DeathsmilesDeathsmiles is a horizontal side scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game by Japanese developer Cave, released in late 2007. It is notable for its aesthetic style, featuring heavy occult and gothic influences. It is the second Cave shoot 'em up to be played using a horizontally-oriented monitor . It was the first Cave shooter released in North America on a console, and the first one in Europe. Cave has also released it on the iOS market. A sequel, Deathsmiles II, was released to Japanese arcades on May 14, 2009.
Deathsmiles GameplayInstead of the typical lives in traditional shooters, the player is given a pool of life points (initially 3). The player loses 1 point if they are hit by a bullet, 1/2 point if they collide with an enemy or are hit by a non-bullet attack. The game ends when the player has no more life points. Life points can be restored by items, and the maximum life point is increased when reaching certain scores (default 20 and 45 million points).
When an enemy is destroyed, it fires a yellow "counter bullet" that is smaller than the regular bullet fired from an enemy. If the player's familiar is hit by a "counter bullet", the player's item counter is increased, which leads to an increased score. Stage bosses do not fire counter bullets.
ReceptionJapanese video game magazine Famitsu's "Famitsu Xbox360 monthly" awarded the game a score of 8/9/7/8. Weekly Famitsu gave the game a score of 7/7/7/8. Edge Online gave the game a score of 8 out of 10. GameZone gave the game an 8.5/10, saying "Shmups are slowly making the journey back into the hearts of westerners, but I fear that Deathsmiles may ruin it for other games to come. From the numerous modes and adjustable options, to the beautiful artwork and masterful touches, Deathsmiles is the new shmup to be reckoned with."
NTSC-uk praised the game's approachability, writing that "it gently eases in newcomers yet underneath has an incredibly sophisticated set of scoring mechanics and level layouts", further stating that the title was "proof of the continuing viability of the genre". GameSpot wrote in their review of the American release that "Deathsmiles is a top-notch shooter that brings the crazy Japanese arcade action in spades with a great presentation and a lot of options for bullet-hell buffs".
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