, loving every minute of it. I will be looking for a copy on eBay once I return the game to Steven as I really want to dig deeper into the game.

The Great:

Excellent combat system. Here’s the rundown, you can select two different ships or Mosquitos as they’re called here. The red one has normal speed, but a wideblaster or spread-shot weapon. The blue Mosquito is faster, but has a laser shot that only shoots in a straight line. Regardless of the ship you’re using, you can fire a regular shot, rapid fire, or the piercing cannon. The piercing cannon is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal, but requires you get up close and personal with enemies, not always a great idea, although if your ship comes in contact with an enemy it doesn’t mean instant-death like virtually all other shmups out there. Finally there’s the Gravity Hole Bomb (GHB) gauge which slowly fills over time. Once maxed out you can activate an absorption barrier that will both absorb and reflect incoming enemy fire. If you hold down the button until the gauge is completely empty you can release a gravity hole bomb which clears the screen. It might sound like you’ve got enough behind you to stand a chance, but you’re outnumbered about a hundred-billion to one.

Mars Matrix1The Good:

+ Combo/evolving system. Destroyed enemies typically drop gold Experience Cubes. These cubes not only gives you experience, but act as a combo multiplier. The quicker you collect Experience Cubes, the more your score will increase, but so will your craft’s level. It’s possible to raise your level to eight, and in doing so your standard regular shot will also increase in power, which perfectly ties the two systems together.

+ Heavy emphasis on strategy. While it might not appear as such at first, you can actually project where enemy fire will reflect while using the GHB system. Not only that, but you don’t always have to use the full meter and deploy a bomb. Instead you can simply reflect shots back towards enemies and let go of the button. This way the meter fills up quicker.

+ Lots of replay value. Not only will it take you a long time just to finish the Arcade Mode, but then there’s the Elite Mode, which replaces enemy positions. There’s also a Score Challenge Mode which challenges you to continuously beat your previous high score.

+ One of my favorite features of the game is the store. Everything you do in the game nets you points, and all these points are tallied together and converted to cash. While the prices might seem ridiculously high at first, you quickly realize after an hour of playing that they’re just right. Not only can you unlock the art gallery, which is awesome, but also gameplay features like additional credits (continues), strategies (actual video tutorials showing a perfect play-through of the level), and much, much more. This extends the replay value astronomically.

+ Audio visual presentation holds up surprisingly well even some 12 years after the game’s release. I played this with my VGA-to-HDMI upscaler and the game looked great. Sprites popped from the screen, there were lots of fancy special effects thrown in for good measure, and only minimal slow-down, and slight pixelation here and there. Overall, it’s one highly detailed shmup. The audio is also rocking, with great techno music and strong sound effects.

The So-So:

+/- While not really falling in a good or bad category, Mars Matrix is a one-credit scorer. What does that mean, it means that once you’ve used up all your lives your high-score will be registered. It is replaced the second you hit the continue or credit button. The continues basically let you progress just a bit further and practice, but for the high scores to count, you need to go back to the beginning and try all over again.

Mars Matrix2The Lowdown:

Most people will find Mars Matrix way too hard, but therein lies its charm. It forces you to keep playing in order to unlock more continues from the store. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. The store adds new gameplay tweaks, there’s the Elite Mode to tackle, and much, much more. For a game released at the tail end of the Dreamcast’s life, it holds up supremely well. If you enjoy shmups, and are just starting to collect for the Dreamcast, this is one you need to have in your collection. It’s fantastic fun that will keep you coming back for more.

Final Score: 8.5/10

Sturmwind Review

Sturmwind ReviewSturmwind (Available exclusively on SEGA Dreamcast)
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Shoot ’em up
Publisher: redspotgames
Developer: Duranik
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013

Parent Talk: As an indie release Sturmwind has not been submitted to the ESRB or any other rating board. It features lots of explosions, and some highly unique and creative enemy and boss designs that the very young might find scary, but anyone over 10 should easily be able to enjoy everything Sturmwind has to offer.

Plays Like: Sturmwind is mostly a horizontal shoot ’em up (shmup), however there are sections where vertical scrolling takes place. Core gameplay reminds me of Radiant Silvergun in that you already have all your weapons right from the get-go. The main difference is that weapons can be powered up, and act as your health meter. There are 16 levels spread across seven worlds, 20 unique bosses, and hundreds of enemies. In every way, shape and form this feels like a AAA release from Irem, Treasure, or another popular shmup developer.

Review Basis: Duranik was kind enough to send us a review copy. I played it on and off for about six days until I beat it on easy, now working my way through normal.

Sturmwind began its life as Native for the Atari Jaguar CD, way back in 1997. From there it switched names, platforms, and was delayed many times. Usually that’s a sign that things aren’t going to turn out so well, but in this case it was mainly because Duranik demanded the best quality possible prior to release. The end result of all those years of development is without a doubt the very best indie game I have ever played. This is an outstanding effort and just goes to show that if you have devotion and believe in something strong enough, anything is possible. Don’t bother reading this review, just go out and pick Sturmwind up right now.

