(short for: Desperation of Alchoholic Dream)
A game based on the much loved Touhou series, this game puts you in the shoes of Suika, some sort of familar for the series' main character Reimu. She wakes up after a party full of "moonlight" and is looking for her gourd- only to realize that it's missing! She then sets out to find the gourd, which proves harder than she thought.
Unlike the Touhou games, this one is not a shmup. It's an action game with some RPG elements. You level up after punching some baddies into dust and you have HP and spell cards. Suika can punch her enemies, and if you punch three times the third punch will send a wave that hits nearby enemies as well. You can use a bomb (cast a spell) as long as you have enough spellcard, which the enemies drop after dying. The spell hits several enemies in the direction you're facing. You also have several moves; you can directly defend, which doesn't last for long though, you can run out of the attack area and perform a back-flip. Once you landed enough hits your last spell gauge will fill, which allows you to cast a Final Spell once it's full. Said spell hits everything on-screen, and deals massive amounts of damage.
The controls are all nicely explained in an optional tutorial level. Regular mooks leave items behind, which will either restore your health or give you additional spell cards, allthough you can only stack up to eleven of them. There's also a bonus gauge on the right of the screen, which fills as you hit enemies, but empties as you do nothing. Once it's full you get a special bonus, like HP regen or an agility boost.
There are six stages in total, allthough I didn't get to see the last stage, but we'll discuss that later. Each stage consists of three save points (start, middle and right before the boss) two areas where you fight regular enemies and two boss areas. None of the stages are particulary long or hard to navigate, nor are there too many hidden secrets (if any), but there are a few puzzles later on, which mostly involve scrutinizing the scenery for oddities.
Sadly I was able to get through most of the stages with pure attack button mashing, except for the rare times where I had to use spellcards. Also, all of the regular enemies are fairies in different colors. So you're beating through tons of fairies who do the same thing until you meet the bosses. But the boss fights are so well designed that they totally make up for the repetitive mooks. Every boss has an attack pattern, and not knowing it can be deadly. I once found myself using up all my eleven spell cards just to defeat one single boss who'se attacks were really mean. I wasn't able to defeat the boss of the fifth stage, but I wanted to write this review so I stopped playing at that point.
The stages are also pretty short, and you can actually beat the game in one sitting if you have the patience. Expect to die more than once to learn how the bosses are defeated!
The graphics are definitely the highlight of the game. The sprites for the characters are well animated and the stages are quiet detailed. The battle animations are also well made, allthough I found them to a bit distracting as they caused some lag in the later battles.
The cutscenes are presented like a visual novel, with big character portraits on static backgrounds. These are surprisingly in a wonderful resolution and look absolutely fantastic. The one tiny nitpick I have here is that the character poses don't change at all, only their facial expression. The cutscenes rarely last longer than a minute though, and it's cool to see that the emotions actually change, as opposed to some other games.
And that's it. DOAD is an enjoyable action game, with a cool cast and quiet a difficulty spike. Should be played by everyone!