Tag Archives: IT’S BANGAI-O

FGC #545 Bangai-O Spirits

Gogglebob.com officially started in 2015, and it also contains articles written months or even years before the official launch of the site. I don’t personally consider myself someone who puts forth a “brand”, but, after something like 700 articles about videogames (total reached by including all auxiliary Kingdom Hearts and Let’s Play materials), I feel like my general opinions and “tone” have been well established. It’s been over five years of Gogglebob.com… and for most of that time, I was single. And, now, considering my bride-to-be isn’t much of a videogame fan (past some obvious luminaries), gaming is still generally a solitary hobby for myself. What am I getting at? Well, I worry, because, as of publication of this article, I am about two weeks away from getting married. Is that going to change me? Is that going to change the articles you find on Gogglebob.com? Am I going to become a “wife guy”? I’m worried about my identity! Even when I’m writing about something as esoteric as Brain Dead 13, this website is my autobiography, and I’m worried about who I am (and the site!) mutating in the face of such a drastic life change.

But, no, that’s silly. I am Goggle Bob, and, no matter what happens, no matter who becomes a permanent part of my life, a permanent part of me, I am always going to be myself. This is gogglebob.com, I am Goggle Bob, and that is never going to change.

So today I (Goggle Bob!) am going to talk about tampons.

I, being of the biological male persuasion, do not understand tampons. I am unfamiliar with their exact usage, and, while it has been explained to me a few times over the years, all I could really grok from those lessons is that they look really uncomfortable. They kind of resemble future-tech Molotov cocktails? And they’re supposed to go where? Yeah, that’s not for me. And, while I’ve had a general grip of the purpose of tampon usage for years, they had yet to live in my home until my fiancée officially moved in a little while back. Now, in the same room where I read my all-important leftover 1999 strategy guides, there is a box of tampons. And, because I occasionally get bored of reading how important it is I visit Playonline for more information, sometimes I dare make eye contact with one of those tampon boxes. And what did I find in perusing this box? Tampons come in different levels! Apparently here is the ranking for one brand:

POW

  • Light
  • Regular
  • Super
  • Super Plus
  • Ultra

And, to be clear, that is from lightest (light) to heaviest (ultra). And, while I may not be blessed with body parts that ever have to interact with a tampon, I do have an opinion on this situation from an engineering perspective: This is stupid.

Seriously, ladies (or the men that are apparently in charge of ranking women’s menstrual flow), there are some serious issues here. Light makes sense, but regular? You are claiming there is some sort of national average for periods, and it is apparently only level 2? And then super to super plus? Okay, there’s at least an escalation, but, unless you’re Kara Zor-El, I don’t think anyone has ever described anything to do with that time of the month as “super”. And the final level is ultra? Were tampons invented as a tie-in to the N64? Because that is the only explanation for a final level being “Ultra”. Ultimate is right there! It starts with a U, too!

So, in the interest of making the lives of people who menstruate better (they already have to deal with so much! Like the entire population of people who don’t!), I propose a new ranking system for tampons. In the future, all tampons should be ranked according to Bangai-O titles.

LEVEL1
Level: Light Hover Attack

The Bangai-O franchise theoretically started in the late 90’s. However, there was a game that was the main inspiration for Bangai-O: Hover Attack. Hover Attack features a robot (maybe a human?) who has a limited missile gauge and a hover gauge, but, other than those limitations, the world is their oyster. They can fly! In a game from 1984! And they’ve got a cool hoverboard, too! The people of the 80’s loved those things! Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a real Bangai-O experience, the technology of the time could not cut the muster on rendering more than a few misssiles, so it doesn’t feature what would be the defining staple of the series. It’s like Bangai-O, but if Bangai-O was much… lighter.

LEVEL2
Level: Regular Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh

WeeeeeeOkay, there’s no question here: we’re dealing with a tried and true Explosive, Invincible Bangai-O here. There is flying. There are enemies. There are missiles upon missiles upon missiles. You can blast your opponents out of the sky, and then collect enough fruit to live like a king. It’s here, and there’s no question it’s here. Or… actually, that’s kind of the problem: it’s not here. It’s Bangai-O, but it’s also limited to a Japanese release, and barely surviving there at that. So, in short, this is Bangai-O that exists, is definitely a Bangai-O experience, but is still on the slight side of things.

LEVEL3
Level: Super Bangai-O!

