Review of Ketsui Death Label: Bullet Porn Galore!

Previously when it came to shmups on the Nintendo DS, I thought the genre had the personality of a limpet mine. But the good news is that while the genre was previously populated by Nanostray (and Nanostray 2), it’s actually starting to heat up.

Renaissance?

First came the re-release of Taito’s Space Invaders in the form of Space Invaders Extreme followed by the DS version of an Xbox Live favourite, Geometry Wars: Galaxies. Treasure diminished anymore doubts that the shmup genre is not anything but dead on the DS, with the release of Bangai-O Spirits.

Now, the DS is further graced with more bullet porn with Cave’s Ketsui Death Label, and the upcoming title from Destineer, Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ. The latter’s strange title aside, lets talk about Ketsui.

Difficulty Level

The game does sound hardcore (like anything with a title Death Label should be) and it is for a good reason: it is really really hard. The game looks like to be the DS version of the arcade game Ketsui Kizuna Jogoku Taichi but unlike its arcade predecessor where you face wave after wave of enemies, Ketsui’s levels consist only of boss battles after boss battles.

The amount of bullet porn featured in Ketsui’s battles is astounding but despite the amount of action on screen…the game never seems to slow down!

To cope with the “bullet hell” the two ships made available to the player have relatively small hit boxes. Both come with their own set of “options” which are key in differentiating the two. The first ship, Type- A (or RED if you may) has its option firing missiles in an angled spread away from the ship whereas Type-B (or BLUE) fires its missiles straight on from the ship.

Even with all the firepower, I find myself sweating trying to avoid getting hit.

Bells and Whistles

The game features quite a lot of stuff for a shmup. There’s a training mode available and you can retrieve records on your high score and play data. There’s even a replay option that plays back your last battle.

The “Special” mode is actually some sort of chat with the developer, whereby you can find tips on how to play the game (e.g. the differences betwen Type-A and B), but do note that it is entirely in Japanese.

The Options menu is also of particular note. You can set various options such as the main display (top or bottom screen), contrast type (DS or DS Lite), key configuration, and even the sound effects (stereo, monoaural, SURROUND!).

I most certainly recommend Ketsui Death Label to any shmup fan who owns a Nintendo DS, you owe it to yourself to check it out. The game comes with a bonus DVD as well. It is currently available at Play-Asia. Click here for details.

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