Sturmwind5The Great:

AAA quality through and through. There’s no real way of saying it, the video review speaks for itself. This is a game that looks outstanding, as if it’s pushing the Dreamcast to its very limits. There are literally dozens upon dozens of special effects going on at any given time. There are also interactive backgrounds, multi-layered stages, tons of enemies on-screen at once and a rock solid frame-rate. The game warns you when a background comes alive so you don’t accidentally ram into it, and enemy bullets are always clear. If you die, it’s your fault, not the game’s. There’s even a full-motion video introduction! You simply don’t expect to see this level of polish in an indie release like this, no matter how long it may have been in development. This is one game that begs to be played in 480p with a VGA adapter. If you can upscale the image to 720p or 1080p even better. It looks incredible.

Sturmwind4The Good:

+ Wonderful gameplay. The system is extremely simple, and works perfectly. At the start of the game you have access to all three different weapons, LightBlitz (L), NordWest (N), and Rudel (R). You can switch between the weapons on the fly, and it’s required as each one has its strengths and weaknesses against different situations. When a weapon container drops , you can fire at it to cycle between an additional 1,000 points, L, N, or R power-ups. Power-ups take on the form of a drone, and players can collect two per weapon. Weapons can also be fired behind your craft, and so can the drones. A good strategy is to have the two drones fire behind the ship and your main weapon fire in front, but you can mix and match as you see fit. There’s also a charge shot, and bombs, which wipe out everything on the screen.

+ Weapons act as your health meter. Even if you max out all your weapons, as soon as you get hit whatever weapon you had equipped is destroyed. You also have to be careful when using the charge shot because if you hold it too long it will overheat and explode, causing you to lose said weapon. Lose all three weapons and you lose a life. Thankfully you can fix your broken weapon by finding the corresponding power-up from a weapon container.

+ Strategy and switching. Not only do you have to constantly be switching your weapons for strategic gameplay, like using the LightBlitz underwater because it’s the strongest there, but you have to be mindful of which power-up you grab. Let’s say a weapon container drops and you fire it until it switches to N, but your craft is still using LightBlitz, if you don’t switch to NordWest you will have wasted the power-up. It takes some serious getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, the system adds an entirely unique layer of strategy and quick thinking to the game.

+ Wave bonuses are addicting. Shoot every single enemy of a particular wave and you’re awarded a ‘Wave Bonus,’ which you actually see on the screen. If you can shoot all the letters quickly enough before they disappear you’re awarded a star, which acts as a multiplier. Get good enough at the game and you can achieve some pretty incredible high scores.

+ Two distinct gameplay modes, Normal and Arcade. Normal mode features all 16 levels and your progress is saved once you finish a level. This also unlocks a level-select, which is great for newbies as they can continuously replay whatever stage is giving them problems. The Arcade mode features six levels but progress doesn’t save, and there are no continues. This mode is about as hardcore as it gets.

+ Great variety.  Most levels work as you’d imagine, where you fly from left to right destroying everything you see, but every now and then things are mixed up and an entire level will be nothing more than a giant boss fight.  Some levels add horizontal scrolling, and more.

+ Modern touches like achievements really held round out the package. Most of the achievements will keep you coming back for months to come because of how challenging they are.

+ Online leaderboards. While Sturmwind doesn’t support the broadband adapter unfortunately, it does give you an alpha numeric code which can be entered on Duranik’s website where you can compare your scores with the rest of the world. It’s a really nice touch.

+ Incredible amount of content. Unless you’re a shmup guru this game will keep you busy for weeks on end. From the two different modes, three difficulty levels, to the sheer size of the game, there’s always something to do. There’s also the achievements, and global leaderboards that are always teasing you try again tomorrow.

+ While I already talked about the graphics and overall presentation, the audio can’t be left out. The soundtrack is excellent and features a wide assortment of Compact Disc Digital Audio (CCDA) tracks. I had to add in as it’s a selling feature. Most tracks are techno and synth, which is expected for a game like this, but regardless the audio is extremely well done.

+ SD card adapter compatible. Sturmwind is the first commercially available Dreamcast game to make use of the Chinese-created SD card adapter. Players can save their high scores, replays, and even add-ons for the game. This is a feature I’ll have to try out at some point in the future, as I currently do not own the adapter.

+ Like all indie releases on the Dreamcast Sturmwind is region free, meaning you can play it on any Dreamcast regardless of where you happen to live.

Sturmwind3The So-So:

+/- When there are dozens of enemies on the screen at once, and explosions going on everywhere it can be somewhat difficult to see if you’re about to smash into a wall. It’s a very minor gripe that plagues even the best shmups.

The Bad:

– Oh how I wish there was a two-player co-op mode. This game deserves to be played with a friend.

The Ugly:

My voice after screaming at the TV for not being able to magically push my ship out of harm’s way.

