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Screenshot DDP 001.png

Title screen

Developer: CAVE
Publisher: Atlus
Producer: Takano Kenichi
Program: Tsuneki Ikeda
Satoshi Kouyama
Makoto Watanabe
Takashi Ichimura
Hiroyuki Uchida (Saturn)
Masahiko Komuro (Saturn)
Designer: Naoki Ogiwara
Akira Wakabayashi
Hiroyuki Tanaka
Junya Inoue
Riichirou Nitta
Release date: Arcade
JP: February 5, 1997[1]
US: 1997
Sega Saturn
JP: Sep 18, 1997[1]
JP: Sep 17, 1998 (Reprint)[1]
JP: Sep 10, 1998[1]
PlayStation Portable
JP: May 26, 2010[1]
PlayStation 3
JP: May 26, 2010[1]
PlayStation Vita
JP: Aug 26, 2012[1]
Previous game: DonPachi
Next game: ESP Ra.De

DoDonPachi (怒首領蜂 "Angry Leader Bee", abbreviated: DDP) is the second entry in the DonPachi series of shoot-em-ups, developed and released by CAVE. It expanded upon the chaining system innovated in the first game in the series, and introduced a "variation system" that allowed you to pick two different styles of three ships (Shot and Laser types), giving the player a slightly higher degree of playstyle customization.

This game in particular is considered by most STG enthusiasts to be the grandfather of the bullet hell sub-genre of shooting games, pushing bullet counts into the hundreds, especially if the player is able to reach the second loop. DoDonPachi is also the first game in the series to introduce Hibachi, the True Last Boss, who would return in all future DonPachi games as a challenge for particularly skilled players.

DoDonPachi was originally released in the arcades in 1997. It was later ported to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn home consoles. There is also a hidden, albeit very lean, port of DoDonPachi that can be unlocked in the Xbox 360 visual novel, Instant Brain. All three console ports of DoDonPachi are considered inferior to the PCB / arcade version of the game for various reasons, and are typically not played for score or competitively.

DoDonPachi is followed up by two games, DoDonPachi II: Bee Storm, developed by IGS, and DoDonPachi DaiOuJou, the direct sequel developed once again by CAVE.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview

DDP TitleBG.png

DoDonPachi is a three-button shooter (although the C button is turned off by default, and can be enabled in the dipswitches in service mode).

There are six stages in the game, with a hidden second loop accessible by achieving certain tasks in-game.


  • A button (Press): Fires the standard "spread" Shot weapon.
  • A button (Hold): Fires the ship's "focus" Laser weapon (also surrounds the player with an Aura that deals extra damage).
  • B button (Press): Releases a Bomb, clearing the screen of bullets and dealing massive damage to enemies on screen.
    • B button (Press): Activates a Spread Bomb.
    • A button (Hold) + B button (Press): Activates a Laser Bomb.
  • C button (Press/Hold): Auto-fire for the player's standard Shot.


Item Description
DDP powerup.png Power up
Increases the player's shot and laser power.
DDP bomb.png Bomb
Adds a bomb. Initial stock is 3 and increases by 1 with each death up to a max of 6.
DDP small star.png Small star
Frequently found during stages, grants an insignificant amount of score.
DDP ground star.png Ground star
Frequently found during stages, grants an insignificant amount of score.
DDP large star.png Large star
Occasionally found during stages, grants 10,000 pts.
DDP bee.png Bee
Score item, increases in value the more they are collected.
DDP max power.png Max Power
Grants max power, only appears after the player loses their last life.
DDP 1UP.png 1UP
A hidden extend that can be obtained under specific conditions.


DoDonPachi has 3 ships the player can select. Playing on 2P side will give them an alternate color scheme and introduce a few bugs.

Ship Speed Shot width Laser
Strength Activation Speed
DDP Type A 1P.png DDP Type A 2P.png
Type A
Fastest Narrow Strongest (Shot Type)
Strongest (Laser Type)
Fastest (Shot Type)
Slowest (Laser Type)
DDP Type B 1P.png DDP Type B 2P.png
Type B
Medium Medium
Options track lateral movement
Medium (Shot Type)
Strongest (Laser Type)
Medium (Shot Type)
Fastest (Laser Type)
DDP Type C 1P.png DDP Type C 2P.png
Type C
Slowest Wide Weakest (Shot Type)
Strongest (Laser Type)
Slowest (Shot Type)
Medium (Laser Type)

Ship Types

  • Shot Type: Increases the strength of the player's Shot, dealing more damage and firing greater shot spreads, but with a thinner, non-piercing Laser, smaller aura, slower activation speed and movement speed while using Laser.
  • Laser Type: Increases the strength of the player's Laser, able to pierce through zako enemies, faster movement speed when Lasering and activation speed, producing a bigger aura and instantly destroying zako. The shot is weaker and slightly more narrow when using a Laser Type.
    • All Laser Type ships deal the same amount of damage with the Laser.

It takes 4 power-ups to reach full power. Dying will reduce the player's strengthened weapon by one level and the non-strengthened weapon reverts back to level 1. The power down after death works differently during the second loop.


This is the ship's primary weapon when tapping the A button or tapping/holding the C button. Using Shot provides a rapid burst of fire, the lower the power level, the faster the player will have to mash, but the C button will always provide the highest frequency. The coverage given by using Shot is wider than the Laser (with the exception of Type A-Laser), and while it's weaker and cannot pierce, Shot can still be useful against zako enemies.


The Laser is activated by holding the A button. It is a large, narrow beam and the strongest out of the two weapons, being the best choice against bosses. Using the Laser will reduce the player's movement speed, allowing for a greater degree of control when maneuvering through dense bullet patterns. While the Laser is active, the ship will be surrounded by an aura that deals damage, point-blanking an enemy so that both the Laser and aura are connecting to it will deal higher damage.

