CGRundertow AKAI KATANA for Xbox 360 Video Game Review

When I say “Cave,” I expect to be met
with one of two reactions: either “awesome bullet-hell shooters” or “****ING ZUBAT.”
Don’t worry, Zubat’s been relegated to the sewers this time anyway, so we’re left
with a very strange melange of anachronism, where apparently you’re piloting a biplane
outfitted with enough energy weapons to make Einstein throw his hands up in frustration,
renounce science entirely, and open a bagel shop somewhere. And the plane can turn into
a ninja. And your opponents can summon battleships and trains and airplanes via extradimensional
portals. Is your brain beginning to hurt yet? Has the mere mention of these aspects caused
you to bluescreen and forget everything you ever knew about organic chemistry or the Russian
revolution or the films of Michelangelo Antonioni? Good. Because you’re going to need that
brainspace just to parse the scoring system. But before any of that, you need to survive.
Got surviving down, despite an ocean of incoming ordnance? Good. Now, you need to learn about
how to control your option (which is apparently the standard term for offboard artillery mirrors,
regardless of whether you’re playing Gradius or not), how to use it to collect energy power-ups,
how to wave those energy power-ups through oncoming bullets to make them bigger, how
to switch from offensive to defensive stance and collect those power-ups, how to transform
into your weird plane-ninja, how to use the summoned form’s offensive and defensive
stances, how to make bullets bounce around during the defensive stance, how to cancel
enemy fire during the offensive stance, what the heck Suicide Bullets are, and how to leverage
all of this chaos and nonsense so it all turns into coins and you make BANK. Easier said
than done, and that wasn’t easy to say. Did I mention that you have to survive during
all of this? If you’re not familiar with this kind of gameplay, from some of Cave’s
other fine offerings like Dodonpachi or Deathsmiles, chances are your eyes will glaze over and
you’ll start to emit low gurgling noises. Even if you are fairly well-travelled in bullet-hell,
you’ll quickly realize that this is among the most technical offerings in the genre.
Low gurgling noises are still optional, though. This release for the XBox 360 includes three
game modes: Origin, which is a direct port of the arcade version; Climax, which is a
console-optimized interpretation with a few tweaks to gameplay and resolution; and Slash,
which refines the gameplay further with even more technical mechanics, more enemies, and
about a bajillion more bullets. If there is some backstory to these pilots, and why their
airplanes can turn into ninja, it’s completely lost in the barely-there translation. The
menus are functional, the tutorial… almost makes sense, and that’s really all they
needed to change. Chances are, if you’re picking this game up, you already know what
it’s about, either because you’re a danmaku junkie looking for his next hit or because
you’ve watched a fantastic review on Youtube recommending the game. And you’re willing
to overlook said reviewer’s consistent failure for the sake of a joke. Bless you.


  • TronPachioftheDynamo

    Best Xbox game this year for me. Hell, just my favorite game this year.

  • Balon Greyjoy

    Mark's head would explode if he played this.

  • mylifeintheknifetrade

    Amazing, amazing game.

  • Compaychago

    But this fuckin game…NOW!!!!

  • TheDease

    Damn took y'all long enough great way to poke fun of yourself TJ GREAT GAME super challenging

  • Quantium

    This, and the other Cave shooters for the 360 is THE reason for me looking at buying a NTSC-J Xbox360. Cave games are THAT good. 😉

  • Tochiro

    I'll stick to Thunder Force III…

  • Arctiq

    I suck at Danmaku's…..

  • Quantium

    Regardless if it was released in NA, the OTHER Cave shooters didn't.

  • Scared Crow

    the scoring system takes getting use to but this game is hella awesome ! best cave release for 360 outside of japan. its like progear mixed with ibaru mixed with guwange.
    you need more practice 😛

  • nitoro81

    the thumbnail has nothing to do with this game

  • Gxyz222

    This is like ZIkaruga and Gradius x10!

  • Sephiroth Vale

    I love niche games.. tbh I seek them out.. the bullet hell genre.. along with Lost Oddyssey & Tales of Vesperia are reasons I regret getting rid of my Xbox 360 for a PS3.. Then I remember I live in the UK & I have Xenogears.. Parasite Eve & The largest niche JRPG catalogue that hasn't got PSP on the box..
    Still I want to pick up another 360 up again one day.. if only for caves games 🙂

  • Christopher Blair

    I'm a big fan of old-school shmups but I could never get into the Cave stuff. They're all the same flashy light show with silly anime characters to me. I'm sure it's a great game for people who "get" it and are really into the scoring systems and what not but I'm not one of those people.

  • ColdMetalz

    Cave games are imo the best Shmups out right now. The scoring system is just soooo good. So much depth, its ridiculous. Then add a bit of dope character design and sprinkle a few coo tracks and bang. But yea if you're not into the convoluted scoring system and anime style then I could definitely see someone not liking it.

    I know I have more hours into the ios dodonpachi title than I do most games on my PC. Arkham City > Dodonpachi ?! Game time proves otherwise. Haha..

  • Black Metal - Blackened Noise Records

    Its the painting on the cover of the game…..

  • Ub3rGoob3r

    I bought this game for $10 new sealed out of a bargain bin not knowing what to expect.
    This shooter is so good I bought two more sealed copies, and the first hasn't left my 360 in two months.

  • Sapphire Densetsu

    TECHNICAL offerings? I think you should try to wrap your head around PROPER Battle Garegga gameplay.

  • Asuka Tenjoin

    It's Gradius but on bullet hell mode! D:

  • Pixelated Cherry

    is it worth buying an Xbox 360 just for the shmups

  • coachdable

    I just picked this up!


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