Sturmwind2The Lowdown:

The Dreamcast was home to some excellent shmups like Ikaruga, Under Defeat, Gigawing, and many others, but there’s just something special about Sturmwind that raises the bar so high. I’m not ashamed to say this, but Sturmwind has become my absolute favorite shooter on the system, and I don’t care what you have to do, you need to play this game. It’s not only one of the best Dreamcast games ever made, it’s the best indie game I’ve ever played, and hands-down the best shmup released this year, and even one of my top games of 2013. Go buy this game, nuff said!

Final Score: 9.4/10

Deathsmiles Review

Deathsmiles [Available on Xbox 360 and Arcade]
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1-2
Genre: Shooter
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Cave
Release Date: June 29th, 2010

Parent Talk: Deathsmiles isn’t bloody, profane, or sexual, but it may make parents unfamiliar with Japanese animation uncomfortable.  The game’s premise follows several young anime Lolita characters blasting demons with magical powers (think girls fighting Halloween monsters) while in an attempt to reach home.  Deathsmiles panders to the anime fan.  If your children are in that crowd (i.e. Gothic Lolita characters/fashion), they may enjoy this.  There are monsters and explosions, but it’s all tame.  The game is bizarre, but not harmful to kids.

Deathsmiles is an honest-to-goodness 2D side-scrolling shmup, similar to many classics such as Gradius and R-Type.  Cave is a popular name among die-hard fans for their intense “bullet hell” games, but largely among the import-friendly crowd.  Most Cave releases have stayed in Japan, but Deathsmiles is one of the first to reach the North American market, and a special edition no less!  The issue lies with deciding whether or not the limited content warrants a $50 investment.

The Great:

A Cave game gone Stateside!  Deathsmiles is a domestic release from Cave, which is better known among importers.  This may be a sign of more from the developer, like ESP Galuda II or Mushihimesama FutariDeathsmiles is a wonderfully crazy and action-packed shooter!

The Good:

+ The setting and characters.  Most side-scrolling shooters tend to deploy a generic space theme and give players a ship to pilot.  Deathsmiles chooses a drastically different route: a Halloween-like atmosphere filled with magic and monsters.  You control girls with arcane powers rather than spaceships.  If you’re tired of what the genre has done lately, Deathsmiles offers an edge with its assortment of creepy monsters.  Grim reapers, demons, dragons, and witches abound are out to kill you.  The graphics aren’t sophisticated, but the character artwork is great and there’s an abundance of on-screen action.

+ Addictive action.  Deathsmiles is an enjoyable romp from beginning to end.  It’s short, but the ride is intense and there are never any dull moments.  Two player co-op (local and online) sweetens the deal.

+ Multiple characters.  There are four personas in the main game, and an additional one when playing the “Black Label” modes.  Each character carries a unique attack (and story perspective), which changes things up when embarking on multiple playthroughs.

+ Lots of modes.  Deathsmiles includes Arcade, Xbox 360, Arranged, Black Label, Xbox 360 Black Label, and Black Label Arranged mode—each with its own attractions.  The modes more or less cover the same ground (it’s the same scenario), but minor adjustments set them apart.  For example, Arcade Mode sports the game’s original graphics, resolution, and screen size, while Xbox 360 mode has enhances all three.  Under normal circumstances, the screen size is small for the Arcade modes and bigger for the 360/Arranged modes, but it can be adjusted for your TV.  There are minor changes to gameplay as well, and again, one special character only appears in the Black Label modes.

+ Great music.  Deathsmiles‘ different aesthetic means you hear material that reflects the Halloween-like atmosphere.  Plus, the game definitely gets points for using Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as the final boss theme.

The Bad:

– Redundancy.  There are many modes to choose from, but they don’t matter much in the long run.  Each retreads the main game with the same levels, scenario, music, and the difference is the hidden character I’ve been mentioning.  At that point, all the “extra” content is merely an illusion.

– Short.  2D shooters don’t often take long to play; they’re meant to be enjoyed in short bursts due to their simple mechanics and intent for instant gratification.  However, length is a legitimate concern when a purchase is considered.  Deathsmiles may have a lot of modes and characters, but the game can be finished quickly (around 30 minutes per playthrough), and it becomes tiresome.  It’s a fun and fast-paced game though.

– No sense of loss.  You’ll die a lot playing Deathsmiles on the harder difficulties, at first at least.  Unfortunately it’s not as challenging as other shooters.  Upon continuing, you immediately pick up from where you died, meaning you can drag your feet through a first level attempt.  The downside comes with losing your score, but that’s about it.  The game is easier than some other shooters, such as Touhou.  Once you memorize patterns, everything becomes more manageable.

The Ugly:

An Achievement for pausing the game?  Really?!

The Lowdown:

Deathsmiles is fun, but is it worth $50?  If you enjoy shooters, yes.  It includes the soundtrack and a faceplate, which is a great value considering everything in the package.  The action is intense and fun.  For fans, a purchase is recommended because Deathsmiles is a good game and it may help secure more domestic releases from Cave.  It’s somewhat of a tough call, but I say Buy It.  Be forewarned though, it’s a niche game, so it will probably disappear from shelves as quickly as it came.  If you aren’t crazy about shooters, check it out on the cheap or borrow a friend’s copy if possible.