DoDonPachi DaiOuJou

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DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou ("Blissful Death")

DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou (JP: 怒首領蜂 大往生, abbreviated: DOJ, iOS/Android: DoDonPachi Blissful Death) is the fourth entry in the DonPachi series of shoot-em-ups (the third developed by CAVE). It is one of the most well-regarded games in CAVE's catalog of shooters. DOJ introduced the Hyper System to the series, which allowed the player to give all of their firepower an enormous boost in strength, in exchange for increased game difficulty.

There are two versions of DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou that were released to the arcades; White Label and Black Label. White Label is the original release of the game, and Black Label is a sort of "revised" version of the game featuring an easier first loop, and a more difficult second loop, as well as the option to select between a one-loop or two-loop game. Black Label also contains a selection of mechanics adjustments and bug fixes. When differentiating between the two, people abbreviate the game as "DOJ WL" for White Label and "DOJ BL" for Black Label.

Gameplay

Overview

The controls in DaiOuJou are identical to the previous games in the series. The joystick (or controller on the PS2 version) moves the ship. Tapping button 1 fires standard shots, and holding button 1 fires the laser weapon. Pressing button 2 activates a hyper if one is available, or uses a bomb if no hypers are in stock. If the laser is active the bomb is an amplification of the laser weapon; otherwise it is an explosion that covers the screen. In all cases the player becomes invincible for a short period. There is also an option to enable button 3, which automatically fires only the standard shots, otherwise known as "auto(matic) fire".

DaiOuJou follows the conventions of the previous game with only a few changes. The chaining system is intact and works in much the same way. Causing an enemy to explode fills a meter, and every enemy destroyed before the meter depletes adds to the current chain and again refills the meter. Holding the laser weapon over a large enemy will hold the meter steady and slowly accumulate hits. In this way it is possible to create a single chain out of any of the 5 stages.

Fighters

  • TYPE-A: High speed, fires front concentration shots
  • TYPE-B: Low speed, fires wide front area shots

Element Dolls

The selection of Element Dolls is similar to the selection of Shot or Laser variants in DoDonPachi. A doll is chosen after a fighter type is selected.

  • DFSD-010 SHOTIA: Increases shot power, 3 bombs (max 6)
  • DFSD-014 LEINYAN: Increases laser power, 2 bombs (max 4)
  • FSD-002 EXY: Increases shot and laser powers, 1 bomb (max 2)

When the player loses a life, the revived fighter's enhanced weapon is reduced in power by one level, while the non-enhanced weapon's power is reduced to its lowest level. In the case of Expert type, both weapons are lowered by only one level upon death. Also, a player's maximum bomb capacity may be increased after respawning.

Hitbox

Here are the position and size of the hitbox depending of the ship (find a nice picture for the hitboxes) When moving to the side, the hitbox is slightly thinner

Stages

There are 5 stages per loop. The second loop becomes available if the player completes the first loop and satisfies one of the following requirements:

  • Loses at most 2 lives
  • Uses at most 3 bombs
  • Collects all 10 bees in at least 3 stages. The bees in each stage must be collected without dying before the boss (basically, collect the "2x bee" in at least 3 stages).
  • (White Label Only) When finishing the first 5 stages with more than 350 million

If the player then defeats the regular stage 2-5 boss, the true final boss of the game, Hibachi, appears.

Extends

On default settings, the player starts with 2 extends. There are 2 scoring based extends, one at 10 million, the other one at 30 million for the White Label version, one at 20 million, the other one at 50 million for the Black Label version. There is one hidden extend in stage 4, if the player destroy both side parts of the midboss before destroying the central part (the central part must not be destroyed by a bomb), a 1-up item will appear. The player need to grab this item to get the extend. It is possible to get this hidden extend in both loops. The player can get more extends during the 2nd loop under some conditions :

  • In White Label, every time the player clears a stage without bombing or without dying (or both), he will get an extend during the transition to the next stage.
  • In Black Label, if the player starts a stage of the second loop without any extends, if he clears the stage without dying, he will be awarded an extend during the transition to the next stage. If the player picks up the hidden extend during stage 2-4, this will not work.

