Reviews: Ketsui

Ketsui for arcade

Ketsui is one of those Cave classics without a true sequel, but which steadfastly retains its popularity after ten years. It is a 2-D shooting game (shmup) for the arcade set in the near-future.

  • Backgrounds for the stages are presented as a single long continuous map.
  • The soundtrack still stands out to this day, to the point where special moments in the game can be pinpointed to exact parts of songs.
  • Gameplay is very unique even within Cave's vast repertoire, encouraging getting up-close to enemies and fighting them at point-blank range when possible. The 5-chip items are becoming almost as popular as the characters and ships of the game.
  • Iconic sub-bosses and bosses who are referenced by other games.
  • Poster art that incredibly iconic and distinct (although this can be enjoyed without playing the game). Unfortunately, the artist passed away.

  • Many of the graphics for the enemies are obviously rotoscoped 3-D, which can be jarring when compared with the excellent visual quality of everything else in the game.
  • The audio fidelity is not very good, due to the PGM arcade hardware.
  • Fighting the True Last Boss requires not only a no-miss (no deaths and no bombs used) run through both loops, but also a minimum score for the first loop. This game is definitely not for beginners.