DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou (怒首領蜂 大往生 Dodonpachi Daiōjō ) is the fourth arcade game in Cave's DonPachi series. It is considered to be the "true" sequel to DoDonPachi. Dai Ou Jou is renowned for both its level of difficulty and its highly refined gameplay. The "Dai Ou Jou" portion of the title translates as "peaceful death", which is a wry reference to the overwhelming and frantic manner in which players meet their end.
Centuries have passed since the catastrophic war that almost cost the human race its complete annihilation at the hands of the deranged commander 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 undeground caverns of the planet swarmed with all sorts of advanced warmachines, and automated production facilities, at their core a heavily guarded platform where the ultimate fighting machine of the past, the mechanical bee Hibachi, 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 of Lunapolis, alone against a ruthless army of machines with a single objective.
The controls in Dai Ou Jou 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".
Dai Ou Jou 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, although this requires much practice and skill.
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 items 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 hyper is activated, all hyper items are used at once, with an effect proportional to the amount of hypers consumed (duration and power are both affected). A hyper causes player's fighter to be invincible for a short while, 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 or when 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 player to lose all in-stock hyper items. Using hyper while there is an uncollected hyper item will transform it into a large star.
Dai Ou Jou has also been made much more difficult than the previous games in the series.
- TYPE-A: High speed, fires front concentration shots
- TYPE-B: Low speed, fires wide front area shots
It is similar to the selection of Shot Type or Laser Type in the DoDonPachi prequels. It can be chosen after a fighter 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 player loses a life, the revived fighter's power level is reduced only by one for enhanced weapon, while non-enhanced weapon's power level is reduced to minimum.
There are 5 stages per loop. Second loop becomes available if the player completes the first loop and satisfy one of the following:
- Loses at most 2 lives
- Uses less than 3 bombs
- Collects all 10 bees in at least 3 stages. The bees in each stage must be collected without dying.
If the player then defeats regular stage 2-5 boss, the true final boss of the game, Hibachi, appears.
The music tracks are puns of shooting game companies. Mukei, Toua, Takimi, Torejya, Saikyou, Seibu, Sakusetsu, Taitou, Raijin, and Awaremu are named after NMK, Toaplan, Takumi Corporation, Treasure, Psikyo, Seibu Kaihatsu, Success Corporation, Taito Corporation, 8ing/Raizing, and Irem respectively.
As often pointed out by fans, Manabu Namiki confirmed that the tracks from the game are the shooting game companies stated above he wanted to show respect for.
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.
Changes in Black Label include:
- Instead of losing existing lives when entering 2nd loop, they are now preserved.
- Player can select 1 Loop Mode or 2 Loop Mode at the beginning of the game, after a fighter is selected. In 2 Loop Mode, after completing stage 1-5, player now has the option to continue into the second loop as before, but can also continue if player loses all lives in stage 2-5. In 1 Loop Mode, player immediately fights Hibachi after defeating normal stage 1-5 boss, which can also be continued after losing all lives.
- Hyper Meter is now filled properly, so it fills faster.
- Boss patterns are changed in 2nd loop.
- Chain meter now has 5 digits, so it no longer rolls over if it reaches 9999 hits.
- As a result of allowing existing life stock to carry over to 2nd loop, Basic Rank can reach higher than in the original game.
Playstation 2 version
This version added following:
- Death label arcade mode.
- No bullets mode
- Simulation (training) mode, with replay feature.
- High score DVD video from 4 players who completed the second loop of the game.
Death Label was included with the PS2 port of Dai Ou Jou. Death Label sets the player against each of the game's bosses in order, with maximum power at all times and a full stock of hypers provided before each fight. Death Label's difficulty is roughly equivalent to that of the normal game's second loop, with a number of alterations made to the bosses and their attack pattern. The most notable change is made at the end of Death Label, where the player fights two versions of the final boss simultaneously.
Xbox 360 version
2008-03-07 issue of Famitsu Weekly magazine reported that 5pb.Inc.'s 5pb.Games Division #2 would bring this game to Xbox 360 platform as Xbox Live Arcade titles. However, 5pb representative Masaki Sakari claimed Microsoft rejected 5pb's proposals and 'decided to cut down faithful arcade ports.'. Instead 5pb has considered releasing Black Label and Ketsui on a retail DVD instead.
On 2008-09-26, Famitsu has announced the official title of the Xbox 360 version of the game, dodonpachi DAI-OU-JOU Black Label EXTRA (怒首領蜂 大往生 ブラックレーベル EXTRA), scheduled for a release on Christmas Day of 2008. The port would include the original and Black Label editions of the game, as well as online score ranking, replay saving, enhanced graphics, Xbox Live Marketplace contents. There is an Xbox 360 original mode for beginners named the "X Mode", where a new Element Doll named Piper is introduced.
Pre-order also includes a guidebook.
Arcade mode - Old Version - plays like the arcade counterparts (including the Black Label version), but also includes online ranking and replay saving features.
Arcade mode - New Version - is based on the arcade counterparts, but with readjusted game balance. In addition, player can freely choose whether to enter 2nd loop.
The X Mode features a 1 loop, 5 stage layout, with new game system.
The game's music can be changed from Mono (from arcade), Stereo, or X Mode, which features rearranged music.
Xbox achievement features 50 categories for 1000 points total.
Player can get extra credits, X mode, and unlock Config EX options that alter game play mechanics by increasing play time, or by earning achievement points.
The Xbox 360 version received a lot of reports of bugs and problems with the game that rendered it highly inaccurate and glitchy. The eventual reason for this was because 5pb lifted the source code from the PS2 version of the game and slotted it in for the 360 version adjusting it as required, however it was done without permission. Cave and Microsoft stepped into aid the patching process.
Wasim Ahmed of NTSC-uk rated the PS2 game 8/10 for excellent animation and detail, excellent music, and large fighter and doll combinations.
Famitsu Scored the Xbox 360 game a 27/40 8/7/6/6
- Cave page
- Arika PS2 page
- 5pb.inc Xbox 360 page
- DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou at Museum of the Game
- DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou at MobyGames
- http://www.insertcredit.com/archives/002261.html - News confirming the port
- Famitsu preview
- Game review/strategy guide