Bombs

Depending on which ship the player choose and how many lives were lost, he is given a certain number of bombs. At the start of the game, the player will have :

  • 3 bombs for Shot type
  • 2 bombs for Laser type
  • 1 bomb for Expert type

Then if the player dies, he will have a full bomb stock and an additional bomb unless he died while being in hyper mode or if he already had the maximum bomb stock on his previous life. The maximum bomb stock is :

  • 6 bombs for Shot type
  • 4 bombs for Laser type
  • 2 bombs for Expert type

Whether the player is pressing the bomb button while using shot or laser, the bomb will be different. If he presses the bomb button while using shot, the bomb will take the form of a big explosion that will clear all the small enemies. All the bullets are canceled and turn into star items at the moment of the explosion and bullets don’t spawn during the whole duration of the bomb. If he presses the bomb button while using laser, the bomb will take the form of a big laser that will deal a lot of damage to anything in front of the player ship. The bullets are canceled (but no star items in this case) just at the moment the bomb button is pressed (but they will keep spawning during the bomb). In both case, the player is invulnerable during the whole duration of the bomb.

Bombs items are pretty rare in the game. After the player destroys the ship that carries them, they stay on the screen for a while, following a predictable rectangular movement then they disappear from the screen after a while If a bomb is collected while the stock is already full, instead of seeing the number of bomb displayed, the player will see the message : “maximum”. Which means that, for every frame outside of boss fight, he will earn bonus points while this message is displayed. For each life lost and bomb used, this bonus decrease, so to maximize the score, it is best not to die and bomb at all if possible. This bonus becomes much more important in the second loop.

Chaining

Chaining is the most important part of Daioujou scoring system. Whether the player preserves or breaks his chain is determined by the chain gauge. Every time an enemy is killed, the chain gauge will go up, else it will go down at a constant speed. If it goes all the way down, the chain breaks. If an enemy is killed with shot, the chain gauge is filled completely but if an enemy is killed with the laser, the chain gauge will only be filled up to 50%. But holding the laser on a big enemy can preserve the chain. In this case, instead of going down, the chaining gauge will stay at 25%. As in the previous DonPachi games, scoring in Daioujou is all about achieving and properly maintaining a high combo chain. As the point value of the enemies you destroy and some items you collect are multiplied by the current chain counter.

Bee item

Bees play an important role in Daioujou, and are worth 1,000 points multiplied by the number of hits in the current combo chain. Uncovering a bee item with the Laser will add a HIT to the current chain counter, and it will refill the chain gauge by 50%. If a player can collect all ten bee items in a stage without dying, the last item will have an additional x2 multiplier. Collecting all the bee items in a stage will also increase their default value by 1,000 for every subsequent stage. Collecting every bee item in both loops without dying outside of boss fights will cause the bee items to be worth 10,000 points each in the final stage! The player can fill the Hyper Gauge by collecting a bee item while having at least a 20-HIT chain.

In Black Label, collecting a bee item with a 20 to 39 hit chain will fill 3% of the Hyper Gauge, having a 40 to 59 HIT chain will give 6%, and so on until the player has a 200+ HIT chain, which fills 30% of the Hyper Gauge.

However, collecting a bee item while in Hyper Mode won’t give any hyper gauge. That’s why, at many points in the game, it is better to collect the bees before activating the hyper mode, or just after the hyper ends.

Hyper item

This is an addition to the series. A hyper meter is incorporated into the upper-left status display and is filled by chaining, collecting bees, and dying, amongst other things. When the meter is filled, a hyper item falls from the top of the screen, unless the player is currently in a boss battle. A player can hold up to 5 hyper items at any one time.

When a hyper is activated, all hyper items are used at once with an effect proportional to the amount of hypers consumed. A hyper causes the player's fighter to be invincible for a short while (90 frames of invulnerability), and amplifies the powers of both normal fire and the laser. Once the timer runs out the player's ship returns to normal. As a side effect, all enemy bullets move faster when the hyper is activated, increasing the "RANK" difficulty level of the game, until a bomb is used during hyper mode or when the player's ship is destroyed. This effect does not disappear when the hyper wears off. Using a bomb during a hyper will end it immediately; dying causes the player to lose all in-stock hyper items. Using a hyper while there is an uncollected hyper item will transform it into a large star (which gives 10.000 points).

