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Ketsui ~Kizuna Jigoku Tachi~ (ケツイ~絆地獄たち~) is a vertical shoot 'em up arcade game by Cave. It was released in Japanese arcades in 2003. A Nintendo DS version was released on October 23, 2008 in Japan. It included a Superplay DVD featuring a world high record scoring run by a top ranking player.
In the year 2054, chaos spreads over the globe as global warming finally exacts its toll on Earth: the ice caps quickly melt, causing a tremendous series of cataclysms and for entire nations to disappear under the sea. The near apocalyptic setting and the quickly depleting resources of the remaining dry lands force nations into constant war, eventually culminating into World War III; all efforts by the United Nations to cease hostilities are twarthed by a seemingly endless supply of technologically advanced weaponry being sold to each side of every conflict. After investigation, the source is tracked back to EVAC Industry co.ltd, an arms dealer who's been reaping tremendously high profits from the situation, at times directly intervening to fuel the hostilities with utter disregard towards human lives; any attempt to negotiate with the board of directors has utterly failed, the earnings having proven high enough for the company to build its own cities, shipyards, defensive emplacements and even a private airport, to the point of assembling its own army of extremely well-equipped mercenary troops.
Being unable to enter the fray officially, the UN sets up a strike team of four pilots, each pair given one of two advanced helicopters: the plan is to simulate a rebellion within EVAC forces and bring down the company's headquarters, where research on a series of tremendous warmachines is taking place; for this reason, the planes both bear EVAC insignia and callsigns and are built according to stolen prototype blueprints - by no means, in success or failure, must the operation be traced back to the United Nations. However, for all this secrecy to be effective, even in victories the assault choppers will have to be destroyed... and the pilots killed. However, to compensate for their sacrifice, the UN shall fulfill one of their wishes, no matter what it is. And this, on board a stolen EVAC carrier plane, is how the story begins...
- AH-Y72 Tiger Schwert: Fires in wide formation, slow movement, fast lock-on
- FH-X4 Panzer Jager: Fires in straight formation, fast movement, slow lock-on
1. Noisy Town - INTERCEPTION
A fortified city under EVAC's direct control. A pedestrian bridge, state-of-the-art skyscrapers, a stadium with a large baseball field and even a indoor sky slope; however, the roads and structures are littered with enemy aircrafts and artillery emplacements, hidden and ready to strike.
- Sub-Boss: medium-sized and pontoon-equipped helicopter Sea Horse
- Boss: "air superiority" large combat helicopter Bullfrog
2. Armored Green - SUBURB
A forward operating base hidden deep in the forest surrounding the city. This is where every model of tank at EVAC's disposal is first encountered.
- Sub-Boss: large connected tanks Gem & Ini
- Boss: multi-tracks battle tank XM-117 Sphynx
3. Twilight Fleet - CANAL FLEET
- Sub-Boss: multi-purpose, SRBM equipped warship RBB-S1 Vindogradov
- Boss: V/STOL transport and attack craft Jamadhar
4. Lurk in the Darkness - DEFENSIVE LINE
A valley and rocky path is in the way towards EVAC's Headquarters; however, unknown to the pilots, the old staging and testing area has been extensively retrofit and fortified in an attempt to stop their advance.
- Sub-Boss: base security enforcer Black Draft
- Boss: experimental modular vehicle Cinderella Amber
5. Day of Judgement - EVAC INDUSTRY
EVAC's vast weapons development facility, an extensive and technologically advanced complex which houses the true heart of the corrupt corporation. After descending to the lowest level and fighting through Hell, the vertigo of the final battle awaits. Most notably, apart from the reappearance of every weaker enemy in an upgraded form, the player is to challenge the production models of his/her own attack craft: Ketsui Death Label clarifies that those "A" models are still inferior to the prototypes available to the players, lacking modifications performed on them by Alice Blackbam.
- Sub-Boss: tracks-mounted heavy anti-aircraft cannon emplacement Trafalgar
- Boss: heavy mobile combat fortress Evaccaneer (prototype - still in development)
Continuing with Cave's long standing tradition, more skilled players can enter a second round of the game, consisting of the same stages with noticeably increased difficulty. There are two sets of conditions:
Tsuujou Loop: no continues, 6 or fewer bombs used, 6 or fewer lives lost. In this mode, the scrolling direction is inverted, all enemies release pink "suicide bullets" unless destroyed at very close range, but the player cannot reach the game's true ending.
