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on May 16, 2012
It's hard for me NOT to rate this game a 5. Keep in mind, I'm comparing it to a long line of Cave shooters: Guwange, Ketsui, Mushihime, ESP Galuda, Deathsmiles, and the DoDonPachi series. If you like any of those games, chances are you'll like this one even more. Compared to the games already mentioned, it's relatively easy to stay alive. It offers a nice balance in the difficulty department, so you won't find yourself getting killed every 3 seconds. As far as the graphics and music, well... there are online videos for that. However, if you like Deathsmiles, I will say that AK completely surpasses it on every level. It's that simple. Personally, I love the scoring systems, and find them to be clearly outlined and well-refined. Like Ikaruga, there is a definitive set of rules to follow if you want to achieve ultra-high scores.
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And that's where the real challenge comes in. Akai Katana demands that you challenge yourself to learn the scoring system and achieve new high scores. What does this mean exactly? Well for the casual shooter fan, you may find that after completing stage 1, you have a score of 2 or 3 million. But once you learn how to power up and utilize your power, you can actually reach scores around 80 million. That 100-million mark for your 1st extra life is there for a reason. Anyone who understands and practices within the system will eventually get there. Casual shooter fans won't be able to reach that mark even by accident, since there is a sequence to using your powers and a time limit in which to do so. Playing casually and constantly bombing will simply not reward you in any way, and I doubt you'll ever play the game again after your first 15 minutes. However, those who dig deeper will find that this is surely one of Cave's top tier games. I've spent several months simply replaying levels 1 and 2, over and over, to reach new high scores. When that gets old, there is a second game mode, with a significant change in scoring mechanics and gameplay -- in which you can expect to reach scores of 600 million or more. For purists and collectors, the disc also includes a third mode, an arcade port in standard 4:3 format. Again, this mode is complete with different game mechanics and the arcade soundtrack. Cave designed this game with 16:9 HD home-gaming in mind, and it shows. Beautiful hand-drawn artwork like this (sprite-based) is extremely rare, but hopefully will never die. Overall, I would expect this title to become a massive hit in the shmup world. Now that Cave has shifted their focus to hand-held gaming, be sure to pick up this rare gem.
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A classic good old fashioned shooter game that brings a little feeling of nostalgia when I play it and remember bygone games from the Sega Genesis and nintendo 8-bit days. The game is definitely not meant to be played by those who have a risk of seizures as the multitude of flashing lights and other effects is beyond extreme,even though I don't have that risk I did have to stop about every thirty minutes or so to sort of clear my head and refocus my eyes a little. Still the game is good fun for those who can forgo current graphics and just be entertained by the overall fun of the game.
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on November 30, 2012
Akai Katana is a side scrolling shmup, with planes, tanks, ships, and massive amounts of bullets. There are a number of planes and pilots to choose from, offering a variety of shot types and subweapons, and three game modes with different game play and scoring mechanics.

There is a bit of a learning curve to grasp the game mechanics, however they are worth learning. The difference between a new player and an advanced player is astronomical: a new player may shoot stuff and use bombs when in trouble, while an advanced player manipulates enemies to quickly charge up their gauges and spends most of the challenging sections as an INVINCIBLE NINJA, all while collecting huge amounts of point items and looking stylish in the process.

There are many subtle strategies to learn. For example, collecting bomb items clears the screen of bullets (not just using them). Thus, you can hold off on collecting bomb items until a tough section for an easy screen wipe.

Akai Katana has three game modes. While they may look the same from the first 10 seconds, they offer different game mechanics and scoring systems (one of which is drastically different), so it's a good idea to give them all a try and see which one you like.

The scoring systems are all really fun, and make the game vastly more interesting than simply shooting and dodging. These involve creating large numbers of gold items, which you cash in for huge point spikes. It takes a while to learn, but looks awesome when correctly executed.

Boss fights are definitely the highlight of the game. At first you face a human enemy who is sort of floating there. They fire a few volleys and get you warmed up, and then things hit the fan as they summon giant battleships, planes, and cannons to fly all over the screen shooting massive waves of bullets. The in-game scale gets a little weird looking (I'm not sure why a summoned bomber is ten times the scale of a regular one) but whatever, it's seriously cool looking.

The HD sprites are fantastic, with a high level of detail and animation in them. Optionally, you can choose origin mode if you want to see how the game originally looked in arcades.

I also have the Japanese release of this game. Interestingly enough, the North American version has some additional on-disc patching that makes formatting the screen on 4:3 arcade monitors easier. This may not be important to those playing on HDTVs, but for those looking for an authentic arcade experience it's really handy. Thanks to whoever got that into the game.
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on August 6, 2012
Akai Katana will not disappoint the fans of Cave games. You do get the same over the top bullethell action, lots of explosions and all that. You should keep in mind that this is published by a U.K. Company rising star games, not by the publisher who makes the Japanese versions of Cave games and thus the menu and the options you get to change around are a little different. I mean there are many options, all the standard practice modes, backgrounds, screen flipping. But some important options are missing. For example if you play with the xbox controller you cannot move the ship slowly by slightly tilting the stick. It moves as if you're just moving an on off switch. This can create problems when you look for that small open space to escape millions of bullets headed your way. There are also not many filter options for the image quality. But otherwise this is good. Of course, the fans will enjoy this much more than a standard casual player. The game itself is about 1gb only when you install it to disk. Would be nice if they made a combo release with a couple games on one disk.

The plot and story make as much sense as any other cave game, which means they kind of make sense but all you have to know is you have to avoid dying and getting as high a score as possible. Mostly you'll see technology here that varies according to time periods with World War I and II inspired designs to futuristic designs. Not much organic stuff that you may see in Bug Princess.

One thing for sure is that this game so far has got the funniest Achievements I've ever seen in an Xbox game. I do not want to spoil it, because you have to start playing to see them yourself. The guys who made the achievements are pretty clever.
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on September 8, 2015
Pure horizontal shooting bliss! One of Caves crowning achievements!
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on April 19, 2016
great shooter.
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on June 7, 2016
This is a great shoot me up!great graphics,very challenging with a fun and rewarding scoring system and good gameplay.okay bosses,but the levels and enemies therein are a blast.plenty of modes to enjoy
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on October 31, 2016
Great shooter. Must for Xbox fans and shooter game fans.
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on February 27, 2016
Cave=Perfection...This is no different and it's a great price!
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on January 13, 2014
Love this Game !...The action , the sound, the music, the graphics, the gameplay - you like Side scroll ship shooters.....Just get this !
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