Dogyuun (ドギューン!!) is a vertical shooting game developed and published by Toaplan in 1992, and one of the few titles created by the company that has not received any ports to home platforms to date. It is set on a fictional planet called Dino, where the player faces off against a race of robotic aliens holding the planet hostage. The player ship in Dogyuun is known as the Sylfer, and is equipped with a tractor beam that can grab smaller enemies and item containers and carry it with them. There are four weapons and two modules for the player to take advantage of, as well as a unique ship upgrade mechanic that is only available when two players are tagged in.
Dogyuun offers a fairly simple gameplay experience held up by a very strong visual and audio presentation, solid game difficulty, and overall game intensity. Its relative simplicity, combined with a challenging-yet-fair design, makes it a good choice of game to play for relative newcomers to the genre.
It has received criticism for its basic design sensibilities -- compared to other games in the genre by 1992 (including others made by Toaplan) --, as it doesn't particularly innovate in any strong ways. Its most unique feature (fusing into a super-ship) is only available when playing the game with two players, so the game essentially rides or dies by its excellent visual presentation. It also has received criticism from high-level players regarding its scoring, as the scoring is easily broken by counter-stops due to oversights with the boss design and the tractor beam mechanic.
Dogyuun utilizes three buttons for its core gameplay.
There are ten stages in the game, and the game loops forever, in theory. However, due to a programming error, the game soft-locks at the start of loop 5 stage 1 (5-1), so the game is considered to only have four loops.
- A: Fires the equipped weapon
- B: Uses the player's equipped module
- C (Hold): Activates the ship's tractor beam, which can grab small enemies and item containers (once grabbing an object, you no longer have to hold the button)
- C (Press): Releases any objects caught by the tractor beam (this will also release your equipped module)
Weapons & Modules
Dogyuun features four primary weapon types, selected by collecting a colored weapon capsule that cycles between red, blue, purple, and green (in that order). There are no weapon upgrades to collect; collecting the same weapon rewards the player with 5000pts. Uniquely, if you tag in a second player, and tractor beam their ship, your ships will fuse together into a super-ship, allowing the player access to stronger versions of these four weapons.
- Mega Shot (Blue): The default player shot. Fires a straight beam forward that shrinks as it's out. Fire rate can be increased by rapidly pressing A. When equipped with the Thruster, smaller lasers are also shot from the side of the player's options.
- Psycho Beam (Purple): A curving homing shot that bends towards enemies. Only one volley can be on screen at once. It deals a respectable amount of damage, and can hit targets several times, but it is limited in the amount of firepower that can be on-screen at once, and it has a hard time hitting enemies at certain angles.
- V-Laser (Green): Two bolts of lightning curve out of the ship. The major advantage of this weapon is that it can consistently damage anything in its path, and its path can be left out indefinitely, but it is by far the weakest weapon in the game, only finding use in particularly unique situations against basic zako.(It also plays a horrible sound when being fired.)
- Homing Fire (Red): A homing shot that curves in 90 degree angles towards its targets. Only two volleys can be on screen at once. Fire rate can be increased by rapidly pressing A, allowing it to deal great damage with point-blanking, and its movement patterns make it useful in more situations than its purple counterpart.
- Bomb: Releases a one-time use bomb that grants the player invincibility and deals significant damage to any enemies unlucky enough to be caught in its path. The bomb is strong enough to destroy many sub-bosses in the game alone.
- Thruster: When pressed down, the player's movement speed is massively increased, granting them the ability to dart across the screen. This module is highly useful, but must be used carefully in order to avoid jetting straight into bullets or airborne enemies.
In a feature that is unique to Dogyuun, both players have the ability to tractor-beam each others' ships with the C button. When this is done, the two ships fuse into one super-ship and gain devastating firepower, enhancing their equipped weapon and doubling their damage and spread. In exchange, the players are given a bigger hitbox, increasing the chances that they'll get hit by enemy bullets and colliding with ships.
Checkpoints are disabled when two players are playing; players will instead quickly respawn after taking damage. Dying while using the fused ship results in a lost life from both players.
Scoring in Dogyuun is about as simple as it gets, with a flat amount of points awarded for destroying enemies and collecting score items.
The player can passively earn 10pts about every 10 frames (out of 60F/sec) by grabbing an enemy or weapon capsule with the tractor beam. As long as they are carrying an object, they will continue to earn this score bonus. Carried objects have their own hitboxes that can be destroyed by enemy collisions and bullets, ending the score bonus once destroyed. If carrying a particularly large enemy (such as the red missile-shooting enemies in stage 2), the player will instead earn 100pts every 10F, but they will suffer massively reduced movement speed on their ship until the enemy is destroyed or released. (Information on enemies that can and can't be carried by the player is available on the Enemy Overview section of the expanded strategy page.)
Missiles fired by enemies are destructible and are worth 10pts each.
Collecting a power-up that the player is already holding will reward them with 5000pts. There are also score items that reward the player with 5000 points when collected, but for the most part, these only appear in Stage 3. There are no bonuses tied to end-of-stage boss destruction (even destroying boss parts typically doesn't award very many points), no bonus points awarded for extends and bombs at the end of stages (you can only hold one bomb at a time anyway), and there is no bonus points awarded when defeating a boss.