Laser Activation

How long it takes for the Laser to activate once the A button is held down. Generally speaking, the Laser Types have much faster activation speeds but all the ships differ in this regard.

Ship Frames
A-Shot 23
A-Laser 19
B-Shot 25
B-Laser 16
C-Shot 29
C-Laser 17

Laser Damage

Laser damage per 2 frames for every ship style:

Laser Level A-Shot A-Laser B-Shot B-Laser C-Shot C-Laser
0 128 136 124 136 122 136
1 128 136 124 136 122 136
2 132 140 128 140 126 140
3 132 140 128 140 126 140
4 136 144 132 144 130 144

Laser Hits

When an enemy has a high enough HP, using Laser continuously against it will slowly increase the chain hit count, here is how long it takes to build Laser Hits for each power level:

Laser Level Frames
0 62
1 56
2 50
3 44
4 38


Bombs are a finite resource used by pressing the B button. Upon being activated, the player will be invincible while the bomb is going off. Bombs will vary depending on whether the player was using Shot or Laser.

  • Spread Bomb: This bomb is activated when unfocused (not using Laser). It deals a moderate amount of damage and cancels all the bullets currently on screen turning them into small stars.
  • Laser Bomb: This bomb is activated when focused (using Laser). It fires a large laser blast in front of the ship, being much stronger than a Spread Bomb in terms of damage. Furthermore, the damage is slightly higher when used at close range[2].


Ddp hitbox.jpg

The hitboxes for the three ships and sub-types are all of the same size. When the player is moving horizontally, the hitbox is gradually shrinking slightly in width. The height stays the same.

  • Default position: 6x7 pixels.
  • Leaning towards one side: 5x7 pixels.
  • Fully moving horizontally: 4x7 pixels.


Hit Chaining / Get Point System

The central scoring mechanic of DoDonPachi is the Get Point System (GPS), returning from DonPachi, which emphasizes scoring by performing hit/kill chains upon enemies and the environment, in quick succession. Whereas DonPachi focused primarily on connecting a bunch of very brief chains for big score gains, DoDonPachi makes the chaining a little bit more lenient, giving the player more ways to prevent chains from breaking -- pushing the chaining even further by allowing you to full-chain an entire stage for massive score bonuses -- it is not unrealistic to achieve chains well over 100 HITs with practice and routing. Chain breaks are prevented by destroying enemies and objects, training your Laser on strong enemies (which now stalls the chain meter and slowly increases your HIT gain), and revealing hidden bees (see below). This chaining system has been a minor point of contention for some fans of the shmup genre, as it demands high levels of skill and perfection from the player in order to achieve respectable scores at a high level of play.

The scoring formula of the chain system looks as follows:

hit count * A + (hit count - 1) * B + (hit count - 2) * C + ... + 1 * Z

(whereas A, B, C, ... , Z are the base values of the enemies chained in successive order)

For example, a 3 Hit chain with the successive enemy base values of (A = 100), (B = 600), and (Z = 300), results in 1,800 pts (3*100 + 2*600 + 1*300 = 1,800).

If the player were to destroy the same enemies but in a different order, this will also have an effect on the total score gain. With that in mind, destroying the previous enemies in the order of (A = 600), (B = 300), and (Z = 100) yields 2,500 pts total (3*600 + 2*300 + 1*100 = 2,500). For this reason, it is more lucrative to destroy enemies with a higher base value as early on in the chain as possible. However, due to the nature of stage-long chains and the way stages are laid out in DoDonPachi there are very few situations where this can be put into practice, and it's mostly a leftover from DonPachi as the GP System's calculations work the same in both games.

MAXIMUM Bomb Bonus

Another challenging point of contention for players, the MAXIMUM Bomb Bonus is pretty straightforward -- when you collect a Bomb icon while your Bombs are already at maximum capacity, the player activates MAXIMUM Mode, awarding them 220 pts x (MAXIMUM Multiplier) every frame (1/60fps); there is one very rare exception in the Trivia section. The MAXIMUM Bomb multiplier starts at 2, and is increased by 1 for every Bomb collected while in MAXIMUM Mode, and the score will continue to pour in until the player uses a Bomb, or dies. Using a bomb will exit MAXIMUM Mode and reduce the current MAXIMUM Multiplier by 1 with subsequent bombs continuing to reduce it, while dying will drop it entirely. Activating MAXIMUM Mode without a full bomb stock (e.g. the player has 2 bombs and their current bomb capacity is 3) will grant a x1 multiplier. The bomb bonus stops giving players score during boss fights, but will resume score gain upon entering the next stage.

The MAXIMUM Bomb Bonus is critical for high level scoring, particularly if the player is able to carry it to the second loop, where the score gain is very lucrative. A player who is able to get a perfect MAX Bomb Bonus (no miss / no bomb for the entire game, collecting every Bomb capsule) can earn as much as ~260,000,000 pts added to their run.

Stage Clear bonus

Clearing a stage will grant the player several score bonuses.

Star collection

  • 500 points for each Small Star collected during the stage.
  • 1,000 points for each Ground Star collected during the stage.

The star counters reset to 0 if the player loses a life.

Boss HIT Calculation

The Get Point System functions differently in boss fights in DoDonPachi, removing the GP Meter. Instead, you gain HITs slowly by hitting bosses with the Laser, with the HIT count dropping rapidly when you are not Lasering the boss. Uniquely to DoDonPachi, when the boss reaches red health (you'll hear the VO say "Just a couple more shots!"), firing off a Laser Bomb will rapidly increase the HIT count. In most cases, the Laser Bomb will also destroy the boss.

After destroying the boss, the player is awarded points based off of the following calculations:

200,000 + (100,000 * stage number) + hit count * (2,000 + 1,000 * stage number)

(Note: stage numbers do not count the loop, so 1-1 and 2-1 will have the same stage number.)

