North American box art
|Designer(s)||Junya Inoue (graphic)|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Distribution||CD-ROM (Xbox 360)|
|Arcade system||CAVE CV1000B|
|CPU||Hitachi SH-3 (133 MHz)|
|Sound||Yamaha YMZ770C-F (APU)|
Deathsmiles (デススマイルズ Desusumairuzu?) 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 (the first being Progear, followed by the recently released Akai Katana). 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.
|This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (March 2011)|
Instead 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.
Each player has an accompanying familiar, which can fire its own shots and chooses target in auto lock shot. It can also block enemy bullets. Its movement is opposite to player's.
Jewelry can gain points. "Life Up" items recover life points. Magic gains 1 bomb.
Item counter system
When player obtains an item, or when the familiar touches a counter bullet, the item counter is incremented (maximum 1000).
When the item counter is full, pressing the A and B buttons simultaneously causes both player and familiar to fire more powerful shots than normal, while the item counter begins to decreases. The player does not lose life points for colliding with enemies in this state. The enemies drop more items when destroyed by the powerful shots. The power-up effect finishes when the item counter reaches 0.
Stages are arranged in a chapter and scene format, with 3 chapters and 2 scenes per chapters for the first 6 stages. The Player can choose the order of stages by arranging the A, B, C at the start of the game. The stage order within A, B, C cannot be changed. When choosing a stage, the player can choose difficulty levels between 1 to 3 (or 999 in MBL).
After completing 6 stages (Chapter 3 Scene 2), the final stage (Chapter 4) begins, which is organized in 2 parts. The player can choose to play an extra stage if certain conditions are met at the end of Stage Chapter 3 Scene 2.
Mega Black Label
Mega Black Label is a limited (150 copies total) arcade edition of the game released in Japan. It added Sakura as playable character, as well as the Crystal Shrine stage, and Level 999 difficulty level. There are other scoring changes.
Xbox 360 version
An Xbox 360 port was released in Japan on April 23, 2009 in both regular and limited editions. The Limited Edition includes a Manabu Namiki Selection Deathsmiles Premium Arrange Album soundtrack CD. New game modes include an Xbox 360 mode and Ver 1.1 mode. The player can also adjust the screen brightness, background frame, game screen position and zoom level.
Downloadable content for the Japanese market included the "Mega Black Label" (1200MSP)and a full voice download card for preorder and limited edition users. A "Mega Black Label Ver.1.1" was later made available as DLC.
Hori produced a controller for the Xbox 360 game that was an Amazon Japan exclusive.
On April 8, 2010, the Platinum Collection re-release came out in Japan, containing both the main game and the Mega Black Label downloadable content on the disc.
Aksys Games has released the game in North America on June 28, 2010. A Limited Edition was released that includes, along with the game, an exclusive Xbox 360 faceplate and a "Premium Arrange Album" soundtrack CD. As with the Japanese Platinum Collection re-release, the North American port integrates the Mega Black Label (MBL) content, providing a total of 6 game versions selectable from the front-end menu: Arcade, Ver 1.1, Xbox 360, MBL Ver 1.1, MBL Arcade, MBL Xbox 360. The additional playable character, Sakura, is available in the MBL versions.
Rising Star Games released the game in Europe on February 18, 2011 as "Deathsmiles: Deluxe Edition". This contained a soundtrack CD and a CD intended for use on the PC including desktop themes. Originally the soundtrack CD was misprinted and was released as a data CD including the music as .wav files. Rising Star sent out correct audio CD versions to customers for free. The European release contains Arcade, Ver 1.1, Xbox 360, MBL Ver 1.1, MBL Arcade, MBL Xbox 360 as per the North American release.
In "Ver 1.1" mode, players can independently control familiars via the Xbox 360 controller. Lock shot and powerup shot are located on different buttons. Other changes include:
- Item counter is powered when it reaches 100.
- Item score limit is increased to 99999 points.
- In boss battle, counter bullets are fired during power up mode.
- When stage difficulty is set to 2 or above, counter bullets are fired during power up mode.
- When stage difficulty is set to 3, death mode is automatically triggered.
- When attacking a boss with auto lock shot, item counter increases.
- Extra lives are granted at 30 million and 1 billion points.
Xbox 360 mode includes following changes:
- Non-background graphics are redone
- Except EXTRA (valley) and FINAL (castle) stages, all stages have selectable difficulties of 1 and 2, and can be selected multiple times.
Cave released a port of Deathsmiles on the Apple iOS App Store in 2011. The speacial features to this version included:
- Special controls using the touch screen
- Smartphone Mode featuring new character "Tiara" incorporating RPG elements including equipment that can be bought from a store, will feature a story that runs after the original events of the game. The mode was called "iPhone Mode" but was later changed when Cave started releasing games on Android
- New BGM exclusive to iPhone mode.
- Game Center and OpenFeint support.
On July 22, 2013 the game was released for Android devices.
On the back of the arcade game poster, there is a template for a skirt blowing game. In the game, the player attempts to blow up the skirt or petticoat of the model to see her underwear. The player scores 30 points for blowing up a skirt and 50 points for blowing up a petticoat. Points are deducted if a pumpkin or tombstone is knocked over.
- A series of 3 drama CDs were published by Cave.
- Official guide book includes comic drawn by game designer Junya Inoue.
- Deathsmiles original sound track includes 23-track soundtrack CD with music from the video game (including voices, image song), Windows-compatible data CD including desktop accessories, 8-page booklet.
- The title track, Burning Halloween Town, contains uncredited excepts from an edited-for-content version of the 1966 movie Mondo Keyhole. These excerpts were also used in the track Brain Freeze from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.
- Manabu Namiki Selection Deathsmiles Premium Arrange Album is a 15-song soundtrack CD based on the video game, included with the limited edition of Xbox 360 game.
- Deathsmiles Arrange Album includes 16 tracks with musical arrangements of the original soundtrack from the game, the last 2 tracks being part of the soundtrack that was not included before. It also contains an arranged version of Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach, which serves as the game's Final Boss theme.
Japanese 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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- [dead link]
- Deathsmiles Official Homepage (English)
- Deathsmiles Official Homepage (Japanese)
- Deathsmiles Mega Black Label Official Homepage (Japanese)
- Deathsmiles Drama CD Official Homepage (Japanese)
- Strategy wiki (Japanese)
- Famitsu preview (Japanese)