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on June 29, 2010
I can't stress enough how excellent this game is(provided you like the genre). Cave has long been known as one of the kings of bullet hell type games, but this is surprisingly the first Cave game to be localized for a US release on a console. The only other I know of to get on shore at all is Espgaluda II, which was released on iPhone and is also an excellent port.

Synopsis

There are basically 6 different versions of the game. They are split up into the original arcade port, a version 1.1 arrange version and an xbox 360 specific version. There are 2 versions of each of those, the normal and the MBL(mega black label) version. MBL versions are a special edition of sorts. In that version there is 1 extra character playable and 1 extra level.

Anyway, you are presented with a choice of 4 different girls to play and you play through an other world where you are attacked by monsters and spirits typical of a Halloween setting. You will fight flying pumpkins, ghosts, goblins and Death himself. As you progress farther the difficulty increases and you eventually reach the your goal. Don't worry about whether or not you'll make it here. There are different difficulty levels selectable per level, and you can continue after deaths. Difficulty levels range from a relative easy to blisteringly hard so you can suit that to your own tastes. There's even a "Level 999" option if you really want to hurt yourself.

As far as controls go, they are spot on. You'll never feel like you're fighting the game to do what you want. Everything is fluid and solid.

Finally, there are several nice extra features. You get online leaderboards, a score attack mode, replay saving so you can watch how you did and a practice mode for attacking a specific level until you get it right.

I really can't recommend this title enough if you enjoy these types of games. We don't often even see bullet hell shooters on US soil. It would be a shame to pass up one of the best ones.
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on September 27, 2010
If you grew up playing old school 2D shoot 'em ups like I did and hate to see that Japan is getting all the new old school games then you'll be happy with this U.S. release of Deathsmiles. It features side scrolling 2D action with very tight controls. Designed by Cave, modern "bullet hell" masters. This game even on harder settings didn't feel too difficult. You'll want to play through the various game types more than once - which is needed if you want to unlock the various Achievements. The bonus soundtrack and faceplate is a nice touch since this limited edition retails for less than more new releases.
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on March 23, 2016
A great shooter that apparently no one bought.
Shame too it's about gothic lolitas destroying everything and the game is pretty darn hard (I mean you can beat it in 20 minutes even if you're terrible at games but if you want a good score, you have to never die).
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on February 26, 2013
Deathsmiles Limited Edition comes with game, music CD and faceplate for the older Xbox 360. Deathsmiles is a old school 2-D side scrolling shooter with five characters to choose from Windia, Casper, Follett, Rosa and Sakura to explore Gilverado. Choose your own route via a map after finishing each stage. You can choose different difficulty levels from one to three. The different difficulty levels allows you to customize the bullet count and boss toughness. I was surprised to see there was a online two-player and co-op play option via Xbox LIVE. You can also save replays of your own games if you like to watch them later. You can also download the top 20 scoring runs on the leaderboards and see how you match up against the best players. There are six different versions of the game. The original arcade game,version 1.1 and xbox 360 specific version. There are two different versions of each. In the MBL version there is one extra playable character and one extra level.

All things said and done this is a must have if you are a fan of side scrolling shooter. Even if your not a big fan of these type games you will love this game. I just can't say enough good things about how fun the game is and how hard it is at some points when you crank up the difficulty level to 999. The game did make me think of the game Ikaruga but it is a up and down shooter instead of side scrolling shooter but both are a lot of fun. Bottom line is if you like side scrolling shooters or not you will be pulling your hair out when playing Deathsmiles on it's hardest level.
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on December 6, 2013
This game is very short, but super fun and has a high replayibility factor. I was not able to test the online multiplayer, which seems pretty dead. This is an Xbox 360 port of a popular Japanese arcade game. While the faceplate is charming, it is useless for anyone who does not have an original model Xbox 360. It's also hit or miss if the faceplate you get fits snugly on the front of your console. Remember to take the old faceplate off if you have an original Xbox 360 and plan to use it.

There's 5 playable characters who all have their own unique fighting styles, and you fight through 6 stages in any order you want until you go to the last and final stage. In some game modes there's an extra stage that is very difficult. The highest difficulty of the game introduces bullets that explode from destroyed monsters that you need to eat with each character's given familiar, which acts like an "option" for those in tune with shmup lingo.
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on August 29, 2012
This is like an old-school arcade game with a japanese anime theme attached to it! I really love this game, and the face plate was an added bonus. The only complaint I had with this game is that it only take about an hour to beat the entire thing. Otherwise it is a great game.
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on November 30, 2013
The game is great and the bonus sound track + faceplate are pretty sweet extras. Really good shmup with a great art style.

On another note the limited edition box is somewhat flimsy and can easily be crushed. Amazon packaged mine with 3 other larger/heavier items I had purchased the same day without using any protection :P. End result the box looks like its been stepped on pretty disappointed. Hopefully my other orders are packaged better.
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on July 13, 2010
First off, Im not going to "whine" about the graphics- Theyre sprite based which i like anyway, and it seems for some reason nowadays the kiddies only like shiny polygons and dismiss 2d graphics.

This game isnt about shiny graphics anyway, its about GAMEPLAY.

Let me first say that Im a big fan of shmups. The original R-Type is still my favorite shooter to play,(although Gradius V comes super close) along with UN Squadron, Lifeforce, Thunderforce series, Raiden I, II and IV, and 1943/45/xx to name a few. I tend to prefer horizontal shooters to vertical ones and Im glad CAVE chose to port Deathsmiles to usa, being as its a horizontal shooter.