No Miss Bonus

These are granted at the end of each stage if the player finished it without losing a life.

Stage Bonus
1-1 200,000 points
1-2 300,000 points
1-3 400,000 points
1-4 500,000 points
1-5 600,000 points
1-6 700,000 points
2-1 2,000,000 points
2-2 3,000,000 points
2-3 4,000,000 points
2-4 5,000,000 points
2-5 6,000,000 points
2-6 7,000,000 points
2-7 8,000,000 points

The No Miss bonuses go into the millions during the second loop and are an important aspect of scoring. If the player were to no-miss every stage in the game this would yield 37,700,000 points. While no-missing the entire game is an extremely unlikely scenario, reaching 2-7 without losing a life would give 29,700,000 points to the player's score.

Lives remaining

  • 10,000,000 points for each life in stock. This bonus is only granted when the player finishes 2-7, the final stage of the game. It does not happen in 1-6 if no loop requirements were fulfilled, even if it qualifies as the "final" stage under that situation.

Bullet Cancelling

During the second portion of stage 1-3 and 2-3 there are unique enemies that upon being destroyed will cancel all the bullets on screen, this effect lasts for a brief second and bullets fired during this period will be cancelled as well. Bullet cancelling grants points and it is the most lucrative part of said stages. This is also present in the Big Bee boss fight by destroying the orbs on its wings and it is worth a considerable amount of points as well. There are other sections where enemies with bullet cancelling effects are present such as the building in stage 1-2 and 2-2 before the midboss and the one in stage 1-5 and 2-5, but they aren't as important.

Hidden Bee Items

The hidden bee items that premiered in DonPachi return here, uncovered by lasering the spot that the bees are hidden. There are 13 bees to collect in each stage, and collecting a bee icon awards the player points, with each collected bee in a stage awarding increased point gain:

1st bee 2nd bee 3rd bee 4th bee 5th bee 6th bee 7th bee 8th bee 9th bee 10th bee 11th bee 12th bee 13th bee
DDP bee.png
100 pts
DDP bee.png
200 pts
DDP bee.png
400 pts
DDP bee.png
800 pts
DDP bee.png
1,000 pts
DDP bee.png
2,000 pts
DDP bee.png
4,000 pts
DDP bee.png
8,000 pts
DDP bee.png
10,000 pts
DDP bee.png
20,000 pts
DDP bee.png
40,000 pts
DDP bee.png
80,000 pts
DDP bee.png
100,000 pts

When the final bee (100,000 pts) in a stage is collected, the next stage's bee icons will gain increased point value (1-1 1st bee = 100 pts -> 1-2 1st bee = 200 pts -> 1-3 1st bee = 400 pts, etc.), increasing with each bee perfect until every bee collected is worth 1,000,000 pts. If the player dies even once, the collected value of bees is dropped, and returns back to the start of the scoring pattern (100pts). Revealing a bee will add GP meter to your chain, helping prevent chain breaks when playing through stages.

If the player is able to collect every single bee throughout both loops, the total point gain is 37,803,900 pts.

The following maps show you the locations of the 13 bees for each of the stages.

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6


The different types of stars found in stages will give score when collected. The small and ground stars are recalculated during the stage clear bonus.

Star Value
DDP small star.png
Small star
100 points
DDP ground star.png
Ground star
300 points
DDP large star.png
Large star
10,000 points


See DoDonPachi/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.

Hidden Extend

In addition to the two score extends at 6 million and 20 million points, there is a 1UP item in the airship section at the end of stage 1-3 and 2-3. The player needs to destroy the 6 orange objects on the sides of the airship (with or without bombs) and then the structure at the end right before the boss without a bomb to reveal the 1UP. The extend is present in both loops.

Second Loop

Like its predecessor DonPachi, DoDonPachi features a second loop with more aggressive enemies firing much larger amounts of bullets at a higher frequency. Accessing the second loop is the only way to fight the EX Boss Taisabachi and the True Last Boss of the game, Hibachi.

However, unlike DonPachi, the player must meet certain requirements during play in order to access the second loop. To get to the second loop, the player must accomplish any one of the following four tasks:

  • Lose a ship two times or less.
  • Achieve one of the following maximum HIT counts:
    • 270 hits (Type-A).
    • 300 hits (Type-B).
    • 330 hits (Type-C).
  • Score at least 50,000,000pts by the end of Stage 1-6.
  • Collect all 13 hidden bee icons in four stages.

In addition the player must be playing solo to be able to access the second loop, though a partner can still join at the beginning of the second loop for co-op play.

A few gameplay aspects work differently in the second loop:

  • The chain meter drains more slowly and destroying an enemy with Shot will fully fill the chain meter.
  • After dying, both the Shot and Laser will go down by one level.


  • Destroying the large green carrier ships will make them drop more Stars the closer they are to the bottom of the screen. If they are destroyed while on the very bottom of the screen, they will drop a single Large Star instead of many Small Stars.
  • In Stage 1-1 and 2-1: Destroying one of the boss's side turrets while they're rotating around the boss and shooting blue needle shots will make the boss drop ten Large Stars instead of two.
  • In Stage 1-2 and 2-2: Destroying the large bunker turret before the appearance of the mid-boss will reveal a patch of flowers in place of the turret. By hovering over these flowers, the player will gain 10pts every frame they are touching the flowers.
  • In Stage 1-4 and 2-4: A "destroyed" Toaplan logo on the left side of the screen also contains a hidden patch of flowers. Hovering near the flowers causes them to bloom, gaining the same 10pts/frame score bonus for hovering over them. These flowers can be hit with the Shot for 510pts each hit, or 1,100pts every 1/30th /second with the player's Laser.
  • In Stage 2-7: Probably due to a bug, Big Bee takes more damage from Spread Bombs than it does from Laser Bombs, therefore it's important to avoid using the latter during this particular fight. This also comes with the benefit of Spread Bombs being more efficient at cancelling bullets.
  • For survival approach, if the player has their bomb stock full bomb items can be left hanging around until the player bombs, basically acting as a free bomb when collected with no resource loss. A common example of this is delaying the bomb grab during boss 6. Furthermore, bomb items have fixed movement (unlike Power ups) and can be routed so they are always picked up the same way.