Oh blastNow we’re talking. If there are going to be five levels of something, here’s the exact, recognizable middle. That’s how numbers work! Bangai-O is the game we all know and love (and occasionally inspires hallucinations). This is Bangai-O… nay… BANGAI-O! and its accomplishments are legion. This is the game that taught us all to love shoot ‘em ups again in the age of ubiquitous polygons and JRPGs. This is the game that satisfied all our ids with explosions of a Bay-ian caliber. Bangai-O was a revelation… and the only downside is that many people don’t even know it had any sequels. It is the baseline of Bangai-O, so it stands in the middle of all other levels, presumably inviting an errant Goldilocks.

LEVEL4
Level: Super Plus Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury

May as well just call this game “Bangai-O: Super Plus”. It’s Bangai-O taken to the next level. Stage creation? Check. Online options? Check. Big honkin’ missiles that defy all laws of conservation of mass? Double check. Depending on your thinking, though, it is not exactly the straight-up action game that Bangai-O pioneered for the franchise. In short, thinking of this as “simply” a shoot ‘em up will get you killed pretty fast, but treating it as something closer to a puzzle title will see your ship surviving well into a fruit coma. It’s just a puzzle game where, you know, the solution involves a healthy number of explosives. Some people can’t handle it, though, so this is a fine signifier of a “heavy” Bangai-O.

LEVEL5
Level: Ultra Bangai-O Spirits

PEW PEWBut this is as hefty as Bangai-O gets. In a similar manner to its descendant, Bangai-O HD, Bangai-O Spirits is a puzzle game masquerading as an action title. But where Missile Fury sticks to a more straightforward loadout for its challenges, Spirits drowns its audience in a multiple choice quiz before every battle. Do you want to focus on shooting, or melee attacks? Bringing in the rebounding laser, or the baseball bat? Going to focus on reflecting opponent’s shots, or simply blasting them out of the sky? You’ve got options! Options upon options! And these options are absolute murder, because it is often difficult to say if you failed because you didn’t identify what you were supposed to be doing, or because you didn’t drag in whatever weapon you were supposed to have. There’s a reason this title has such a comprehensive tutorial structure (which includes the game’s seemingly contractually obligated plot), because if you’re not prepared, the “real” levels of Bangai-O Spirits are going to drown you in a deluge of pure, unfettered Bangai-O.

But if you’re aware of the weight of Bangai-O Spirits, you’ll be prepared. And that’s why tampon companies and Bangai-O should get together to revamp their level grading, and get everybody on the same page. You need to know what kind of tampon you’re purchasing in the exact same way you need to know what kind of Bangai-O you’ll be experiencing. Tampax, give me a call, I’m certain we can work out a level grading system that is a little more explosive/invincible.

FGC #545 Bangai-O Spirits

  • POWSystem: Nintendo DS, and this is another sad tale of a game being locked into a system that time has now forgotten.
  • Number of players: It’s technically multiplayer with the whole level sharing thing, but it’s really a one-player experience.
  • Are there skeletons? Yes.
  • Is there a Pac-Man pastiche? Certainly.
  • Is this the best game ever? Very much a contender.
  • What’s with that tutorial? Yes, there are a lot of tutorials involved. Yes, you should consider them completely mandatory, because there is no way you are going to remotely survive the “real game” if you don’t learn about the myriad of new ways to blow stuff up in Spirits. Also, it’s the only part of the game that has a “plot”… if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • How’s the plot? Funny, but forgettable. I’m pretty sure there are at least three characters involved. Maybe four? They probably have names.
  • Favorite weapon: It hurts my soul to not choose the baseball bat, but I’m more into the missiles that tear through enemy bullets like tissue paper. I’m sure they have a distinct designation, but that’s inconsequential: if I can survive the level with ‘em, they’re my first choice.
  • POWDid you know? You can share created levels with other players by playing tones out of the DS that other Bangai-O Spirits games can interpret and decode. This is what gaming looked like before the internet was widely available, and I am here for it.
  • Would I play again: There is a heavy, overflowing chance that that is a solid yes. Doubly so if someone could port this to a modern system. Switch? Please? This is an ideal portable experience, and I could use a new reason to wreck a joycon.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Jet Set Radio! Yo yo yo, DJ Professor K is gonna tell you the righteous tale of the GGs, son. Please look forward to it!

No Pow

FGC #061 Bangai-O

Super Fighting RobotHere is my Jersey Devil story.

Actually, wait, I should probably explain that. See, I live in New Jersey, home of salt water taffy, the Jersey ShoreTM, and Fatteus Fatts, the fattiest fat in Fat Town. We’re also home to a local cryptid, the Jersey Devil, which, can’t stress this enough, is one single centuries-old demon that, surprisingly, really gets around. The tale of the Jersey Devil is an oddly enduring one, featuring poor Mother Leeds birthing twelve children, and then cursing the thirteenth to be a devil, because I guess every parent wants to see their child accomplish something, even if it’s just flight or goat mutilation. I encourage you, gentle reader, to research the Jersey Devil myth further, because the whole thing got going due to, apparently, almanac publishing feuds. New Jersey, everybody!

