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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 08/15/04 ] = Three Reasons Why Cave Needs To Make A Shooter Compilation

Cave is without a doubt one of the best shooting game developers ever. They craft shooters of fantastic design, great gameplay, and distinct style. Cave develops quality shooters. However, much of their work has gone unnoticed (even by shooting game fans), and while there is hope for the new Cave shooters, they too may go unnoticed, which is why I present the reasons below. The three reasons presented are reasons why I think Cave needs to release shooting compilations of their titles.

[ 1 ] = Rarity
By far, rarity is the biggest reason why Cave needs to cook up some sort of compilation plan. Cave makes awesome shooters, but unfortunately they suffer from rarity; Cave shooters are a rare occurrence in arcades outside of Japan, and only a handful of them have been given console ports. In a word, the distribution of Cave shooters is horrible. Many American fans of the shooting game genre haven't even heard of Cave and/or their games, and for those who have actually heard of Cave, finding any of their titles stateside is nearly impossible (unless of course, emulation is sought). Even though the consumer market has seen the releases of older Cave shooters DonPachi and DoDonPachi, along with recent Cave shooters DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou and ESP Galuda, it's not enough. Will old Cave masterpieces like ESP Rade and Guwange continue to be ignored for consumer releases? What will happen with newer Cave gems like ProGear, Ketsui, and Mushi Hime? Will the consumer ever have a chance to play any of these fantastic titles? There's no reason why any of Cave's quality shooters should not be brought home to the consumer market. Cave puts their heart and soul into every shooter they make, yet their hard work seems to go unnoticed.

Sure, if someone really wants to play Cave shooters they can download them and play them via emulation, or pay a small fortune and order the PCBs, or better yet, save up enough to actually go to Japan and play them. But the thing here is that it's all too much. Why should fans be forced to go to one of the aforementioned great lengths to play over half of Cave's shooters? A few PCB-only titles here and there is fine, but over half of Cave's shooters are PCB-only! To some (those who buy PCBs regularly), it may not seem like going to great lengths at all, but to others (many others) it is; as any PCB buyer knows, prices for PCBs can be steep. It all just comes back to the question of why more of Cave's shooters, as great as they are, rarely see consumer releases? I don't have anything against PCBs (or those who buy PCBs), I just think more Cave games should come home (hopefully Arika is hearing our cries and taking notes). Even if more Cave shooters were brought to the console market, there's still a chance that they could turn out to be rare and expensive (like DDP for the PS), but at least then more people would get to play and enjoy them (and that's what it's all about). I'm not asking for some big-name American developer to release Cave games and attempt to make them mainstream (which we all know would never happen); I'm asking for simple availability, that's all. A series of compilations (similar to what Psikyo is doing) would make Cave's shooting masterpieces a lot easier to obtain and play.

[ 2 ] = Fans
Second, Cave needs to release a compilation (or two, or three) for its fans. Although there are Cave fans out there that buy PCBs, many have only played DonPachi and/or its sequels (which until recently was the only Cave series to see consumer releases), or play Cave titles via emulation (since Cave titles are difficult to find in non-Japanese arcades, and many didn't have home releases). Cave could make money if they dedicated more to the consumer market; in all three of the aforementioned groups of Cave fans, there's money to be made. PCB buyers sometimes buy consumer releases because they're cheaper (and take less space), and fans who have played the hell out of the DonPachi series at home would almost definitely buy a Cave compilation to experience the other Cave shooters that they never had a chance to play. Not to be left out, those who play Cave shooters via emulation would probably buy a Cave shooter compilation as well, since many of them play Cave titles through emulation simply because of the bad distribution they've gotten. For me (as a Cave fan since the release of ProGear), when I play DonPachi or DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou at home, I think to myself, "Man, Cave shooters are fucking awesome; why don't more of them see home releases?" I know I'm not the only one who has thought this before.

Although Cave shooters (or just shooters in general) aren't really popular in the world of videogames, Cave could still make money from compilations of its older shooters. With the recent releases of DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou and ESP Galuda for PlayStation 2 (and if I'm not mistaken, a recent re-release of DonPachi for PlayStation), Cave has probably made some (if not many) new fans as well, some of which are no doubt interested in the developer's previous efforts. Despite their age, stellar Cave shooters such as ESP Rade and Guwange could easily impress and appeal to Cave newcomers. Therefore, a compilation would not only appeal to veteran fans, but also to newcomers; Cave could profit handsomely from both sides if they were to release a well-designed compilation or series of compilations (similar to what Psikyo has been doing as of late).

[ 3 ] = Timing
In the past two years, shooters seem to be making a comeback; now would be the perfect time for Cave to consider releasing a compilation. Psikyo has already released a Strikers 1945 compilation (which was unfortunately missing Strikers 1945 Plus and Strikers 1945 III), and there are plans for two more compilations of past Psikyo shooters; Cave needs to do something like this. Not only with older Cave titles, but with recent ones, as well; an ESP Rade / Guwange or a DoDonPachi / Dangun Feveron compilation would stellar, as would a DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou Black Label / Ketsui or Ketsui / Mushi Hime Sama compilation. The timing is perfect; with the shooting game genre said to be making a comeback of sorts, Cave could jump up and take the shooting crown with a couple of killer compilations. Recently, the industry has seen a wave of shooter releases, and some have been successful enough to even see American releases (Ikaruga, R-Type Final, Gradius V). Cave's shooters in particular have been doing well in Japanese arcades; most arcades have DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou or DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou Black Label machines, and sometimes even Ketsui, ESP Rade, or DoDonPachi in addition. There were five games that I saw at every Japanese arcade I went to: KOF2002, Guilty Gear XX, Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, Gundam DX, and DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou. In fact, I've seen DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou at more Japanese arcades (in various parts of the country) than I have Ikaruga; considering the fact that Ikaruga was brought to America due to its success and popularity, it's impressive to see that an underdog shooter like DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou has it beat. That said, it is not hard to see that Cave's strong arcade presence justifies devoted expansion to establish a similarly strong presence in the consumer market. Cave is already doing well in arcades, and with a recent trickle of home releases, timing for a compilation couldn't be better.

The shooting game genre is said to be making a comeback, and Cave has played a big part in keeping it alive. With such quality titles as DDPDOJ, DDPDOJBL, Ketsui, ESP Galuda, and Mushi Hime Sama, the developer has shown its devotion to the shooting game scene, and to its fans. To other developers and/or magazine editors that don't know shit, it seems that Cave is fighting a lost cause, or that the developer is wasting resources and time developing shooting games; but the fact is that Cave is playing a part in reviving the shooting genre, and they are doing a damn good job. Cave can continue to revive the shooting game genre by releasing a compilation (or two) of their older titles. And while they're at it, they can package some of their recent titles together as compilations too. Cave has stood strong throughout the years, and with such devotion to the genre, the developer indicates nothing but a future of promise.

[ Extra ] = Features
[ 1 ] = Official Cave Homepage
[ 2 ] = Arika