Differences on 2P-Side

For some reason, many shooting games feature differences in game behavior when the player is playing on the player 2 side rather than the player 1 side (likely the result of programming errors), and DoDonPachi is not an exception to this. When a credit is being played on the 2P side of the screen, the following changes occur:

  • (1P) When your MAXIMUM Bomb Bonus is active, your chain will not drop when using a Laser Bomb.
  • (2P) Small Stars accumulate over the course of the whole game, rather than on a per-stage basis. This results in higher than average end-stage bonuses that increase steadily as the game goes on if the player doesn't die. This makes it possible for the 2P side to score higher than the 1P side (in theory) and puts a slightly greater scoring value on Small Stars.
  • (2P) When using a Laser Type ship, the Stage 2-3 mid-boss is less aggressive than it is on 1P.
  • (2P) Hibachi's final attack will only shoot fast bullets, regardless of in-game rank.

Story / Plot

( in progress )

Development History

DoDonPachi's development began shortly after the release of its predecessor, DonPachi. It was the second game developed by CAVE; DDP ended up being the favored game over another canceled project, "Danmaku Tengoku"; that game's development was terminated due to unsolvable problems regarding art & sprite design. Another canceled CAVE game, "Oni Death", was also worked on in parallel with DDP, but it too ended up being canceled for unknown reasons despite having a solid concept and graphical design.

Regardless, many mechanics from DonPachi would make a return as stated prior. The mechanic of suicide bullets, however, was not carried over from DonPachi for 4 reasons: the pacing of DDP was very important, so having suicide bullets would force the player to stagger their shooting; second, chaining in the second loop would become too difficult; third, many other arcade games already had them at the time; and finally Ikeda himself was tired of the mechanic itself and how it impacted gameplay.

In the middle of DDP's development, manga artist Junya Inoue joined CAVE and the project. When he joined, the only work left to be done was the ship select, opening demo, last boss, and ending. It was Inoue who asked IKD "Could I put a colonel or something like that at the end?"; he was given the greenlight for the design and text of the series' villain, Colonel Schwarlitz Longhena. Inoue's general attitude towards DDP's art was very relaxed, yet directionless; "[...]things like the story and opening weren't seen as very important. So my boss at the time told me, 'It's not that important, so Inoue, you do it.'" He was lost as to what he should have done, as since most of the art was already complete, he struggled to come up with a story after the fact - something that many years later he still wonders about.

Despite this, "I ended up studying up on DonPachi, and realized it didn't have that deep of a story. Well, now I could relax a little...and with that feeling my work at CAVE began." He further elaborates on his methodology; "[...]I think that for each game you work on you have to take things according to their circumstances, and not be too hung up on particular ideas. I think that in a game's characters and background, you find the core of the story, and the world of the game flows from there." DonPachi/DoDonPachi had a world and story that - in contrast to many games at the time - were not that intertwined; while Inoue tried his hardest to create a backstory, "I thought I would never reach something on the level of the Raystorm games. With that being the case, I had a very blasé attitude about it and the result was that I just worked on things in a very casual way, not taking it too seriously." In light of all of his work, Inoue wishes to not recieve too much credit/respect for DDP; he wants IKD to have that instead, for he was the one that designed the game's "charismatic bosses". A senior employee at CAVE - as told by Inoue - announced that his image for DDP was Space Battleship Yamato. With this in mind, Inoue thought about "refining the story of DDP to be more like 70s era sci-fi, and the phrase 'shinu ga yoi' just came out naturally. [...] They seemed like phrases that Battleship Yamato villains like Lord Desler or Emperor Zwoda would say."

IKD recalls in an interview for CAVE's 15th anniversary, that while Inoue had a small part in DDP's development, he - in his typical fashion - would later be critical of the game's setting; saying "This colorful world of mechas is ridiculous!". This directly influenced the art direction of the next game by Cave - ESP.RA.DE. - as Inoue was assigned as its graphic leader, and wanted a "more realistic" and "inhabited" world for it, in contrast to DDP.

When designing the game's True Last Boss, Hibachi, Tsuneki Ikeda recalls it conceptually being a test for the limits of human dodging ability, so there wasn't an intended "requirement" for lives/bombs when a player reaches them; it was more so of "can this be done on one credit?" - this perhaps is the reason why he would later say that a NMNB clear of DDP was "theoretically humanly possible". The reason for Hibachi's small size, as he says, was for having more space on the screen to create the danmaku patterns (which memory limitations ensured was the only way); its first form, the Final Demonic Weapon aka "Big Bee / Hachi" was closer to his original image of a Last Boss. However, this ended up conflicting with other things he wanted to do, as its size made it impossible to create truly hellish patterns; thus he chose its patterns over sprite design (which dumbfounded the other graphic designers on the project). During the last portion of the game's development (the final 2-3 weeks where extensive playtesting and debugging were done), CAVE determined that the boss as-is was possible, and so it was left at that difficulty; a difficulty level that as later revealed was specifically tailored for average people: to make DDP a "user friendly game".

