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DoDonPachi arcade flyer.jpg
Arcade flyer
Producer(s)Kenichi Takano
Designer(s)Naoki Ogiwara
Akira Wakabayashi
Hiroyuki Tanaka
Junya Inoue
Riichirou Nitta
Programmer(s)Tsuneki Ikeda
Satoshi Kohyama
Makoto Watanabe
Takashi Ichimura
Composer(s)Eddie You
Andrew Parsons Lin
Platform(s)Arcade, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, EZweb, i-mode, PlayStation Network
Genre(s)Bullet hell
Mode(s)Single player, 2 player Co-op
Arcade systemCAVE 68000
DisplayRaster, 240 x 320 pixels (Vertical), 32768 colors

DoDonPachi (怒首領蜂, "Angry Leader Bee", also an onomatopoeia of gunfire) is a vertically-scrolling bullet hell shoot' em up developed by Cave and published by Atlus in 1997. It was the second game developed by Cave, and the sixth on Cave's first-generation arcade hardware. As with its predecessor DonPachi, the title is both a Japanese term for expressing the sound of gunfire, and a term that relates to bees (here it means "angry leader bee"). The sequel to this game is DoDonPachi II, which was made by a different developer. The original developer later released its own sequel, DoDonPachi DaiOuJou.


Compared to DonPachi, DoDonPachi is generally known for introducing new gameplay elements while improving or changing existing ones. The overall background of the game, unlike following sequels, remains more or less centered around a supposed invasion by a mysterious race of mechanized aliens, which the player is called to face throughout its run. However, more sinister and shocking secrets lie beneath the surface, accessible only to those brave and skilled enough to clear the entire game.


The player takes on the role of a squadron fighter facing a race of mechanized aliens that recently appeared and started causing havoc. There are three different ships to choose between, and each ship can be played in Laser or Shot mode.

  • Type A: A red (or yellow/orange, for player two) fighter, which fires a narrow stream of shots.
  • Type B: A green (or purple, for player two) helicopter, which fires its main guns forward, but has side guns that rotate in the direction of movement.
  • Type C: A blue (or black, for player two) fighter, which fires a wide, three-way spread of shots.

Each aircraft has a main forward-firing gun used by tapping the two shot buttons, the style of which is determined by the type of fighter chosen. Each ship also has two small floating guns which it deploys at the start of the game. The placement of the guns is different on each craft, which affects their firing style. If the fire button is held down, the floating guns combine in front of the ship to produce a vertical beam, which provides more firepower than standard fire. This also makes the ship move more slowly. An aura is generated around the player's ship, which damages any contacting enemy. If the laser is fired at close proximity to an enemy, the laser delivers more damage to the enemy.

The ship has a limited number of bombs, which are activated by pressing the bomb button. There are two types of bombs that can be used at any time the player could normally use, and there is no penalty for picking a particular bomb to use, aside from the point reductions that using a bomb might give said player. These bombs are triggered based on whether the player is using standard fire or laser fire when the bomb button is pressed:

  • While firing standard shots, bombs produce a large explosion which damages or destroys all enemies on-screen, and makes all enemy projectiles disappear for the entire duration of the explosion.
  • While firing the laser, the ship unleashes a high-powered beam instead, which does more damage at the cost of range. Enemy projectiles in the beam's range will be destroyed.

At the beginning of the game, the player has 3 bomb slots, and the slot count increases by 1 every time the player loses a life (up to 6 slots).

Power-Up Modes

Each ship can be played with a Shot or Laser boost, making the chosen mode of firing more powerful; the mode is chosen as the player chooses their ship:

  • Shot Mode increases the density/spread of standard shots, essentially doubling standard firepower.
  • Laser Mode increases the effectiveness of the laser weapon, allowing the laser to penetrate through multiple enemies. It also gives the player a shield against minor bombarding enemies while firing the beam.

When the player loses a life, the chosen weapon's power is decreased by one, and the other weapon's power is decreased to the lowest level.

Collectible Items

There are three types of power-up items in the game, identified by different letters:

  • P: Makes the player's guns stronger and laser thicker.
  • B: Adds one bomb to the player's supply. The player can hold a maximum of three bombs at the start; this maximum increases by one whenever the player loses a life, to a complete maximum of six. At the end of a stage, the player's bomb supply is fully restored, to the limit it is currently at.
  • MP: Appears after the player has lost all their lives; as such, it can only be picked up upon a continue. Collecting this powers up the player's weapons to full strength.
  • Bee: There are 13 golden bees scattered throughout the stage, which are exposed by firing the head of lasers over the area. The value of each collected bee increases throughout each stage, provided the player does not lose a life, beginning with 100, then 200, 400, 800, 1,000, 2 000, 4 000, 8,000, 10,000, 20,000, 40,000, 80,000, and finally 100,000. When the player loses a life, the next collected bee drops back to 100 points.
  • Star: Gives 100 points when picked up. When a mid-boss or end boss is destroyed, each of its bullets is converted into a star.
  • Giant star: Gives 10,000 points when picked up. In a multi-part boss, destroying a non-critical component causes a giant star to appear.
  • Pentagon: Gives 300 points when picked up. Pentagons are only found on the ground.

