Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury Review


Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is a Treasure game. If you know what that means, you're probably going to love it. It's a "bullet-hell" shooter and incidentally one of the better ones that I've played. If your gaming tastes don't include these kinds of shooters, though, you'll probably hate the game about five seconds into it.

Now I have to admit that I'm not a diehard fan of bullet-hell shooters, because too many of them simply flood the screen with so many projectiles that most of the time you simply end up dying within the first minute and when you don't it feels more like random luck than anything else. Don't get me wrong, Missile Fury can certainly flood the screen with the best of them, but the difference here is that the game gives you a fighting chance. Even when things are at their craziest and I lose track of where my killer robot is in the midst of a screen of twisting and swirling colors, I feel like I still have just enough control over the situation that I have a chance of making it out of the whole mess alive. Bullet-hell frustration transformed into bullet-hell fun.

If you're going to dive into Missile Fury, and I recommend that you do, you should spend a little time going through the tutorial levels first. Why? What's to learn besides keep shooting and don't stop? Well aside from scoring 10 Achievement Points without too much effort, you'll learn that there's more to the game than that. Not a lot more, but enough to give you a chance to survive. There's a dash attack that makes you invulnerable as you plow through both enemies and their projectiles - without it you'll pretty much lose the first level about five seconds into it. And then there's a delightful charged counter attack that lets you unleash a hell of a bullet on your bullet-hell foes. The tutorial's a bit odd in that it teaches you an attack and then leaves you to just do things on your own through a series of rooms, but this oddness will help prepare you for the oddness to come.

Missile Fury features some of the most imaginatively different levels I've seen in this kind of shooter. It's a far cry from an endlessly scrolling series of screens that differ in only their background graphics. Some levels take place in enclosed arenas, have special objectives, or are just plain odd in a good way (shooter soccer, anyone?). You can even join in on the fun and design your own level with the game's built-in level editor.

If a particular level is giving you trouble it doesn't mean that your progress through the game will come to a screeching halt. Fail at a level three times in a row and the game will go ahead and unlock the next level for you anyway. Or you can attack the level again with the help of a friend locally or on Xbox Live.

Like all bullet-hell shooters, Missile Fury isn't easy and can be frustrating at times, but if you're up for a little challenge and can enjoy a game simply for the pure insanity of it, it's certainly worth downloading.

Final Rating: 86%. A bullet-hell shooter for those who really love bullet-hell shooters, and even more so for those who can enjoy a good one on occasion.