Half-Minute Hero Review

Half-Minute Hero

Developer: Opus
Publisher: Marvelous
Released on Sep 17, 2012

Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is the fastest RPG on the planet in which the hero must save the world in 30 seconds. Noire the dark magician is up to his old tricks again, traveling across the land to teach the Spell of Destruction to others, converting them into Evil Lords in the process. As the one true hero, the fate of the world rests in your hands.

Genre: Action RPG

Goddess Era 100 is the beginning of a bright new future. A wandering young man arrives at a castle on the small island of Strehl. He pays the king a visit and is asked to get rid of some grass fiends on the plains.

The first quest with sprites in Retro Mode.
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This sounds like the tutorial of every other JRPG out there: The hero kills weak monsters, completes their first quest, and is offered a great reward. But wait…what’s this Hackein guy up to? Is the world really going to end in 30 seconds?!

Okay, now we have a timer counting down from 30. Let’s go talk to the villagers–bought some food to restore our HP…dashed to the other town…ignored all the monsters in our way. (Only 3 Seconds Left) The creepy-ish castle is just ahead and…Crap, we were so close!

Hey, don’t feel bad! There’s always a next time.
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As I predicted, there isn’t enough time to stop the evil lord from casting the spell of destruction. The hero may be a fast guy, but not on the same level as sonic.–Anyway, it looks like our adventure ends here. I guess this is Game Over then? So much for getting a full-length RPG game.

The Time Goddess cutscene in Neo graphics mode.
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The hero is saved by the Time Goddess, who intends to use him as her pawn against evil. She agrees to lend the hero her powers but under one condition: She gets to keep all the hero’s gold. It seems like a fair give-and-take type of deal but we all know how much Time Goddess loves hoarding money and profiting off of gullible travelers.

The Hero 30 World Map lets players replay quests.
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With the power to stop time in villages and reset time by paying the Time Goddess, the hero quickly sends the first evil lord flying with a few seconds left to spare. But because Noire is spreading the spell of destruction to more evil creatures, it seems like the hero and the goddess will be in for one long-winded adventure.

Hero 30 mode has the hero travel with his caravan to faraway places. On the world map, players can equip the hero’s swords, shields, helmets, body plates, and shoes. There might be another path leading to the evil lord’s castle, such as by choosing to walk on land or sail the open seas.

Another evil lord rears his ugly head on the map.
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A lot of evil lords just want to see the world burn. Most of them aren’t too bright either.–They would probably get caught in the explosion too if the spell of destruction was cast. I remember there being a shrimp farmer, a turtle with horns, a few talking catfish, stone golems, inanimate relics, and mostly reused sprites with the colors changed.

Remember…Only the hero can prevent forest fires.
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The timer begins counting down when the hero is in the overworld. The map is divided into different types of terrain, ranging from dense forests to dry deserts. The hero can dash to move around faster, but this will make him lose some health. Players should pause the game to get a clear view of the landmarks on the map so they know where all the villages are.

The average monster encounter in Half-Minute Hero.
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Every 6-9 seconds, an encounter is randomly triggered, forcing the hero to fight monsters in the area (i.e. jellies, zombies, demons, maneaters, etc.) This helps the player level up quickly to prepare for the evil lord boss battle. Although the hero starts each stage at level one, the grind is almost non-existent given how the game is set up. If the hero does get knocked out, they will respawn at the starting point.

Praying to the Goddess statue resets time for a small fee.
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The problem is, this amount goes up by 100 gold for every successive use of the Goddess Service. If a player takes too long, they won’t be able to afford to pay the greedy Time Goddess!

At villages or campsites, the hero can shop for weapons and armor or eat delicious food to restore their health. The hero can also buy herbs to heal during battle. Important NPCs have a “!” mark on them, so they will drop a few hints for the hero or ask him to do a fetch quest.

As time is running out, the screen gets darker.
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There are many obstacles that can hinder the player’s progress like the Infinite Desert maze, which teleports the hero back to the entrance if they don’t follow a trail of cactuses. On one level, the monsters won’t drop any gold so the hero is forced to get a job. Some caves are only open at dusk (around 15 seconds) so that would be cutting it quite close.

Evil lords don’t like nosy heroes breaking into their castle lair.
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Once the player has leveled up enough times, the You>Evil sign appears, which means it’s time to confront the evil lord. They are stronger than the other monsters but players typically rush in and spam dash, because the timer is a bigger threat when it hits the red, and nobody wants to retry the level, losing all their progress.

Beautiful Evil Lord finally sees the error of his ways.
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Clearing the stage impresses the locals, compelling them to give out pieces of gear stored in treasure chests, just waiting for the right hero to pick them up. It wouldn’t be an RPG without a huge set of weapon upgrades. A silver sword is super-effective against undead and demonic beings.

I am Luffy, King of the Pirates!
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After completing the quest, players are evaluated based on their clear time, level, and remaining gold. The game records their progress and indicates any titles they’ve earned in this playthrough. Titles are like achievements rewarded to skilled players who discover easter eggs and beat the boss without any help.

Richard the Bard sings about the hero’s victory in the credits.
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Not everyone is willing to see the world destroyed. A handful of NPCs will join the hero in conquering the forces of evil. To be honest, most of them are pretty weak. I’ve seen the poor guys get knocked back by trash mobs. At least, Barbara knows how to take a few hits. But hey, it’s the thought that counts right?

The hero’s friends arrive in the nick of time to fight in the ultimate battle against Overlord Hol.
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Half-Minute Hero has what barely resembles a plot. In the great plains arc, you witness the black knight plotting with his master Noire. And yet, no villain ever has a real motive, except for acting like edgelords and desiring certain doom. There are recurring characters like the bandit trio, a bunch of brats who enjoy wreaking havoc and stealing from people.

My favorite hero outfit hands down.
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Eventually, the hero always prevails because he’s the chosen one. But there are other modes to play besides Hero 30.–Evil Lord 30 stars the beautiful evil lord having tea with his bat girlfriend, Millenia. Princess 30 is about a princess who wields a personality-changing crossbow.

Knight 30 takes place after the Time Goddess is gone, leaving a Knight and his Sage to prevent the resurrection of you-know-who. And in the greatest battle of all, is Hero 300…where the original hero returns after being frozen for hundreds of years.

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