Ura Loop: if the first loop is cleared with a score of over 120,000,000 points with no deaths and no bombs deployed, the WELCOME TO SPECIAL ROUND message is displayed and the Ura game begins. In this mode, all enemies fire approximately double the amount of shots, release blue "suicide bullets" unless destroyed at nearly point blank, but everything is essentially unchanged. After destroying stage 5's boss, however, the player is forced to challenge the game's True Last Boss 光翼型近接支援残酷戦闘機 Evaccania DOOM with a time limit of 180 seconds, not shown on-screen. Using a continue during this battle respawns the ship at the level's beginning.
At one time, Arika, publisher of the ports for DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou and Espgaluda, expressed interest in porting the game to the PlayStation 2, but later stated that the console was insufficient for achieving arcade-perfect status; namely, the second half of the fifth stages employs a quick swap of the entire background plane, coupled with reversing the overall scrolling direction (tate-ana), something unachievable given the standard amount of RAM and processing power of the PlayStation 2 console.
On 2007-3-26, Arika's vice president Ichiro Mihara mentioned the release of Nintendo DS version of Ketsui in his personal page . The game, subtitled Death label, was available for download in test events in 2007-3-31. Video footage of the game was also released by Mihara. In the time-limited demo, players had 120 minutes to face off against Doom with a single ship and no bombs.
Another demo event took place at Cave Festival in Akibahara on 2007-9-23 to 2007-9-24. This version has time limit of 24 hours, and contains extra levels.
Arika's DS page was opened on 2008-5-23.
The retail version of the game includes a DVD Superplay video with the current world record.
The game adds the ability to save replays, which can be sent to other Nintendo DS units. In addition, it can upload the Ketsui demo game to other game consoles via Download Play. The EVAC Report feature allows players to unlock up to 113 panels covering the 11 bosses' artworks when specific conditions are met, some as simple as changing the sound options or touching all four corners of the screen with the ship, others as complex as defeating a boss in under 15 seconds or clearing Extra Mode. At times, failure to unlock a panel within a certain deadline might partially lock it, requiring further conditions to be met: clearing modes, uncovering entire pictures and/or unlocking certain panels enables questions and replays in the Tell me! IKD-san! extra featurette.
Single player modes:
- Novice: Sea Horse (mid-boss), Gem & Ini (mid-boss), Jamadhar (boss)
- Normal: Black Draft (boss), Bull Frog (boss), Trafalgar (mid-boss), Sphinx (boss)
- Hard A: Sea Horse (mid-boss), Cinderella Amber (boss), Vinogradov (mid-boss)
- Hard B: Gem & Ini (mid-boss), Sphinx (boss), Evaccania (final boss)
- Hard C: Vinogradov (mid-boss), Trafalgar (mid-boss), Black Draft (boss), Evaccania DOOM (true last boss)
- Very Hard: all 10 bosses and mid-bosses at almost arcade difficulty
- Death Label: same as above, with noticeably increased difficulty
- Extra Mode: a graphically toned-down and remixed Stage 5 from the arcade version, preluding a fight with an exclusive, extremely difficult version of Ketsui's True Last Boss - Evaccania DOOM
- DOOM Mode: five battles against an increasingly more difficult True Last Boss - Evaccania DOOM
Multi player modes:
- VS mode: Competes against other player for multiplier chip. When one player has a longer win/loss gauge, multiplier chip goes to that player when an enemy is destroyed.
Training mode: Allows selecting stage, boss difficulty, player's ship, ship stock, bomb stock, auto bomb.
Xbox 360 version
The March 7, 2008 issue issue of Famitsu Weekly magazine reported that 5pb.'s 5pb. Games division would bring three titles, including Ketsui, to the 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.' An Xbox 360 retail version called Kizuna Jigoku Tachi EXTRA was to be released on May 28, 2009 in Japan, however the release date has been pushed back and it was finally released on 22 April 2010.' The port is considered to be highly accurate both by Mihara and expert players.[ ]
In 2003, Cave released mobile phone version of the game as 2 separate titles, available for imode (for 504/505/506 series, FOMA90*i series) and Yahoo platforms. A DX version for FOMA 900 and 901 was released in 2004. EZWeb version was released in 2005.
Danmakukenteishiken Ketsui hen (弾幕検定死験 -ケツイ編-) is a spin-off title based on Ketsui, released in 2006 for i-mode. This version is a boss battle version of the game, emphasized on dodging bullets. Player goal is to earn ranks by repeatedly defeating the same boss, but with increasing difficulty in successive runs.