Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury Review
05-14-2011, 09:20 PM
Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury Review
Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (Xbox 360)
Developer/Publisher: Treasure / D3
Price: 800 MSP / $9.99
The missiles are back and they’re furious!
For those of you out there who couldn’t get enough Bangai-O in your life Treasure is back once again with their fourth iteration of this unique series. Treasure is a developer that I hope to talk about more in future reviews as their library and game design process can make for quite a fascinating discussion. Typically when they design a game they either go the experimental route by trying several ideas all at once or they break it down as much as possible to the very basics and go from there. If Bangai-O Spirits on the Nintendo DS is to be considered their experimental attempt then Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is about as focused, well-defined, and hardcore as one can expect.
Pictured above: The story.
Sometimes you don’t need a reason to blow things up.
Bangai-O was at one time noted for its incredibly bizarre storyline. Evil thieves are stealing all of the fruit and it’s up to Riki and his sister Mimi to put a stop to this nonsense. Nonsense is one of the many words that can be used to describe Bangai-O’s story but it has its charm and it’s one of the most memorable aspects of the original game. Riki and Mimi piloted the Bangai-O, an ultra-powerful mecha that gains in power depending on the proximity and intensity of enemy fire. At these critical moments when the situation looks hopeless the Bangai-O can release a counter-attack, a massive array of homing missiles or rebounding lasers that destroys everything that surrounds the heroes. It’s a simple concept but it works and when backed by an insane story it leads to a charming little adventure with enough replay value for those of us who like to beat our high scores.
Riki and Mimi are long-gone though. In fact there’s no storyline at all to speak of in this entry of the series. You select a level and some scientist gives you pointers on how to complete it. A story would just get in the way at this point because Missile Fury is very far removed from the original game. This game is more along the lines of games like Super Meat Boy and Trials HD in terms of every level being a struggle that requires all of your skills and patience so the last thing you need to worry about is being bogged down by a horrifically translated story about nothing.
What it all comes down to is that you the player must adhere to every whim of the level you’re placed in. You must follow its rules and deviation is usually rewarded only by a horrible death. Expect the fury of this game to consume you until you either become one with it and transcend to levels beyond the limits of humanity or trash your room in a fit of rage and take up a less stressful hobby.
Okay just what in the world is going on here?
The first thing anyone should do when they start their career in Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is to read the 20 or so pages worth of explanation to the game mechanics and sub-systems in the manual. Even for someone like myself who has played a substantial amount of the earlier games there is a ton of stuff to absorb. An understanding of just the basics won’t get anyone very far.
It’s difficult for me to explain the aspects of this game without going on for several pages so I’ll just stick with the most important aspects. The dash is a necessity because the player is invincible, all enemy weapons struck with the dash will turn around and attack them, and most flying enemies can be knocked around. The freeze is also a necessity because it stops almost everything for precious moments and can be used in conjunction with the dash to create openings for the tougher foes. The counter-attack is required as well since it is the bread & butter of Bangai-O. It’s not to be abused but it is the player’s primary source of damage dealing and making the most of bad situations.
There is a lot more that goes into this game beyond these necessities but with a game like this it’s usually best to learn by doing…and dying. Make no mistake death is a constant in this game and how you learn from it is what will determine your progress in the game more than anything else. In fact most of the time this game is very situational. When you die it’s not because you made a series of minor mistakes it’s because you made one big one. Also this big mistake tends to be something like using the counter-attack before using the freeze; the difference between which buttons are pressed first marks the difference between life and death.
The future of warfare is hundreds of tiny robots.
The enemy consists of mechas that can use the same weapons as the player and then some. These foes range from standard flying mechs to sword-swinging mecha-samurai and then there are the oddities like the hedgehog-looking mechs who roll towards the player at sonic-speeds. The behavior of these foes is rather interesting since they don’t blindly fire away whether the player is in view or not. Some of them have their own basic AI patterns where they’ll pursue the player, keep away from them, and generally do whatever is in their power to make things troublesome.
What’s most apparent about the enemy in this game is that they are deadly. They fill the screen with firepower and while the player has a health meter they can still be decimated due to pure overwhelming force. It should be noted that this health meter is mostly just protection from those minor attacks that manage to slip by the player’s defense. A swarm of missiles that go unchecked or the wrong end of a sword can wipe the player out nearly instantly. The player is well-equipped to deal with these denizens although the stage does what it can to limit the player. In one stage the player must deal with a dozen or so large hedgehogs in tight corridors without the ability to dash or freeze. The only way to survive this onslaught is to maneuver through the stage so that enemy can’t pursue effectively
Longai-O seeks to break you and then your Xbox 360 controller.
A potentially infinite source of angry ballistics awaits you.
The Fury mode consists of 47 stages. The player starts from stage 1 and the next stage unlocks if they manage to complete the current stage or fail it three times in a row. Upon completion of Fury mode a handful of other modes unlock, each containing their own sets of stages. The player is also free to pursue their creative interests and design their own stages using the included editing tools. It’ll take quite a bit of work to put together a competent stage let alone something brilliant but it might worth the effort if the player is part of large community of Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury fans. I say this because unfortunately there isn’t any sort of infrastructure for easily sharing stages aside from among players on friend lists.
