Cave brings gothic girls and guns in Death Smiles

By Spencer . November 15, 2007 . 5:17pm


Death Smiles gives you a choice between three characters and since the cursor was already on Windia, I picked her. She’s the girl in the white dress with the owl on her shoulder. The snow white owl isn’t just there for decoration. When you start a level the owl acts as a gunpod, which gives Windia two steady streams of fire.


Unlike most of Cave’s games, Death Smiles is a horizontal scrolling shmup and it has an excellent twist. Most horizontal scrolling shmups only let players shoot from the left side of the screen to right and enemies have to fly head on from the right to the left. In Death Smiles you can shoot in both directions and this system allows enemies to attack from both sides too. Instead of hugging the left side of the screen you’re forced to stay in the center. When enemies appear on the right you can tap button II to shoot a burst of bullets. Or in traditional Cave style, you can hold the button down to do a piercing attack. Button I acts the same way except it makes Windia turn around and fire bullets towards the left side of the screen.


Death Smiles starts off easy with alternating waves of enemies. Right, Left, Right. When you inevitably get surrounded it’s time to utilize the lock on attack. If you hold down button I and button II, a pink circle will extend out of Windia and she will fire at any enemies within the border. This allows players to focus exclusively on dodging since your shots will automatically home in on enemies. There is a catch to the lock on system; you need skulls to fuel it. As soon as you open fire with the lock on laser the skulls start to deplete, which keeps the game in balance. If the lock-on laser was unlimited Death Smiles would be way too easy to play. Actually, for a Cave shooter Death Smiles isn’t that difficult. This isn’t a bullet hell game like Espgaluda and Death Smiles is way more inviting than the Shoot ‘em up Test sitting next to it.

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  • EvilAkito

    It’s kind of annoying that I can’t be excited about the release of a new Cave shooter. I’ll most likely never get a chance to play it, even if it gets a console port. I don’t recall a single Cave shooter ever making its way to North America.

  • Hitmaker

    Actually, from the gameplay ive seen, lock-on does deplete skulls but can still be used when the meter hits zero. The skulls are used for a powered up shot you can utilize once the meter hits 1000.

  • jeffx

    oh man oh man oh man. This NEEDS a PS2 port.

  • @EvilAkito – It’s true no Cave games have come to North America, but this generation might be different. When the PS2 fades away Cave has to bring their shooters to another console. Hopefully, they will opt for digital distribution over either XBL Arcade or the Playstation Store.

    @Hitmaker – Ah interesting! I never let my skulls dip to zero so I didn’t try that out. I guess I’ll just have to play it again now.

  • xheartonfirex

    I had a good time with it…you are right though, not one of the harder cave games. I saw a dude 1cc it with no problems at all. Were you playing it at HEY?

  • @xheartonfirex – Wow 1 credit through the whole game? I played it at Shibuya Sports Center, but I think I only got to the fourth stage before I died. Granted for a Cave game that’s a long time, but I need more practice before I can beat it with a single life. Does HEY support two players? I want to try that out too.

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