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Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?: Dood! This is really, really hard!
Company: NIS America

Life is tough when you're a Prinny. One day you're living a perfectly despicable life as a murderer or thief and the next, you're a three-foot tall, peg-legged penguin with a propensity for saying the word, "dood" more than commenters on a teenager's MySpace page. Even worse, you're combustible and work for someone who has no problem using this to her advantage on the battlefield. But, every once in a while, even the roughest of lives get a little ray of sunshine, even if it means being a hero only for a day.

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? is PSP's newest side-scroller literally starring a cast of 1000 as the Prinnies attempt to save the day. Well, maybe "saving the day" isn't the best way to put it. It seems that someone has broken into Etna's dessert stash and made off with all of her food. Of course, what Etna wants, Etna gets and she charges the Prinny Squad with the task of collecting the ingredients needed to create the Ultra-dessert. Recognizing that this is a tough task and that the Prinny have a bit of an exploding problem, Etna awards the Squad with a bandana that grants any Prinny lucky enough to wear it added protection.

Prinny's "catch" is that you have 1000 Prinnies (or lives) to make it through the entire game. Though it may sound like the trappings of an easy game, it isn't. The game practically boasts about its difficulty level from the minute you start it up. Prinny offers two difficulty levels, Standard and Hell's Finest. Standard is for "casual" players and allows Prinnies to take three hits before dying (which works out to 3000 lives if you want to do the math). On Hell's Finest, Prinnies are, well... they're Prinnies - one hit and it's all over.

Prinny features ten levels, six that are available from the start and another four that unlock later. There's also a day/ night cycle that plays into the game's difficulty level. During the day, levels are "easier" while at night, levels are really freakin' hard. Obviously, enemies are harder to defeat later in the day, but the level's geography will also change. Platforms that were around earlier in the day will disappear, making the platforming aspects incredibly tough. It never gets to the point that it's cheap, but it won't take long for you to start wishing you had a few more lives.

For the most part, Prinny is a side-scrolling platformer. Prinnies use knives to slash enemies, though they can also use a butt-stomp to stun enemies. Butt-stomping is an important part of the game; it's the only way to open bosses up to attacks and is the only way to fill the Combo gauge, which will reward you with everything from bonus points to extra "hits" on your bandana. True to the Disgaea series, Prinnies can also pick up and toss items, including stunned enemies. You'll also come across vehicles like tanks and an odd jumping contraption.

The best part about hard games is that they give you the opportunity to brag. But, as the old Internet mantra goes, "Pic or it didn't happen." Prinny goes one step further with the ability to record your play sessions and share them with other PSP owners.

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? came out of nowhere and based on an early build is shaping up to be a great addition to the PSP's library. Become a hero in February.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
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