If your idea of a quality shooter includes unconventional gameplay, a ludicrous story and non-stop action then Bangai-O Spirits has your name written all over it.

A game based on a mech whose strength is derived from collecting deep-space fruit might sound ridiculous but Bangai-O Spirits packs a hell of a wallop with tons of 2-D carnage and million-missile battles that should please action fans. Too bad it suffers from a couple of major hiccups.

Thinking man's shooter

Like the old school Dreamcast title that preceded it, Bangai-O Spirits provides twitch action that can be at times intense and cerebral. But if you're expecting a run of the mill "shoot-and-avoid" gameplay experience, go look elsewhere: Spirits is an intensely challenging title that is certainly not for the casual gamer. Most levels require a lot of trial and error and you will watch your little mech explode a lot. Yet, if you have the patience for it, Spirits can be a very rewarding action experience.

Bangai-O Spirits offers an impressive list of features including 160-plus levels, 10 combinable weapons, customizable maps and replays. It also has some entertaining multiplayer options as well.

Head banging

However, Spirits does have a few imperfections that keep it from getting a glowing recommendation. The action can get so furious sometimes that it literally drags the DS down to a crawl. Also, the difficulty seems completely random; after 15 minutes of humiliating losses on one level you might select the next one only to beat it in 30 seconds on the first try. And don't even bother trying to decipher the story because it's just plain silly.

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Bangai-O Spirits: Specs

  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo DS


Bangai-O Spirits has a lot going for it. It's obviously aimed squarely at the hardcore DS gamer and while the intense action and high difficulty will probably turn off the casual crowd, it's a solid shooter for anyone who's looking for a challenge.

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