There is an item in one of the capsules at the end of boss fights that flashes back and forth between +100000pts and a 1UP, and through the use of a glitch, you can acquire two of these for a total of 200,000pts rewarded. (See Strategy/Extends below for more information on how to get these items to trigger.)
The best scores in Dogyuun involve optimizing movement in order to hold onto objects with the tractor beam for as long as you can, picking up a new object as soon as possible, and destroying as many destructible objects as possible. A significant amount of score comes from putting together an optimal route for collecting the +5000pts items during the high-speed section at the start of Stage 3.
Each loop of the game increases the overall score potential (including the automatic score gain from tractor beaming objects).
The player can earn a score-based 1UP by earning 200,000 points. This is the only score-based extend in the game (on default dipswitch settings).
A hidden extend/score item can be discovered by destroying specific bosses with specific weapons. It flashes back and forth between 1UP and +100,000pts.
The extend will only appear once per credit/run. If the extend was collected in a previous boss fight, the weapon capsule that the boss drops will only contain a weapon pick-up. However, the 100,000pts item will continue to appear even if it is collected, making it a good choice for scoring to collect the 100,000pts item instead of the extend.
|Stage 4||Homing Fire|
|Stage 5||Psycho Beam|
|Stage 7||Mega Shot|
|Stage 9||Mega Shot|
There is a tricky glitch that the player can perform that allows the player to acquire two extends (or extra bonus 100000pts items) instead of one. See the Strategy page for Dogyuun to learn more about this trick.
Due to the a combination of the design of the tractor beam's bonus point mechanic, various safespots in boss encounters, and bosses not timing out, it is possible to achieve several different counter-stops in Dogyuun. Some bosses can be rendered completely defenseless via boss part destruction, or have places on the screen that they are unable to hit the player at (top left of the screen seems to be common in Dogyuun). When holding an object with the tractor beam in one of these situations, it's possible to leave the game untouched from that point on, and eventually acquire huge amounts of points, forever. The automatic point gain from the tractor beam is also increased in subsequent loops, making the strategy particularly lucrative in the third or fourth loops of the game.
Players aiming to record their high scores on public leaderboards are discouraged from using these sorts of exploits to earn points.
(Special thanks to mojilove for the story translation, as well as several other translations on this page!)
Lagoon, the 104th planet, is home to the International Defense Force Headquarters where defense organizations from all countries come together.
This headquarters assembled a special squadron called ISM to intercept aliens that could attack at any moment.
ISM harnesses the power of the most advanced technology available to man, and is fully backed by the International Defense Force.
One day, ISM received an emergency sortie order from the Commander:
"There is an emergency at the planet colony Dino! Move out immediately!!"
The squadron, including the new variable fighter Sylfer that had just been deployed, went to scout out the base on the planet, as communications had suddenly ceased.
Dino was a beautiful planet—what had happened here...?
When the base came into sight, the ISM pilots found it had become infested with mysterious mechanoid lifeforms.
ISM Pilot: "Let's head back. It's too dangerous to go any further."
Kyle: "Wait, we're this close to getting intel on the centropolis. There are still many people trapped in there."
ISM Pilot: "But we'll be dead meat if the aliens find us. All right, let's do this quickly!"
Kyle: "Yeah, I found it!"
Just then, Kyle's recon ship was captured and destroyed by a huge robot (the stage 2 boss).
ISM Pilot: "Kyle!!!"
The recon mission had taken a drastic turn, with the other pilots now ready to launch a desperate counteroffensive!
From the start, Toaplan's goal with Dogyuun was to make a game with the best visuals possible, in response to criticism on the visuals of their previous games. Since graphics were their main focus with Dogyuun, the team were unable to put a greater focus on the gameplay, which they felt was "unimaginative". A significant amount of development time was spent on designing and animating huge bosses. 
- In the European release of Dogyuun, the rank cap is much lower than in the Japanese version. This makes the European release of the game much easier as a result.
- The opening cinematic is not included in either the European or USA releases of the game, likely due to the lack of English translation.
- There is a location test ROM of Dogyuun that is presumably an earlier build of the game (we are not sure exactly how much older). This is a pending research project!
- In the location test ROM, the Bomb module has an Auto-Bomb feature, which will detonate the Bomb and protect the player from taking damage when hit by bullets or enemy ships. It is possible that the developers (or the playtesters?) thought the Auto-Bomb made the game too easy, and changed it before the game was finalized and sent to arcades.
- In the final version of the game, the Bomb module still goes off when the player dies, but no longer saves the player. This behavior is likely a remnant of the aforementioned location test's Auto-Bomb feature.
See Dogyuun/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.
References & Contributors
- Shooting Star: Dogyuun page (JP): http://shootingstar.game.coocan.jp/dogyuun.html
- http://shmups.wiki/files/dogyuun_E.docx (EN translation -- thanks mojilove!)
- "Toaplan Game Q&A with Yuge and Uemura", translated into EN by Shmupulations | http://shmuplations.com/toaplan-chronicleqa
- Additional info contributions by orccommander via the STG Rev. 2020 Discord
- Primary info and all information verification provided by CHA-STG