IGN has all nine levels, from designers at Infinity Ward, Infinite Interactive, and other such prestigious studios, available for download and voting. It's really interesting to see what people who think about levels for a living do with the Bangai-O rule set. Harvey Smith, lead designer of Deus Ex, made an arena for super-annoying FastBots; Infinite's Steve Fawkner replicated the Atari classic Warlords.
All of the levels -- many of which tend toward the baroque -- are great, but our favorite is the simplest one: Shane Hensley's "Pinball Wizard," designed to imitate a pinball playfield. It looks stark, but explodes into bullets in a way that is startling even for Bangai-O.
Simply leave a comment telling us what your favorite Treasure shooter is. Need a refresher? Hit up our latest feature looking back at their wonderful shooters right here. Or, just hit up the gallery at the below of this post. You can leave one comment per day, between now and 11:59PM ET on Monday, September 1st, which is when the giveaway ends.
There is a catch, though. This latest giveaway is only open to current and legal residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec). Also, entrants need to be at least 18 years of age. Read up on the official rules right here.
Best of luck to you all and thanks for reading DS Fanboy!
Gallery: Treasure shooters
Bangai-O Spirits has all the hallmarks of a Treasure shooter. It doesn't take itself seriously, but provides more than enough of a challenge for any gamer. It features the same gimmick as the other Bangai-O games, and will be instantly familiar to fans of those. In fact, it seems to be the ideal Treasure game. At the same time, it completely subverts the usual Treasure dynamic, with brilliant results.
They've made very memorable brawlers and platformers, but Bangai-O Spirits is part of a long tradition of innovative shooters with insane storylines and unique rulesets, which is why we've chosen to look at Treasure's body of work in that particular genre. If you don't consider run & guns like Gunstar Heroes shooters ... well, we debated that, a lot, and decided that since they're games primarily about firing projectiles at enemies, they belong in the same discussion as scrolling shooters. Of course, if you think enough about shooters to make that kind of distinction, you probably know all about Treasure already.
||Boss is approaching!
But we're not in charge -- we're snivelly, subservient slaves to our paymasters. So the most we can do is upload these ten new screenshots and hope that you view them.
[Via press release]
That's how Treasure rep Arthur sums up Bangai-O Spirits (2:28), and we're struggling to concoct a more befitting description. The lucky blighters at Gamespot's "On the Spot" show got a chance to chat to Arthur (and his colleague Kaori) about the game, which launches later this year in the States.
The first few minutes are dedicated to chatting about and showing off some of the now-familiar shooting action and the level editor, while the second half deals with the game's amazing Sound Load system. Arthur admits that this idea "took a lot of explaining to Nintendo," but then demonstrates how easy it is to share files (5:20) -- simply holding two DSes closely to one another does the trick. This idea still seems like witchcraft to us, but we absolutely love it.
Arthur also confirmed that there was no official U.S. database planned to host Bangai-O sound files (9:05). Not that this should bother you -- after all, there's at least one other (really accessible) way to share your masterpiece of a level.
[Via press release]
Another DS game that will be playable is, of course, Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2. Would you really expect the orange-clad Ninja not to make an appearance? So, if you plan to stop by the Expo, make sure to check out D3 Publisher's booth (901) for some fun times on the DS.
The two videos after the break feature the game's gentle first level and a bizarre gimmick level in which the player hits soccer balls with the bat weapon as they fall from a chute, pinball-style. There certainly appears to be enough variety in the level designs.
These English-language gameplay videos of Bangai-O Spirits give us a look at a few of the game's weapons -- the yellow Shield "weapon" there seems like a good choice for obvious reasons (including the number of bullets on screen and their tendency to blow you up upon impact). The "Mix" icon in the weapon selection screen (which can now be read) indicates that the two chosen EX weapons can combine into a new scatter bomb attack. Amusingly, within the first few seconds, we see the demo player fail a level. That's the mark of a hardcore game!
The video after the break shows off two of Spirits' more labyrinthine levels, as well as the awesome bullet-destroying "Sword" attack. We cannot express how thrilled we are that the release date is approaching. There hasn't been a DS game yet to match the few minutes of demo time we've had!
You can be joined by another shooty robot in any stage in Free Play -- which means any stage. This includes stages you've created yourself or transferred via Sound Load. IGN's Daemon Hatfield reports a lot of slowdown, especially in multiplayer, but slowdown in Bangai-O games is inevitable given the nature of the super attacks, and may even be part of the design.
That means that we won a bunch of downloadable stages that we're going to grab now and hang onto just in case they work in the U.S. version of the game. We wouldn't be surprised if these contest-winning stages made it onto the cartridge anyway!
If you're wondering why the DS Fanboy staff is so wired up for Bangai-O Spirits, you only have to watch this trailer to understand. Packed into a minute of explosive goodness, this video manages to highlight all of the completely sweet features that will be in the game. With so much content and such a deep stage editing/sharing system, you can bet that this Treasure title will be keeping us occupied for a long, long time.
Those of us in North America and Europe that are waiting for its localization can expect the game in August.
We couldn't be happier to see Bangai-O Spirits being released so soon in Europe, because it means that (as long as you guys buy it) we'll have even more players hard at work making us awesome stages.
More importantly, now that screens of the English menus are available, we can see that stages in the Edit Mode are divided into categories. "Treasure's Best" must be the new stages we were told would be added between the Japanese and U.S. releases. We find it interesting that the puzzle stages are separated, as well.
We're so happy to see progress being made! Get here soon, Bangai-O.
[Via press release]