Death Comes To 360… DeathSmiles Review
By Shawn Wilson On 3 Aug, 2010 At 06:54 PM | Categorized As Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 1 Comment

No Gravatar…And He’s Smiling!

Shmup fans rejoice! The Xbox 360 port of DeathSmiles finally comes to North America. In fact, this is the first time in video game history that a CAVE developed shmup (or Shoot ‘Em Up game) has been released domestically on a console.

DeathSmiles is a classic 2D horizontal shoot-em-up that was released to Japanese arcades in late 2007. It was ported to the 360 in Japan early last year. Thankfully, AKSYS Games bought the North American publishing rights and released this gem to us…IN ENGLISH!

CAVE is mainly known for their “bullet hell” vertical shooters. This is only the 2nd time that CAVE has created a horizontal shooter. Their first being Progear developed for Capcom’s CPS2 arcade hardware in 2001.

DeathSmiles features a unique shmup feature in which you can shoot right or left at will. Typical shmups only allow you to shoot bullets directly in front of your character. With tons of enemies and bullets coming at you from both directions, this makes for an exciting and fun feature.

The first thing you’ll notice about DeathSmiles is how beautiful the 2D art is and the soundtrack is amazing as well. The 360 port also features many different game modes. The original Arcade mode is selectable as well as a graphic-enhanced Xbox 360 mode and a very fun arranged mode called 1.1 in which you have full control of your familiar with the right analog stick.

In each mode, you are given a choice between 4 girls. Each with their own unique “shot” and familiar. From there, you are able to choose your starting stage as well as it’s difficulty level. This is also another welcome feature to DeathSmiles. Making this an easy to pick up shooter for novices.

Different from the Japanese version, the North American version also includes the JP only DLC “Mega Black Label” modes on the disc at no extra charge. In MBL, a character named Sakura (previously only a boss) is selectable. MBL also features a new scoring system, new stage and extra difficulty level called “Lvl 999”. This is for hardcore shmup players only. Definitely not for the weak at heart.

An online co-op mode is available as well as leaderboards for each game mode. The leaderboards also allow you to upload and download the top players replays. Being able to download replays is essential in learning how the top players score high!

Oh, did I forget to mention the extras you get when you buy this game? Not only do you get a wonderful “shoot-em-up” developed by CAVE, you also get a Special Arranged Soundtrack CD and a beautiful faceplate only available with the North American version.

Hopefully this sells well enough and CAVE decides to have more of their games ported outside of Japan. If you are a fan of shmups and just 2D games in general, you owe yourself to pick this game up.

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  1. […] Original DeathSmiles review can be read here. […]

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