This is a sentiment that IKD would contradict much later; in a 2010 issue of Arcadia magazine he says that "I actually thought [Hibachi] might be impossible", recalling how even the STG lovers at CAVE deemed DDP "WAY too much!" He wanted Hibachi to "give even advanced players a fight that would test their skills to the utmost. [...] if you weren't gritting your teeth to the end of that fight, it would be meaningless. I wanted people to look at Hibachi and laugh, to be like 'This is ridiculous!'" The idea of Hibachi having a bomb barrier came from a joke him and a senior colleague at Toaplan used to share: “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if, when you used a bomb on the last boss, he put up a barrier? Hahaha…” While IKD said at the time that it would be too far, "[..]secretly I was thinking to myself: this is a great idea. When the time came for DDP, I thought with Hibachi, it's now or never! And it became a basic feature of all our final bosses after that."

After the game's release, CAVE would later remark that they were very confident about the game and its demonstration of (at the time) the enduring popularity of STG arcade games. Satoshi Kouyama, a sub-programmer of the game, remarked that the heart of the game's fun is a "simple joy of dodging bullets"/"that visceral experience of dodging the patterns"; that is, it attracts both superplayers and everyday players (such as having people swarm its arcade cabinets, which is the first game IKD developed that got that treatment). He says that the opinion of normal players was where everything was risked - whether or not they would enjoy the bullet dodging - thus, to see that idea understood and praised, pleased CAVE. Much later, in 2010, IKD would tell that "as [DDP] neared completion, I started to think about it more objectively, and worried, 'There's a chance this might be hated by everyone...'" due to the game's sheer bullet count.

This is not to say that superplayers were disregarded; on the contrary, CAVE thought that it would take 6 months a player to achieve a 2-ALL (completing both loops): in reality it took only a month, a fact that shocked Kouyama when he and IKD learned of the news. As said before, the game's playtesting intensified towards the end of development; one method used was calculating scoring limits by way of using invincibility. They ended up only reaching around 400 million, 200 million lower than the world record at the time in 1997: 600 million points, by ZBL-NAI, using C-S. Another top player of that time, Osada Sennin, remarked to Kouyama that he found the game's difficulty to be "pleasing more than hard", which came as both a surprise, and a display of how "there was a level above what [Kouyama] thought was the ceiling on a player's skill".

Speaking of 1997, there was another variant of the game being developed for a scoring competition to celebrate the release of the later ill-seen Sega Saturn port; this was titled "DoDonPachi Campaign ver.". For more information about this version, go here.

The editors of Gamest in 1998 remarked of how their love of DDP stemmed from the Get Point System; as it "allows players who are just going for a clear to start gradually and naturally building scoring into their runs. [...]the chaining in DoDonPachi has been [for many players] their first experience learning and caring about scoring." They add on as to how players playing for survival would get caught on wanting to optimize for HIT count, and thus were gradually induced into scoring. This was seen as "a revolutionary gameplay system" by said editors, and was as one editor told "emblematic of what makes DDP such an original, special game to play". IKD and Kouyama spoke about how their playstyles opposed one another - one was a survivor, the other a scorer; yet in the end "This wonderful system came about because the both of you [...] were able to create a gameplay system that somehow fully satisfied you both" as summed by a Gamest interviewer. IKD said of how during DonPachi that a friend of his told him of how "It would be more fun if you could do more chaining", which he agreed with.

The game's lengthy and overall relaxed development allowed CAVE, according to IKD, to make the game that they truly wanted. While development typically would end with the want of a few more additions or polish, DoDonPachi was felt to be a genuinely complete game after development concluded. The triad of difficulty balance, enemy placement, and danmaku patterns respectively having so much time spent upon them is a large part of why - as IKD believes - DDP succeeded. Kouyama adds that due to much of the basics already having been built in the preceding game DonPachi there wasn't much time needed to work on the finer details of gameplay; focus could be directed to the things that they wanted to work on. IKD was very thankful to have such time, and while he was happy if he could give CAVE's next game the same treatment, he "somehow doubt[ed] that will be the case", a sentiment which would turn out to be correct.

Even 13 years later, Ikeda still considers DDP his most memorable and completed game. He stressed that despite the support he recieved in-house, should his attempt at "evolution" have turned out to be a failure it would have meant "[his] entire 'schema' for games was off" and thus "[He told himself that he] would quit making games and leave the industry". "In that sense", he says, "I feel like DoDonPachi kind of saved me"; "[...]DoDonPachi was a very memorable, positive experience for me."


Double GP[3]

This is a major scoring glitch that can be performed in stage 1-6 and 2-6. This glitch is known to have been triggered by Japanese players shortly after the release of the game[4], but the exact conditions to replicate it weren't fully understood. It was rediscovered in March of 2015 by the player KTL-NAL and its usage for scoring runs was considered as it was found how to replicate it consistently. The conditions behind the glitch were kept secret, only shared between a very small circle of players. In February 25th, 2020 the glitch was (once again) discovered by the player Blackisto with video footage to analyze, leading to the inner workings of the glitch being figured out. The enemy that triggers the glitch was nicknamed Glitcho by the western STG community, while in the Japanese community it is simply referred to as バグ (Bagu, "Bug").

The source of the glitch


During the stage the player encounters four honeycombs with an enemy sitting on top, upon destroying it infinitely spawning turrets will start emerging from the honeycomb. As the turrets are an easy way to build chain hits and the enemy guarding the honeycomb has both low HP and low amount of bullets fired, it usually goes unnoticed. This enemy is what causes the Double GP glitch.

Glitcho normally gives 10 points for its base value, which is the lowest existing base value in the game. There are only two other sources for a 10 points base value: the missiles fired by the truck enemies at the start of stage 1-6 and 2-6 and Laser Hits.

Activating the glitch

The glitch happens upon gaining a Laser Hit and destroying Glitcho in the same frame. As Glitcho has very low HP the player has to use the Laser while it is at the very top of the screen (thus being invincible), but doing so prematurely will lead to gaining the Laser Hit before Glitcho is destroyed, this won't trigger the glitch. Furthermore, an enemy can't get in the way of the Laser, even ones that wouldn't block it such as zakos (if the player is using a Laser Type) otherwise the frame count for the Laser Hit will be interrupted, again failing to activate the glitch. A cue to know whether the glitch was done succesfully or not is the chain Hit count will increase by 2 upon destroying Glitcho.

