Developed by Cave, this is their first game (released in May 1995).
DonPachi is one of only two Cave shooters to get released in the USA, the other being Progear no Arashi. Both US versions of these games are extremely rare and sought after since only a small handful were made for the American market.
The name of the game is a pun; the kanji for DonPachi literally means 'leader bee', but the word 'don' is also a Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of a gun firing. There are a number of references to bees in the game : the most obvious is the bee icon that can be picked up for high scores. The transition effect between levels is tiled, made up of red hexagons, which resembles a bee hive.
The plot of this game is quite 'cheesy' : you fight your own comrades in order to become the ultimate fighter, the 'DonPachi elite team!'.
Kenichi Takano and Tsuneki Ikeda (see Staff section) were ex-Toaplan employers. It seems that Tsuneki Ikeda was one of the programmers behind "Truxton
", hence the red/blue/green ships colour (for player1 of course). He should also be the 'Ikeda in Maeba' guy appearing in "Batsugun"'s credits.
The default high score table contains a hidden message : read vertically, the initials will read, TOAPLAN.FOREVER.
The 'English' text that appears against the 'WARNING' message upon approaching a boss reads : THIS IS NOT SIMILATION. GET READY TO DESTOROY THE ENEMY. TARGET FOR THE WEAK POINTS OF F**KIN' MACHINE. DO YOUR BEST YOU HAVE EVER DONE.
Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Donpachi - G.S.M. 1500 / PCCB-00184) on 21/06/1995.