System: Super Nintendo
Completed: April 13, 2014
The game is about a ninja that is also a robot. That’s about all that needs to be said about this game. Roll credits!!
… oh, alright…
I always heard that this game was hard to find, and when it was findable, it went for exorbitant prices. The reason was because it was only available to rent and never given a proper market release. I’m not sure how true that is, but when I found it relatively cheap online (I think I paid around $50), I decided to grab it. Glad I did, because as of this writing, it goes for at least 450 bones!
Yeesh, this better be an awesome game!
This game also usually shows up as one of the more difficult SNES games in its library. I’m a sucker for playing hard games, so I gave this one a shot one afternoon. Let me stress that: one afternoon.
Hagane (English translation is ‘steel,’ by the way) starts with an explosion and some really bad exposition. I can’t figure out what the game is about, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Turns out two ninja clans were at war to destroy or protect the world. The protector was killed, and so was brought back to life due to magic, but magic can only get so far as a brain resurrection. They recreated the $6,000,000 man in the body of Alphonse Elric. Which is ten times as hilarious because typing ‘Hagane’ in the eBay search engine brought up two Fullmetal Alchemist games!
Alphonse has a few ninja tricks up his sleeve. Like being Strider. And sliding. And doing some weird horizontal flippy thing. He also has a number of secondary weapons, such as kunai, grenades, and a lame grappling hook. Usually, grappling hooks are awesome, but I never really saw myself using it much.
Hm, maybe being a robot ninja isn’t going to be enough. That sentence shouldn’t even exist…
The stages have Alphonse strut around like he’s cock of the walk, casually slashing his sword at enemies. The first few stages don’t have much in the way of obstacles. Just get to the end. That is until I came across my most hated stage, 1-4! With no warning, Al is running to the left with explosions behind him!! He must make precise jumps to… whoops, the floor disappears, too.
If I just remember where the floor falls, I can… nope. Happens at other spots, too.
There is no warning for the floor drops! I had to use one of my limited continues before clearing the first stage!! It was a frustrating ordeal, but nothing a little memorization couldn’t cure.
The first boss is a flying flaming dude. He doesn’t like swords in his chest. Or does. Can’t remember. Decided to play it safe in case he does.
The second stage is the Fortress of Doom, which involves taking decoration advice from Flame Mammoth. The boss is some sort of kite with laser canons. I’m pretty sure it has some Japanese historical relevance. Avoid his shots until the center piece opens, allowing Alphonse to rain grenades on him.
At this point, I should also mention the item drops. Going through the stages, enemies are very generous about giving me kunai and grenades, to the point that I would always have the maximum amount of 99 to unload on the bosses.
Stage 3 takes place on Dr. Robotnik’s flying machine. It has a section in stage 3-3 where the background does that wonky SNES Mode 7 stuff (though since it isn’t scaling and only rotating, it is more accurately listed as one of the lower Modes). The boss is a green Pegasus that morphs into a snake at some point. A snake that explodes.
Obligatory cave level! It all leads to spinning wheel guy. He’s more of an endurance match than the other bosses, but once the first phase is done, it’s grenading time!!
The last full stage has Alphonse fighting every minor enemy in the game while approaching a fortress. This ends with a few minibosses, including a half-shirted guy that dashes around the stage. He liked to dash diagonally up while I was right next to him, missing me completely. Once his shirt explodes, the rest of the stage continues.
The stage 5 boss is actually a hologram. After a few attacks, a little thingamabob juts out of the platform, leaving it vulnerable to attack.
The entire game took less than an hour and a half to complete. That felt criminally short, especially for a ‘tough as nails’ game. Maybe my next game will prove a better challenge…
Everything about this game felt lackluster. The music is forgettable, the graphics are dark and unappealing, and the $450 price tag is unjustifiable. The game does control well, but there are so many other games available in the SNES library that does it better.
My arbitrary score based on nothing is 5 out of 13.