Dodonpachi Saidaioujou (loosely translated to "Dodonpachi: Maximum Death") is a 2D sci-fi vertical-scrolling shoot-'em-up developed and released by Cave for arcades (using their CV1000D hardware) in Japan on April 20, 2012.
It is the sixth main installment of Cave's Donpachi series of "bullet hell" shoot-'em-ups. It features music by Manabu Namiki and character designs by Nagi Ryou.
It was later ported to the Xbox 360 in Japan (as a region-free game) on May 30, 2013. Along with new HD visuals, an arranged soundtrack, and a major bugfix (the "overflow bug"), this version features additional games modes, including a revised "Ver. 1.5" mode, an easier "Novice" mode, and an alternate "Shin・Xbox 360" mode (where players play as newcomer Saya and have only a single life, with an energy gauge that depletes over time). Two limited edition versions were released, including a steelbook case, soundtrack CDs, and bonus art books.
The game later received an enhanced arcade version by Team EXA-AM2 for PC-based exA-Arcadia hardware worldwide on November 27, 2020. Titled Dodonpachi Saidaioujou EXA Label in Japan and Dodonpachi True Death EXA Label overseas, this version features information gadgets in both vertical and horizontal orientations, and three additional game modes: "EXA Label" (adding a real-time difficulty system), "X Arrange" (based on the 360 version's "Shin・Xbox 360" mode), and "Inbachi" (which puts players immediately into a battle against the hidden final boss).
At the start of the game, the player is given a choice between three "elemental doll" characters, which determines the player's ship type:
- Shuri (Type A) - Red, fast ship with a narrow shot.
- Hikari (Type B) - Green, medium-speed helicopter with a shot that angles with the player's movement.
- Maria (Type C) - Blue, slow ship with a wide shot.
- Saya (Type D) - Purple. Added in the Xbox 360 and EXA Label versions.
The player must also choose between three styles: Shot, Laser and Expert. Roughly speaking, Shot style is the easiest mode, while Laser is more difficult and Expert is the most challenging.
When the Shot style is chosen, the ship's shot attack is powered up; the player starts out with three bombs and can hold up to six. When the Laser style is chosen, the ship's laser attack is powered up; the player starts out with two bombs and can hold up to four. When the Expert style is chosen, both the ship's shot and laser attacks are powered up and the player hitbox is smaller, but enemy bullet patterns become fiercer. The player starts out with one bomb and can hold up to two.
The player's style selection also affects what clothing his or her chosen elemental doll will wear: standard outfits ("military clothing") for Shot style, casual clothing for Laser style, and swimsuits for Expert style. This effect is purely cosmetic.
The auto-bomb feature introduced in Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu returns, but has been modified: it now consumes all of the player's stored bombs instead of just one. As in Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Black Label the player can choose whether or not auto-bombing should be used. With auto-bomb turned off the player gets an extra bomb upon respawning after death. Hypers also return, and work similarly to in Dodonpachi Daioujou: that is to say, a hyper only cancels enemy bullets the moment it is activated.
Xbox 360 Version
The Xbox 360 port was released in Japan on May 30, 2013. The port features HD visuals, online leaderboards and replays, a Novice mode, a tweaked "Version 1.5" mode, and an arranged story-based mode featuring a new playable character named Saya.
The port includes a few gameplay systems that have never before appeared in a Cave game, such as an in-game "shop" that offers up gameplay modifiers that can be purchased with points earned by playing the game.
The Xbox 360 port is region-free, playable on Xbox 360 consoles from any region.
Limited Edition Releases
The Xbox 360 port was released in three flavors: Standard Edition, Limited Edition, and Super Limited Edition.
The Limited Edition includes a steelbook case, an arranged soundtrack CD, and an art book.
The Super Limited Edition includes the same steelbook case and arranged soundtrack CD featured in the Limited Edition package, in addition to a larger-sized art book, an arcade version soundtrack CD (which is otherwise out of print), a CD single of the new opening theme song, three sheets of stickers, and a set of the toresetsu (instruction sheets) only included with the arcade version of the game.
The game's official soundtrack was released on April 25, 2012 as a part of a 2-disc compilation that also contains DoDonPachi Maximum's soundtrack.