Anyone who is a fan of shoot-em-up games has heard of the Japanese developer, Cave. In my opinion they are the best in the world at making shmups. Apart from a couple games like Guwange and Deathsmiles, most of their catalog has only seen release in Japan. Thus leaving die-hard shooter fans to either purchase a Japanese Xbox 360 or import the handful of non-region locked games at a hefty price. Dangun Feveron is a Japanese arcade game (also known as Fever SOS) that Cave released back in 1998. Gamers around the world now have the chance to experience this groovy take on shooting thanks to publisher M2 Co. This is their second console release on Xbox One after publishing Battle Garrega Rev 2016 last year. Does Dangun Feveron have enough to keep the dance party going? Or should M2 Co leave these classics in the past?
If you were to judge Dangun Feveron simply by screenshots, you’d most likely see no real differences from any other shmups. You pilot bombers and play the entire game as a vertical shooter. There are three types of bombers to choose from, each with their own type of projectile. You then get to choose your preferred powerful shot whether it be lock on style, bomb style or roll style. Each one feels different, lock on is a long saw-like tether that does a lot of the work for you. Bomb style releases large bombs while roll creates a circular blue cluster that increases in power the longer you hold the button. Lastly, players can also choose the speed at which their ship flies from four different options. Some simple choices such as these make the game feel more customizable than most, which is a very good thing.
Players have the choice from a few gameplay modes: very easy, arcade, custom and fever. Super easy allows you to continue as many times as you wish and is the first stop for all beginners. With only 5 stages, reaching the end of Dangun Feveron will hardly take 30 minutes. Arcade mode has you playing the same 5 levels but with limited credits. Thankfully after you die your credit limit increases until it is eventually maxed out and you must start to really hone your skills. Fever mode is a remixed version from publisher M2 where players focus on high scores. The soundtrack can also be toggled, giving a little variety to the tunes you listen to while playing.
Instead of collecting coins or stars after destroying an enemy, you collect cyborgs. They will float around and eventually will drift away if not collected. You want to collect them all because they tie in to the unique scoring system in Dangun Feveron. For every cyborg rescued, the value of a killed enemy increases by one point. If you let a cyborg go uncollected, the value resets. Enemies also drop power increasing and bomb increasing pickups. If you die, you have a chance to recollect these items if you are fast enough. Aside from the scoring system, Dangun Feveron plays much like a standard shmup.
With a disco dancing sub-theme, you must expect the soundtrack in the game to deliver, and it does. Each stage has unique and upbeat music that I’m not used to hearing in this type of game. Graphically, the game is 20 years old, so I didn’t have high expectations. It does look noticeably better than M2’s previous game, Battle Garrega. The action flowed smoothly even with many enemies and cyborgs on screen at the same time.
As a person who spent plenty of money importing Cave games on Xbox 360, I welcome any and all Japanese shmups on the western marketplace. While Dangun Feveron might not be stuffed with content, it does have some fun and solid shmup action in a bite-sized form. While I sometimes lament at the time it takes to complete a run through other shmups, I never felt that way with Dangun Feveron. The $34.99 price tag might cause sticker shock in some, but at least the pricing is consistent with the previous release. I can’t wait to see what M2 releases in the future!