Ryan Wilson

Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury – Review

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Ryan ventures into Bullet Hell, but does he enjoy the experience?

Developer Treasure often lives by its name, bringing the world such beloved games like Gunstar Heroes, Ikaruga, and Sin & Punishment. Unfortunately, they have the tendency to take that name too far, often never releasing games outside of their native country of Japan. While the first Bangai-O started as a Nintendo 64 release, it only saw international release on the ill-fated Dreamcast. Now, thanks to D3Publisher the series finally receives a widespread release, but is it worth it?

While many shoot-em-ups try to hide a shred of story in with the insanity, Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury does away with story completely. What we get instead is over 100 levels that, once unlocked, can be played in any order. Unlocking can be accomplished in two ways: either by completing the previous level, or by sucking at the previous level enough times. If you’re anything like me, the latter will happen…a lot.

Not once did I feel that an in-game death was anything more than my lack of skill regarding bullet hell games. In fact, calling the game just a “bullet hell” title doesn’t do it justice, as many levels are designed much like a puzzle game, making it a rare case of an intelligent shmup not designed to become a quarter-eater at the arcade.

Where is your bullet god now?

Those unfamiliar with shmups are going to have a hard time getting into this game, as the tutorials are not nearly as extensive as they need to be. Even those with backgrounds are going to struggle initially, as Bangai-O throws away the common “d-pad and 3 buttons max” scheme for one that uses every button on the controller. While the two analog sticks take care of the basic running and gunning a la Smash TV, your evasion abilities will not be enough. To ease the process (and I use that term lightly), the game features anywhere from screen clearing super attacks, to quick bullet-absorbing dashes and bullet-time abilities. A fair warning though: all these abilities drain the same gauge, and recharging them will slow you down and leave you open for attack.

GRAPHICS: 80%
GAMEPLAY: 80%
OVERALL: 80%

The game also features online multiplayer capabilities, but as of this review I have been unable to play a proper match. The few matches I was able to enter were riddled with enough lag to be unplayable. Even when the lag let up, I found myself panicking even more as I kept mistaking my partner and their firepower as another enemy. The single player, however, performs admirably, with very rare bouts of minor slowdown when the level is plastered with bullets.

Ultimately, if you’re a rabid fan of shoot-em-up games, Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury will scratch that itch for a long time. With over 100 levels and the ability to create and share your own levels, this game has the potential for nigh infinite replayability. This will be the easiest 800 Points you will spend in a long time. Casual players, however, might want to look elsewhere.

Note: Review copy provided by D3Publisher

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