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Bangai-o

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Released: 2000

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Dreamcast

Publisher: Swing Entertainment

Developer: Treasure

Submitted by: Gavin Eke

 If you're a regular reader of Edge Magazine such as myself, you'll know Treasure are held in very high regard by members of that publication. So when I came across Bangai-o for £7.99 at a time when the Dreamcast was fading into oblivion, I thought I'd see what the hype was all about.

Essentially casting you as a brother (Riki) & sister (Mami), your avatars blast their way through a multitude of 8 way scrolling levels, collecting fruit & challenging various end of level guardians. On the face of it the game appears to be a straight faced shooter. However, there is an important difference between the siblings upon closer inspection which is relevant to your progression through the games levels.

The brother fires a continual stream of homing missiles which is ideal for wide open spaces. Conversely, sister Mami fires lasers, which rebound off walls & destroy gun turrets around corners. This key difference is crucial to your success of completing a stage & it's boss. All of a sudden you realize that this is not just a simple shooter but requires some cerebral thought. Additionally, like any good shooter there is a risk & reward mechanic to enable high scores which is where the fruit comes in.

Both siblings have a smart bomb attack based around their normal bullets, be they homing or otherwise. However, your smart bombs power is dependent on the amount & proximity of your enemies bullets to you. Therefore, to achieve the biggest destructive power you'll need plenty of enemy bullets literally in your avatars face before unleashing merry hell. This tactic is particularly relevant when facing bosses who fire off a myriad of homing missiles. Wait until the last minute & fire your smart bomb. So where does the fruit come in? Whatever you destroy leaves a piece of fruit. Collect this & you'll receive points onto your score. Bigger your destructive power, the better fruits appear & therefore, more points you accrue.

Safe to say, Edge raved about this game & whilst I can understand why they were enthusiastic, I ultimately felt it got a bit repetitive after a while.

Good? Yes. Great? No, but if you like shoot'em ups with a cerebral edge then give it a try. Apparently there's a DS version out now which probably suits the format better anyway.