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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullet Hell finally comes to PAL
I've been obsessed with Death Smiles since I first played it in a Japanese arcade almost two years ago. Since then, I've been patiently awaiting a release that didn't involve me having to import an entire new console to play it. I made do with the two region free Cave 360 shooters and the recent Guwange XBLA release. But they weren't Death Smiles, and the fact that the US...
Published on 20 Feb 2011 by maccydee

versus
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars deathsmiles im not smiling
love my shoot em ups but i dont like this one.Give me r-type any day of the week.At first the game looks good then after about half an hour the goodness is gone if you are undecided whether to get this game or not i would say dont keep your cash
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by grenny


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullet Hell finally comes to PAL, 20 Feb 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I've been obsessed with Death Smiles since I first played it in a Japanese arcade almost two years ago. Since then, I've been patiently awaiting a release that didn't involve me having to import an entire new console to play it. I made do with the two region free Cave 360 shooters and the recent Guwange XBLA release. But they weren't Death Smiles, and the fact that the US got it last summer while the Japanese are enjoying a HD port of the second Death Smiles was a bitter pill to swallow.

But Rising Star Games - after rescuing Deadly Premonition from obscurity - again save the day, with a fantastic package that makes the wait worthwhile. It isn't as lavish as the US deluxe edition, but the plethora of extras make this a great package at a great price. But while soundtracks are cool (and they should be an extra with all games!) it's the game you're here for, and it impresses.

Those familiar with Cave games will notice that the game is easier than the more extreme of their releases in the standard arcade / 360 modes, but this isn't a bad thing. Accessibility is a big aim with this game, and the challenge to 1CC Death Smiles is far less daunting that some of the terrifying bullet storms that will meet you in Guwange and Espgaluda II. It's still tough - and the last few stages feature some pleasantly absurd pink patterns - but not as tough as others. This is a strength, and instead allows the player to focus on high scores. The scoring system is wonderful, and a helpful booklet provides welcome and useful tips on how to maximise your score and multiplier (as opposed to the non-translated Japanese releases thus far, in which you relied on your own skills and obscure internet posts to learn the scoring system in depth). The game is a blast to play through countless times, and the art design and particularly boss design (from mad cows to giant heads) are amongst Cave's best.

For the hardcore, there are multiple extra modes included in the package, including the Cave-standard 'Mega Black Label' content that increases the frequency of bullets and the possible multiplier counter, leading to absurd high scores for the talented. It's a nice rounded package for all sorts of players then - a welcome introduction to the wonderful world of Cave for beginners (and luckily there are a handful of other 360 titles you can seek out should you catch the Cave addiction) and a tricky one to master for those used to their dense bullet formations. Most importantly, it's the first retail release of a Cave game in PAL territories for quite some time, so hopefully it will be a welcome precedent. There are a tonne of region locked bullet hell shooters in Japan waiting to make the journey overseas, not least of them the equally engaging and even higher-def Death Smiles sequel (although the overly flashy backgrounds of that game have already divided fans). So buy Death Smiles not just for the excellent quality of Rising Star's release, but also to support a developer whose unique and intense vision demands to expand from its present Japanese niche!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully the first of a series of Cave "Black Label" releases over here!, 19 Feb 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I'll keep this brief.

If you like scrolling shoot em ups, then you can't ask for more than this.

The control system is innovative yet intuitive.
The action is fast-paced and great fun.
This is a first-class manic shooter.

The difficulty curve is fair for the most part, though the final couple of levels do suddenly step up the action by a surprising amount.

As a package, this is also an absolute bargain. The classic (lo-res) arcade version is here for purists, as well as a wonderfully presented hi-res Xbox exclusive version. There's also an "arrange" mode which offers some real variations on the gameplay (for instance, the ability to control a secondary character with the right stick).
And all three of these modes are available in both regular and "Black-label" flavour, giving a total of 6 game modes.

Another nice perk is the ability to alter the screen size and alignment in the options menu (if, like me, you're still using an old 4:3 ratio TV set, you'll know why this is a big deal).

And on top of all this, the soundtrack CD (not to everyone's taste, but a nice addition) and a disk full of desktop goodies. For the price, you really can't go wrong!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Support this game!, 27 Feb 2011
By 
Andy (Omega Land) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
This is a great package - a quality arcade shooter with loads of modes to play.

Most of the modes are a bit on the easy side compared to a lot of scrolling shoot'em ups, but for those new to the genre this will come as a blessing. most levels have a choice of level 1, 2 or 3 difficulty, and I would estimate that level three is roughly equivalent to 'normal' difficulty in most shooting games. In Black Label mode there is a 'level 999' difficulty though - which is ridiculous! Pity there's nothing inbetween!

Don't forget though - continues are for wimps, and score _is_ important!

I'm looking forward to seeing more from this developer released in the UK - maybe a vertical scrolling shooter - and that will only happen if we support this game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Budget brilliance from Cave, 20 Feb 2011
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Deathsmiles is an extremely accessible horizonatally scrolling "bullet hell" SHMUP. It's accessibility comes from the manner in which you can individually select the difficulty of each level, helped further by infinite continues being available.

However, that is not to say that the game is not deep for the seasoned SHMUP fan - not that I would for a moment put myself in this category. Deathsmiles offers a variety of different modes, characters and difficultly levels, each offering distictive gameplay variations. Add the this Xbox LIVE leaderboard support and online play and you have a comprehensive package, well worth the budget price.

I for one am very pleased that the publisher has decided to release this as a packaged product. The manual is very informative with pages of expert tips and the game comes in a 3 disc deluxe set with a soundtrack CD (which is excellent) and a disc of desktop accessories ranging from the good (wallpapers, screensavers) to the not so great (calendar).