How to get hypers : In order to get an hyper, the player need to fill the hyper gauge. When the hyper gauge is full, an hyper medal should drop from the top of the screen but there are some exceptions :

  • If the hyper gauge is filled when the hyper mode is still active, the hyper medal won’t drop. Instead, the player will get an hyper cancel.
  • During a boss fight if there is at least one bomb in stock. To make an hyper drop during a boss fight, the player can fill an hyper gauge without any bomb in stock, use all the remaining bombs or die during hyper mode without any bomb in stock if he has at least 1 full hyper gauge.

When the player fills an hyper gauge but is in one of the two situations mentioned before, instead of making an hyper drop, he will get an hyper cancel. All the bullets on the screen disappear at the very moment the hyper gauge is filled. This can be especially useful on some stage sections and boss fight.

Hyper item properties : Once they appear from the top of the screen, if the player does not pick them up, they will slowly go down until they hit the bottom of the screen and then they will go up until they exit the screen by the top. If the player activates an hyper while there is an hyper item on the screen, the hyper item will turn into a 10 000 points star and this hyper item is “wasted”.

How to fill the hyper gauge : The hyper gauge can be filled by killing enemies. Killing small enemies with the shot gives more hyper than killing them with the laser. This means it is possible to regulate the speed at which the hyper gauge is filled by deliberately choosing to kill the popcorn enemies with shot or laser. It is also possible to gain hyper by using the laser on big enemies and bosses, it gives even more hyper by pointblanking them because the aura is also touching them (note : pointblanking can also give more hits). This means it is also possible to regulate the speed at which the hyper gauge is filled during boss fights by dealing damage with the shot instead of the laser for example. Losing a life fills 30% of a full Hyper Gauge (to be verified for White Label) The final way to fill the Hyper Gauge is to collect a bee with at least a 20-HIT chain (see the “Bees” paragraph)

Important note : When the hyper gauge is filled by collecting a bee or dying, there is no leftover. For example, in Black Label if the hyper gauge is filled at 80% and the players grabs a bee with a 700-HIT combo chain, he should get 30% of hyper gauge, but in this case, he will fill the hyper gauge, make an hyper item drop and start the new gauge at 0%. Which means he only gained 20% of hyper gauge.

Rank

Dodonpachi Daioujou has a hidden ranking system, one that makes the game harder as the rank increases. Rank is increased by using Hypers, and the amount it increases is proportional to the level of the hyper used. Rank can only be decreased by bombing during hyper mode or losing a life.

Star and Medal items

The star and medal items are pretty much worthless in comparison to the other aspects of the scoring system.

Picked up during stage gameplay small star = 500 pts small medal = 500 pts Big star = 10 000 pts Big medal = 10 000 pts

Stars attracted during hyper cancels are worth 500pts/star.

End-stage Bonus

If no-miss : take into account all the stars and medals collected only during this stage, If one or more deaths (during the stage or boss) : take into account the stars and medals collected since the last death.

Nb of stars X 1000 pts

Nb of medals X 2000 pts


BOSS HIT BONUS

Stage 1 : 300 000 + 1,5 x BOSS_HITS

Stage 2 : 400 000 + 2 x BOSS_HITS

Stage 3 : 500 000 + 2,5 x BOSS_HITS

Stage 4 : 600 000 + 3 x BOSS_HITS

Stage 5 : 700 000 + 3,5 x BOSS_HITS


Always true, no matter how many deaths during stage section or boss fight. Stage 1-1 and 2-1 BOSS HITS BONUS is counted the same way, same for 1-2 and 2-2, 1-3 and 2-3, ...

Funny detail : The scrolling of the BOSS HIT BONUS is not synchronized with the reverse scrolling of the HITS.

Plot

Synopsis

Centuries have passed since the catastrophic war that almost cost the human race its complete annihilation at the hands of the deranged Colonel Schwarlitz Longhener, leader of the DonPachi Corps: a military squad of starfighter pilots known for their combat prowess and emotional detachment (as a result of the inhuman training they are subjected to - the first game being a prime example of it, with the trainee actually slaughtering comrades posing as the enemy); whatever remained of his genocidal army was gathered, transported to the Moon and sealed within a network of caves, left to rot away as the nightmares faded into legend.

