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Old Before Their Time
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Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? Preview

Chris_Hudak By:
Chris_Hudak
11/05/08
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Platformer 
PLAYERS 1- 1 
PUBLISHER NIS America, Inc. 
DEVELOPER Nippon Ichi Software 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

One Prinny enters, nine hundred and ninety-nine follow.


It’s taken NIS America entirely too long to realize something the rest of us knew immediately, instinctively: Prinnies—those luckless penguin-like underlings and C-list co-stars of the Disgaea games and anime—are where it’s at. If you don’t find something to love in the notion of a formerly-worthless human soul that’s been karmically recycled, jammed and sewn into the body of a freak-blue peglegged penguin-slave (sporting under-endowed demon-wings) that explodes if you jostle him too much—there is something seriously wrong with you. Prinnies are so where it’s at, in fact, that some would say they deserve their own game… and now they’re going to get it.

click to enlargeOh man, are they ever going to get it.

From the game’s title alone, it seems no one is as surprised at the forthcoming game as the Prinnies themselves. It’s called Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? and it’s a side-scrolling action game for the PSP that really showcases Prinnies for what they are: Apres vie cannon-fodder who will do or die (or, more often, do and die, and die, and die, and die…).

The Japanese version’s subtitle roughly translates to “Is It Really Okay If I’m the Hero, Dood?” and further underscores the essentially disposable nature of Prinnies. In an overwhelming majority of video games, we’re given a single hero—or perhaps a small group of heroes—capable of absorbing absurd amounts of damage. Here, things work a little differently: The downside is that Prinnies have only one hit point each. Read it again: One hit point. That's in the so-called “Hell’s Finest” mode, but even if you want to puss out and choose ‘Standard’ mode, you’ll still only have three hits points per Prinny.

The upside? You’ve got a thousand Prinnies to use.

You can probably imagine where this is headed.

click to enlargeThis is NIS America’s first true action game, a side-scroller composed of highly-detailed 2D sprites against rich 3D backgrounds. Players begin each of the game’s ten stages from a home base, where they can collect game information, save games, check collected items and store the music tracks they’ve collected over the course of the game. Once they march (waddle? stump?) their way out onto the battlefield proper, they can run, jump, slash-attack with their blades, and stomp/break statues that serve as save points throughout each level..

Prinnies can also pick up and throw certain objects, such as bombs (but not other Prinnies, as we originally thought—apparently there are ‘lines’, even in the Netherworld). They can even jump into and control Metal Slug-esque vehicles, including tanks and a flying-saucer sort of contraption.

Per our chat with NIS America’s Jack Niida both during and after the recent Tokyo Game Show, more than half of the enemies players will face are completely new, and the remainder will return from the vast roster of possible character-classes available in previous Disgaea games. So don’t be surprised when you see those Harry Potter-inspired Magicians cruising around on their broomsticks.

So all these hapless, selfless Prinnies—literally hundreds of them, depending upon how well you’re able to use the forces at your disposal—must have a pretty good reason to throw themselves into the grinder, to sacrifice themselves in waves on the field of honor, right? Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Actually, it seems that somebody has made off with the tasty dessert of Her High-Maintenance Highness Etna—remember Etna?—and she’s pissed off about it. The key ingredients for her tasty dessert—which includes, at last count, a Loaded Die, an Atomic Core, and a piece of Pre-Owned Gum—are missing, and must be rounded up and returned by any means necessary.

click to enlargeAnd so, a battalion of Prinnies scrambles off to fight and die. It just wouldn’t be a true NIS America game without some disproportionately-wonkoid reason for all the carnage, would it? (Hey, at least your Prinny hero has a special hero-red scarf that keeps him from exploding the first time he takes a flying jump into the fray). Just shut your Netherworld, penguin-esque herring-hole, and count your infernal blessings, dood.

Prinny, while only a single-player game, will employ PSP wireless functionality. Even now, the details are still a little sketchy, but as of today, we know that the plans include the ability to download new boss and level content as it becomes available. NIS America’s greatest, not-quite-completely-unsung hero is finally getting his just desserts—or at least, a chance to retrieve Queen Etna’s.

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