||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2013)|
|Publisher(s)||JP AQ Interactive
Bullet Witch (バレットウィッチ Barettouicchi?) is a shooter video game for the Xbox 360 developed by Cavia. It was released in Japan on July 27, 2006 by AQ Interactive, followed by a release in North America on February 27, 2007. Atari Europe handled translations and other localization efforts. The game was not released with a multiplayer component, although players could participate in a score ranking competition via Xbox Live. Downloadable content includes new costumes and new missions. A later Japanese re-release under the "Xbox 360 Platinum Collection" label included all of the downloadable content on the game disc.
The player takes control of a witch named Alicia Claus in the near future of 2013. Mankind is on the brink of destruction, having suffered major natural disasters and an invasion of demons. The protagonist Alicia utilizes a gun rod that has transformations such as shotgun, machine gun, and Gatling gun. This weapon can also be used to cast spells.
The game is played as a third-person shooter, with the player in control of Alicia and the camera nearly always over her right shoulder. Health and mana are constantly regenerating, though by taking hits and casting spells respectively, the maximum levels these will regenerate to is reduced; the maximum level for health will slowly return to maximum, while the maximum mana level must be gained by defeating foes.
After the completion of each level, the player is rated in number of kills, the number of times they had to restart from a checkpoint, and the time it took to complete the level. Better rankings lead to more skill points to be spent in unlocking spells and weapon forms and upgrading the same as well as health and mana regeneration rates between levels. These upgrades are carried over through any game mode played, thus allowing the player to build up Alicia's powers on low difficulty levels as to prepare for the higher difficulty level games.
Alicia's magic gun has four different modes. The machine gun is the default mode available at the start, and the player can use skill points to unlock the shotgun, cannon, and Gatling gun modes. Alicia uses magically created ammo for each of the weapons forms, and thus only needs to have some mana available in order to reload the gun.
The player has access to nine different spells arranged in three levels through a quick-access menu. Three of the spells must be unlocked by the player using skill points. The three most powerful spells (also known as the "Great Spells), Lightning, Tornado, and Meteor, are unlocked through the progression of the game. These three spells are, also, the only ones not upgradable through the skill point system.
Also, the downloadable content adds new outfits for Alicia, as well as new missions and variations of the normal missions/levels. The new outfits include White Witch, Secretary, Schoolgirl, and Pixie. The other content include new missions and different "versions" of the regular missions from the main game. These come in two versions: a harder version of each level and a version, of each level, in which you have instant access to the three "Great Spells". The outfits are free to download while the new missions cost 20 MS points each to download.
Sometime in 2007, an event occurred that caused demons and other supernatural beings to appear on the surface world. The demons began to attack humanity, reducing the world's population down to less than 1 billion. The demons created an army, called the Geist, to continue to subdue the human population.
In 2013, a young woman named Alicia enters an unnamed coastal eastern United States city, carrying a magical weapon shaped like a broomstick that can change weapon form as well as allow her to cast magic spells. A voice called the Darkness speaks to her, telling her that the city is doomed, but she strives on to save the humans from the Geist forces. She manages to make her way to a commander of the last of the human armed forces named Maxwell Cougar, who requests that she offer her powers to help save mankind. Alicia and the troops flee underground when one of the greater demons, Omega, appears and cannot be harmed by bullets or magic. When they make it back to their underground base, they discover many soldiers slaughtered by the Geist. Cougar gives her part of a journal, written by an archaeologist that appears to have lost a loved one in a plane crash in 2006, and traveled to a remote village to perform a sacrifice to return that person to life. From this, the humans have determined the cause of the demon infestations, as the archaeologists' self-sacrifice opened up the gateway for the demons. Alicia and the human troops take a cargo plane to the humans' base near this village, though the plane is attacked midflight by a huge flying demon that Alicia is able to stop, but not before it damages the plane's engines and they are forced to land a short distance from the headquarters.
After rescuing the surviving humans to headquarters and defending the base from Geist attacks from the air, Alicia is flown to the closest safe drop point near the village. She works her way through the heavily-defended area, finding the altar that lead the archaeologist to this point and finally, the man himself, still alive but impaled on the opening of the demonic gateway. He possesses the other half of the journal, which reveals that Alicia is his daughter, that she did die in the plane crash and was brought back from the grave by his sacrifice but that this gave her the magical powers she possesses, and that the only way to close the gateway is to kill him completely. After stating her love for her father, she kills him.
While the gateway is closed, the demons are still in control of the world, and with the human troops, Alicia returns to the city to face Omega, this time armed with knowledge that she needs both her magic and the support of the human troops to break Omega's shield and destroy him. After a prolonged battle, they finally manage to defeat Omega, freeing one city from the demons' run, but there are still many other demons that remain in the world.
- Alicia Claus (Sarah Natochenny/Hitomi Nabatame): A beautiful witch on a journey to defeat the demons. Wields a huge gun known as the "gunrod", reminiscent of a broom, and has magical powers that can bend nature itself to her will. The reason why she possesses the same powers as the demons and yet fights against them remains a mystery. Alicia appeared topless in the 2007 Videogame Preview in Playboy Magazine.
- Darkness (Rodger Parsons/Kenji Nomura): A formless demon that lurks in Alicia's consciousness. He aids Alicia with his powerful magic capable of drawing out numerous spells and his knowledge that was gained from surviving countless scrapes. His arrogant attitude is made clear through his nasty comments regarding humans, but for Alicia he is an irreplaceable partner and the only creature she can trust.
Bullet Witch received mixed reviews. On the review aggregator Game Rankings, the game received an average score of 57.49% based on 62 reviews. On Metacritic, the game received an average score of 55 out of 100, based on 59 reviews.
Official Xbox Magazine awarded the game a 4.0 out of 10. Criticisms included simplistic and uninspired level design, useless spells, and poor AI. GameSpot gave it a 5.5 out of 10, stating that the game was generally repetitive and mediocre. IGN concurred with a 4.0 out of 10, citing poor AI and criticizing the game as being too short.
Reception from other sources has ranged from lukewarm to rather positive. Scores have ranged from a 3 out of 5 by X-Play, to a 77 out of 100 from GameBrink, an average 6.5 of 10 from Game Informer, a 7.8 out of 10 from Game Chronicles, to an 8.5 out of 10 from Play. Praise has mainly consisted of the game's fast-paced action and dynamic attack spells.
Initial Japanese sales for Bullet Witch were poor. The game debuted at number 29 on the charts, selling 9,083 units. By December 27, 2007, combined sales of the original release and Xbox 360 Platinum Collection re-release totaled 27,098 units.
- Bullet Witch instruction manual for the PAL version of the game.
- Videogame Girls Appear Nude in Playboy » PopCultureShock
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- Official website (Japanese)