The Fury Mode, however, should take the player’s full effort as it is the most defining and dividing mode of the game. Gamers who manage to successfully complete all 47 stages are more likely to go further and complete the entire game, and said gamers will consider it a very enjoyable experience. On the other hand there are those like myself who may never finish the Fury mode and will be left with a less than enthusiastic impression of the game.
I won’t lie or make any sort of statements like “Heck Freaking Yes” and “The explosions! So awesome! Ohhhhh My Goddddddd!!!!” when talking about Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury. This isn’t the sort of game where players are treated to a constant visual reward of thousands of satisfying explosions going off. The stages in Fury mode run the gamut of challenging, frustrating, and even boring. Some stages can take several minutes to complete and around every corner is a death-trap. There are other stages where the only difficult section is at the very end, which just makes everything prior to that part a boring slog. In the end the player could spend hours on a single stage just for that one moment of triumph. It’s a lot to expect from the player and I can’t really blame anyone who ignores this game entirely due to its nature and level-design.
The screenshots make this game look easy.
It’s brutal, it’s painful, and you’re doing it alone.
One of the touted features of this game is its cooperative play. This sounds like a great idea as there are many great ideas for levels that could only be achieved with the assistance of a friend. Maybe some stages could require that both players split up to destroy all of the enemies and there could also be those times where all of the abilities from both players are required to survive some particularly devastating assaults. As it stands however the cooperative play in Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is terrible. The average online game tends to run in slow-motion, which is great if I wanted the game to be extremely easy but not if I wanted the game to be playable. Also frustrating is that no progress is made when played online, completing stages won’t unlock new ones and scores won’t be saved. System-link is supported and I bet that will be the only playable route for gamers looking to work together. Other than that, however this mode is little more than an unfortunate after-thought.
The leaderboard support is excellent at least and it even allows for players to view replays of completed stages. However, when I say completed stages I mean those that the player has already beaten. It would probably be too easy if the player could view strategies but I guess for those particularly tough stages YouTube videos should eventually pop-up. Still there is a very rewarding feeling that comes from viewing one of my own saved replays, in that “Wow, How in the world did I get through that?” kind of way. Plus I can always go back after completing difficult stages to use what I’ve learned to get higher scores out of easier stages.
I might make it through eventually, and it’ll be great.
The word hardcore is not one that I’m particularly fond of. It gets thrown around quite a lot and carries a number of negative connotations among certain gaming crowds. Still I don’t really have a better way of describing this game. For a genre such as this one that can only appeal to a limited number of people, Treasure threw caution to the wind and pushed for a game that will likely only be enjoyed by a minor fraction of that particular crowd. It’s a hardcore game that will appeal only to this particular core and while I applaud this decision I can’t quite recommend it to everyone.
What Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury really needed was some sort of extended tutorial, or at least a set of stages similar to that of the Dreamcast game to start off with. At the very least it would make for a better demo and the player would have a better opportunity to get a feel for the game rather than hit brick wall after brick wall until they figure things out for themselves. I guess in a way I wish this game would focus a little bit on having fun every once in awhile as well as coming up with new ways to pummel the player until their body and mind are like platinum.
Still, if you take this game a little bit at a time you’re more likely to enjoy it. The people who have already gotten all of the achievements in this game are also the same people who have mastered some of the most demanding shooters available on the Xbox 360 and regularly seek out challenges far beyond what should be considered human. Keep that in mind and do your best, that’s all that really matters in the end.
Death comes in all shapes and sizes. It can also wear scarves.
It is time to get conclusive.
What’s most unfortunate about Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is that it is a really well-designed game but it’s just so formidable to approach. Every aspect of the controls and weapon-design is flawless and aside from a number of hiccups, the level-design is great especially since there are some really memorable moments thrown around. But what it comes down to is that even for someone like me who has enjoyed the previous games and is generally fond of 2D shooters in all shapes and forms; this game breaks me. I’ve made some rather colorful statements about this game on other websites and for good reason.
If you’re willing to accept that, there’s a good chance this game isn’t for you then by all means give Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury a turn. Think of it like this, the next time your mecha meets a horrible fate in the game and all the words that come out of your mouth are mangled expletives at least you know you’re alive. On the other hand, there is an audience for this and if that’s you, it’ll be worthwhile as it certainly has redeeming qualities.
+A sufficiently deep weapon system backed by solid mechanics
+There is enough content that this game will last for a long time
-Caters towards the most hardcore Bangai-O fan at the expense of everyone else
-Online play isn’t worth bothering with
-Difficulty tends to lean towards frustrating and cheap
As the dust settles Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury remains standing with an 8/10.
A self-purchased copy of the game was used to evaluate it.
06-10-2011, 07:04 AM
RE: Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury Review
I tried the demo a bit and saw some reviews and didn:t know what to think about this game ^^.
I remember really wanting to play the original back when it was released on the dreamcast.
The new HD version seems a bit too hectic and goofy.
Thanks for the review though!
09-14-2011, 11:44 PM (This post was last modified: 09-14-2011 11:46 PM by PepsimanVsJoe.)
RE: Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury Review
This game has received an update.
Gamers Daily News Wrote:D3P released a Title Update for Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury that went live today, September 13 at 1:00 a.m. PDT for the Xbox LIVE Arcade.
This should make Bangai-O HD a more approachable and entertaining experience.
User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)