Nothing ruins your day more than an evil overlord kidnapping your nation’s princess and threatening the utter destruction of your land in just a few moments. And what if you don’t have the time to get out there and rescue her, uncover the ultimate weapons needed to slay a massive beast guarding the entrance to the evil bosses lair, and knock out the evil overlord for good? If that’s the case then you’ll be happy to know you can do all of that in less than one minute in Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy on PC.
Half-Minute Hero was originally released on the PSP back in 2009 and delighted gamers with its ridicule of standard RPG conventions like the level-up system, overly dramatic storylines, and fantasy setting by mashing all of the epicness of a standard role-playing game into 30 seconds of gameplay. Though the title itself implies a short game, Half-Minute Hero is actually much longer than half a minute and is well worth your time.
You play as the hero, who must stop an evil lord from casting the ultimate spell of destruction that will destroy the land. Unfortunately for the hero, the spell only takes 30 seconds to cast, and if you can’t falter the evil lord’s plans then it’s all over. Thankfully, the Time Goddess will gladly rewind time for you providing you have enough cash to feed her greed each time you use her powers. With time of the essence, the Hero must move quickly to achieve his goal, so everything from battles to town visits is done in a flash. With a few dozen stages to play through, branching paths to take, unique characters to meet and items to collect, there is plenty to do in Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy that’ll take you well beyond the advertised 30 seconds.
There is plenty to do outside of the main story mode, Hero 30. Princess 30 puts you in the shoes of the surprisingly combative Princess in a shoot-em up style game. Evil Lord 30 lets you play as the Evil Lord in a strategy RPG style game. You must protect a sage casting a benevolent spell to save the land in Knight 30’s action game mode. Rounding out the package are Hero 300 which plays identically to Hero 30 mode except with an extended time limit and no Time Goddess, as well as Hero 3, which only grants three seconds to stop the evil lord’s spell. A multiplayer mode allows for up to four players to compete to see who can gain the highest level and defeat the evil lord first. In short, there is simply a ton to do in this game, and each mode offers drastically different gameplay options to keep you entertained no matter how you choose to play.
The original PSP version of the game featured an 8-bit graphical style reminiscent of classic RPGs on the NES, while the Xbox Live port of the game added a new anime-style graphical setting. Ultimate Boy combines both styles of visuals and lets you choose which you want to view. I recommend playing on the 8-bit setting to get the full feel of the humorous mocking of old RPGs and just ignore the updated visuals. Speaking of humor, Half-Minute Hero’s dialogue should appeal to any fans of old school games. Characters often speak of ultimate weapons being hidden away in a cave for no explainable reason, while other RPG troupes like the princess being helpless and the evil lord being, well, evil are mocked in a very fun way. The visuals and dialogue go hand-in-hand and create a charming atmosphere that is unique to the game.
The only mar to the overall experience comes are the controls. Using the keyboard to navigate around the world is too cumbersome and all too often you’ll accidentally pass by a town you wanted to enter or not purchase an item you needed. This is a very bad thing considering time is always a factor in your success. While you can get used to this control scheme with some time, you can thankfully plug in a controller to use which is a much more preferable method. Ultimate Boy is the PC exclusive version of the game but it unfortunately doesn’t include any new content for the game. It does, however, combine the previously exclusive modes on the PSP and Xbox Live versions of the game in one package. And gamers who download the game via PLAYISM will also be able to download the game’s soundtrack (which is a fine mix of orchestral tunes and old school music) for free.
Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is a game that retro RPG gamers and fans of role-playing games in general will love. The mix of nostalgia, comedy, and various gameplay modes make the game an easy recommendation for a gamer looking for something fun and creative to play. Despite a few problems concerning the controls and graphics, Ultimate Boy is a fun game that you’ll enjoy well beyond the title’s suggested length.