The origin of the Jersey Devil is unimportant, though, as what has endured is the fact that everybody has a Jersey Devil story. My school guidance counselor often weaved a tale of motorcycling down a local road around midnight and knowing, just knowing, that something was following him, matching his speed, from the woods. My first boss claimed he had seen the creature on a camping outing, when a… something came to join his troop fireside, and, yeah, all my buddies from the trip can confirm this, just give them a call. My own great aunt once even described a creature leaping above the tree line and temporarily shadowing the moon, and we don’t have any frogs that big around here, Bobby. I’m sure other regions have similar monsters and stories to accompany them, as legends like these are what make the world go ‘round.

KAPOWRecently, I’ve concluded that your exact maturity may be measured by your reaction to these stories. As a child, you believe everything you hear, and Santa Claus, the Jersey Devil, and your friend’s uncle who works for Nintendo are all equally valid, tangible creatures. In your teenage years, every adult is trying to lie to you at all times, because of course they are, so nothing is real, it’s all bullshit, man, and a sense of wonder is for whiney babies. But as an adult, you begin to believe again, not because you’ve suddenly grown more trusting of your peers (if anything, you’re likely even more jaded, just wearing fishnets less), but because, after your wild early years, you’ve learned that there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of on Wikipedia. Everyone has a Jersey Devil story because, whether they’ve met the malcontent himself or not, everyone has experienced something completely inexplicable, and it doesn’t matter if Robert Stack never heard of it, it happened.

So, it was my freshman year of college. I deliberately “went away” to college, because, seriously, have you met my parents? They seem to have improved over the years, but when I was a teenager? Oh man, worst human beings on the planet. So I ran off a solid two hours from home to get some of that edumacating, and left my video game systems at home, because I am well aware of my addictions, and I kinda actually wanted to learn something. This lasted for a solid week before I decided to import my Dreamcast, which was ideal for the poor college student, as it was already in its death throes by that time, and the entire library was selling for less than ten bucks used at any one of the local mall’s three Electronics Boutiques. The Gamecube would be released that November, so it is practically synonymous with that year in my mind, and then the Playstation 2 would migrate in by the second semester, for, I believe, Metal Gear Solid 2. STUFF IS HAPPENINGI at least stuck to my guns and never dragged a portable system to campus (I knew that would be the end of me), but, through it all, the Dreamcast was first.

My other educational safeguard was keeping my library not in my dorm, but the residence of my buddy Moko. This was, in retrospect, kind of an odd choice, as, while Moko had a TV, it had the same dimensions and fidelity as a cheeseburger. Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Grand Theft Auto 3, and even Super Smash Bros Melee are all games that I remember most fondly on a screen roughly the size of a chiclet. The Gamecube had component cables? That’s great, but I’m still trying to figure out if this pink mush is Kirby or Jigglypuff. Roy? Do you mean Red Link?

Possibly as a result of all this, Bangai-O was a godsend. On the surface, Bangai-O is just a fun shooter game, complete with Treasure’s signature weirdness and anime influence. Come to think of it, it would have probably been game of the year for College Goggle Bob for those reasons alone. Have you seen the latest DVD of Akira yet? It’s totally rad. Anyway, Bangai-O’s greatest strength, in my humble opinion, is that, at a time when polygons were king and the more screen space your characters dominated, the better the game, Bangai-O decided to buck trends and just stick a tiny little robot in a great big environment and sprinkle a lot of bullets all over the place. Also, thick in the era of “Game has 80 hours of gameplay and a save point every half hour”, Bangai-O featured a host of bite-sized challenges that meant the player could enjoy themselves and make progress even if only five minutes were available. Bangai-O may be forgotten by a number of gamers now, but its emphasis on packed gameplay over graphics and respecting the player’s time can still be seen in later generations with games like Dead Rising or a whole slew of DS games (which, amusingly, eventually saw Bangai-O again).

But I remember Bangai-O for something else entirely.

Block puzzleIt was… I want to say March. It had to be past February, thanks to the games involved, and I remember it being kind of cold out, so March sounds right. I was alone in Moko’s dorm, attempting to conquer Master Mode in Gitaroo-Man, an excellent rhythm game for the PS2. For those of you that are unaware, Gitaroo-Man has a pretty casual Normal Mode, which then unlocks a Master Mode that expects you to have reflexes on par with particularly gifted cheetahs. As a result, I attempted to conquer the same (second) level repeatedly, failed continually, and, upon my eventual hard-won victory, decided I needed a break, so I switched over to Bangai-O.

