Espgaluda (エスプガルーダ) released in 2003 by CAVE. It is the spiritual prequel to CAVE’s renowned ESP Ra.De. and was followed by Espgaluda II.
Espgaluda is widely considered to be the most accessible of CAVE’s shoot ’em up titles. The basic mechanics of the game are simple compared to other CAVE titles but still offers a challenge to any player aiming to score high.
A complete arcade PCB kit consists of game PCB, four PCB feet, instruction sheet, marquee, pop, instruction strip, 50 A5 sized flyers with inserts for Arcadia magazine/mobile games, a letter from CAVE and, of course, a box.
Flyer and insert
Flyers and letter
Espgaluda was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004. The PS2 version contains different playing modes; such as arcade, arrange and simulation; gallery, and a walkthrough DVD video featuring replays by Clover-TAC and KTL-NAL. In simulation mode the player can change different parameters of the game play. Arrange mode offers redesigned stages, new fighters and a remixed soundtrack.
In 2005 Espgaluda was ported to the i-mode mobile phones in Japan.
I brought one of my G-net mobo’s to Monouchi’s Taito Station last weekend for firing up some shmups on one of his Egret II’s.
For having only 20+ titles available in total the G-net actually boasts quite a few shmup games. I’m still missing Ray Crisis but we played through the ones I have. I must say I enjoyed Psyvariar ~Revision~ the most. Interesting scoring mechanism and a great soundtrack! XII Stag is an odd gem with its horizontal firing system. Shikigami no Shiro delivers as usual.
Finally having gotten Space Invaders Anniversary I ran through a few of the versions in the game and it’s quite remarkable to back 30 some years to the birth of the shmup genre.
Shikigami no Shiro
Mono playing Mushihimesama Futari Black Label
Loading Psyvariar ~Revision~
Psyvariar Medium Unit
Of course we had to play some Cave titles as well for restoring the order 😉
The Examu ex-BOARD was released in 2008 and as Taito’s Type X2 it was based on Windows XP Embedded. Only four games were ever released for the ex-BOARD:
Arcana Heart 2 (March 2008)
Suggoi Arcana Heart 2 (October 2008)
Daemon Bride (July 2009)
Arcana Heart 3 (December 2009)
A fifth title was planned but never saw the daylight: Monster Ancient Cline.
The rise and fall
Examu pushed the ex-BOARD as their own proprietary arcade platform under the slogan “For the future of arcade games.”. The system had many similarities with Taito’s Type X2 system. On certain points it was more well designed; fanless (quiet), no PSU (quiet), cartridges (instead of hard drives and USB dongles), a well thought through case (easy to work with). The Type X2, released the year before) on the other hand already had better specs than the ex-BOARD.
The ex-BOARD relied on copy protection built into the motherboard (as opposed to Type X2’s dongles). This would sadly become the downfall of the ex-BOARD. The protection was way too weak and with Arcana Heart 3 being cracked within days after initial release Examu decided to retire the ex-BOARD and move future releases to Taito’s Type X2 and NESiCAxLive platform.
CPU: fanless Via C7 NanoBGA2 (X86)
Chipset: Via CN700, VT8237R Plus
Memory: 1GB DDR2 SDRAM (with VRAM sharing)
Video: Integrated S3 UniChrome Pro AGP graphics with MPEG-2 decoding acceleration
Audio: VIA VT1618Cidec 192kHz/32bit 8 channel AC’97
Network: 10 or 100 Mbit/s Ethernet
Video I/O: JAMMA, 2 x VGA, composite and S-video
Sound I/O: JAMMA and 2 x stereo (RCA)
Input: JAMMA (joysticks and buttons 1 – 4) plus buttons 5 and 6 via separate molex connector
USB: Two USB 2.0 ports
Power: JAMMA supply 12V 5A or special power supply adaptor with AC 100-240 V, 50/60 Hz, 1.7 A
Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme vs. Maxi Boost (機動戦士ガンダム EXTREME VS. MAXI BOOST)
The 11th release in the Gundam franchise brings us the MS110 aircraft and supposedly a mode where you can battle other players toons on-line. When playing your character/aircraft can be stored on-line and battled out by other players. The new opening song will be released at the venue.
Also Wangan Midnight gets an update with new elements added to the competition racing. And like ID8 Infinity’s D coins, Wangan has its Maxi G that can be used in game to pimp out your ride even further.
Arcade skiing is back in this new version of Alpine Racer. The cabinet boasts vertical 55″ monitors and promises a whole new experience of the trill racing down the slopes. The games are networked and up to 8 players can go head to head in the same race.
Namco Bandai has a few more titles in the line up. Prize games, photo booth and medal games, for instance Super Sea Story in Okinawa 3 (海物語 IN 沖縄 ウキウキバケーション); a medal game for all ages. An updated Dead Storm Pirates SP can be spotted in the line up but details remains unknown. A few more already released games will be available on the venue.
We’re a week away from Japan Amusement Expo 2014 and the four big ones have already released most of their line ups for the show and while there’s not anything notably new one can just hope that at least one of them has a hidden ace up their sleeve.
First up is Sega
Sega will be showing off a couple of new games. New, in the sense that they’re not released yet. In another way not so new, since most of them are already on location tests and already known to the public.
