| paleface [sys=DS; cat=Shooter_4way; loc=NA]
|A new Bangai-O game rather than a port of the N64/DC version, Spirits has a new control scheme, utilizing lots of button combos in stead of the old dual-stick method of shooting and moving your little, super-powerful robot battle sprite in independent directions, and increasing the complexity with a raftload of new weapons, as well as new capabilities such as holding a button to Boost extra fast.
I couldn't get the hang of it. Whereas the dual moving/steering scheme of the original game is sort of complicated, it's also quite intuitive, but here you have to do things like double-tap a button to stop yourself from falling while you try to shoot, or hold a shoulder button plus a D-pad direction, then release them in a certain order (I always screwed that up) to fire off the type of missile volley you want. Trying to do all this while squinting at the tiny ships on the tiny portable screen, which is shaking around from your digital gymnastics, simply isn't fun.
The original game has an incredibly quicky sense of humor that runs throughout the game, but I didn't detect the same quality here. The character (text) dialogue through the tutorial tried to be funny by having the characters SHOUT many of their lines with enthusiasm, but it just doesn't come off as effortlessly yet earnestly zany as the original game.
I was very unimpressed by the few levels I saw; they either had a single gimmick which, once triggered, completed most of the stage automatically (these were, admittedly, "tutorial" levels), or they actually started you out under fire from enemies placed next to the spawn point. Ew. Your view of the stage around you is very limited due to the small resolution of the DS screen, and it just feels too cramped.
I didn't play much but did see some slowdown when a lot of bullets were generated, which happens when you charge up a shot and release it just as enemy bullets are whizzing by. During they tutorial they give you some story about how if your bullet multiplier goes over 100, you won't actually see more bullets, but the ones you see will be doing more damage; you don't often see a story try to hedge around a technological crutch like that.
Speaking of technology, the games has an amusing analog solution to passing game files (there's a level editor, which I didn't try); I guess Nintendo doesn't leave or allow developers a means of letting players transfer data files between DSs, so the game saves files out as audio data, which you then play as a sound file on one DS, playing it to your PC through the headphone jack, where you save it as a sound file, then plug in another DS's sound input, and play the data as sound from the PC to the other DS, running Bangai-O Spirits, whose software translates the sound back into game data. Rather clever, assuming they got it to work without frequent data loss from the imperfect nature of sound transfer.