it was a hard time for CAVE when their top graphic artist Junya
Inoue (Joker Jun) left the company in 2001, right after Do Donpachi
DAI-OU-JOU. His influence in the CAVE games was immense. Nevertheless,
they found in Tomoharu Saito another great artist and he did a
very good job in their next production, a vertical scrolling shoot'em
up game called
Ketsui Kizuna Jigoku Tachi (lit. "Decision to bind
So what is Ketsui about ?
It is about a modern war in the year 2054. It is about illegal
weapon trades of an uninsightful company and a preventive war
started by the United Nations to stop them. At first sight, the
graphic style of this game remembers to Strikers 1945 by Psikyo,
which had that "placing objects in rows" style. But
Ketsui is a war game too, with city environments, lots of buildings,
streets and tank convoys, so it is not too bad at all. Furthermore,
there are still a few moments showing that unpredicatable complexity
we know from their earlier productions.
The gameplay structure of Ketsui is refreshing simple and incredibly
easy to use in the game: You shoot an enemy as close as possible
with the standard weapon to receive a 5er box. Then swap the weapon
to the lock-on gunner by holding instead of just tapping the same
button, and for a short time all other enemies release 5er boxes
too. It's similar to Progear, but less complex. To collect the
boxes it is sufficient to fly close-by. They automatically get
sucked in then. See further details "Items & Scores".
CAVE kept up their tradition and equipped Ketsui with 5 challenging
stages. Stage 1 and 2 are easy to play, which makes this game
interesting also for newcomers to manic shoot 'em up games. But
from the end of stage 3, CAVE unleashes a bullet inferno we knew
only from final bosses of the previous titles. I exclude here
Do Donpachi DAI-OU-JOU which is known to be very hard to play
even from the beginning. But CAVE-players know, that all of these
games are perfectly elaborated, tested and never unfair. Just
keep up the practice and you will able to beat it in one play.
I promise that to you.
The background music of Ketsui is written by Manabu Namiki. The score contains synthpop, drum & bass as well as hard guitars. Although
I personally prefer CAVE's earlier music styles consisting of
catchier melodies (Esprade or Guwange), Namiki's sounds fit the
gameplay surprisingly well, and I really started to love his work
since playing this game.
Ketsui is another masterpiece of the japanese hitfactory CAVE
and belongs to all manic shoot'em up collections. It's twisted
gameplay makes it enjoyable for the amateur as well as for the
pro: You can play it to survive alone, and you will enjoy an easy
play for a while. Once you follow the scoring architecture, the
game becomes very challenging but also more addicting. CAVE fans
can pick it up unconsidered. Newbies should at least take a closer
look at it.
It is known that the hardware of Ketsui and other, later
CAVE games was made by IGS, and it is no coincidence that it is
almost identical to the Poly Game Master system created by the
same company. Nevertheless, CAVE released Ketsui, Do Donpachi
DAI-OU-JOU and Espgaluda as well protected single board PCBs,
instead of PGM cartridges, which had likely been illegally copied
by chinese factories soon.
- [the sheep] in 2004