Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Edition Review

Half-Minute Hero – known by many as a ‘hidden gem’ on the PSP has made its way to Xbox LIVE Arcade. Is this super-sonic RPG worth 30 seconds of your time? It may not have been the best 30 seconds of my life, but it’s been damn fun nonetheless.


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I’ll start by saying that I’ve never played the PSP game, and I’m now going to look into doing so. After speaking with some friends and doing some reading, I’ve come to realize there are a few differences. First off let’s take a look at the modes in Half-Minute Hero on XBLA. You can choose from HERO 30, EVIL LORD 30, PRINCESS 30, KNIGHT 30, HERO 300, and HERO 3. You have to finish each mode to unlock the next, but aside from HERO 30 they’re pretty quick to finish. Each mode has a different goal though some can be beaten in a matter of 4-6 minutes if you’re quick enough. Once you’ve completed each mode you can play through them again on the hard difficulty, aside from HERO 3 which is already nearly $#@*)(!@# impossible. There’s also a multiplayer mode included, and it’s definitely been built up more than the PSP version.

HERO 30 is the first of the six single player modes and it’s probably the one that’ll consume most of your time. You play the role of a Hero, adequately named ‘Hero’ by default, and you have to stop the Evil Lord in each level before they use the Spell of Destruction. The timer begins with 30 seconds and once time runs out – GAME OVER. You can avoid this unfortunate end through the help of the Time Goddess and her prayer statues located in tents, villages, etc. Your first prayer will cost 100G earned through random battles on the battlefield, and each subsequent prayer will add an extra 100G to the previous price.


Villages, tents, caves and other areas exist on the levels and can be entered. On the normal difficulty time will stand still in a village or campsite giving you time to browse vendors, talk to NPCs for quests, and just chill out in general.  Each place is different but in general you can restore health instantly, buy a restorative item to use at your will, purchase weapons and armor, and get hints or new quests to complete on your journey. Like any RPG you’ll gain levels from random battles, and you’ll meet new characters that can help you along your journey. It’s truly an old-school RPG that can be compressed into 30 seconds – or more if you need the time – which you will.

Some levels may end up taking 3-5 minutes if not longer to complete, and you have to follow certain patterns at times to help avoid running out of time.  Each time you complete a quest you can watch the credits roll or zoom through at high speed, see a mission rank, and get an item to thank you for your troubles. It sounds a little weird to begin with, but it ends up being a ton of fun and you’ll learn new tricks for each quest as you play through them.

HERO 30 holds the bulk of the content for the game and the remaining modes are basically one level each. That’s not to say they’re not fun and worth spending the time to play them though. There have been a few changes from the PSP version, so if you own that one and are considering on double-dipping on the title, it could be worth your while.  Each of the remaining modes plays in a similar fashion to HERO 30 mode although the goals are a tad different.


The general idea stays the same and you’ll still level up through random battles, purchase gear and complete small quests. In addition to that you’ll see now new occurrences with time limits and you’ll also experience new tasks required to progress through levels. Each mode has their own similarities and differences – all of which I found to be an enjoyable experience albeit a few small learning curves. The steepest learning curve will be featured in the HERO 3 mode. Three seconds on the clock, and you have to level up, get a weapon and some armor, and travel to destroy evil once and for all. This is not a mode for those who easily get frustrated. It’s suited more towards the people who really, truly love Super Meat Boy (Editors Note: Like Kyle, who has spent more than 30 hours / thousands of deaths on SMB.) Failure is an option and it’s an option you’ll experience very often – I’d guess about every 3 seconds.

Besides the single player modes, there’s a fun multiplayer mode that offers both co-op and competitive play in a single mode. You can play 2-4 players on Xbox LIVE and choose from ten maps, and set matches to either 15 or 30 minutes in length. It plays similar to HERO 30 mode where you have to defeat the Evil Lord. The “True Hero” is chosen by whoever strikes the final blow to destroy the evil lord, but to even stand a chance you need to level up your character and obtain a worthy weapon and some armor. That’s where the co-op comes into play – you can’t afford the prayers to restore time on your own, and you’ll need to alternate between players depending on who’s got the cash. If time runs out you’ll lose your weapon and armor and your level is cut in half. Basically, if you don’t work together you’ll never end up winning and you’ll run out of time.


Half-Minute Hero also features 8-bit graphics; similar to the original Dragon Warrior on the NES, but the XBLA version also features a new cartoon style visual mode if you prefer that. I feel like the new mode is similar to “South Park” and while it looks cool I personally enjoyed the 8-bit style more. You can switch between the visual modes from the main menu whenever you please. The music is a rock-type techno produced by a Japanese group known as The Alfee. It’s upbeat, catchy, and memorable most of the time – and it really fits the theme of the game well. The multiplayer menu music, however, sounds like a 70’s adult film theme. It’s very, very odd.

While the game can be beaten on its normal difficulty in under three hours, Half-Minute Hero is a worthy addition if want a challenging achievement title, or if you really love old-school RPGs. The hard mode is definitely a tough challenge that’ll have you grinding your teeth, and HERO 30 has multiple endings to unlock too. I’ve immensely enjoyed my time with the game having grown up playing titles like Dragon Warrior, Faxanadu, and other classic RPGs. Definitely check it out because Half-Minute Hero could just be the best 30 seconds of your life.

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Frantic and fun while holding true to old-school RPGs, but the time limit can frustrate you at times, and some levels/modes are a tad confusing.
The 8-bit mode is fantastic if you're a fan, and the new HD cartoon style makes things easier for younger games interested in the game.
The soundtrack is awesome from start to finish - and you can even appreciate the '70s porn bass in the MP menu.
9.0Final Score

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