The human race flourished again, to the point of colonizing the Moon itself, the megacity of Lunapolis being the hub of human activity on lunar soil. However, as time passed, the dormant machines reawakened, rebuilt, evolved: the caverns of the planet swarmed with all sorts of advanced war machines, and automated production facilities, at their core a heavily guarded platform where the ultimate fighting machine of the past, the mechanical bee Hibachi (this time named 緋蜂, lit. "Scarlet Bee"), was slowly being rebuilt. Still following their original programming, the machines broke the seal, invading the surface and quickly seizing control of the almost defenseless Lunapolis, its streets and facilities now completely overtaken and littered with heavy artillery emplacements.

With little time to spare, the DonPachi Corps are reactivated, with enough time to build only two fighters; nevertheless, to each was bestowed the assistance of an Element Doll, highly evolved sentient droids (apparently widespread in human society by then, and treated as little more than slaves) capable of providing tactical data and enhancing the craft's own capabilities. Knowing that the mission is plausibly suicidal, the two attack ships are deployed on the Moon surface, just outside Lunapolis, alone against a ruthless army of machines with a single objective; killing.

Ending

The game's ending reveals, in a chilling twist, that the Element Dolls are, in truth, cybernetic beings built by forcefully turning human beings into servants, laborers and soldiers, their minds and wills rewritten and bent to the whim of Earth's upper class. Then, a Doll-specific coda is shown:

  • Shotia: Interfacing with the enemy's computer network and forcibly shutting it down, Shotia is finally pulled out of the fighter jet by her pilot, who has come to grow feelings for the biomechanical soldier. As he holds her however, her mind is overcome by a virus hidden in Hibachi's mainframe and slowly deteriorates, each memory being deleted until, at last, tears accompany the Doll's final ones, those of her in her human days, before being abducted and converted. With a smile, Shotia dies.
  • Leinyan: Having finally destroyed the devilish war machine Hibachi and ensuing the collapse of the enemy's computer network, the fighter plane returns to base, the pilot's mission completed. However, Leinyan rebels against her masters, having fallen in love with her pilot, who is forced to watch helplessly as she is dragged away, deactivated and her body dissected for research. In an atypical subversion of the series' dark endings, the Doll's consciousness takes control of the laboratory's systems, escaping into cyberspace and, finally, reuniting with her lover.
  • EXY: In a desperate attempt to shut down the enemy's computer network, EXY interfaces with it and delves within the massive data stream with her own consciousness. The attempt is successful, however the information flow drives her mad (it is implied that she discovered Colonel Schwarlitz Longhener's involvement and betrayal), who ultimately breaks free from the fighter's armor and, in a fit of blind rage, chokes the pilot and slaughters the accompanying infantry escort. This, along with the deranged realization that mankind is the one true enemy to defeat, ultimately leads to the events depicted in Dai-Fukkatsu.

Development

Black Label

This variant was a limited edition release. The arcade board includes the original and Black Label games, which can be selected during boot time. The Black Label game can be identified by the black title screen. After the release of the Black label, the original version is called as White Label, particularly for clarification.

Changes in Black Label include:

  • The player can select 1 Loop Mode or 2 Loop Mode at the beginning of the game, after selecting a battle fighter and Element Doll. In 2 Loop Mode, after completing stage 1–5, the player now has the option to play the second loop as before, but in 1 Loop Mode, the player immediately fights Hibachi after defeating the normal final stage boss.
  • The player is no longer reduced to only one life when entering the 2nd loop.
  • The player can continue should he/she lose all his/her lives in the 2nd loop by inserting more coins and pressing START (and a second player can join in), up until he/she reaches the true final stage.
  • The game is easier in general. The enemy bullets are fewer and move slower, but the changes are subtle.
  • The Hyper Meter fills faster than in the original.
  • Some bug fixes. The chain meter now has 5 digits, so it no longer rolls over if it reaches 9,999 hits. (In the original version, the chain meter counts internally correct, but displays only lower 4 digits.)
  • Both weapons are lowered by only one level upon respawning for all types when in the 2nd loop.

A prototype export/overseas version of the Black Label edition named DoDonPachi III was discovered in 2016.

References