Over the weekend, I completed Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax, the Xbox 360 version of Half-Minute Hero. The game starts with only Hero 30 mode unlocked, a lightning fast RPG where you have 30 seconds to stop an evil lord from casting a spell of destruction.
Acting as a parody of sorts to drawn out RPGs, the hero (let’s call him Yuusha) must prepare for the fight of his life by leveling up and completing quests given by townsfolk in a few minutes. He’s aided by the money grubbing Time Goddess who will turn back the clock for a price. She increases her fee each time you reverse time, which forces players to earn more money by defeating stronger enemies. Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax has random encounters where Yuusha dashes through enemies in random battles while numbers fly on the screen.
Maps are designed with multiple goals, so players who just want to run in circles and level up can wait until the screen flashes "you > evil" before raiding the castle. Alternatively, you can seek out special weapons like a bug swatter to defeat (you guessed it) a bug evil lord or rubber armor to defend against another evil lord’s lightning attacks. Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax references a number of tropes from RPG games and has its own twist on them. Perhaps the most poignant is the second to last level, which I don’t want to spoil here!
This was all quite familiar since I whizzed through the PSP game a few years ago. The localization for Hero 30 is identical too. What’s changed are Evil Lord 30, Princess 30, and Knight 30. On PSP, each of these had their own gameplay style, but Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax turns them into lightning RPG maps. The premise for all of the modes are the same; you still have to destroy statues with the Evil Lord and find a cure for the king’s illness in Princess 30. Evil Lord 30 Super Sonic RPG Ver. has the Evil Lord run to castles and battle the same way Yuusha does. Mashing buttons makes the Evil Lord summon monsters and he gains control of more powerful monsters by smashing statues. The rock-paper-scissors style strategy didn’t make it into the Super Sonic RPG version. Princess 30 is like a giant fetch quest. There are optional side-quests like defeating monsters in the forest and mountains to strengthen her arrows. Knight 30 has players escort a mysterious Sage. You have to run to the correct altar before thirty seconds runs out. You cannot extend time in this mode, but the clock resets when you reach the right spot. Each extra mode is actually one giant map, not a subset of missions.
Since all of the characters are intact, Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax has the same epic conclusion as the PSP game. What I missed trying was the online mode, but hopefully I’ll get to play some of that on Wednesday when Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax goes on sale on Xbox Live Arcade.