sin and punishment

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor

First Hour Review

sin and Punishment Star Successor CoverBack when I was a kid, I loved telling people about things that I enjoyed. I would explain, in excessive detail, how amazing whatever I had just witnessed was. I distinctly remember recounting the entirety of a particularly amazing Simpsons episode to a friend in grade school, to the point where he rolled his eyes and walked away in disbelief of my obsession. I understood that he couldn't appreciate the episode without watching it and that my overexcited babbling would do Leonard Nimoy's brilliant guest appearance no justice, but I couldn't stop myself. I find myself thinking back on old times like this one because, as I sit down to write first hour reviews for this site, I look at the massive walls of text that result from my sixty minutes with some very entertaining games and think about just how powerless those words are compared to the experience in my mind.

On that note, I've had to do some significant editing to this first hour review of Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. I knew I would enjoy the game after playing through its prequel a few weeks ago for the first time, but my enthusiastic ramblings from that first hour were anything but concise. I threw out a lot of what I had originally written, and it's still far longer than the average first hour review here. If you want the long and short of it up front, just imagine playing Star Fox 64 with one hand and House of the Dead with the other and you've got the jist of Star Successor. Only this version of Star Fox 64 is much more difficult, and this version of House of the Dead has dozens of things to shoot on the screen almost all the time.

I'll just go ahead and say it up front: Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a serious contender for my game of the year. I do hope the text gives you an idea of how the game works and whether or not you should go out and buy it right this very minute, but one glance at the sheer length of this review should let you know just how much I enjoyed it.

Bangai-O Spirits

Half-Hour Handheld

Bangai o Spirits CoverIt seems I've been on a bit of a Treasure fix lately. Last month, I finally got around to playing Gunstar Heroes, the first Virtual Console game I bought back in 2006 and Treasure's very first game. The Genesis cult classic set the niche developer's tone by throwing unprecedented amounts of enemies and projectiles at the player from start to finish. A few weeks ago, I tried out the VC release of N64 import darling Sin & Punishment, which warmed the heart of this old Star Fox 64 veteran. I've also begun playing that game's recent Wii sequel, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, and should have my thoughts on that title up soon.

But today's subject is Bangai-O Spirits, a critically-praised title that didn't sell very much (as expected), though chalk up one more sale for Treasure: the $8.75 price tag on Amazon was an offer I couldn't refuse. This 2008 DS title is a sequel of sorts to the Dreamcast's Bangai-O (and its lesser-known, Japanese-exclusive N64 counterpart). True to Treasure's modus operandi, Bangai-O Spirits challenges the player to battle through 150+ stages filled with overwhelming swarms of enemy missiles and bullets on-screen. The game also features two- to four-player wireless cooperative and competitive battles and a robust set of stage editing and sharing features.

Treasure is a company known for making difficult games, and Bangai-O is noted as one of the developer's tougher titles. There's no question I'll crash and burn in my first thirty minutes with Bangai-O Spirits, but will I emerge from the wreckage seething or satisfied?

Sin & Punishment

Full Review

sin and Punishment CoverEvery Monday morning since the Wii craze began in November 2006, the Wii Shop Channel has been updated with new downloadable titles to purchase. The Virtual Console, one of the Wii's few enticing tidbits to core gamers at launch, promised to make all our favorite classic games through the N64 era available on one piece of hardware. Things started out strong for the VC, which reached the 100-game milestone just over six months after launch. It seems Nintendo just couldn't keep that pace, however, as the first seven months of 2010 have seen less than twenty new retro titles. With obvious Nintendo classics like Star Fox, Yoshi's Island, Pilotwings 64, and Excitebike 64 still waiting to be let loose -- in addition to the many unseen third party games worth revisiting -- it seems far too early for the Virtual Console to receive less than one title a week.

The future of the Virtual Console was looking bright in 2007, however, when Nintendo decided to make the N64 import classic Sin & Punishment available outside of Asia for the first time. It seems Treasure always planned a western release, as all the voice acting was performed in English (with Japanese subtitles), even in the original Japanese cartridge. The rumor is that a dried-up N64 market in 2000 made the niche developer think twice. In a rare showing of extra effort on Nintendo's part, Sin & Punishment was the first of a small collection of games formerly exclusive to Japan to make it to the Americas. It probably didn't take that much effort, though, since the only translation required was in the main menu and tutorials. The original Japanese subtitles persist even in the localized version.

I'd always planned on putting down the $12 to try Sin & Punishment at some point, but I figured the recent release of Sin & Punishment: Star Successor for the Wii makes this as good a time as any. Might as well snag the N64 game for some context, right? I downloaded the game with the intent of completing a first hour review for our readers, but it seems there isn't a whole lot to talk about beyond that first sixty minutes, so this has been upgraded to full review status. Lucky you!

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