AKA: Hagane: The Final Conflict || 鋼 || CAProduction / Hudson 1994
Original Post Date: September 26, 2019
Hagane is a highly refined and immensely technical masterpiece with a setting that can only be described as feudal Japan meets futuristic cyberpunk.
The pinnacle of action video gaming, in recent years it has been seen as notorious for its scarcity, as well as thanks to superfluous claims of its high difficulty from impatient players unwilling to learn its intricacies.
Hagane thrives in making full usage of the SNES’s control scheme, allowing your cybernetic ninja to perform an overwhelming variety of tricks and techniques, even by today’s standards.
Walking is rarely Hagane’s optimal mode of transportation, as there are a staggering amount of movement options to choose from – backflips to grant invincibility, slides to navigate under tight spaces, a mid-air roll which can ricochet off of surfaces for a wall-bounce, and be canceled into a mighty divekick by hitting down.
With the proper amount of execution and creativity, Hagane has enough tech to maintain momentum throughout each of its five missions.
Its attack variety is equally impressive. You have four base weapons, a sword, a chain that can grapple onto surfaces, and two throwing weapons in the form of your grenades and kunai knives, which are easily replenished from item drops.
You may also find and activate screen-clearing bombs, but most impressive are what I will refer to as “flip attacks”.
After performing a forward flip, Hagane will begin to flash. Depending on which consecutive flip the attack or jump button is pressed on (up to the third flip) a completely different attack will be unleashed, equating for a total of six devastating arts, each with their own optimal uses.
The stage design is no slouch, and compliments the mechanics brilliantly – each brief level segment experiments with a new idea or feature, with new traps and giant mini-boss encounters constantly thrown into the mix.
There are few words I could use to properly convey my adoration for Hagane’s impeccable design. When learned inside-out, it offers greater rewards than any other game in its field. The closest thing to “flawless” I’ve ever played.