Because of the precision involved when triggering the glitch it's likely setups wouldn't be transferable from one ship to the other, especially for the case of Shot Types as they each have different activation speeds and Laser damage.

What causes the glitch?

Each enemy’s base value is hard-coded into their programming. When an enemy is destroyed, the game executes standard code that processes scoring from killing an enemy, or from sustained Laser Hits, etc. While every enemy has a hard-coded number programmed for the score value that is used when calculating the chain scoring, Glitcho is simply missing this very important hard-coded number. All of Glitcho’s scoring is a glitch, not just the double GP.

As a result, the chain scoring simply operates on whatever junk data is loaded into memory. Under normal circumstances, holding the Laser on an enemy adds 10 points to the GP value, and then adds it to both the player's score and the total Chain value. That 10 points from holding the Laser is what causes Glitcho to give 10 points normally, even on frames that it doesn’t do this addition memory is loaded with a value representing 10 points for this. On the frame that the sustained Laser hit adds to the hit counter, and the score addition actually happens though, the game reloads this memory a few times to do score math.

At the end of the function, the last thing it does is add the GP value to the player score, this is done by loading that same memory with the current GP value. When the function is done, the GP value lingers in memory. A normal enemy would overwrite this memory with the base value of the enemy. Glitcho, however, doesn't do this. As a result, most of the time Glitcho awards with 10 points. On the Laser Hit + kill frame however, Glitcho awards the GP value instead, effectively doubling it (since the GP value is added to itself).

Scoring potential

See the following scenario where:

  1. You are doing a chain of currently 358 hits.
  2. You kill a regular enemy (359 hit).
  3. You trigger the glitch (361 hit).
  4. You regularly kill two more enemies (363 hit).

DDP double GP activation.png

Frame Chain value Hits GP Base value
1 15,821,940
2 15,899,790 +1 77,850 80
3 16,133,370 +2 1) 77,860 10
2) 155,720 77,860
4 16,445,170 +2 1) 155,840 120
2) 155,960 120

The GP value before the glitch is at 77,860. When the glitch is triggered at 359 hits > 361 hits (green boxes in the table), the second hit of it exactly doubles your GP value to 155,720. This GP value then increases normally afterwards again. Incidentally, what follows is another frame perfect double kill (two enemies with a Base value of 120 points each), but this is calculated normally.

The point gain from the Double GP Glitch is highly dependent on the current GP value. Consequently, the first honeycomb is worth significantly less than any of the later ones, as the GP value is naturally increasing with a higher chain. As Glitcho is essentially doubling the GP value, its normal Base value of 10 points is overwritten by the number of the current GP value.

For the following scenarios, the Double GP Glitch is only triggered once and the rest of the stage is fully chained with about 900 hits.

Activation GP (before the glitch) Remaining hits Point gain
1st Glitcho 22,000 730 16,060,000
2nd Glitcho 59,000 460 27,140,000
3rd Glitcho 61,000 445 27,145,000
4th Glitcho 67,000 410 27,470,000

The total point gain in the last column refers to the score the player would get on top of their regular score, i.e. the actual score from triggering the glitch alone. As this calculation does not take into account the fact chain hits would be lost under normal circumstances due to correctly setting up for the glitch to work, these numbers are most likely lower in an actual run. Therefore, the score gain would be expected to be 15m from the first and about 25m from the other three when triggered in isolation.

Doing a final calculation for all four Glitchos triggered consecutively within one run brings up to the following numbers. Note that these numbers do not take into account the regular score from the stage but purely reflect what the Glitchos add to this.

Activation GP multiplier Point gain
1st Glitcho x2 ~16,000,000
2nd Glitcho x4 ~53,000,000
3rd Glitcho x8 ~126,000,000
4th Glitcho x16 ~263,000,000

MAXIMUM Bonus corruption

This is a bug that can be triggered by activating the MAXIMUM Bonus.

A report of it was done in December 2016 by the user "khinra" on the System11 forums, at the time it couldn't be confirmed but reverse engineering of the DoDonPachi ROM on MAME revealed that the claims were most likely legitimate. In short: should enough slowdown be generated prior to a bomb pickup that activates the MAXIMUM Bonus, there is a chance for a vertical blank interrupt to corrupt the MAXIMUM Bonus value held within the game's memory stack (output by a function which converts the value for said Bonus from an unsigned 16-bit integer to binary-coded decimal). While this bug is humanly feasible, the chances of triggering it are astronomically low (rough estimation: 1 in 8000 attempts).

For further details there is a video demonstration of this bug:

Version Differences

International version

This is the overseas release of the arcade version.


Japan International
DDP warning screen.png DDP US warning screen.png

The text shown in the warning screen was retouched to reflect the game not being in Japan and fixing some of the writing, notably removing the comical "Full extent of the jam" and making the text generally more coherent. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the few cutscenes throughout the game that had to be translated from Japanese to English as they are riddled with typos.

Sega Saturn

Main menu.

This is the first time DoDonPachi was ported to a home console just a few months after the arcade version was out. It features 2 different modes to play each with their own different options. While it is frequently forgotten, this version is historically important, as it was used for the scoring competition involving DoDonPachi Campaign Version (more information below).

Gameplay differences

  • Many enemies have either lower or higher HP compared to the arcade version.
  • Many enemies have different shooting timings, noticeable on boss fights.
  • Bullet Cancel duration in stage 1-3 and 2-3 is much shorter.
  • For some reason, near the end of stage 1-4 and 2-4, 3 orange planes are missing in this version.
  • C button autofire is enabled by default and cannot be disabled.
  • Due to the different hardware, slowdown isn't as accurate. The Saturn version as a whole slows down considerably less frequently.