There's a ton of different modes available, and the achievements are what really keep me coming back for more, simply because there's some to cater to the more novice player, and others which cater to the hardcore players. Beating the game with each character (4 total)+plus picking where they go after the game is over adds replay value. On top of that each character isnt a copy/paste job-they each have slightly different speeds and have different shooting patterns. And although there are unlimited continues, there's achievements for each character that challenges you to beat the game without continuing-on any difficuly level, (1,2,or 3). I have to say, beating the game with Rosa without continuing felt very rewarding in itself.

Arcade mode has the original graphics which look a bit rough since its a direct port which is fine. On the other hand, Xbox 360 mode looks great on my 42 inch lcd tv- and i have it stretched to 16:9 and i have no issues with the look of the game at all. So far Ive probably put about 5 hours of playtime in to the game on Xbox 360 mode alone and have yet to play the Mega Black Label and the Arranged Version, so theres still a lot of game left to enjoy. Online co-op is a nice touch as well, and being able to save your own replays plus save replays from top players on the leaderboards acts as a built in guide to see when and where to use your powered up shots and so forth.

You get 3 bombs per life, and as you kill enemies you get skulls, if you let them hit the ground then pick them up, theyre worth more to add to the total. Get 1000 total and you get to activate a short "power up" mode which makes your shots more powerful and cover a wider area for a short amount of time. Combine this with a point multiplier and it makes it feel rewarding when you find the perfect spot in each level that was designed for this, which maximizes your points and gets you closer to earning an extra 1-up and boast a higher score on the leaderboards- a nice touch. :)

One thing i just dont get is the whole underage lolita thing thats taken over the shmup genre. Its strange how the genre went from spaceships to underage girls shooting stuff, but whatever, a shmup is a shmup i guess. :)

And one more thing-Who cares if its short? Since when does a game have to be X number of hours to be fun? Mega Man 2 can be beat in 45 minutes, and ive beat that game probably 100 times and still enjoy playing it to this day because its FUN...Deathsmiles is the exact same way. If youre a shmup fan, would you really want to play a 10+ hour shmup? I sure wouldnt!!

All in all to me, its well worth the $50. Its a refreshing break from the constant onslaught on FPS games that come out week after week. The extra stuff is nice, but all i care about is the game so i consider that a bonus item. If you enjoy horizontal shmups like i do, do yourself a favor and pick this game up. We need more games like this here in the states and not just Japan.
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on November 30, 2012
Deathsmiles is a sidescrolling shmup. The gameplay is similar to Side Arms Hyper Dyne or Section Z, in that you can shoot both left and right. Also you can lock-on to nearby enemies to attack at any angle, and use screen clearing bombs when things get too crazy.

The artwork and concept is a bit out there. It's a very colorful game, and the world and enemy design reminds me a bit of the Ghosts'n Goblins series. You control one of several girls in a fancy dress, flying around and shooting giant laser beams of death. Huzzah, it's magical girls with Gundam firepower! Wait, what? But once you get past that (or maybe that is the selling point), you'll find there's an amazing game here.

The high definition graphics are a huge addition to the game. Try switching to "arcade mode" and you'll see the different right away, and just how much the graphics were improved from the original arcade hardware.

There are several game modes to play, with arcade modes, mega black label modes, 1.1 modes, etc. These have slightly different gameplay elements, different character rosters, and scoring methodologies. These take a while to explain, so advanced players may want to seek out a FAQ online that explains all the differences. Needless to say, there's a lot of small details to learn and master, giving a lot of replay value.

Deathsmiles has four to five characters to choose from, depending on which game mode you are in. These all have different shot types and familiar movement patters (important for Death Mode, see below). Definitely give them all a try, as once you get better at the game you may find certain characters work better for your play style than others.

Once you figure out the right rhythm to scoring, you'll see exponential increases as your technique improves. It's really fun and rewarding to learn and execute, as the screen just volcanoes point items everywhere once you figure out the correct way to play.

The difficulty is very customizable, and even adjustable between levels. You can breeze through the game by setting difficulty to level 1. Or you can jump over to mega black label and try out level 999 for a sheer spectacle of bullets that looks like something out of a rave laser light show (that's trying to kill you). You can slowly increase your game level as you get better at the game, offering a smooth learning curve.

I'd also like to mention Death Mode. This is a special game mode that triggers once you play enough levels on the higher difficulties. Once you enter Death Mode, all defeated enemies spam star-shaped bullets all over the place as they blow up. These are different from normal bullets, as your familiar can absorb them for extra points. Death mode is one of the best features in my opinion, as it completely changes the game dynamics, makes positioning your familiar important, and adds a lot of strategy to the game. It's simply amazing when properly executed.
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on July 4, 2010
This game is fantastic. CAVE, the Japanese company known for their manic shooters, released their first U.S. game ever, Deathsmiles. Deathsmiles was released in Japan in April of 2009, but U.S. gamers without an imported Japanese Xbox were not able to play it. Luckily, Aksys Games released it here for everyone to enjoy. The game itself is instantly addictive, devilishly difficult and incredibly addictive. The crisp, colorful 2D graphics shine through the waves of bullets and enemies and even with hundreds of bullets on screen, everything is easily visible and highly detailed. The music matches the feeling and mood of each level, from pumping metal to eerie classical. The game's dark lolita theme is brilliantly captured by CAVE...each level has its own life and personality. The gameplay is where the game really shines. This is CAVE's second horizontal shooter (the other being an arcade game from the 90's--Progear) but they have really shown their versatility with it. The character can shoot both left and right. Enemies attack from both sides of the screen, a formula that is very unique and very entertaining. It's the kind of game you can play in an hour but spend a lifetime perfecting. Highly recommended for any shooter fans, vertical or horizontal.
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