I spent $80 on a double-pack of Cave’s Muchi Muchi Pork and Pink Sweets when I visited Tokyo last fall. Some people might think I’m crazy for paying that much on what could easily be a $5 downloadable game. But if you’ve been bitten by the shmup bug then you know who CAVE is and why such a purchase isn’t only acceptable but absolutely necessary as a fan.
Akai Katana (Xbox 360)
These fill up a meter around your ship. When you enter spirit form, you can send these orbs across the screen for a devastating attack. In addition to this, you can also gain giant katanas by defeating enemies in spirit form. When you cancel out of spirit form, these will go flying across the screen giving you giant gold medals you need to race to collect. It’s absolutely insane when you pull it off. This is the mode I spent the most time with because the constant tension-and-release of these abilities adds so much to the game.
Many Cave games covered the same ground, such as the similarly industrial world of Progear, but they did it with a sense of charm, style, and detail that AK lacks. That’s not to say the game is ugly. The real eye candy comes from the bullets and surreal swarm of gold pieces circling your ship. Perhaps the dullness of the backgrounds and models is out of necessity but it still makes the game feel a bit lacking in presentation. As for the music, it's a major step back for the developer. Feels like they unarchived some old mid-'90s butt rawk in place of something more interesting.
THE VERDICT - Akai Katana
Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
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