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North American Xbox 360 version box art
Developer(s) Cave
Director(s) Junya Inoue
Producer(s) Kenichi Takano
Designer(s) Atsushi Aburano
Toshiyuki Kuroiwa
Akira Wakabayashi
Hiroyuki Tanaka
Artist(s) Junya Inoue
Composer(s) Manabu Namiki
Platform(s) Arcade
Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
Genre(s) Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system CAVE CV1000B
CPU Hitachi SH-3 (133 MHz)
Sound Yamaha YMZ770C-F (APU)
Display Raster, horizontal

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 Akai Katana). It was the first Cave shooter released in North America on a console,[1] and the first one in Europe.[2] Cave has also released it for iOS.[3] A sequel, Deathsmiles II, was released to Japanese arcades on May 14, 2009.



Mega Black Label[edit]

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 release[edit]

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.

iOS/Android release[edit]

Cave released a port of Deathsmiles on the Apple iOS App Store in 2011. The special 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.[6]


  • 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.


Review scores
iOSXbox 360
FamitsuN/A(360M) 32/40
GameProN/A4/5 stars[9]
Game RevolutionN/AB+[10]
OXM (US)N/A8/10[13]
OXM (UK)N/A8/10[14]
Aggregate score

The game received "favorable" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[17][18] In Japan, Famitsu gave the X360 version a score of three sevens and one eight, for a total of 29 out of 40, while Famitsu Xbox 360 Monthly gave it one eight, one nine, one seven, and one eight, for a total of 32 out of 40.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Spencer (January 15, 2010). "Deathsmiles Magically Gets Stateside Release". Siliconera. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ Parfitt, Ben (September 17, 2010). "Cave bringing boxed shooter to West". Market for Home Computing and Video Games. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Deathsmiles for iPhone/iPod touch Promotional Video". YouTube. June 12, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ "お待たせしました: 開発日誌". CAVE. January 30, 2009. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ "操作: 開発日誌". CAVE. December 18, 2008. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ fdemarco (November 3, 2007). "Arcade Flyer Art Saturday: Death Smiles". Kotaku. Archived from the original on September 28, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ Edge staff (May 12, 2009). "Review: Deathsmiles (X360)". Edge. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  8. ^ Parkin, Simon (February 18, 2011). "Deathsmiles (Xbox 360)". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ Kemps, Heidi (July 9, 2010). "DeathSmiles (X360)". GamePro. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ Costantino, Jesse (July 13, 2010). "DeathSmiles Review (X360)". Game Revolution. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ Meunier, Nathan. "DeathSmiles Review (X360)". GameSpot. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ Young, Jason (July 20, 2010). "Deathsmiles Review (X360)". GameZone. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Deathsmiles". Official Xbox Magazine: 79. August 2010. 
  14. ^ Lees, Matt (March 31, 2011). "Deathsmiles". Official Xbox Magazine UK. Archived from the original on April 4, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  15. ^ Gaston, Martin (July 7, 2011). "Deathsmiles Review for iPhone". Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  16. ^ Gaston, Martin (February 16, 2011). "Deathsmiles Review for Xbox 360". Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Deathsmiles for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Deathsmiles for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]