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Danmaku ( Jap .: 弾幕 , dt .: " barrage ") or Bullet Hell is a sub-genre of computer game genre of shoot 'em ups . The player is often faced with an overwhelming number of opposing crossfire . The hitbox of the game character (e.g. the player's spaceship) is in most cases only a few pixels in size in this type of game. The challenge here is to successfully avoid the hail of bullets. Often a single hit leads to the loss of an attempt.

The genre was basically invented by Cave in the mid-1990s with the DonPachi series, even though Summer Carnival '92: Recca was a shoot 'em up with a similarly large selection of balls as early as 1992. When 3D games came up with 32-bit game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn and threatened to displace the shoot 'em ups, which are typically held in 2D, the developer cave countered by using the increased performance for additional balls and effects within who used 2D shoot 'em ups.

In addition to the many balls, the Danmaku shooters are also characterized by a particularly complex scoring system. While in traditional shoot 'em ups you only have a limited number of lives available, in danmaku games you usually have unlimited attempts. The aim here is not only to get to the end of the game with a single attempt, but above all to achieve the highest possible number of points - usually by lining up kills. However, the death leads to the interruption of the combo counter and the loss of all points received so far and is therefore hardly less painful than in traditional shoot 'em ups. The 1CC (One Continue Clear), i.e. playing through without dying, is usually reserved for a few professionals.

Well-known representatives of this game principle are the games of the Touhou Project (from Team Shanghai Alice), Ikaruga , Radiant Silvergun (both from Treasure ), Crimzon Clover , Mushihimesama Futari , and the DonPachi series (both from the Bullet Hell developer Cave).

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