As always most of them won’t be available anywhere near Europe, except for perhaps Dead or Alive – making its arcade comeback – and Guilty Gear Xrd. I’d love to try both the new Initial D and the super trippy mai mai GreeN music game (check the video clip further down!).
SEGA Sound Unit, Beat Mario and Ozaki Junko will be performing songs from the upcoming mai mai GreeN PLUS.
The finals of the 1st ARCANA CUP official CODE OF JOKER tournament. This even will also be streamed live.
Appearances by Guilty Gear Xrd ~SIGN~ director; Daisuke Ishiwatari and the Initial D Arcade Stage producer; Kenji Arai.
and many others. See the related links at the bottom of the page for a link to the full event schedule.
Hero bank arcade (ヒーローバンク アーケード)
An arcade version of the Nintendo 3DS RPG with the same name. You play as Kaito Gosho, a young boy with serious money problems, forced to participate in a virtual fight tournament in order to repay his debts. The money you win can also be used to perform actions during the battles. Hero bank arcade is scheduled for release this summer.
The next installment of the Initial D franchise has the appropriate name Infinity. According to the press release it goes back to Shuichi Shigeno’s original world of the Initial D manga. You’re faced with a single player career mode where you race upgrade your ride. D coins can be used to purchase special parts. To save you progress you’ll need an ALL.Net IC card. Initial D ARCADE STAGE 8 Infinity is scheduled for operation sometime this year.
DEAD OR ALIVE 5 ULTIMATE ARCADE
It’s been 13 years since we last saw Dead or Alive in the arcades. DoA 5 Ultimate Arcade was released on 24/12/13 and features a new character named Marie Rose (voiced by Mai Aizawa). She’s a French maid and her fighting style is somewhat oddly systema, a Russian martial art focused on controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking, and weapon applications.
Marie Rose will be made available to the console versions of the game in an upcoming patch. DoA 5 Ultimate Arcade runs on Sega’s RingEdge 2 system with support for the ALL.Net P-ras MULTI Ver.2 system.
GUILTY GEAR Xrd ~SIGN~
Guilty Gear is back in full cel shaded 2D glory using Unreal Engine 3. According to rumors it will be released later this month for the arcades and sometime this year both for PlayStation 3 & 4.
Development is once again done by Arc System Works and the series creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari, is back in the director’s chair.
New in this version is the character Bedman.
Final location testing is currently ongoing and like it’s predecessor GGXrd will be released on Sega’s RingEdge 2 arcade board with support for the ALL.Net P-ras MULTI Ver.2 system.
Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax is a 2D fighting game collaboration between Sega and Dengeki Bunko scheduled for release in March this year.
The game features characters from different light novel series under the Dengeki Bunko imprint. Each playable character has its own assist character that can be called into the fight to help in various ways.
All characters are voiced by their respective actors from the anime adaptations. Akria Yuki of Virtua Fighter is confirmed as one of the bosses.
Puyo Puyo! QUEST ARCADE (ぷよぷよ!!クエスト アーケード)
Puyo Puyo! Quest Arcade is an RPG spin off of the populat Puyo Puyo! franchise. The game was released in November last year and seems to be getting a good deal of plays.
mai mai GreeN PLUS
mai mai GreeN is a fast paced crazy music game where you have to hit and swipe on a touch screen to the beat of the music. The updated version (mai mai GreeN PLUS) scheduled sometime this spring will be available for play on the expo. Level: ASIAN!
THE WORLD of THREE KINGDOMS
The World of Three Kingdoms is an epic scale real time battle game set in the Chinese Sangokushi era. You command your troops using buttons and touch screen.
You can battle out against the CPU or other players and as all other Sangokushi style battle games the cabinets are beautiful though in the case of TWOTK they’re combined four and four in a half circle with an integrated live monitor instead of rows of free standing cabs.
Sega will be showing new trailers for Border Break scrambled (ボーダーブレイク スクランブル) Ver. 4.0 and Shining Force Cross Ecclesia (シャイニング・フォースクロス エクレシア) Version B.
100 & medal GINGAAAN!! (100 & メダル GINGAAAN!!)
StarHorse 3 Season III CHASE THE WIND
Onimusha Soul Card Rush (鬼武者Soul カードラッシュ)
Fist of the North Star BATTLE MEDAL (北斗の拳 BATTLE MEDAL)
遊育右脳教室 うのチャレ (educational game)
Take it! Anpanman Popcorn (それいけ！アンパンマン ポップコ－ンこうじょう3)
Sorry for the recent quietness here. I’ve joined the CAVE Database initiative and have spent most of my free time working on gathering material for the new site.
The CAVE db hopes to fill the hole left after the CAVE-STG forum was closed down. We’ve been working hard on digging out reviews and strategy guides from the dusty Intertube archives and collecting information on releases, merchandise and other oddities.
Thanks to a whole lot of people stepping up, sharing their collections we’re a good bit on the way. But we still have a long way to go. If you’ve got something CAVE related you’re willing to share please drop us a line over at CAVEdb.com. We’re interested in hearing from you whether it’s a review, pictures of PCB’s, kits or other releases, photos from a Matsuri event or from your latest visit at the CAVE HQ.
Stay in touch and let us know if you see something you like or what you think is missing.
Oh, this is just sad. Does this mean CAVE is retreating entirely from the Western market for focusing on Japanese releases only? The latest iOs/Android title – Donpaccin – suggests the same. Only released to the domestic market.