AuthorTopic: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi  (Read 59904 times)

Offline ptoing

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Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

on: June 04, 2007, 11:55:00 pm
DODONPACHI by CAVE (1996) - Commercial Critique

This time the object of our CC will be the sequel to Donpachi, Dodonpachi, which in the history of its genre has a legendary status.
It was arguably the first properly balanced manic shump made by the same team, that at Toaplan a few years earlier invented that subgenre with Batsugun, before they split up (besides Cave also bringing forth Raizing and some other less productive developers regarding the shmup genre).

The graphical standard of this game is generally very high with a few slips (some of which are visible in the following shot).
Also the general buildup approach of levels is quite different to what we are used to from rpgs and platformers for example.

On to the screeshotsl (also check the enemies which I extracted in the CC Challenge Thread)

Titlescreen, Player Selection and Level Intermission


Level 1


Level 2




Level 3




Level 4




Level 5




Level 6




True Last Boss


Have fun examining it and post your thoughts :D
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 07:45:06 pm by ptoing »

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Xion

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #1 on: June 05, 2007, 02:20:53 am
You know, I've heard of Dodonpachizzle before, and I've seen a few screenshots, but I never really stopped to...see the screens, you know?
But now that you've forced my eyes, I must say, those are friggin amazing.

Hmm...

Really awesome.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #2 on: June 05, 2007, 07:27:35 am
Wow. I looked at the shots on 2 different monitors, a super 2000:1 contrast ratio LCD, and an old as the hills CRT. On the LCD these shots were pretty much burning my eyes out, the saturation and contrast levels made the game pretty much 100% unreadable, I can't make out very much of whats going on easily. However, on the old CRT it becomes much more readable, and actually looks better, if a bit more blurry.

Still, I think the colours are bordering on neon. The saturation for alot of them is extreme, and I think readability is an issue with the marvellous work in this game.

Also, there doesn't seem to be very strong shadow on anything, it all looks like midtones and highlights to me, perhaps this is because theres so much saturation in the shadows yet there is no hue shift?

That's all I've really got for now, I'll have to pore over it more, its amazing work...

Offline Stickman

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #3 on: June 05, 2007, 08:04:04 am
Looking at this game on a LCD and CRT wont do it any justcice as you really do need an arcade setup. What I found amazing about this game (I've only got the saturn version) is that the sprites never gets lost in the background no matter how busy or how much detail there is. Enemy ships and bullets are easy to spot probably due to the furtherst/deeper backgrounds being quite monochromatic but detailed as seen on the screenshots, and then you have a second layer ontop which is far more brighter in colour, but actually less detailed. Then there are the pink bullets which is probably the most brightest feature of the game.

(It's quite a contrast to games like Battle Garegga, where certain things are a little hard to read)

Offline huZba

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #4 on: June 05, 2007, 08:48:52 am
Can't really find anything wrong with the graphics even though i try hard. In some of the shots it might look like things are getting too messy, but in-game there's never such problem. Also like eyecraft said, it looks better in arcade or CRT than it does on LCD.

It's extremely well controlled with the BG having mid to low-mid values while the units have high values on top and high-mid on the lower parts. So the tanks blend in since their bottoms have values closer to the bg. Also it seems that every flat surface facing up has a light outline all around, creating quite a unique style. Gotta take a closer look when i get home.

Offline Feron

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #5 on: June 05, 2007, 09:00:02 am
thanks to mr. Ptoing i have spent a bit of time playing this game, and my advice to anyone is that you don't see the full beauty of this game until your playing.  The screenshots are nice, but they don't show that much of a level or many of the enemies.  Seriously, play this game!!  (plus the gameplay is slightly insane  :D)

My favourite parts are the shipwrecks in level one, it must have taken a few hours to make that.  The game designers really cut no corners and did a great job.  The background art is just brilliant, the ammount of detail that many shmup background artist would have left out, is huge.

I like the clean enemy ship's too.  Such a classic style, and pulled of to its full extent.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #6 on: June 05, 2007, 09:08:13 am
I've been playing DDP for many years.

It's interesting how they go against a lot of what we now consider common knowledge in pixel art, like they use selout, they don't have full ranges of color for the sprites, they don't have value shifts in their ramps, they have huge amounts of colors for some sprites, they don't tile effectively (for the most part) and so on, but end up with such a good art style in the end. As usual, game design supercedes any pixel art purism ideas, even though I personally believe that by applying any of the above 'staples' of 'pixel art as art' as we've formulated them in this forum for the past few years, the game would benefit. In fact, I intend to take a sprite from the other thread, and apply all the 'common wisdom' we have right now, and see if it can still work as well in-game (theoretically) as it does now, but also look prettier and more cohesive.

The explosions in this game are quite nice too, and the burst and are out of the way pretty fast, so as not to confuse gameplay too much.

If there's any negative critique I can level against this game is that the designs are too busy for their own good, there is literally no flat plane to be found anywhere in this game. Now, considering a lot of that ultra-tiny design is sorta blurred out on an arcade cab video output, one wouldn't probably mind, but as we see the game in ultra-sharp computer screens, and we can notice - and value - the single pixel, the game ends up looking a bit 'embossed' for lack of a better term. Every surface has shit on it, this isn't good for the eyes, regardless of art direction choices.

Offline Panda

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #7 on: June 05, 2007, 10:16:56 am
I've played DDP, and while I kinda suck at it (heh, can't remember where I have to move and where whatever ship comes etc :P) but yeah it looks more impressive when playing than put as screenshots.

I do agree that everything is packed with details everywhere and stuff is a bit unreadable, but when playing you are put in a situation where you don't care much about it.
Something that bothers me is that most of the ships are just mirrored, and again while playing you don't notice at all, upon inspection you see all these weird perspectives and impossible angles (unless many of the parts are inclined and are shaped like \).
Also, I guess all those perfect angles (pixel wise) are to avoid jagginess without adding AA + keeping the made out of metal feeling, but at times the ships look too blocky.

Uhm yeah overall nice graphics, and nice animations. I mean, they could be better, but it works.
Looking forward to see how you edit the ship, Helm.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 10:18:32 am by Panda »

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #8 on: June 05, 2007, 10:52:10 am

Offline djork

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Re: Commercial Critique - Dodonpachi

Reply #9 on: June 05, 2007, 02:43:37 pm
I know I'm a barely-double-digit-post-newb here but I think the edit above is downright sacrilege.  DoDonPachi is the pinnacle of hand-drawn pixel art in gaming, as far as I'm concerned.  I haven't seen a better collection of incredible unit designs, effects, animations, backgrounds, and overall "feel."  It's usually the first place I go to use as a reference on drawing rocks, grass, buildings, tanks, fire, and basically anything else that appears in the game.