Half-Minute Hero

I have Half-Minute Hero to thank for a couple of things.  Firstly it’s given me a brand new insult to throw at my male friends and secondly it’s taught me that rushing to the finish isn’t always such a bad thing (perhaps something else to use against my male friends).

Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is actually a port of a remake of a PSP game that raced onto the shelves back in 2009, under the name ‘Half-Minute Hero’ which was a little bit more like one of those game compilation cartridges you’d get on the Game-Boy in the olden days than one fleshed-out game.  Buying Half-Minute Hero will net you an RPG, a simple real-time strategy, a fast-paced shoot-’em-up, and an action game for your money, all of which are pretty lengthy considering what they are all of which are pretty damned entertaining too, although sometimes explained poorly.  You’ll have to figure out a few of the ins-and-outs of the game on your own as it certainly doesn’t seem all that keen on cluing you in.

The premise of the game isn’t hard to guess from the name.  You have 30 seconds with which to be totally heroic and stop bad dudes from being bad, and you accomplish this task by paying gold to the Goddess of Time to turn back the clock before it hits zero and whatever terrible thing happens (usually the end of the world; at one point excessive sweatiness).  In the Hero 30 game-mode, the RPG game mode, you play a personality vacuum to whom you get to assign a name – in my case ‘Hotstuff’, – who gets roped into saving the world from some enormous league of suicidal fools intent on casting some world-ending spell which takes, you guessed it, 30 seconds to cast.  In the game’s other modes you get to do a mixture of summoning monsters to do your bidding – blowing monsters away with a rapid-fire crossbow, and hitting monsters with a big sword – but they all come with the same flexible 30 second time limit.

The original PSP version was deliberately horrible looking (in a beautiful way) with characters so pixelated it was hard to tell what they were most of the time, but this remake got the HD treatment and looks like an early 2000’s cartoon, which is nice to look at but misses a lot of the charm of the original’s visuals.  This is probably why they opted to give you the option to switch between graphical styles on the main menu, although changing the graphical style also changes the nature of most of the game modes to a large extent.

I said earlier that all the games/game-modes on offer were fairly long, but that’s only if you play using the old graphical style.  Play in the new style and you’ll find every mode except Hero 30 shockingly brief, being only one level each as opposed to the long-winded campaigns of the original. Even worse they’re nothing like they were in the original game and have been turned into shallow imitations of the Hero 30 mode with different characters.  This could easily be a way of encouraging people to experience the original style of the game but it feels more like laziness on the developer’s part (I’ve no problem with being wrong on that).  It would’ve been nice to experience the Princess 30 shoot-’em-up game with gorgeous HD visuals but I guess it’s an impossible dream at this point.  The feeling of developer laziness isn’t helped by them having forgotten to hide the mouse cursor and have the on-screen button icons always show keyboard keys, even when you’re playing with the recommended 360 controller.

Something that stood out to me during my time with Half-Minute Hero was the writing, which made me laugh out loud a number of times.  The script does a great job of lampooning gaming conventions but also turns its attention to the development process, making quips about the dev team wishing the campaign would just end so they wouldn’t have to re-use sprites.  In the Evil Lord 30 game-mode (strategy) the enemy soldiers come to know the player character as, “that pervert”.  Like every part of Half-Minute Hero it’s just a lot of fun, there’s not an ounce of seriousness in it and it and isn’t that a nice change?







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