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Posted 03-12-2009 at 07:34 AM by Houseki
Updated 07-19-2009 at 03:07 AM by Houseki
by Houseki

After the release of Dodonpachi Dai-Ou-Jou in 2002, Cave found themselves at a dead-end. Each game in the Donpachi series was harder than the previous one and Dai-Ou-Jou was so impossibly difficult that even today, four years later, most experienced shooter fans have trouble getting past the 3rd stage. It was easy to see that, with DOJ, the series had come to an end. There was simply nowhere else to go in that direction. But where would Cave choose to take us next?

Their next shooter, Ketsui, hinted at the direction the company had decided to take by significantly toning down the difficulty and making the system much more forgiving. The game wasn't easy by any means, but at least the casual player could enjoy it for the first couple of stages, and maybe, just maybe, persevere for the intense punishment that followed. Ketsui was a first step away from the increasingly esoteric shooters of the past, but if the constant decline in popularity of shoot'em ups was to be reversed, more radical changes were needed. And then November 2003 saw the release of Espgaluda, a game which set the company firmly on a new course, one which they are still actively pursuing today.

Espgaluda is ostensibly a prequel to 1998's Esprade, but the two games have very little in common, both in terms of setting and gameplay mechanics. Storywise, we are told that characters in both games have innate ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) abilities. But Rade takes place in 2018 Tokyo and Galuda in a fantasy land of medieval castles, so there doesn't seem to be any continuity between the characters and events in the two titles. Concerning play mechanics, the only feature carried over to Galuda from Rade is the guard barrier--the rest of the system is brand new. If Cave eventually decides to release a sequel to Esprade, as many fans are hoping, they may well come up with an overarching plot connecting the two games but, until then, there's not much more to say on the subject

Espgaluda's system revolves around the so-called Awaken mode and is quite involved, so bear with me while I summarise the basics

At the start the player has to choose between the two siblings. Ageha is the strongest, fastest of the two, but has a narrow shot, while Tateha is weaker and slower, but has a spread shot. The game basically uses a three-button layout. The first button is the regular shot, the second button activates the Kakusei mode, and the third engages the guard barrier. The shot button works as you'd expect and, just as in many other Cave games, holding it down results in a more powerful focused shot, but slows you down considerably (this is actually useful for dodging difficult bullet patterns). The game also supports a fourth button which works as a rapid-fire, so you don't have to keep tapping the shot button continuously. However, this is only available in cabinets with four or more buttons.

Pressing the second button engages the Kakusei mode. Your character switches sex (i.e. Ageha becomes female and Tateha male) and starts firing a more powerful version of the normal shot. But that is not all. While in Kakusei, the enemies, their bullets, as well as the scrolling speed of the game itself, slow down to a crawl, while the player's speed remains unaffected. This effectively allows you to dance around thick bullet patterns with ease. However, the moment you go into Kakusei mode the number of green gems in your possession starts to decrease alarmingly fast. This brings us to the next point.

In Espgaluda, apart from the standard power-up and life items, there are two kinds of items to collect: the above-mentioned green gems (which are officially called Seireiseki), and Gold Ingots. Green gems can only be acquired when you are in normal mode (i.e. not Awaken). When destroying an enemy in normal mode these gems appear and are automatically collected by your character.

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Total Comments 3


  1. thats long koyo

    i bet ur hands are tired lol
    Posted 03-12-2009 at 09:34 AM by Kakusei Kakusei is offline
  2. Houseki's Avatar
    yea my hands are tired lol

    hello kakusei =p
    Posted 03-12-2009 at 10:19 AM by Houseki Houseki is offline
  3. Houseki's Avatar
    i wish i had moar typing skillz

    i almost forgot there are six stages in espgaluda
    and the music composer is

    dun dun dun tadaah!!

    Manabu Namiki
    Posted 03-13-2009 at 04:34 AM by Houseki Houseki is offline
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