previews\ Jul 17, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Bangai-O Spirits - NDS - Preview

E3 2008 GameZone Previews

E3 2008 Preview

Bangai-O Spirits sounds like it came from the Land of the Rising Sun. The main character -- a large mech who looks very small on the DS screens -- must dodge, block or deflect the most hellacious batch of enemy missiles since, oh I don't know, the release of Blast Works or Ikaruga. There are 160 levels, a level editor, and a sound file feature that'll have everyone talking. Bangai-O Spirits is the quintessential hardcore Japanese game. And this August, it may be the only DS game you'll want to play.

While in control of the game's pint-sized mech, you have just one mission: survive the level. You do this by fighting back, but it's not a traditional fight. To deflect a few of the dozens of enemy missiles fired off in each stage, players will use a weapon that looks like a baseball bat. Upon making a successful swing, the rockets will bounce back and hit the enemy.

Bangai-O's gameplay is hard to put into words. You could compare it to R-Type except that this one is stationary. You're not constantly scrolling forward, but are instead trapped in a small world that may be open, have narrow paths, be covered in traps, or feature some other type of hazard.

However, you don't have to suffer through a level you don't like -- you can change it. The level editor can be accessed at any time in the game by pressing the select button. Once open, the editor allows you to add or remove anything: enemies, weapons, hazards, level space, etc. If desired, players can make the level bigger and more open or smaller and more narrow. There aren't any limitations. You pick and choose the kinds of levels you want to battle.

Given how important file sharing is for any game that provides a level editor, Bangai-O Spirits does support file-sharing -- just not in the way you might think. Rather than link up locally with a friend or dig through the friend code system online, Bangai-O turns your levels into a sound file. When the file is accessed, an annoying, monotone sound is played.

Now think about this for a moment: what good would a bland sound offer? The answer is in your Nintendo DS's microphone. If a DS can hear the sound, it can capture/mimic your level. So if I were to make a stage, film myself playing the sound file and put it on YouTube (as Japanese gamers have already been doing), gamers from all over the world could acquire my design.


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