Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut, besides being a long and kind of silly title, is an enhanced port of the DS title from a few years ago. It stars Shantae, the half-genie hero, as she fights to reclaim a magical lamp from her nemesis, Risky the pirate (who is busty like all of the ladies in the game). The game plays surprisingly well on the home console, with the only inconvenience being the map. Without the second screen, you have to access the menu, then move the cursor to the "map" selection and use it. It would be nice if there was a way to access it directly, like maybe using the other side of the touch pad, just as Diablo III: UEE did.
The first thing you will likely notice with the game is the graphics. It is some nice sprite artwork, with the trademark amazing animations of WayForward. However, it is still clearly an upscaled version of a portable game. This isn't too big of an issue for me, but after seeing what they did with Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Edition, I would have loved for Shantae to get the same treatment. Although, the bust shots during dialogue look great!
The game is basically a metroidvania action adventure game. You run around, jump to different platforms and attack enemies... with your hair. The controls are tight, which is necessary for a game like this. You also have a few different magic spells that you can buy and use, but you can only equip one at a time. I didn't switch them often, so this isn't as limited as it sounds. Shantae can also learn magical transformations that she can access from dancing. Yeah, the genie theme extends to belly dancing magic. It is fitting, though.
The three forms each allow for a different ability. The monkey allows you to climb some walls, the elephant can charge to open up a few caves, and the mermaid allows you to swim underwater. Standard, but if it's not broken, it doesn't need fixing. One of the most unique things about a few areas is how there are multiple 2D planes linked together in the fore or background. There are special panels that allow you to jump into the plane in one of the two directions. In an awesome touch, you can see the ones in the background, and they are slightly clouded, so you don't get confused. It works well and looks really cool.
Unfortunately, as fun as the game is, it is a bit on the short side. My run through the game was just under 4.5 hours, and an hour more to grab the items I was missing (it took me 6 hours total for the DS version, for comparison's sake). Difficulty is pretty good though, as the fights can be tough, but not overly so. Shantae's hitbox feels a bit big, but so does her attack range, so it almost evens out. It still makes a few enemies a pain though. Platforming in the game is more unforgiving than the fights. There are many sections that require you to be very precise, and it can get a little frustrating. It isn't throw your controller hard, but there might be some swearing.
While the game is short, there are a few endings depending on how much stuff you found and how long it took, which gives the game some replay value. Granted, I don't do speed runs, so I won't get those endings, but I am more than happy to find all the items. There's also the new mode added where Shantae has more magic power, but she takes more damage. The best part about that mode is the costume change... her outfit is very similar to an infamous Return of the Jedi costume. The trophy list isn't too complicated, but there is one hard trophy that requires you to beat the game without grabbing any life extenders. Yikes! Completion here will be for the dedicated and skilled only.
Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut is a fun game. It is a very good action/adventure metroidvania game with solid controls. The only real negative about the game is the length. It kept me wanting more after the final boss, so here's hoping the other installments in the series get the home console treatment. Or even better, a new entry that is native to consoles so it can be a much longer game.
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