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Mahou Daisakusen
Shippu Mahou Daisakusen: Kingdom Grand Prix
Soukyuugurentai

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Battle Garegga
Armed Police Batrider
Battle Bakraid

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Great Mahou Daisakusen
1944: The Loop Master
Brave Blade

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Dimahoo / Great Mahou Daisakusen (グレート魔法大作戦) - Arcade (2000)

Arcade Flyer

Dimahoo

"ARE YOU GREAT?" asks the intro for Great Mahou Daisakusen, before immediately answering its own question, proclaiming "WE ARE GREAT!". It's the third and final game of the series, and is know as Dimahoo (pronounced "Die-ma-hoo") outside of Japan, for whatever reason. Released in 2000, it was part of a push by Capcom to bring back shooters in the arcades. Their more successful games, like Giga Wing and Mars Matrix, were ported to the Dreamcast, but unfortunately Cave's Progear and Raizing's Dimahoo were left to wallow in relative obscurity. All of these games used Capcom's CPS-2 arcade board.

Dimahoofs story explains that the Earth is hollow, and a race of goblins have been living underground for centuries, plotting to take over the world. When the time finally comes for their attack, it is up to heroic bounty hunters to save the world and stop the invasion. The goblins still have fantasy inspired monsters with a war-like twist from Mahou Daisakusen. Some of the more original enemies are giant snails with turrets on them, turtles with mobile fortresses on their backs, and a ninja in robotic battle armor. It ditches the racing aspect of Kingdom Grand Prix, so it's really more like a graphically upgraded version of the first Mahou Daisakusen. It's also a change of pace from the Shinobu Yagawa Garegga/Batrider/Bakraid trilogy.

There are eight (four initial, four unlockable) characters that all seem like they have their own reasons for stopping the goblins from taking over the world. In keeping with Raizing tradition, these unlockable characters are from previous games.

Characters

Your ship has two polarities, much like in Ikaruga (which Dimahoo predated by about a year or so), but instead of black and white, you have fire and ice. Your polarity dictates the element of your magic attacks, naturally. Most enemies and all bosses have an element associated with them, as well as elemental attacks. If an attack that is the same element as you hits you, you do not die. Instead, your character levels down in shots and magic, causing the game to comically shout gOuch!h or gOh no!h. If you use an attack of the opposite element on an enemy, you also get to do extra damage. Unfortunately, most attacks in general have no polarity. As such, these mechanics are sorely underused and a proper implementation could have made the game a lot more interesting.

Switching elements is accomplished by firing a charge shot, which also increases your bounty meter, which in turns ties into the scoring. Scoring in Dimahoo involves collecting little trinkets enemies drop when you kill them with the charge shot. The trinkets you collect have different ranks that are dictated by your bounty meter when you unleash the charge shot. All of the trinkets you can collect are catalogued once you get a Game Over or complete the game. There are also secret items to collect that are really worth a lot of points. There are a lot of secret scoring techniques in Dimahoo, making it a fun one to replay to try to find them.

In sort of adding to an RPG feel, there are 108 unique items dropped by various enemies throughout the stages. When obtained, this can increase stats in a variety of areas, including increasing the score multiplier. Collecting these items will also increase the rank, bringing that element in the Mahou Daisakusen series, although a bit more subtly than Yagawa's games.

Dimahoo is also a lot harder than Mahou Daisakusen and Kingdom Grand Prix. Bosses will spray curtains of bullets everywhere, most enemies take a lot of hits before going down, and you will find yourself dodging bullets more often than firing them since your attacks are best when they are charged. Dimahoo is certainly not as hard as Armed Police Batrider, but it is still a manic shooter and it's not afraid to totally flood the screen with projectiles.

Besides not using its fire and ice theme enough, the other major criticm towards Dimahoo lies with is its weak ending. It is microscopic white text and still frames of nature photographs with no context whatsoever. Arcade shooters rarely had plots or endings worth bothering with, and expecting something other than gGreat Job! You Are Winner!h is unrealistic, but Armed Police Batrider had more than twenty endings and it came out a couple of years before this. When you have cool characters like Miyomoto the dragon and three midget necromancers, it's expected that you'd do something interesting with them.

One of the most amusing aspects is the announcerfs voice. He talks in this deep, booming, tone whenever you level up your shots or magic, he screams "ouch!" or "oh no!" when you get him, and he and warns whenever a boss is approaching. He adds a bit of humor, keeping with the light-hearted tone of the series. It rounds out a generally excellent experience, even though in some ways it's a step backwards from Raizing's other shooters.

