An action/Shoot 'em Up/Bullet Hell (sometimes) game series made by Treasure, consisting of 3 games: Bangai-O on the N64 (only in Japan) and the Dreamcast, Bangai-O: Spirits on the DS, and Bangai-O: Missile Fury on Xbox LIVE Arcade. The N64 version had a limited run of about 10,000 copies, which makes it incredibly rare (and correspondingly incredibly expensive). The Dreamcast version was later released worldwide and is much more common.Bangai-O is split into levels, and the goal of most of them is to run, shoot, fly, slash, dodge, shoot, and shoot (did we say shoot?) anything in your path until you destroy the targets of the level. Bangai-O is rather customizable, with Spirits allowing you to choose 2 of 8 or so missile types at a time and mixing or splitting them as needed. In addition to regular missiles, Bangai-O can perform an EX attack, which is a more powerful version of the regular missiles(EX attacks do not have to be the same missile types as your standard missiles).Bangai-O follows the story of Riki and his sister Mami as they pilot Bangai-O against the Cosmo Gang, punishing them for the nefarious crime of...fruit contraband. What little story there is is told between missions or with dialogue during missions.Bangai-O Spirits features the titular mecha from the first game, but the pilots have changed, to Masoto and Ruri, who are visually expies of Riki and Mami. Spirits decides to ignore the concept of a plot at all, and the only dialogue is during the tutorial, after which you'll never see the pilots' faces again...unless you manage to beat a certain set of stages. At which point they come out to announce they only appear because the fanboys would throw a fit. Spirits features local multiplayer and a nice level editor, as well as a rather odd way of sharing custom levels...They're encoded in short sound files which are played into the DS's microphone.An Xbox360 version by the name of Bangai-O: Missile Fury was released via the Xbox Live Arcade on May 4. It, so far, does not have the slowdown that the Dreamcast experienced despite having around 5000 moving things on-screen. It also has a level editor (like Spirits) and multiplayer (the latter being the reason why it wasn't released at the previously announced date of November 2010 - After PAX 2010, they took one of the comments of a player wondering about the possibility of multiplayer and added it in.)
This series provides examples of:
A.I. Breaker: As hard as it gets at times, Missile Fury actually added a decent combo to safely take down most of the enemies, provided you can use both dash guage abilities. Dash in, freeze-to-cancel, shoot, freeze-to cancel, shoot while retreating, dodge for 3 seconds. Not even Longai-O is safe from this. It does, however, require practice to pull off effectively (particularly against the stage 47 boss, Crazy King).
Anti-Frustration Features: In Missle Fury's Fury mode, stages are unlocked one at a time. Failing a stage 3 times will unlock the next one automatically.
Art Shift: Done with the non-gameplay character art for each installment, oddly enough. Spirits replaced designer HAN's iconic style with a modern anime aesthetic, while Missile Fury went in favor of a detailed and sketchy look.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Longai-O in Bangai-O Spirits. It's effectively impossible to defeat one without the use of EX attacks (It'll endlessly counter with EX Missile to avoid damage).
It's telling that the only reliable method to beat Longai-O in Spirits is to sacrifice your EX Weapon linking and slot in Reflect to instant-kill him when he does a 4X counter.
Boss-Only Level: The first game has the duel with Sabu in level 26. There are no enemies at all, with the only obstacles being falling block generators.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The ending to Spirits, which the pilots say only exists because fanboys would throw a fit otherwise. They then discourage you to just hock the game off at a used game store by encouraging you to make and download custom stages.
Cloudcuckoo Lander: There are several of these, although Koa-Zo/Core Boy is arguably the most notable one; conversations with him consist entirely of his monologuing, and he once infamously claims that he is a fox.
Goldfish Poop Gang: Sabu in Bangai-O. While he gets slightly harder to defeat in each encounter, he's not that difficult compared to several bosses.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Inverted, one series of bosses don't attack and sit there helplessly. It's basically impossible to lose these fights.
Home Run Hitter: The alternate close combat weapon in Spirits (aside from the Laser Blade) is a mecha-sized baseball bat that sends enemies (and any baseballs, basketballs, and soccer balls that happen to be lying around) flying.
Humongous Mecha: Bangai-O, of course. Then again, depending on how you scale enemies and buildings in the level editor, it might not be so humongous.
If a title card is to be trusted, it runs off vegetable oil. No, really.
Laughing Mad: Spirits ends every victory (or Game Over) with a maniacal laughter, almost as if to celebrate the game's madness whether you win or lose.
Level Editor: Spirits includes an extremely flexible editor that can be accessed while a level is playing. This is available even in every official level, complete with debug functions like invincibility and frame-advance, but using them disables record saving. Missile Fury also has one, but it lacks the debug features of Spirits.
Limit Break / Desperation Attack: MAX ATTACK in Missile Fury gives you 4X-sized bullets for all your attacks and ignores the dash guage for the duration of it. The catch? First, you have to have 5 EX attacks saved up to use it. Second, when the EX guage bottoms out (or when you use an EX Counter attack), Both the EX guage and the Dash guage get reset to 0 and you become stunned for a period of time. Lastly, some stages disable it, either explicitly or by capping the EX guage to 4.
Macross Missile Massacre: With EX attacks, it's possible to use so many missiles at one time that the DS will actually freeze for a few seconds before resuming (Albeit with plenty of lag until some missiles disappear off-screen).
In the Dreamcast and N64 versions, you can release up to 400 individual missiles. In the Dreamcast version, each missile had its own vapor trail and would occasionally slow down due to lag when tons of crap are blowing up. It's an awesome side effect when it happens.
Nintendo Hard: The tutorial for Spirits concludes by telling you how to turn on the invincibility cheat. That should give you an idea of what you're going up against. And the last mission is pretty damn hard.
Missile Fury ramps it up: You can die in seconds on the very first stage if you don't know what you're doing.
No Plot? No Problem!: There is literally no story in Spirits once the tutorial ends. It's just a bunch of unconnected levels with high scores and best times waiting to be taken. Missile Fury doesn't even have that.
Only Six Faces: Parodied to hell with one boss who is fought several times. The heroes recognize him. He doesn't.
So much so that in Spirits, there is an actual "BOMB" counter in the top right corner of the bottom screen which counts the number of explosions that are occurring in the entire stage at any given time. The tutorial even notes that not all of the explosions will be rendered if too many happen at once due to the technical limitations of the DS (to say nothing of the lag), so sometimes you'll have to go by that number if you want the bonuses associated with proximity to bombs.
Tennis Boss: In most cases, Longai-O. It typically goes like this: Approach Longai-O with full EX guage (3), fire shots, Longai-O counters with EX Missiles, you counter with 2X attack, Longai-O counters with 100 4X EX missiles, you counter with Reflect, Longai-O dies instantly.
Timed Mission: Present in Missile Fury - one of the early ones is a 30-second rush to destroy all enemies.