I was thrown into level 30+ of Bangai-O Spirits. As soon as the stage started I dashed forward into a cluster of missiles. Bangai-O had a sword to cut them into 2D explosions, but it was a slow crawl towards the launchers. Instead of creeping forward I shot a barrage of homing rockets for a temporary victory. When I circled around the level I found myself trapped in a screen surrounded by projectiles. The top right hand corner had a counter with the number of objects on the screen. It was in the hundreds. The orb-like pink shield couldn’t save me.
Bangai-O Spirits is hard. Treasure hard. JC Fletcher over at DS Fanboy gave the game a go next. He switched up Bangai-O’s weapons and equipped a huge baseball bat that reflects rockets. The problem is the bat is slow and there are way too many projectiles for the bat to reflect. Perhaps, a better combination of weapons would have helped us beat the level. There are four buttons players can toggle with different items and it feels like the sword/gun combo may be the best solution. Not sure though and I wish I had more time to try other combinations. Maybe we should have teamed up? Bangai-O Spirits has cooperative play for 1-4 players. That would have been a great idea, but if there were four DSes at the event there probably would have been some kind of ultimate Bangai-O tournament using the 1-4 player competitive multiplayer mode.
After my few minutes of playtime I was tempted to put Bangai-O Spirits on my import list since it’s coming out on March 19. However, Sam Guilloud, the product manager at D3 Publisher, gave me a reason to wait for the North American release, “We’re hoping to have some extra levels. Currently for the Japanese build we’re expecting 150 levels, which is awesome and incredible. Each one of those levels is going to be able to be level edited. If you’re not happy how a level is going you can stop say ‘OK, I want more enemies here, I want something here’ and change it on the fly. As far as Treasure designed levels we’re hoping to have more when the US version releases.”
The other neat feature I heard about, but didn’t actually “hear” is the Sound Load system. This unique technology allows players to send edited levels via a sound file. One Nintendo DS can play the file through headphones and receive the data through the microphone. Guilloud explains, “it’s going to be similar to a modem. Modem sounds are what you’re going to hear.” That means playing Hotel California backwards probably won’t lead to a super secret level. In the future, I imagine websites hosting downloadable MP3 files carrying the beeps and bops for new levels.
What about the future? Will D3 Publisher handle other titles from Treasure? Guilloud answers, “we certainly hope so. I think D3 in Japan wants to make sure Treasure has the best experience possible with us so we have future relationships, but I can’t speak to any other future games.”