Other differences

  • This version runs at a 60 Hz frequency as opposed to the arcade version's 57.55 Hz. This causes many pseudo-transparency effects from the arcade version to not work properly, such as the ship's aura and shadow.
  • Many sprites look more pixelated and compressed even while playing on a Tate monitor.
  • Several sound effects are different.
    • Other sound effects are missing, notably the lasers on the stage 1-4 and 2-4 boss.
  • Due to the game being in a CD-ROM format, loading moments are present while playing.
  • Redbook audio.
  • The BGM stops abruptly when getting close to the stage's boss.
  • The HUD can now display up to 5 lives, but for whatever reason this is only present in Saturn Mode. Arcade Mode handles it like the arcade version, with the HUD showing up to 4 lives.

Bug fixes

  • The small star counter for 2P side is properly cleared at the end of each stage.

Arcade Mode

Default settings.

This is the main mode, meant to reflect the arcade version without any major differences in content, having 2 loops and ending with the player having to face the True Last Boss, Big Bee and Hibachi. Some of the customizable options present in this mode also match the ones found in the Service Menu of the arcade version.

  • Game Difficulty: Changes the current difficulty setting. The other options are Easy, Hard and Very Hard.
  • Extend Bonus: Changes the score tresholds needed to earn extends. The other options are 15 millions/30 millions, every 10 millions and No Extend.
  • Player: Changes how many lives the player starts with. The other options are 1 life, 2 lives and 5 lives.
  • Display Mode: Adjusts the screen depending on the monitor setting. The other option is Tate.
  • Audio: Changes the audio output. The other option is Mono.

Saturn Mode

As the name implies, this is a mode exclusive to the Sega Saturn version. It has a unique intro stage (referred to as "Stage 0" by fans) and ends after one loop. At the end of it, the player will fight Big Bee and Hibachi just like in the Arcade version, though their patterns are much less fierce. In general, the difficulty of this mode is lower than that of Arcade Mode.

Default settings.

This mode features unique options on top of the ones present in Arcade Mode. Just like the overall difficulty of this mode, the options from Arcade Mode are more generous here, like being able to start the game with 6 lives. However, tweaking some of the exclusive options of this mode can make the game feel more similar to the second loop.

  • Game Difficulty: Changes the current difficulty setting. The other options are Very Easy, Easy and Hard.
  • Round Difficulty: Basically another difficulty setting, changing it to Round 2 will make several enemies behave like their loop 2 versions.
  • Extend Bonus: Changes the score tresholds needed to earn extends. The other options are 4 millions/10 millions, 6 millions/20 millions and every 5 millions.
  • Player: Changes how many lives the player starts with. The other options are 4 lives, 5 lives and 6 lives.
  • Bomber: Changes how many bombs the player starts with. The other options are 4 bombs, 5 bombs and 6 bombs.
  • Get Point Time: Changes how long it takes for the GP meter to drain. Setting it to 2.0 will make it work roughly like loop 2.
  • If you press the L, R, A, and C buttons on the controller at the same time when selecting whether to enhance the shot or laser on the ship select screen, both the shot and laser will be enhanced.
    • The announcer shouting "DoDonPachi!" will be heard when done correctly.
  • If the A and C buttons are not pressed simultaneously, both the shot and laser will not be enhanced.
    • A explosion sound effect will be heard when done correctly.
  • Pressing both L and R individually will grant an extra credit, this can be done for up to 9 credits.

When playing with both Shot and Laser enhanced, your movement speed while using Laser will be slower, like that of a Shot Type in the base game.

When playing with neither the Shot nor the Laser enhanced, your movement speed while using Laser will be faster, like that of a Laser Type in the base game.

Score Attack

This is practically the same as Arcade Mode, the differences are default settings are enforced and there are no extra credits to continue. Once the player loses all of their lives, they will be given a 17 characters password. Players at the time would need this code to submit their scores for the scoring competition held by CAVE for DoDonPachi Campaign Version.


Title screen.

This is the second port of DoDonPachi to a home console released in September 10, 1998. Unlike the Saturn version this one doesn't include any exclusive modes or any other new content. While this version can feel more faithful to the arcade in terms of visuals and enemy behavior, just like the Saturn version, there are some differences present that lead to it being ignore for competitive play.

Gameplay differences

  • C button autofire is enabled by default and cannot be disabled.
  • Uncovering bee items doesn't give GP meter. This drastically changes full-chain routes for stages.
  • Slowdown is entirely absent in this version. A "Slow" button and a "Wait" option have been added to address this issue, with mixed results.
    • The "Wait" option can be toggled On or Off during play by pausing the game, enabling it will generate slowdown when there are enough objects on the screen. Unfortunately, this also causes the game to start chugging more often than it should, such as when there are a lot of tanks on the screen and not much else.

Other differences

  • This version runs at a 60 Hz frequency as opposed to the arcade version's 57.55 Hz.
  • For whatever reason when playing with the monitor set to Tate the ship select screen will start on the Shot Type/Laser Type selection, the player will need to go to the Options menu to change their ship choice there.
  • Several sound effects are different and sound quality in general feels rather compressed.
  • Due to the game being in a CD-ROM format, loading moments are present while playing.
  • Redbook audio.


Default settings.
  • Screen: Adjusts the screen depending on the monitor setting. The other options are Tate and Tate Yoko, the latter is the same as Tate but the directional inputs are reversed during play, Up and Down go Left and Right while Left and Right go Down and Up.
  • Hero Counts: Changes how many lives the player starts with. The other options are 1 life, 2 lives and 5 lives.
  • Difficulty: Changes the current difficulty setting. The other options are Kids, Easy, Hard and Very Hard.
  • Sound: Changes the audio output. The other option is Monaural.
  • Music Test: Plays all the different tracks in the game.
  • Key Config: Rebinds button configuration. The Slow button slows down the game to a crawl during play for as long as it's held. The second way for the player to deal with what is otherwise a no slowdown version of DoDonPachi.
  • Player Select Tate: Changes the ship selected if the monitor setting is Tate.
  • Autosave: Saves high scores and options configuration automatically.
  • Load: Loads a profile if there is one saved in the PlayStation's memory card.

