With a straightforward scoring method, easy to understand gameplay mechanics and a Novice mode specifically for beginners, DoDonPachi Resurrection is ideal for those who want to try the Bullet Hell genre for the first time. For those with experience, 360 mode (arcade mode ported for the 360), Arrange A (alternate game system) and Arrange B (score attack) offer all the challenges you would come to expect from a Cave Co. game.
The fifth game in the DonPachi series, Resurrection sees the dolls (protagonists of the previous game) now taking up the role of antagonists, travelling back in time to try and prevent the Blissful Death war of the previous game. Taking the role of a pilot in the DonPachi Corps, players have the choice of three ships with varying speed and fire arcs. While appearing large at first, the ship sprites themselves are mostly decorative with the only vulnerable area being the cockpit, allowing them to navigate the corridors of bullets that fill the screen.
Both novice mode and 360 mode use the same system, with novice mode having less bullets and the collectable bee’s visible (the literal translation of DoDonPachi is angry bee leader) and 360 mode being the only way to access hidden routes and the true end.
Each ship can alternate between shot and laser. The laser is narrower but is the only way to counteract enemy lasers, pushing them back and opening op otherwise blocked routes. Killing enemies fills the hyper counter gauge which once maxed allows hyper counter mode to be activated. As play goes on active standard shot power increases, and can be used to destroy incoming enemy fire. Smart use of this mode is key to getting through levels unscathed.
Unlike some other Bullet hell games the scoring system is incredibly simple. The combo chain increases as enemies are killed in quick succession and decreases if they aren’t destroyed quickly enough. Against bosses use of the laser prevents it from dropping while being hit or using a bomb resets the combo gauge ruining the high score.
An infinite amount of credits allows anyone to reach the end, but the main challenge comes in completing the game on one credit. Not only will a one credit run give you a score to brag about, it is also the only way to access the games true end (provided you found all the hidden bee’s).
Allowing a score attack run against each level Arrange B is the other mode that offers a lot of repeat game play. While using the same game-play mechanics the scoring system this time is based around ranks. The various ranks are increased by killing enemies and spending time in different grids (grids are changed by collecting bee’s). Getting hit will decrease your rank. The rank achieved at the end of the lever is carried through to the next play through allowing the score to increase with repeated runs… providing you don’t get hit.
The game is not perfect though. The Xbox 360 controller is not ideally suited to the style of game-play with an arcade stick being infinitely preferable and as its formatted as a vertical shooter, there is a lot of space either side of the action which can be off putting. As a matter of personal taste some people may be put off by the animé design and those interested in the plot will be required to do some back reading since this is the first game in the series that has seen a European release.
Easily accessible while offering all the challenge you would expect, DoDonPachi is one of the very best games available in it’s (niche) genre and the few problems it has don’t stop it from being well worth the price for admission to bullet hell paradise.
9 angry bees out of 10