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Video Game / Bangai-O

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Bangai-O GO!

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 Sega 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. 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 Gai and his 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 Masato 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 Xbox 360 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.)

Bangai-O provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 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 Missile 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.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Taken to its (il)logical extremes. There's a character that speaks in nothing but pictures.
  • Batter Up!: Spirits introduces a bat, which you can use to knock back missiles and send robots flying.
  • Beam Spam:
    • In Bangai-O, Mami's mech does this. They rebound off the walls and then target enemies after bouncing.
    • Unfortunately, some of the Mirror Bosses can do it as well.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: One of the enemy types introduced by Spirits is a giant ant, just because.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Dreamcast and N64 versions. Tropes Are Not Bad, though, the broken Engrish is a major part of its charm.
  • Block Puzzle: Spirits has the "False Treasure" stage, found in the Puzzle Stages set. You need to fit a bunch of Boxes into Box Frames. If you push one into a corner, trap yourself, or otherwise render a Box unable to be moved into a remaining Box Frame, it's restart time. Later in that set you encounter a different kind of Block Puzzle, where you must bounce your shots in a maze to get it to a target. You use the boxes to alter the shots' trajectory.
  • Body Double: Subverted and played for laughs in the original game, with one boss character. A few levels after Gai is defeated, Riki and Mami encounter a doppelganger of him that was raised to fill in as the Cosmo Gang's substitute leader, to the point that no one remembers who he is anymore. Said "doppelganger" happens to be a furry, green creature that sports a hairstyle vaguely resembling Gai's, glowing eyes, and a cigar. Naturally, Riki isn't fooled.
  • 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.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Every single incarnation Bangai-O never runs out of missiles to fire, even while using EX Attacks.
  • Bowdlerization: The illustration that's seen after you choose to continue in the Japanese version has Riki frolic around naked, as he follows some white hooded figure (whose costume sports a resemblance to a certain real-life group). Understandably, when the Dreamcast version was exported, this was altered to have Riki wear underwear and the mysterious figure is changed into a pink dinosaur piloted by Conspiracy Entertainment's mascot.
  • 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.
    • Also, this is frequently displayed in the original, with Riki, Mami and Mrs. M. Even a few bosses show some degree of it (with one Mirror Boss having the intent of killing and replacing Riki as the star).
  • Brutal Bonus Level: In Missile Fury, bonus stages are unlocked after clearing the Fury Mode. These are much harder than the main levels.
  • Cap:
    • EX Attacks in the N64 and Dreamcast versions were capped to 400 projectiles. Missile Fury raises this to 1000.
    • In Spirits, this was changed to where linkable EX Attacks (Homing, Bounce, Break, etc.) would fire a maximum of 100 projectiles, but you could increase the size and damage up to 4X. The counter for reflect is capped to 999, but you can actually reflect MORE than that in very certain conditions.
  • Captain Ersatz: The stage clear screen shows a kaiju battle that almost looks like Ultraman punching out Godzilla.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Most characters say "Bangai-O, GO!" when they're ready to embark on a mission.
    • Goldfish Poop Gang boss Sabu has the engrish-y "Feel my Yasaan V3!". Just so we are clear on that, he is referring to his mecha.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: There are several of these, although Koa-Zo/Core Boy stands out; conversations with him consist entirely of his monologuing, and he once infamously claims that he is a fox.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: The game over music in Spirits is accompanied with an Evil Laugh, and you will hear it very, very often.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Seemingly averted in the original game. Every time a building is destroyed (for the purpose of raising the high score), screams can be heard. Not that anyone cares.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Parodied with a series of Core bosses helmed by an entire family of people with huge green orbs for heads. They're fairly easy to fight, given that the cores themselves have no defenses, and it's entirely possible to destroy all the turrets guarding it before the fight actually begins.
  • Critical Annoyance: There's a low-pitched alarm sounding off when your health is in the red, which goes faster if it's lower. Between the game's difficulty level and lax standards for continuing, you can be expected to hear it a lot.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: One of the coolest parts of the original game is that most of the boss battles can be turned into this (for the best results, go ahead and fight Sabu). On the flipside, the harder bosses can do the same for players that aren't used to fighting them.
