Do you have the reflexes of a champion? How about the dexterity of a missile-equipped death mech? If you answered yes to at least one of those questions, then Treasure’s Bangai-O Spirits is up your alley. Developed as a sequel to the Dreamcast favorite, you pilot an anime-like mech against a battalion of nukes, laser bullets and enough formidable opponents to turn your tears into ash. Already demoed at GDC, we recently got our hands on an unfinished build of the ridiculously difficult twitch-shooter for updated impressions.
While not a vertically scrolling shooter, Bangai-O still handles similarly to the common shoot/dodge-anything-that-isn’t-you paradigm. Each of the 150+ multi-screen levels gives you a goal, whether it’s to kill a certain enemy or destroy a target nestled within dozens of more baddies. What separates it from other shooters is that you can choose which weapons you take with you before each level, providing a bit of a strategy.
See, Bangai-O isn’t just about ho-hum lasers and bombs. You get four attacks per level - two normal and two EX. Normal attacks are your standard melee and missile attacks. Your melee - sword or bat - are used to either swipe projectiles or knock them back respectively. Missiles come in different flavors - Homing does exactly that, Bounce juggles missiles off walls, Pierce breaks through enemy defenses and Napalm creates quite a bit of splash damage.
EX attacks are Omni directional and work limitedly (you’ll have to collect fruit to replenish the EX meter). EX weapons include the Homing and Bounce missiles, in addition to Direct missiles, which enable you to fire projectiles in clusters. Reflect works like an Omni directional bat and is perfect for swatting away bullets shot at you from all sides. Plus, there’s a nifty Freeze ability that stops enemies in their track for a duration dependent on how long the attack was charged for.