New to DoDonPachi is the addition of "MAXIMUM mode". This mode is triggered whenever a bomb is collected when all bomb slots are full. During MAXIMUM mode, the player's score increases by at least 220 points per 1/60th second, except during boss fights. The score multiplier begins with 2, and increases by 1 for every successive bomb collected in MAXIMUM mode. Whenever a bomb is used or the player loses a life, MAXIMUM mode ends until bomb overstocking occurs again, which will cause the multiplier to resume at the last multiplier value. The multiplier is carried over to successive stages (including new loops).

Get Point System

The Get Point System (GPS) from DonPachi is improved. Destroying an enemy or part of an enemy increases the combo by 1 and builds up a combo gauge on the left side. The combo gauge constantly drains, and the combo is broken when it empties. Using the laser to continuously damage an enemy will maintain a low level on the gauge and periodically increases the combo by 1. The player receives an increasing number of points for the same enemy with a larger hit count.

In boss battles, there is no combo gauge. A combo hit counter simply increases when the boss is hit by the player's Laser or Laser Bomb, and decreases otherwise. The part of the boss being hit can be a non-critical portion to increase the hit count, but not including enemies released by the boss after the boss battle began.


The game has 7 areas, but area 7 is only accessible by entering the 2nd loop. Said 2nd loop is accessible by completing the first 6 areas on 1 credit and fulfilling one of the following requirements:

Hachi the giant mechanical bee
  • Loses at most 2 fighters (lives).
  • Depending on the fighter used, have a maximum hit count of at least the following:
Type A: 270 hits
Type B: 300 hits
Type C: 330 hits
  • Score at least 50 million points at the end of area 6.
  • Collect all 13 bees in four of the six areas.

The second loop has the same areas, enemy patterns, and bosses as the first loop, but the number of bullets the enemies fire is greatly increased. Destroying the area 6 boss in the second loop unlocks a secret area where the player fights the trademark boss of the series, the giant mechanical bee Hachi (蜂; 'bee'). When the player defeats it, they will then fight Hibachi (火蜂; 'fire bee'), the true final boss in DoDonPachi. If it is defeated then the best ending is achieved. After completing an area, the player gains the following scores based on performance in the completed area:

  • Boss hit: It is the sum of the base boss score, and rewards 5,000 points per hit combo when a boss is destroyed.
  • Star: 500 points per item collected in the area using the current life.
  • Pentagon: 1,000 points per item collected in the area using the current life.
  • NO MISS: If the player did not lose a life in the completed area, the player gets 200,000 points for Area 1, and the bonus increases by 100,000 points for each successive area. For 2nd loop areas, the player gets 2,000,000 points for Area 1, and the bonus increases by 1,000,000 points for each successive area.

If the 2nd loop is completed with 1 credit, the player gets 10 million points for each reserved fighter.


Should a player fail to meet the requirements for second loop access, he/she is simply congratulated by the DonPachi Corps leader, Colonel Schwarlitz Longhener, for his/her bravery in battle. No credits will be presented to the player for finishing the game this way.

Should the requirements be met, however, Longhener reveals - in a shocking twist - that the "mechanized aliens" were in fact the pilot's own comrades (the International version of the game renders this as a "lost fleet" legendary among cadets) trying to actually stop him/her, being aware of Longhener's nefarious scheme revealed in the true and final ending. Having served its purpose, Longhener orders his elite fleet to annihilate the pilot, and on this premise the second loop of the game begins.

If the player completes the game once again, this time without any kind of requirement except the annihilation of the ultimate fighting machine Hibachi (in which Longhener is killed piloting), in the true ending the pilot realizes that the DonPachi's true goal was to annihilate the human race, owing to Longhener's deranged idea that mankind was a flawed creation to be eradicated from existence. The existing problems of overpopulation, environmental pollution, and arms races were solved by this one-man war. The pilot wonders in the end if maybe Longhener - instead of being the genocidal maniac he claimed to be - had actually intended this extreme solution from the very beginning. The staff credits appear afterwards.


Campaign version[edit]

Also called Special Version, or DDP BLUE ROM, this is a special arcade board handed out to the winner of a DoDonPachi scoring contest held by Cave to promote the game's Saturn port, in which each participant was asked to submit the highest score they could reach within a three-day period. It is essentially the same game with an extreme increase in difficulty, the addition of a Hyper Mode (a primitive form of the feature later seen in the sequel DoDonPachi DaiOuJou) and a blue (rather than red) title screen. Extremely rare and sought after, only a single specimen has been confirmed to exist so far, property of contest winner ZBL-NAI. In a 2010 press conference, Cave's Makoto Asada confirmed that no other boards have been produced and the company has lost every copy of the game's source code, effectively exposing the Campaign Version to the risk of being lost forever in case of hardware failure. Asada's comments, however, are peculiar as the very first Cave Matsuri (Cave Festival), held at the HEY! arcade in Akihabara in late December 2006 featured not one, but two copies of the board. This event was before Asada joined the company, and is most likely the default statement the company makes to avoid ROM dump requests. While his statements, chronologically, could still be true, the loss of the two sets of ROMs and possibly the source code would have to have happened in the three years between the festival and the press conference, after having survived some 15 years prior.

Mobile releases[edit]

The EzWeb version was released as two separate games.[citation needed] DoDonPuchi was a mobile version of the game released in 2003 for NTT DoCoMo 504i series cellphones.[1] An i-mode version was released after the original DoDonPuchi port, and included enhanced graphics.[citation needed]

In the smartphone era, several DoDonPachi sequels have been released for Android and iOS devices — see Cave (company) § Mobile games.


  1. ^ "BeeStorm: DoDonPuchi". Retrieved 2016-09-15.

External links[edit]