  • Cutting the Knot: Some levels have their boss be located nearby. You can end them early if you're successfully able to defeat the boss.
  • Death Cry Echo: The kid heroes and the vast majority of the boss characters do this when they are defeated. Those that don't play a sound effect or a brief musical tune instead.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Although you inevitably must restart a stage when you lose, there are unlimited chances to do so (despite the presence of a continue screen with a timer).
  • Decoy Leader: Parodied in the original game with Nise (Fake) Gai, a doppelganger that the Cosmo Gang occasionally uses to substitute Gai in battle. Given that he wears a flimsy disguise and overacts his assigned role, it's no wonder that Riki sees right through him. The latter then decides to briefly mess with the former a little, assuming that he is the ''real'' Gai after all.
  • Destructive Saviour: Riki has no problem wrecking anything in his path with the eponymous Humongous Mecha. His more docile sister Mami isn't any better, given that she's his co-pilot. However, the cities are part of the various stations owned by the Cosmo Gang and contribute to scoring points and fruit, so it's all good.
  • Engrish: A metric ton of it in the Dreamcast version, at least. May have been intentional, it greatly enhances the widget factor, which is a good thing here.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Spirits indirectly warns you that the game is going to be Nintendo Hard by outright telling you how to activate the cheat menu at the end of the tutorial.
  • Evil Twin: Complete with their own EX attacks, resulting in a dual of Macross Missile Massacre. The last boss in Bangai-O even uses the Invincibility item.
  • Excuse Plot: Bangai-O Spirits doesn't even offer a plot to players, leading them to wonder why they're blowing up random robots and collecting fruit. The Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast releases weren't much better off, playing it straight.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The Excuse Plot of the original game revolves around the protagonists punishing a gang that smuggles fruit. Bangai-O Spirits doesn't even bother with such a premise.
  • Final Boss Preview: Bangai-O subverts this (somewhat) by having you fight and beat him in level 19! The best part? The actual final boss fight is even tougher.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Most of the bosses in Bangai-O have nothing to do with the Cosmo Gang. Luckily, almost all of them are covered in the manual.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Masoto has one underneath his bangs in Spirits. For no apparent reason.
  • 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.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The Bat weapon in Spirits has a hitbox that is longer than the visual reach of the bat by a few pixels.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Riki Makishi. Then again, he is native of a planet populated by hot-blooded men.
    • Everyone in Bangai-O Spirits, the lighthearted, plot-free DS spinoff, in different ways. Ruri is more enthusiastic, especially when the time comes to shout "Bangai-O GO!", while Masato thinks the whole thing is stupid. On the other hand, he's very confident, reckless, always ready to get to the mission already.
  • Human Aliens: In the first entry, at least.
  • 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.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: One of the selectable weapons shoots bouncy balls of energy that are a bit weaker than other projectiles, but can still destroy several enemies and obstacles and do so from good angles thanks to their ability to bounce between walls.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Subverted and parodied with Sabu, who appears several times as a boss. Riki and Mami initially assume that he is multiple people (somewhat helped in that bosses' mechs get blown to smithereens). Soon enough, they end up seeing him as the same guy...but he doesn't recognize them, at first (much to Riki's annoyance).
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Spirits uses special blocks that have an arrow icon pointing at a specific direction of the level. These blocks will only break when all enemies and targets located within the range and width of that direction are eliminated. For example, a block whose arrow points to the left will be protected by the life force of the enemies located at the left, upper left and upper down areas of the level. A block whose arrow points to the bottom right will break when the player destroys the enemies found at the bottom, right and bottom-right areas. This can be used cleverly in custom levels to make some ingenious mazes.
  • King Mook: Spirits explicitly uses double, quadruple, and even half-sized versions of every single enemy in the game, including those that were already bosses. One stage in the game even has you run through a half-sized, normal-sized, and finally a double-sized version of the Cannonboss.
  • Lag Cancel: Spirits has EX canceling, performed by hitting a regular attack button while charging an EX attack. Different from most examples here in that it prevents an attack instead of interrupting it, but it's useful if you start up an EX attack but change your mind before you fire it.
