As most heavy game players will tell you, sometimes you need to go out of your way in order to track down something really good.
The fact is that although North America gets the majority of games in development, often times certain titles are never imported from the land of the rising sun.
By some freak occurrence, the Japanese arcade game, Dodonpachi (DDP for short) has found a home in the Pak Mann arcade a few blocks down from Pasadena City College.
Consider this an opportunity to check out what many consider to be one of the finest arcade games ever made. DDP is a fairly recent take on a fairly old genre of video game.
The formula is simplicity at its finest: Sporting a two-dimensional bird’s eye view of the action, you need to control your fighter jet to attack all manner of intimidating aircraft and military vehicles, all while avoiding the copious amounts of bullets they shoot at you.
It is much easier said than done, as the first level will literally pour what seems like hundreds of neon-pink bullets onto the screen.
In order to survive, both quick reactions and a careful attentiveness to enemy patterns must be developed.
DDP truly shines through graphical brilliance.
The game is something rather amazing to watch, with streams of bullets cascading every which way, lasers that streak across the screen, and explosions that dynamically burst forth from defeated foes.
Made only a scant six years ago (incredibly recent considering the bulk of two-dimensional titles), DDP makes the most of its technology and fills the screen with all it can.
Although it’s beautiful to look at, DDP is also a sure-fire winner in terms of providing some intense entertainment.
The strength of the game comes from perpetually surviving DDP’s ostensibly impossible odds.
There’s no better feeling than destroying a huge battleship after dodging all of the massive amounts of projectiles it has shot at you.
In the case that things get too hectic, DDP has an option to drop a bomb in order to clear out all bullets and give you some breathing room.
Your main form of attack can be cycled between a wide-reaching blast of bullets or a more destructive concentrated laser.
Much of the game is spent deciding which offensive strategy to adopt.
The most endearing aspect of the game for me comes in the reward it gives for a skilled player.
DDP has no hesitancy in giving the player extra lives, thereby extending the time one can play the game for, assuming they reach a high enough score.
My personal best run at the game lasted for almost half an hour, and remarkably, this was going off of a single quarter.
No other arcade game has given me nearly as much “bang for my buck.”
Although many consider Dodonpachi’s goal and focus of gaming to be long gone, eclipsed by an era of three-dimensional journeys that last for several hours, I have a soft spot for the genre.
Simply put, Dodonpachi is worth a quarter to experience something remarkably well crafted, and is too good to dismiss right off the bat.
I urge anyone interested to check it out.