As previously stated, Bangai-O is a shooter, and it’s a surprisingly complicated one. You are, in any stage past about Level 4, expected to, at all times, keep an eye on the terrain, fruit spawns, explosion meter, and, most importantly, an infinite hail of bullets and lasers. This, luckily, isn’t a game where one stray shot will immolate all your hard earned watermelons, but you do have to pay careful attention to all threats, whether they are overt blasts or debris falling from the sky. Speaking of debris, you’re also expected to manage that explosion meter effectively enough to unleash gigantic explosions of your own to demolish anything and anyone in your surrounding area. A well timed blast is, frankly, exhilarating, and its inclusion actually makes this one of the very, very few games where I don’t even care if my digital avatar survives the battle. Sure, I’d like to get that high score, but the actual minute-to-minute is just so much fun that I don’t care if I crash and burn.

Er-hem. I’m deviating from my original story of how Bangai-O granted me superpowers.

For some indeterminate timeframe, I played Bangai-O shortly after Master Mode Gitaroo-Man. It was… probably a period of no greater than an hour? Believe me, I’ve tried to duplicate this experiment, and I’m afraid the forgotten minutes involved are a factor. It may have been the time, it may have been the games, or it may even have been something to do with the teeny tiny television, but when I finally powered down the Dreamcast, I had been gifted with powers far beyond that of mortal man.

Ladies and gentlemen, for a scant half hour or so, time slowed down only for me.

DESTROYIt was, literally, the oddest experience of my life. I’ve never been a fan of drugs, and alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all, so perhaps this experience is standard for those that frequently indulge in mind-altering substances, but for me, perceiving reality at double slow speed was easily the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. It was almost exactly like someone hit the “slow” button on everything around me: humans, animals, and elevators alike, and I was operating like some kind of Bangai-O fueled Barry Allen. It was simultaneously amazing and wildly disconcerting, and it only ceased when, in a bout of just wanting the world to just go back to normal, I laid down on the floor for a little bit. Bad trip, man.

In a way, that’s my greatest regret from the experience: that I just panicked and gave up before I could do something actually interesting, like save some orphans from a burning building, or eat eleven tacos. Bangai-O literally temporarily altered my brain, and, with great power comes a great need to lie down. Lame.

So, sorry, I never encountered the Jersey Devil, and I don’t have any tall tales to tell around the campfire. But one day, thanks to one video game, I experienced something completely outside of reality, and maybe, just maybe, that’s good enough for a blog post.

FGC #61 Bangai-O

  • System: Originally it was on the N64, but only in limited quantities in Japan. Then it was on the Dreamcast, which is my jam. There was apparently a HD Xbox 360 version, too, but I seem to have missed it because… Huh… I’m going to blame this on Xbox 360 digital games being advertised poorly.
  • Number of Players: 1, right? There isn’t some crazy two player mode I’m missing? I mean, that does sound like it would be fun.
  • V POWERWeren’t you just complaining about N64 Treasure games? Yes, but this game does everything right. It actually has a use for its buttons, the cinematics are unobtrusive, and the graphics aren’t just programmers trying to play with their new toys. It’s a fine dichotomy of a company making a game at the start of a system versus its end.
  • Don’t watch anime: BEAT, this is a game starring Japanese high school students. Just so you’re aware.
  • It’s Thinking: Is this the first Dreamcast game I’m hitting for the site? Man, I loved that little system, just seemed like there was the exact right number of great games for it. Heck, I want to say that this was the system that finally perfectly emulated the arcade experience… just in time for arcades to die. And for Sega to leave consoles forever. Dreamcast: The best little pale rider.
  • Did you know? The manual itself says to change the default A/B/X/Y control configuration. How does that work? Like, couldn’t they have just made the recommended version the default, or was the instruction manual just made by a different department that actually realized how to play the game?
  • Would I play again: I am going to go find that Xbox 360 version right now!… Or soon, at least. My biggest gripe about this game is that it isn’t more readily available. A WiiU version for playing on screen and off? That would be amazing.

What’s Next? Nathan M, who I’m pretty sure is comments all-star Metal Man Master has chosen… Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts! I will admit, this one got up at the top of the list because I wanted another excuse to revisit that Rare Xbone collection, and I seem to be on a subliminal N64 kick anyway. So, it’s time for birds, bears, and automobiles. Please look forward to it!

Or it was all a dream?