Dangun Feveron is a vertically scrolling shmup which may have a story
involving blowing stuff up. There is no narrative to indicate this.
Cave actually did come up with a story for the game. A general en route to
steal Earth's water is interrupted while having a love chat with his wife
and changes course for the source of the disturbance. But shooters don't
sell because of stories. They sell because of gameplay and Cave knows how
to do that well enough that they've managed to become one of the biggest
shmup developers still extent.
Dangun Feveron is Cave's take on the parody shmup. Rather than following
the Konami route and doing a cute Parodius-style shooter, Cave made a disco
shooter. The music (provided by the always excellent T's Music) sounds
like the funk and disco of the 70s, a unique choice for a shooter. Cave
also set the game in space. While shmups are sometimes referred to as
"space shooters," Cave in particular had not set any of their games in
space prior to Dangun Feveron and hasn't done so since. To go with the
disco theme, bullets come in all kinds of bright colors. Blues, greens,
and reds all mix together. The effect is actually somewhat mesmerizing and
I find it a pity that most danmaku games just use one or two colors for
Tap the A button for a straight shot, hold it for the charge weapon.
Button B drops bombs which stop disco men and do huge damage. Collect
straight P icons to power the straight shot and angled P icons for the side
shot. B icons give an extra bomb. A 1up is available at the start of
Stage 5 as well, and the graphic actually is a 1up rather than "extend"
like many shmups.
Cave games always have a few choices of vehicles of destruction. For
Dangun Feveron, Cave also added charge weapons and ship speed to give
players all kinds of options. The ships all have a forward-firing shot and
a side shot which varies depending on the ship.
Type A fires red bullets. The side shot actually goes straight ahead, for
Type B fires yellow bullets. The side shot spreads slightly, about thirty
Type C fires blue bullets. The side shot is a very wide angle, good for
screen clearing but it requires point-blanking to concentrate shots on an
The charge weapons are each unique and have their own strengths and
weaknesses. Cave knows how to balance their weapons, so none are overly
powerful or flawed.
The Lock-On fires a stream of what look like saw blades. When an enemy is
struck, the blades will seek out that enemy for continuous damage. The
actual damage output is rather low.
The Bomb fires up to three missiles at once straight up very slowly. When
they strike an enemy, they explode for excellent damage and will take out
entire groups of small enemies. Point-blanking larger enemies with Bomb
will take most down in a couple seconds. While powerful, they are slow and
once fired will fly straight up. Seasoned players will fire them off so
that enemies fly into them, but this takes a lot of playing to pull off
The Roll is closer to a traditional R-Type style charge laser. Hold the A
button and energy balls form around your ship. As they charge, they move
out and surround your ship. This rings will damage enemies that come in
contact with them. Release A and all the rings turn into bullets for good
damage. The best time to release the shot is just as the balls are
starting to circle around your ship. This concentrates all the shots in a
smaller area for good damage on larger enemies.
After choosing a ship and weapon, four speed choices are available. These
are fixed and there is no way to change speed during gameplay. Dangun
Feveron is a fast game, so select either of the two faster speeds.
On top of all that, a secret character is available. After a credit is
inserted, press Down, Up, Right, Left, Up, Down, Left, Right. A joyous
sound will play when entered correctly. This code activates Uo Poko, the
cat from Cave's puzzle game Puzzle Uo Poko. The cat has no bomb and gets
no charge weapon. It is much faster than even the fastest speed for the
ships, has standard autofire, is always at full power for the shots, and by
pressing B Uo Poko will cycle through the shot widths of the ships. While
hard to control, Uo Poko is able to achieve scores far higher than any of
Scoring requires far fewer digits in Dangun Feveron than most Cave games.
Each enemy is worth one point. When destroyed, enemies will release disco
men. Grab them to create a score combo. Each disco man collected adds one
to the counter, up to 999. Disco men start out red, float to the bottom of
the screen and turn yellow. They rebound to the top and leave the screen.
Miss a disco man and the counter reverts to one. Kill enemies as soon as
they enter the screen, and they will drop more disco men. Getting P icons
at full power adds 5 to the counter.
Cave is best known for huge, slow-moving patterns of bullets that must be
cautiously navigated, creating what some call "bullet mazes." Dangun
Feveron has some bullet patterns, but focuses more on aimed bullets in huge
quantities. If you haven't yet, check out my Sengeki Striker write-up as
that game uses the same idea. The difference is that Cave makes it fun
instead of frustrating.
Bullets and enemies are fast, and to play Dangun Feveron requires you to be
dashing all over the screen. In Sengeki Striker, your fighter was slow and
had slow firing weapons that didn't do a lot of damage. In Dangun Feveron,
any of the ships has enough firepower to take care of enemies and instead
of weaving between aimed bullets, the fast speed makes it possible to go
completely around a bullet cloud. Uo Poko moves so fast that precise
dodging is very difficult but aimed bullets can be danced around.
Dangun Feveron has five stages. All of them have the same theme, so I
won't be giving a blow-by-blow. Each stage is a fight through open space,
with flying enemies arriving from above and from the sides and even from
behind. Ground enemies are placed on chunks of asteroids or other objects.
Interestingly, in Stage 1 the asteroid in the background has cars driving
on it. Most of the stages have a color scheme, which looks like a
transparent layer placed on top of a starfield. Stage 2 is red, for
Bosses also follow a theme. While the actual attack patterns are unique to
each boss, the basic idea is always a giant space ship. The final boss is
an orb with telescoping arms that flings huge amounts of pastel bullets all
over the screen. The other four are all some variation on a space ship
with things attached to the sides that need to be shot off. All of them
have the standard Cave style and are quite intimidating, even in Stage 1.
Yet as they all follow the same style, I don't see a reason to break them
down any more than I do the stages.
Cave added something else to Dangun Feveron more often relegated to console
shooters. Holding A and B and pressing Start will put the game into
Caravan mode, like Hudson's Star Soldier games. This mode uses the same
ships and weapons as the standard game, but is otherwise completely new.
The level is a long level with some forest themes going on. Lives are
unlimited in this mode, and the emphasis is purely on score. Scattered all
over are wooden poles. When bullets pass over them, they flicker. Sit on
top and fire away and they raise up, a little like the towers in Xevious.
Poles drop several P icons each.
The level lasts for three minutes. Enemies get pretty brutal, but with
unlimited lives it balances out. Bombing is always an option, though no
disco men will be dropped while a bomb is in effect. High scores are
easier to achieve in Caravan mode, with my own personal best being more
than twice as high as my standard game score and scores over a million
don't require months of practice. Caravan mode is worth a play when
standard shmupping gets old.
Dangun Feveron is a very fun little game that doesn't take itself too
seriously (HEAVEN IS HERE INSIDE MY SOUL). It is well balanced and a fun
break from the Battle Garegga/DoDonPachi/Touhou styles of danmaku. The
lack of variety in bosses and levels keeps it from being a perfect game,
and scoring well practically requires using a character that can't reliably
dodge. Give it a go, and if the game doesn't draw you in at least track
down the mp3s for the music. And go play Puzzle Uo Poko. That game is