It’s extremely rare for an Xbox 360 SHMUP to get a region free release. In fact, there have only been a handful of titles that have seen such treatment. This sort of practice seems especially infrequent when it comes to CAVE games. While we’ve gotten a few of Qute’s shooters (Ginga Force, Eschatos), along with a couple of CAVE’s, such as Mushihime-sama Futari and Espgaluda II, there have been a slew of SHMUPs that simply never made it out of Japan, thanks to region-locking. Thus, the most dedicated loyalists out there have had to import Japanese 360s to get their shoot on for almost the entirety of this generation. And most of us just assumed that’s how it would be with CAVE’s upcoming title, which also just so happens to be one of the studio’s biggest launches to date. The game in question here, of course, is DoDonPachi Saidaioujou.
Saidaioujou, aside from having an absurdly long and confusing name, is a vertical scrolling bullet-hell shooter. The bullet-hell type, sometimes known as a manic shooter, tasks players with navigating fields densely populated with almost more bullets than the human eye can keep up with. It’s a kind of game that CAVE more or less made famous, and the DonPachi series is the company’s flagship franchise for it. Saidaioujou is the sixth installment in the mainline series, and is also the newest one (having only hit Japanese arcades in April of 2012), that has received serious praise from gamers who got their paws on the arcade version last year. The 360 conversion is said to be a solid port with a host of new features and modes. Because of this, the game has had fans sitting on their hands in anticipation for months.
But as mentioned, Saidaioujou was thought to be region-locked, like most other big-name CAVE shooters… until yesterday. It was around 11am EST when a tweet from CAVE broke, confirming that the game wold in fact be region free. Meaning to say, one of their biggest titles to date will be playable on any 360. DoDonPachi Saidaioujou launches on May 30. Right now, the game can be picked up in three different forms: a regular edition, limited edition and super limited edition; though the latter two seem to be sold out most places other than eBay, where they are already fetching a pretty penny. Thus, if SHMUPs are your thing, or you’ve always wanted to see what was so special about this very niche style of game, Saidaioujou would be the ideal entry point. So head on over to your favorite import shop to order it up. From what we’ve seen, you won’t be disappointed in plunking down the 70+ dollars.