The Half Minute Herovideogame franchise has developed a respectable cult following since Rising Star Games took a chance on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) edition back in 2010, releasing the tongue-in-cheek adventure to an unsuspecting European audience. The videogame’s knowingly referential design is the kind of thing that gamers clamour for, and yet is more obtrusive to less experienced players than the traditional role-playing game (RPG) formula. Half Minute Hero was a videogame designed by a team that have played lots of videogames, for gamers who have played lots of videogames. Now in 2012, Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is about to bring the same sense or comedic irony to PC gamers.
As might be expected of the third title the series has seen released in western territories, Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy follows the pattern established by its predecessors almost to the letter. Acting as a compilation of all the gameplay modes included in the original Half Minute Hero and the Xbox LIVE Arcade outing, Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax (with the exception of the stages themed on other titles developed by Marvelous Entertainment), Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is a PC rendition of a well loved videogame designed to attract a new audience.
Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy does exactly what every trailer for the videogame has protested: delivering a traditional RPG experience reshaped into thirty seconds. Travel across the world map, enter the dungeon, engage in combat and defeat the boss, all within thirty seconds. Purchase new equipment, heal yourself and gain access to new quests via the local townsfolk, all within thirty seconds. But that’s not to say it’s an easy videogame, nor a short one. Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy packs more punch into it’s thirty seconds than most videogames do in an hour.
Within those original gameplay modes gamers will be compelled to invest many hours into Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy. The original Hero 30 Mode presents enough of an argument to invest in the videogame, with it’s surprisingly detailed revision of the traditional RPG ruleset, but the additional extras of Princess 30 Mode, Knight 30 Mode and Evil Lord 30 Mode, the latter of which turns the videogame on it’s head with a real-time strategy (RTS) influenced twist, position Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy as an intriguing prospect for any gamer curious of what the wider spectrum can offer. This isn’t a throwaway design nor is it a Hollywood style blockbuster: it’s an enjoyable videogame with something to say, albeit about videogames themselves.
The new visual style is obviously influenced by the successful progression of cel-shading design offered by The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, a title which perhaps receives more praise in modern times than it did upon release, but for those who wish to experience Half Minute Hero as it was originally intended certain gameplay modes do still feature the original 8-bit design. That being said, the detail featured in the presentation of the videogame far surpasses anything that could’ve been accomplished on 8-bit systems, and as such Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy’s pastiche is just that: a fruitful imitation of the 1980s, as opposed to a direct descendant. But then, isn’t that the entire point?
Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is set to launch via Steam and Playism later this week, and is looking set to leave a mark on the RPG loving PC audience. It’s not a videogame that’s likely to steal time from your Borderlands 2 co-operative parties or persuade you not to buy the upcoming Dishonored, but it’s not intended to be. Those glorious thirty seconds can be an enjoyable snack between bites of bigger gaming meals, and unless something disastrous happens with the final build, they most certainly will be here at Electronic Theatre.