Well worth a purchase even for anyone only casually interested in arcade shooters.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly polished release of a great game, 18 Feb 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
The original arcade version of Deathsmiles is a great 2D shooter, providing fans of the genre with hours of entertainment.

Friends of mine who got the US release of Deathsmiles were disappointed to see the quality of the translation was very poor, so I didn't hold up high hopes. However, the PAL release is very polished. There are several different variants of the game, including those released on xbox-live as extensions in Japan. The overall quality of the release is also very good. Be sure to read the manual, which for once provides useful information on how to best play the game.

The game also includes a soundtrack and "extras" CD. The extras CD includes various pictures, icons and screensavers. The only (tiny) problem with this package is that the screensavers are windows-only. Personally I don't have much interest in screensavers anyway. The icons, sound track and pictures will work fine on any machine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun game for shoot 'em up fans, 4 April 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
If you like shoot 'em ups buy this game. Great replay value, tons of different modes and nice sprite grapchics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best side-scrolling games out there!, 27 Feb 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
If you enjoy side scrolling games with Japanese animated characters and a ton of bullets to dodge then this game is for you!!
I was really suprised at the low price that the game had, as it is the Deluxe Edition, containing the game, soundtrack and Windows screensavers, pics etc!!
The game is a LOT of fun and has an infinite replay value as there are many characters to chooses from, and many modes to play, including the Arcade, the 360 polished mode, the Mega Black Label mode etc!
The game gives you infinite "continues" so you can complete a full playthrough in about 18-20 minutes, however you always want to go back and play again, with a different character, a different approach/strategy etc!!
There is also a "practice" mode where you can perfect your strategy and find a way to earn more points etc.
All in all it's a great game!
However, if you don't like Japanese style games and animations/voice overs then this is not for you! Otherwise it is a must-have for your collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 360 needs more games like this!, 19 Feb 2011
By 
M. Boyes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
In Japan and America there is alot of choice for xbox scrolling-shooters but here in the EU - next to none... but we do get this ace game. Makes a change from dozens of FPS games being released. Old-school gaming and I love it. You can pretty much watch the trailer and make a judgement on whether this game is for you or not, but if you'd like a change of gameplay, pick it up.

Another nice touch - which more publishers/developers should do - is the inclusion of an OST CD and cd-rom with goodies.

The game does have some downsides though, most importantly being that the game is quite short. You'll see pretty much everything in a few hours but I suppose the leaderboard and online co-op support helps. The game also has some very noticable slowdown when too much is happening. I usually don't mind it as it gives me time to dodge all the stuff on screen.

I swear it's impossible to dodge some enemy attacks too, you'll be destroyed pretty quickly while you're learning the ropes - ESPECIALLY on the last few levels. Maybe it's because I'm rubbish, but it's always funny watching the "bullet hell" part of the game destroy my character.

In short, not perfect but a nice change of gameplay - and I want MORE of this kind of game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Echo In The Cave..., 22 Mar 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
This review is for the Deluxe Edition of Deathsmiles (2010) on the X Box 360.

This is a cracking little shooter.

It's core lies in the shoot-em-ups of old where your character `floats' in the screen whilst the levels scroll sideways (And sometimes up and down), while you take out anything that moves in a fun-filled assault of bullets (thus the genre's modern tag of `bullet hell').

You take control of one of 5 girls who are trying to stop a man from unleashing all manner of demons on their world, and use left or right attacks; targeting reticules and bombs to blow your way through the relentless monsters.

The beauty of this game (as with the majority of the games from this era of design) is that it is accessible to anybody straight off the bat: you can complete the game by pressing only 1 or 2 buttons throughout, but equally, it can take eons of playthroughs to master - learning special techniques and tactics and sequences that can rack up hours of playing time. It's up to you how far you want to go.

The point is to try and get the highest score you possibly can. The campaign only lasts about 20 minutes (between 8 - 10 stages depending what mode you play), but you can replay it countless times and it never gets boring. The pivotal point for me is if you decide you want to attempt the game without using the (infinite) continues. This is where it changes from `quick blast of fun', to `enter-the-realm-of-the-Lord-of-Bullet-Hell-and-never-return-to-your-sanity' mode. It will suck you in and never let go. But again, it's up to you how deep you go. (You MUST play this game on Level 3 and Level 999 even if it's just once, just to see the brilliant insanity of it all).

Deathsmiles has been published by Rising Star Games, whose penchant is to take `lower budget' games and give them a professional cut-price release in a market that would otherwise overlook them, and they have really gone to town on the release. It comes with 3 discs; includes at least 6 different game modes (including the arcade original and all DLC); a soundtrack CD (which is in WAV form (put it in your PC to play it) for some reason), and an additional disc with wallpapers and themes and assorted stuff.

It's a great package and you get a whole lot of fun and content for your money (there are other similar `niche' titles under the Rising Star Games catalogue - well worth checking out).

If you're looking for something different, or something to run alongside the 100+ hour game you're playing at the minute, you literally won't get better than this. Its pure fun; doesn't need to be taken seriously and deserves some attention. We need more games like this. Give it a try...

8/10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Deathsmiles, 20 July 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Poor Europeans have waited a long time for a proper shoot-em-up to come to retail, but Deathsmiles makes up for the wait.

There are 6 modes that switch it up, many difficulty levels, several different characters that play differently, and the scoring system is in-depth enough to keep you learning for many, many games.

It's bullet hell in style, and the art is very anime-like, but if you don't let that put you off you will find a fantastic game here.
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Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360)
Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition (Xbox 360) by Rising Star Games (Xbox 360)
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