Amp Blasts: Cave

Ok, this is one of the hardest entries that I will have to do cause the honest reality is that Cave makes AWESOME shmups. However, I must call into question their recent missteps. As an American fan I feel puzzled by the decisions the company has made about US releases. What makes this worse is that the erratic decisions continue to this day.

First, in 2009 a huge news development took place when Mushihime-sama Futari, one of the most infamous Cave shmups in terms of difficulty, was made region free for the Xbox 360. Now, unlike most games released domestically for the 360, this is extremely rare due to Microsoft of Japan requiring all content be cleared in all regions according to Cave's official blog. Also, they would talk about possible future domestic and worldwide releases. This would get our hopes up, but shortly after these would be dashed.

In 2010, Cave decided to stop doing region free releases with the regular version of Espgaluda II. At the same time though, Aksys games announced a domestic released for DeathSmiles which led many to believe that they would start releasing Cave's games for American audiences. However, no other games are being planned for release. Also, the release of DeathSmiles in the US was glitched and did not handle the inherit arcade slowdowns correctly. (Fortunately Aksys will be releasing a patch to correct this shortly and have been extremely fan friendly.) This is not the end of the Cave woes though.

At the end of 2010, DoDonPachi Resurrection was released for the 360 region locked. As this is the one Cave game I have wanted to play the most, the lack of a local release is infuriating. What makes this even worse is that the next 360 release, a barebones dual release of Pink Sweets and Muchi-Muchi Pork, has been confirmed to be region free. This pick and choose system of releases has me at the point where I have grown sick of how broken the region system in gaming is and also displeased with Cave.

I know that they released Guwange on Xbox Live Arcade for all regions, but for their other releases they need to live up to their promise of international releases. Just doing 2 or 3 games region free, and licensing one to other regions is not enough. It is also apparent that Cave has not looked at the sales charts for DeathSmiles as the US release has actually sold more than the Japanese release. I know that nobody is perfect, but they need to figure out one strategy for releasing games worldwide and go with it.