I started to love the arcade shooter genre back when River Raid for the Atari 2600 was released. This grew over time with games like R-Type, Blood Money or Xenon-2 into this age of gaming with Ikaruga, Rez or Geometry Wars. One sub-genre that I was also fond of was the "bullet hell" genre. Not because I was particularly good at it - I was not - but because of the challenge it meant to play the game and stay alive for a prolonged period of time. My main achievement in these types of games was to survive for as long as I could, and if that meant taking down a boss or two along the way, great.
DoTonPachi Maximum 1.5 falls definitely into the bullet hell category. It is an arcade shooter for the PC that you can play right after you have downloaded and unpacked the game to it. The visual style takes getting used to though as green dominates the screen in the first level. Once you get past that, it gets better though.
Since there are not any instructions available in English on how to play the game, I'd like to start with those to help you out (there is a tutorial but it is in Japanese only). The main button is Z, which you not only use for selecting menu items but also to fire in the game. You control menus and your spaceship with the cursor keys on the keyboard. I have not tried to play it with a gamepad and can't really say if one is supported by the game or not. The X key is used for secondary fire and that's about it, I guess.
When you start you get to select a space ship type of a couple available ones. Each space ship has a different set of weapons that you can make use of to get as far as possible in the game. Once you are thrown into the game you will notice two things. Number one that your space ship fires a lot of bullets every second, and that enemies fire as many at you.
The first couple of enemy ships are rather easy to dodge, but once you start your first boss fight, after about 30 seconds in, you will be hard pressed staying alive due to the sheer amount of bullets that fly your way.
But that is only the first boss out of many in the game. Every 30 seconds or so another boss comes up with new attack types and moves.
You will fail, a lot of times, in this game. It is just really hard and can be at times an incredible frustrating experience. On the other hand, beating a boss that you died a dozen times before on is something that may compensate for that.
Here is a short video that demonstrates some of the intense fights and amounts of bullets that you will experience in the game, if you come far enough that is.
The game is well done, great music, you get voice overs, and visuals are fine as well for a freeware game. If you are into shoot em ups, I suggest you give DoTonPachi Maximum 1.5 a try. The game is hosted on Mediafire from where you can download it to your PC to play.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.