First Impression: Bangai-O Spirits!

March 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Posted in Latest Addictions | Leave a comment

There is just so much to say about this gem. Treasure came up with the perfect formula for a handheld Bangai-O and I just can’t get enough. I have limited experience with the Dreamcast version but I do understand that they are completely different beasts. It still retains the solid core gameplay of insane missile combat that has yet to be rivaled by any other game. This time however, the real meat of the game is in the level editor which has been stealing more and more of my sleepy time every night.

It really is a testament to the quality and freedom allowed in this level editor when you realize that the 160 stages that come packed in from Treasure were all created using the same resources they give you. It basically seems that they worked on making an intuitive level editor and then sat around for months coming up with crazy ideas for the levels. And believe me it can get crazy, as the game often changes from a crazy shooter into a puzzle game. A puzzle game with missiles that is.

There is no need to worry though, as the core gameplay is still there and lots of the packaged levels are just insanly challenging shooter fun. It is not for the casual player like most of Treasure’s games. If you are not careful you will be dead in a matter of seconds on certain levels. On top of the core gameplay that made the originals so much fun they have added more weapons and special abilities to add more variety and a little bit of strategy to the levels. It also tends to ramp up the difficulty in a way because going into a level ill-prepared with the wrong weapons is suicide.

Although the game is definitely on the simple side of things as far graphics go, it works fine. A lot of imagination can go a long way in the level editor to create some impressive looking designs. Anyway, this isn’t a game people should go into for pretty backgrounds. It is clean and runs smooth which is obviously what the game set out to accomplish. When it does slow down you are often going to be happy since there will most likely be hundreds of missiles heading in your general direction.

The level editor basically works like a MSpaint with a stylus and robots. You can either go pixel by pixel on the levels or use a paint bucket to fill in areas. It loads you out with a normal solid background for making the backbone of your level, along with small blocks/dots which can act as barriers and many other uses. One type is explosive and can be set up like a chain reaction, and there is another that is unbreakable unless blown up with the explosive ones. Next you can select different buildings, items, enemies, and enemy generators to place around the level to create maximum mayhem. The combination of all these really gives you a lot of freedom and you are basically just limited by your imagination. The simplicity of it really makes it appealing as it is really easy to just design part of a level and put it away until later when you can come back with more new ideas to finish the level off. The formula is perfect for a handheld and I find myself pulling it out anytime I have free time just to add some clever new trap to an old level.

The real kicker is that Treasure came up with a way to share levels with your friends. It is a little more of a hassle than it could have been with proper online implementation from Nintendo but is still a welcome addition. How it works is that you upload the stages as sound files to your computer with downloading accomplished by playing these specific sound files back into the DS mic. I have already started trying out some user created stages and plan to put some of my own up soon. There is already some good stuff floating around though!

The game also features multiplayer, but I have not had a chance to try it out yet. Not sure exactly how it works. I hope to try this out and get some more time in with the level editor this week. Will definitely post some of my levels on here when they are finished.


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