Review by Dorkmaster Flek

Reviewed: 10/02/01 | Updated: 10/02/01

Thank you Treasure! You've given the hardcore gamer something to live for!

First off, I'd like to state that I do consider myself to be part of the elusive group of ''hardcore'' gamers, which seem to be less and less these days. You know, we who have played games since the Atari or even the early NES days, who witnessed the creation of such beloved franchises as Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Metroid, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, and numerous others. This is a game for those freaks of nature, myself included. 2-D treasures are few and far between these days. Fortunately, this one is made by one of the best (pun intended).

PRESENTATION: 10/10

I'm sorry, but this is one of the funniest (and wackiest) presentations I've ever seen! The game constantly makes fun of itself, and if you know Treasure, you've come to expect this sort of off the wall game. Okay, storytime! The evil SF Kosmo Gang is stealing everyone's favourite giant space fruit and selling them at inflated prices! This evil must be stopped! Riki and his sister Maimi must save Dan Star with their father's robotic suit, the Super Explosive Bangai-O! Okay, maybe not, but there's something hilariously addictive about a game that combines giant fruit with blowing up stuff. The game features what seems to be purposly badly translated English, and some of the weirdest storyboards you've ever seen! Check out the screen after you choose to continue and you'll see what I mean... All in all, it's good old Treasure wackiness that will have oldschool fans grinning with delight, while onlookers reply with a collective ''Huh?!''. Great stuff!

GRAPHICS: 9/10

Not much to say about the graphics here, except that Bangai-O itself is quite small on the screen =P. A lot of people complain about this, and it is kind of annoying, but you get used to it after playing a bit. Maybe it's just because I play it on a bigger TV, I don't know, but it didn't bother me all that much. The backgrounds themselves are quite nicely done, and while the sprites themselves seem dated, the staggering amount of ''stuff'' that appears onscreen at once will amaze even the most jaded gamers. I'm talking a few dozen enemies, all shooting at you from all sides at once, and you shooting back with up to 400 shots without slowdown! It's spaz-tastic!

SOUND: 7/10

Not much on the sound really. The sound effects are good enough, and the music ranges from good to incredibly cheesy, but what do you expect from Treasure really? I don't pay much attention to the music myself. It gets the job done.

GAMEPLAY: 10/10

Ah, now here's where the game really shines! The control scheme takes a bit of getting used to. You see, the Bangai-O can fly and fire in all eight directions, so you use the D-pad to fly around and the analog stick or the four face buttons to fire whatever direction you push them. It seems strange at first, but it works pretty well. You'll be flying all over the place avoiding shots while shooting in all directions, so get used to it! The L-button changes between firing modes, which are Riki mode, which shoots homing missles for wide open areas, and Maimi mode, which shoots lasers that bounce off walls for tight, enclosed spaces. Most of the time you'll be using the homing missiles, since Maimi's places don't come very often, but occasionally you'll get an entire level for her. Now the R-button, that's your super attack, called the ''Death Blossom''. First of all, that's a cool name, and second of all, it's a cool attack. Pressing the R-button fires out a huge number of your shots 360 degrees around you. The beauty of it is the counter attack feature. The intensity of this attack is directly proportional to the immediate danger your ship is in. So if you fire the attack with not much going on around you, you'll shoot off the minimum 40 shots, maybe more if there's some action. But if your about 1 pixel away from getting hit by 40 some-odd enemy missiles, you'll be putting out about 400 of those shots! Need more proof? The ''explosion counter'' at the top of the screen counts how many consecutive explosions you get on the screen! That affects what kind of fruit your enemies drop, which give you more points. At the end of each level you face a boss, which vary from other mechs, to giant ships that shoot back, to the occasional ''defensive boss'', which just sits there and slowly recovers life, but nothing else. Those usually come at the end of a particularly hard level, and usually near the beginning of the game. Once you hit about level 19, the difficulty shoots straight up, and once you hit the mid 30s, you'll be spending half an hour on a single level! And don't even get me started counting how many tries the last boss will take you... What's that? Mid 30s? Yes, you heard me right. This game has 44 levels! 44 LEVELS! When was the last time you played a game with that many levels? They start out fairly short, but they increase in length and difficulty. This is one of the most addictive games I've ever played.

REPLAY: 8/10

There's no two player mode, which would have been nice, but the 44 levels will take you a while to get through, and it's always fun to try a best your high scores. This game will take you a while to beat!

OVERALL: 10/10

In short, this is classic twitch gaming at its finest. Thank you Treasure! You've given the hardcore gamer something to live for!

SUPER EXPLOSIVE BANGAI-O, GOOOOO!!!!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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