Bangai-O is a multidirectional shooter developed by Treasure and released in 1999 on the Nintendo 64 in Japan. It was ported to the Dreamcast worldwide shortly after with some gameplay changes and updated graphics and audio. The game places the player in control of a weaponized mech that can hover across large stages and fire at enemies all around them. The player must reach the end of each stage and defeat the boss, while avoiding hazards scattered across the map such as enemy mechs and gun turrets.
The initial ideas for Bangai-O came from Treasure programmer Mitsuru Yaida who wanted to challenge himself by programming an extreme number of bullets on the screen at once. Journalists agree that Yaida was most likely inspired by the 1984 Japanese computer game Hover Attack. The team developed the game with a focus on creating enjoyable gameplay, and opted for simple graphical effects to preserve the game’s speed. Bangai-O was released on the Nintendo 64 and was limited to a run of 10,000 copies because of publisher Entertainment Software Publishing’s belief it had niche appeal. The team replaced most of the graphics and audio, changed some gameplay elements, and re-released it on the Dreamcast three months later, a version later released internationally.
Bangai-O received positive reviews from game journalists. Many critics compared it to shoot ’em ups and action games of the past, praising its retro gameplay and aesthetics. They also commended the level design for keeping the game interesting throughout. Some reviews, especially those for the Dreamcast version, were more critical of the graphics and believed the game’s value was primarily in its nostalgic gameplay.