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Promotional Flyer
Developer Cave
Publisher AMI
Programmer Takashi Ichimura
Series Deathsmiles
Release date 19 October 2007
Genre Shooter
Control 8-way Joystick, 3 Buttons
Orientation Horizontal
Arcade hardware CAVE CV1000
Display 15KHz

Deathsmiles is a horizontally scrolling shooting game, designed and developed by Cave and published by AMI in 2007. The game was also afforded a Black Label release, known as Deathsmiles Mega Black Label. The arcade versions were released on Cave's SH-3 based hardware and have been ported to Microsoft's Xbox 360. Deathsmiles was also ported to Apple's iOS platform in Spring 2011. A sequel, Deathsmiles II: Makai no Merry Christmas, was released in 2009.


Deathsmiles has an occult based theme and features heavy use of gothic and Halloween style imagery. A lot of the character designs are based on mythological beasts and monsters, such as the Cyclops, the Grim Reaper, trolls and dragons. The game takes place in a variety of horror-inspired locations such as a graveyard, a haunted forest, and a subterranean cave complete with lava geysers.

Gameplay and Scoring


Windia: A balanced all-rounder, Windia has moderate power and speed with no great strengths or weaknesses.

Casper: By far the fastest character, Casper is slightly stronger than Windia, but has a weak laser.

Follett: Follett has moderate speed, but has a strong and versatile lock shot.

Rosa: Rosa has extremely powerful attacks, making short work of boss battles, but she is the slowest of the four characters. She is also unable to lock on to enemies in front of her.

Each girl possesses her own familiar which follows the girl around and provides extra fire power. The familiars can be manipulated by the player.


The game is played using two fire buttons, one to fire left and the other to fire right. There is also a button to bomb. When an enemy is killed they drop a point item. By collecting point items you score points and increase a counter, which is displayed in the bottom left of the screen.

Power-Up Mode

When the counter in the bottom left of the screen reaches 1000, the player can enter Power-Up mode by pressing both shot buttons at the same time. In this mode, an additional counter is brought into play.

Shot Types

  • Repeatedly tapping one of the two shot buttons uses the Rapid Fire shot. Casper's and Rosa's familiar lock in place when using the Rapid Fire shot (or no shot at all).
  • Holding down one of the two shot buttons uses the Laser shot. Windia's and Follett's familiar lock in place when using the Laser shot.
  • Holding down both shot buttons at the same time uses the lock-on shot.

Stage and level Selection

Deathsmiles features a stage select for the first six stages of the game, allowing you to choose your path through most of the game. In addition to this, you can choose which difficulty level you would like to play each stage in, from 1 to 3. You can only choose levels 1 and 2 twice however, so you must play at least 2 stages in difficulty level 3.

Death Mode

If you choose level 3 for 5 stages you will enter what is known as Death Mode. As you destroy an enemy they fire back suicide bullets. These are cross shaped and can be absorbed by your familiar for extra points.


When facing Jitterbug near the end of the game, if you manage to defeat him without bombing he'll drop a 2up when he finally falls.

An extra canyon stage can be unlocked on the arcade version. This stage is always played in Death Mode. This stage can make a massive difference when playing for score. The code to unlock it is:

2P: Hold A+B+C
1P: C C C A U L R D B C C C D D A B C B A

Note this code will permanently unlock the stage on the PCB and cannot be undone.

External Links