This is perhaps the best example of a sequel I've ever seen. The game is designed to appeal to people who've mastered the hell out of Dodonpachi - all 200 of them. And somehow, even with a game that's little more than dodging bullets, it retains the same soul as Dodonpachi, where you need to do a lot of weaving around the screen during stages to survive.
The nostalgia factor is crazy - these two games were released five years apart. They made the second levels almost identical, but Dai-ou's version has water in the craters. And the final level has a few mini-me versions of Dodonpachi bosses, and also it's terrain is the same as the first DDP's 1st level.
The Sound Guy they got when the company Raizing went under just kicks so much ass. Dodonpachi is infamous for the crappy generic electric rock soundtrack - Dai-ou has beautiful music.
And on top of the old layers of score systems, it's added a "hyper" item, which allows you to earn a crap load of points with a super duper laser, but when you use it the rank goes up (ie, more and faster enemy bullets).
I was most excited about this one from the three, but it's underwhelming. I thought the theme would at least make it better than ESP Ra.De., but it feels like a worse game to me.
It's playable if you use the elaborate gender bending score system, but it's pretty crap otherwise. The final level is also a nostalgia level of Ra.De., with the shitloads of Alice clones, etc.
It has three (!) enemies that use train tracks in it, which is enough to leave a player in a stupor of tired depression.
I thought I'd be sick to death of this game from time spent with the DS version, and I halfway am - tired of the bosses.
But it is my favorite of the three. It really is "the best" vertical shooter.
There are some nice little flairs to the thing. The screen scrolling backwards when the destroyer midboss launches from its hanger, battle copter Bullfrog launching out of a baseball field, etc. And of course:
Oh Blackdraft, *every* midboss ought to have his own electric guitar solo. You truly melt my face with your wizard napalm.
The genre is pretty saturated - I don't think Cave will make another vertical shooter for a few years at least. There are seven more v.shooters after this era, how many more do you need? When you've made Ketsui and Dangun Feveron, where is there left to go from there? Hopefully they'll try some other genres and melt some faces.