  • 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: 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). That's not so much a freeze as an intentional pause that gets longer in relation to the size and number of missiles that you launch.
    • 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.
    • This is increased to 1000 without the hardware lag in Missile Fury for ALL EX attacks. This is more than any EX Attack in any of the other versions - even the game-breaking Reflect Attack in Spirits only gets up to 999 under very specific conditions.
  • Marathon Level: More than possible to make in Spirits, and Missile Fury increased the maximum size of levels. 1 screen tall by 64 screens wide (or an 8x8 square) is the limit in the latter.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Your Humongous Mecha can easily be stun-locked to oblivion by the enemy's Macross Missile Massacre, unless you counter with your own. Good luck when you don't have the super meter to launch your own missiles, though.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • Some bosses are essentially Bangai-O clones (missiles) with all the abilities. Hell, the final boss in the first game goes invulnerable using the same power as the heroes do.
    • Spirits gives the dark Bangai-O clone a name: Longai-O. Missile Fury adds a second clone: Crazy King
  • 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.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: The first game plays this for laughs, since recurring bosses tend to survive their mechs exploding (to Riki and Mami's confusion). Bangai-O's pilots aren't as lucky.
  • 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.
  • Planet of Hats: In the original game, the heroes hail from Dan Star, a planet populated with hot-blooded men. Since the game focuses entirely on shoot-em up action (and little elaboration on the setting), one can only imagine what it must be like there.
  • Power-Up Food: The EX Gauge is powered up by collecting fruit, which drops from defeated enemies.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Taken to its Logical Extreme, whenever Riki and Mami encounter Koa-Zo/Core Boy. His long-winding monologues are so inane that Riki and Mami don't even give him the dignity of a response, and are visibly irritated, unlike most cases where they always have something to say about the weirdest of characters.
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Riki's prolonged absence from school (to defeat the Cosmo Gang with his sister Mami's help) eventually results in his health teacher tracking him down. With one of the Cosmo Gang's robots. Not that the former cares, since he's technically training to become a policeman...
  • Shout-Out: A few. The title itself is one to Dangaioh.
  • Storming the Castle: While the first game is entirely spent around wrecking the Cosmo Gang's space stations and whatnot, the storming of their HQ (at the last level, naturally) fits this the most.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: So much 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 (and there's the lag), so sometimes you'll have to go by that number if you want the bonuses associated with proximity to bombs.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The tutorial of Spirits concludes with an explanation of how to turn on the cheat menu. This isn't a blessing; it's a warning that the rest of the game is going to be Nintendo Hard.
  • The Syndicate: The original game involves dismantling the SF Cosmo Gang, an intergalactic criminal syndicate that took over the entire galaxy with its army of Humongous Mecha and hold on the fruit contraband market.
  • Take That, Audience!: The ending of Spirits's "Treasure's Best" stages levels a few insults to players who complain about games with minimal endings as well as players invokedwho complain about short games, while encouraging the player to try out the Level Editor and to try out other players' stages.
  • 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.
  • This Is a Drill: The "Break" missiles, able to destroy two enemy shots to one Break, are little drill shots.
  • Timed Mission: Present in Missile Fury — one of the early ones is a 30-second rush to destroy all enemies.
  • Unknown Rival: Most of the bosses in the first game are treated as nuisances at best, and only a handful are respectfully seen by the heroes as powerful opponents (with one having previously antagonized Riki before).
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The early levels in the original game have fairly simple bosses that shouldn't give you too much trouble (especially since Sabu is fought in the first four). Then, you get to 86, level 8's boss. She uses reflective lasers like Mami's, forcing you to use EX attacks and keep your distance more effectively in battle.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Humorously averted with Riki and Mami, who spend the entire original game travelling through the galaxy to defeat the Cosmo Gang. This results in Riki's health teacher tracking him down with a stolen mech.
  • A Winner Is You: Discussed in the ending of Spirits, where the characters state that the ending only exists to avoid pissing off players who would otherwise complain about a bare-bones ending.