Xbox 360

A port of the arcade version of DoDonPachi can be unlocked at a bonus minigame in Cave's Japan-only visual novel Instant Brain. The port has online leaderboards but does not support Tate mode or control remapping. Interestingly, it does include support for Xbox Kinect, and can be played with motion controls. Like other console ports of DoDonPachi, it runs at a significantly faster speed than the arcade PCB. Additionally, some ships release bullets upon spawn that they do not release in any other version of the game, likely due to a glitch. It is, however, the most accurate of the three console ports of DoDonPachi.

To unlock DoDonPachi in Instant Brain, 6 pictures must be obtained during the course of the playthrough, the final of which is received just before completing the game, effectively requiring you to beat the game to unlock it. A walkthrough for non-Japanese speakers can be found here, and if fast-forwarding is utilized, it will take approximately 5-7 hours. Alternatively, a completed game save for Instant Brain with DoDonPachi unlocked is available online and can be used on an unmodified Xbox 360 if re-signed to your profile with a program such as Horizon.

Campaign Version

Title screen.

A modified version of DoDonPachi given as a prize for a scoring competition using the Sega Saturn port. The competition started September 18, 1997 and ended in October 31 that same year[5]. The winner was C-Shot top player ZBL-NAI. This versions features rearranged enemy placement, different color schemes, much higher difficulty and a unique Hyper mechanic reminiscent of DoDonPachi DaiOuJou. The only available footage of this version comes from a doujin VHS tape release DDP Professional Vol.2 done by Team S.O.F on 2003. This tape has two 1 Coin Clear runs of DoDonPachi Campaign Version performed by the player SOF-WTN using the ship Type A-Laser. As a bonus, there is a 214,400,190 points first loop with C-Shot and a Hibachi no-miss fight with 146 Boss HITs, both done by SOF-NAI.

DoDonPachi Campaign Version is currently considered lost media, as it has never been included in any rerelease and no ROM dump of it exists.

Gameplay differences

  • The addition of a Hyper mechanic. Activating a Hyper (indicated by a second meter in the HUD that fills up over time) will have the following effects:
    • All the bullets currently on screen will disappear.
    • The player gains temporary invincibility.
    • The GP meter will freeze during the entirety of the Hyper.
    • Chain hits are gained much more rapidly while the Hyper is active, also indicated by the Double! text in the HUD.
    • The game keeps track of how many Hypers have been activated.?
  • The addition of Expert Type ships, again reminiscent of DoDonPachi DaiOuJou. Before selecting whether to choose a Shot Type or Laser Type, the player can also toggle between "Normal" and "Expert" by moving the stick Up or Down. Using an Expert Type will have the following changes:
    • Both Shot and Laser will be enhanced.
    • Bomb capacity won't increase after dying.
    • Selecting Expert-Shot will have a slower movement speed while using Laser, like that of a regular Shot Type.
  • The value of each Bee item collected will be multiplied by the player's current chain hit count. In the case of stage 1-3 and 2-3 boss, they will be multiplied by the current Boss HIT count.
  • Boss HITs are built faster.
  • Bullet Cancel function works differently, each bullet cancelled will be added to the player's chain hit count.
  • The missiles dropped by the stage 1-5 and 2-5 boss can be destroyed, releasing a large amount of stars.

Bug fixes

  • The small star counter for 2P side is properly cleared at the end of each stage.
  • The infamous lock glitch on stage 1-4 and 2-4 boss is fixed.
  • When using 2P side, Hibachi's final pattern will have different bullet speed variations (as it does when using 1P side in the base game) instead of always using the fastest version.



  • Despite the variety in bullet visuals, all bullets in DoDonPachi share the same hitbox size. This property is also shared with DoDonPachi DaiOuJou and Ketsui: Kizuna Jigoku Tachi.
  • This is the first entry in the DonPachi series that introduces Hibachi as the True Last Boss awaiting at the end of the game.
  • The voice heard during the title screen is a clip of Bob, the narrator from DonPachi, with a slightly altered pitch.
  • The default high scores in the score ranking screen are based on some of the top scores for DonPachi at that time.


  • "Differences between 1P and 2P player sides (various games)", by Plasmo |
  • Confirmation of Bee perfect requirements for the second loop provided by Juju Kenobi | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  • Boss HIT calculations provided by moozooh | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  • Laser strength and activation speed tested and confirmed by Plasmo | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  • Other various information confirmations and suggestions provided by Plasmo and Juju Kenobi | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  • Technical explanation of Corrupted MAXIMUM Bomb Bonus by Olifante | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  • Primary info provided by CHA-STG
  • Bee maps provided by ptoing
  • Laser damage calculation provided by smc | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  • Laser hits countdown provided by Kilaye | via STG Rev. 2020 Discord
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 DoDonPachi at MobyGames
  2. Laser bomb damage comparison by Fukuchan
  3. The vast majority of the info presented here comes from the article "The 'Double GP Glitch' of Dodonpachi Explained" featured in The Electric Underground subreddit, formerly hosted on the now-defunct website. The article was rewritten to fit Shmups Wiki's writing etiquette.
  4. Post on 2ch dated 97/04/21 - Wayback Machine
  5. CAVE's website (archive)
  6. Tweet by ASE-Plasmo
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sammy House Blog
  8. Scans of DoDonPachi Campaign Version flyer by Mark MSX - The Electric Underground subreddit