If RPG’s whether it’s Western or Japanese is notorious for one thing it is the immense amount of time it takes for you to complete one. A JRPG will normally take around 90 hours+ to complete meanwhile a Western RPG like Skyrim can potentially never end. So you would expect it to be impossible for someone to be able to make an RPG that last’s 30 seconds. Well that’s what Marvellous Entertainment has been able to achieve with Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Ultra Neo Climax Ultimate Boy. But this game is also not just an RPG. It’s also an Real Time Strategy & Shoot em’ Up!
You are probably wondering why the name is so stupidly long. Well this is the 3rd release of the same game that was originally made for the PSP. The game features 6 separate campaigns; Hero 30, Evil Lord 30, Princess 30, Knight 30, Hero 300 and Hero 3. Each campaign has a separate story and play style while the hero modes have different conditions.
My personal favourite and campaign you begin with is Hero 30. Each mission in which there are 30 of them plays out like a classic RPG. You are a small hero that is faced with a danger and must go out on a quest, fighting creatures, levelling up, buying gear, gaining companions, going to towns, completing quests and defeat the Evil Lord. In each mission the Evil Lord has learned a destruction spell that will make the world end in 30 seconds hence making you have to complete it in 30 seconds.
Now this is almost impossible to do. This is where the Time Goddess comes in. With a small bribe that increases every time you have to use her services in that mission, she will reset the clock to 30. You can only do this in towns where the clock will be frozen but it still brings in a tactical element. You will want to delay going to a town for as long as possible to make the most of the time that you have left but also brings in a lot of tension when you’re only 3 seconds from Game Over, your next to the town and then you get an enemy encounter.
Some players may initially be confused about when the right time to face the boss is. Thankfully the game with pop up with a message saying “You>Evil Lord” to signify that you are strong enough to be able to defeat the evil lord. I found this especially helpful as at first I was wondering how far you had to go in order to be strong enough to face the evil lord.
In the Hero 30 mode there are 30 missions with the story all being interlinked as you try to find the one who is teaching everyone the Spell of Destruction. Once you complete this you unlock the next story as well as the Hero 300 and Hero 3 modes. The Hero 300 mode is the same except you have 300 seconds to complete the level and you don’t get any assistance from the time goddess when it comes to additional time. The Hero 3 mode again is the same but as you probably have guessed only get 3 seconds to defeat the evil lord with the Time Goddess being there to help as necessary.
The overall feel of the game is very nostalgic, after each mission the credits roll like it’s the end of a campaign. (Good thing they can be skipped!) The graphic options include a retro 8 bit style that brings the feel of an old Final Fantasy game or the Neo mode which makes the game more colourful as well as improved textures. You could think of it as a texture pack for Minecraft.
Another great touch is the ability to go back and re play the missions to try and improve your time and rise your rank on the leader board. This makes the game worth going back to so you can try and improve. There is also a multiplayer where you try and see who can complete the mission the fastest. This can be especially addictive as you and your friend will constantly be trying to best each other.
But the Hero mode is only half the game! There are still another 3 campaign modes that play out differently to the Hero Mode. That is Evil Lord, Princess and Knight 30 modes.
In Evil Lord mode you take the role of an Evil Lord who has an objective like “destroy the fortress” but again only have 30 seconds to complete the task but with assistance from the time goddess. This plays out more like a Real Time Strategy, you can summon 3 types of creatures to do your bidding each with their strength and weaknesses. It is essentially an elaborate game of Rock, Paper, Scissors as well as making you learn the types of creatures and when to use them at the right time.
Princess 30 Mode takes up a more shoot em’ up style. Equipped with a Crossbow and an army to carry and protect you from harm, your task is to go out an collect items to help your dying father. The stipulation here is your curfew is in 30 seconds, the speed you go at depends on if your army is more to the left or right of the screen a bit like an old space shooter. The time goddess here can help with time by rolling out a red carpet that restores time, but as the time goddess is a goddess filled with greed, it’s costs you. I found this mode also particularly fun to play as it felt very much like a side scrolling space shooter.
The last mode is Knight 30 where you are tasked with protecting a Sage who is trying to cast a spell. This stipulation is the cast time of the spell is 30 seconds long in which during that time you have to protect the Sage from taking damage. To do this you have to take the Sage to a safe place in which he can cast the spell which holding him off from enemies. There can also be bells which will interrupt casting so you have to also try and avoid them later into the campaign. This is certainly the most difficult as you are constantly having to watch out for the Sage and the enemies can come from more than one direction which makes action get quite frantic.
The soundtrack throughout the game is very good. Fast rock style music is played throughout to keep with the frantic pace of the game. At no point does the music ever really slow down to take a break just like the game!
You could say the title is slightly misleading as you initially presume you will be able to complete this game very quickly and be done with it. That is completely wrong as burning through all 6 campaigns will certainly take some time. The concept of this game is really quite ingenious because even though you only get 30 seconds to complete each mission, it’s still overall feels like an RPG. Also with the multiple campaigns, each with their own story and style there will likely be something all retro fans will enjoy. The slight downside is that to play the other campaigns, you must complete the ones before it. But if you like your retro and you want an RPG to play in bite sized chunks, then Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Ultra Neo Climax Ultimate Boy Editon is certainly a game to look into.