Dodonpachi Resurrection – North American Release Review

We had to wait a long time for a North American release of Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu (DFK), but it was worth it. You really get your money’s worth with Resurrection. Not only are you getting Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu 1.5, you’re getting 1.51 (previously Europe-only paid DLC), Black Label, and 3 arrange modes. 1.5 and 1.51 are fairly similar, but even discounting those (and the Novice modes), you still have 5 distinct shmups in this one package!

Add onto that the built-in variety of ship types and shot types for those ships, and you have a crazy amount of content and ways to play. You’ve got your usual (well, except for Daioujou) Types A, B, and C here. You can choose between Bomb Style, Power Style, or Strong Style, similar to the Element Dolls system of DOJ or the dresses of SDOJ. Strong Style had to be unlocked in the arcades, but here they just give it to you. Bomb Style is your usual “shot” type, Power features two modes to switch between with their own properties and is good for scoring but you can’t manually bomb, and Strong Style has the best features of Bomb and Power, but your hyper builds very slowly.

The main gameplay of DFK revolves around bullet cancelling. When you use your hyper, your shot will cancel enemy bullets, increasing both your score and your chances of survival. This mechanic, coupled with the unusual 4-button layout, makes DFK a very accessible game for newcomers to the series. In fact, on my first time picking up Novice mode, I accidentally 1CCed it. Normal mode does present a number of interesting challenges even for veterans of the DDP series (I’m looking at you, stage 5 laser rings). Another unique mechanic in DFK is the ability to “push back” enemy lasers with your own laser, which is pretty cool. This is one with both a low skill floor and a high skill ceiling, and it’s very satisfying and feels good to play.

Arrange A of DFK is “daioujou” style. Instead of building a meter for hypers, you get hyper pickups like DOJ, though you’re locked into a particular ship type. Arrange B is an infinite lives score attack mode where the color of bee pickups and using shot or laser (as well as replaying stages) will determine the strength of enemies and the speed and density of their bullet patterns.

Black Label introduces the “RED” mechanic, where holding down rapid-shot and the laser button at the same time will do a ShotLaser similar to the 360 mode of Saidaioujou. In that game, using the ShotLaser drained your health. Here, it increases the RED meter, making enemy patterns more difficult at certain thresholds. Black Label also gives you the ability to turn off auto-bombing if you like. Selecting Strong Style in BL will give you the harder Loop 2 patterns from 1.5 right off the bat, making it similar to Expert dress from SDOJ.

Black Label Arrange is the wonderful “ketsuipachi”, where you play through Black Label but using the Tiger Schwert ship from Ketsui, complete with lock-on laser and even scoring chips. The OST is also an arranged version of the Ketsui OST, done by the very skilled Virt. It can’t be overstated how good the music in Black Label Arrange is; it even outclasses the already amazing Black Label OST, in my opinion.

In most of these modes, you have a 2nd route through each stage (the “hidden” or Ura route), featuring more difficult patterns and some throwback midbosses to tickle your nostalgia. You also have a 2nd loop which can also have 2 routes, as well as a grand total of 3 or 4 TLBs.

I really can’t recommend this one highly enough. If you’re a fan of the Dodonpachi series at all, this is a must-have just for the sheer amount of content on offer here. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re a fan, this is an excellent game to cut your teeth on, with its beginner-friendly 4-button layout and bullet canceling mechanic.

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