Dimahoo

Dimahoo

Dimahoo

Additional Screenshots

1944: The Loop Master - Arcade (2000)

Arcade Flyer

1944: The Loop Master

The final entry in Capcom's 19XX series of shooters was actually developed by Raizing. While it possesses some of its signature graphical flair, the game itself fits in more with Capcom's series.

This game is covered in the 19XX article.

1944: The Loop Master

Brave Blade (ブレイブ ブレイド) - Arcade (2000)

Title Screen

Brave Blade

Brave Blade was the very last shooter Raizing made before focusing on fighting games. If something is going to end, why not go out with a bang? While it's still an overhead shooter, it utilizes 3D polygonal graphics. For having been released in 2000, it looks quite dated, especially with its blotchy low-res textures that made it look like a PSOne game. (The arcade board it runs of off used similar hardware to the system.)

Brave Bladefs story involves giant medieval weapons that can transform into robots called Runeswords. It seems that the land is going through a gwar of the Runeswordsh, but a lot of the text is in Japanese. The giant robots and medieval weaponry makes the setting very similar to Spriggan. Cutscenes are frequent, giving you times, dates, locations, and vital information on what is going on before each level, very similar to Soukyuugurentai. It even features the same misspelled "DICISION" stamp when you pick your character. Unfortunately, the character roster is limited compared to past Raizing games, with no guest characters either.

In terms of gameplay, Brave Blade most resembles Hyper Duel. You play as a Runesword with standard shots and sub-shots that depend on which one youfre playing as. Your other button transforms you from weapon to robot from and attacks using a melee weapon. There is also a third button that can only be used when your super meter is full (which replenishes over time). It transforms you into an invincible super robot until time runs out. The timer underneath your super robot is very useful, as it helps avoid many other problems with invincibility in manic shooters, such as not knowing when the invincibility wears off.

Another thing you can use your super meter for, even when it is not full, is for blocking. If you press and hold the attack button in robot form, a force field surrounds your robot. With each attack the force field takes, a little bit of your meter goes down. When it is depleted, the words gguard brokenh appear, meaning that you have to wait for your meter to fill back up before you can use this shield again.

Knowing when to be in what form is critical to scoring in Brave Blade. Every so often, popcorn enemies will drop badges. If you use a melee attack on these badges, they spin and grow larger. The larger the badge, the more points it is worth. Some robots are much better at hitting these badges than others are, adding depth to which character you play as.

One of the best parts of Brave Blade are its bosses. Like your Runesword, most of them have two forms, a "standard" mechnical form (like, for example, a tank) and a robot form. One of the coolest is The Great Mouth Nightmare. At first, it might seem off that a seemingly standard space ship would have such a strange name. Then, he transforms mid-battle and starts trying to eat you. It's an incredibly cool boss and the cutscene that follows his death is funny. Another really cool part has you flying through the sky and the enemy starts jumping out from the clouds for a surprise attack. The effect of the enemy robots jumping from the clouds was cool and unexpected.

The sound is equally as impressive as the graphics. The orchestrated score is beautiful. The constant clicking sound your ship makes while firing can get annoying after a while, but the music makes up for it. The orchestrated score may have been influenced by Radiant Silvergunfs impressive soundtrack.

Like most of Raizing's games, Brave Blade was never ported, but even most of shooter fanbase tends to overlook this one. The 3D visuals may be off putting to 2D purists and it never really reaches the technicaly depths of the rest of theyr games, it's still a fairly well designed shooter, and it's unfortunate that history has doomed it to obscurity.

Brave Blade

Brave Blade

Brave Blade

Additional Screenshots

The Spirit of Raizing Lives On

Brave Blade more or less spelled the end of Eighting and Raizing's spell in the field of shooters. Instead, they began to concentrate on their 3D fighter series, Bloody Roar. They found more popular with their Naruto: Clash of the Ninja series for the Nintendo platforms, as well as various other anime fighters like Bleach: Heat the Soul and Battle Stadium D.O.N. They worked with Konami on the (unfortunate) Castlevania Judgment, but on a better note, also developed Tatsunoko vs. Capcom for, well, Capcom.

That's not to say the spirit of Raizing is gone. Shinobu Yagawa left the company to join Cave and has been steadily working in many titles, including Ibara, Pink Sweets, and Muchi Muchi Pork. Many of these, especially Ibara, have elements of Raizing's shooter, particularly Battle Garegga.

Battle Garegga

<<< Prior Page    

    Back to the Index

Page 1:
Mahou Daisakusen
Shippu Mahou Daisakusen: Kingdom Grand Prix
Soukyuugurentai

Page 2:
Battle Garegga
Armed Police Batrider
Battle Bakraid

Page 3:
Great Mahou Daisakusen
1944: The Loop Master
Brave Blade

Back to the Index