Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2: ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman by developer Nippon Ichi Software and publisher NIS America Inc.—Nintendo Switch review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2: Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound / ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman is the second of the two volumes to bring back PS2 and PSP era titles to the Nintendo Switch. Moving into the second title of ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman, the roguelike action has never had the stakes so high!
Compared to the turn-based strategies that NIS has created over the years, Zettai Hero Project (ZHP) which originally launched for the PSP is probably one of their best Roguelikes easily outshining the spiritual sequels of The Guided Fate Paradox and the The Awakened Fate Ultimatum both respectively reviewed by Nick. Heavily mixing in comedy to what is often viewed as a more hard core style, the whole story is about just one fight to prevent the end of the world and you, a nobody, will have to keep on training and dying until you truly become the hero and defeat Darkdeath Evilman.
The premise is perfect for the style. Roguelikes are all about dying, learning from your mistakes, and then hoping for the absolute best that you’ll be able to pick up what you need in order to survive the next time. Meshing these principles with a story all about this happening over and over, and while on live television I may add, the absurdity was only ever highlighted by the narratives throughout the chapters.
Taking it from the top, ZHP is the story of your ordinary average “guy” thrust into the world of Heroes as the actual Unlosing Ranger is run over by a pair of siblings in a van. Receiving the belt that will give you power, you set out to fight Darkdeath Evilman and lose in the first five seconds basically dooming the world to its destruction. Having a few clauses in place to make sure that the world doesn’t end, you’re brought to a hero training facility on Bizarro Earth and you know what they say. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Welcome to hero camp!?
Quite literally, this camp teaches you the ropes of a roguelike, to survive in this world you’ll be exploring dangerous locations designed to kill you. Moving around one square at a time, your typical roguelike elements will faithfully always be by your side. If you move around, your enemies move around. If you move around, you get hungry. If you swing your weapons around, you get hungry. Run out of food? You start to lose hit points and die.
Pretty faithful to the harder aspects of roguelike dungeon crawling, ZHP isn’t easy but it’s ok to fail here. While you’ll definitely still lose all of your stuff and money when you die, your core base stats will steadily increase as you complete more floors so you’ll never truly be worse off as regardless of how many times you fail, you’ll get stronger as the chapters and the story advance.
Doubling down on this is that ZHP also delves into body modifications allowing you to install acquired gear into a shadow version of yourself to boost your core stats even further. Not sure the combination is currently working out? These modifications can be swapped out with different ones until you feel like you’ve gotten it right for your playstyle. Adding another level to this is that you can as of the third chapter start to add boosters to these modifications making them even more potent.
To also help yourself out you’ll be able to buy and sell items while in the hub as well as store items that you want to keep safe or repair them for continued use. While useful, the way that ZHP is designed generally allows for you to easily pick up new gear and then use these items as projectile weapons once their durability has reached zero. Why repair an old busted up weapon when you can throw it at an enemy’s head for a lot of damage? The easy answer is that you could also use it to modify yourself but with limited inventory spaces while out in the field? You’ll want to make sure you have food and medication above all else.
Being that this was a smaller title on the PSP back when it first released, the transition from the smaller screen over to the big screen looks great. If you were lucky enough to have a PSP 3000 with the component cable attachment to play on the TV this may not be new for you but if you didn’t? It looks great as you move from square to square trying to stay alive long enough to make it count and raise your core stats or actually come out on top and bring home some new and shiny gear to use as new modifications!
Overall, ZHP was a great addition to bring back as many people who may not have had the chance to play it on the PSP when it originally released. Mixing in an end of the world comedy alongside a hardcore Roguelike dungeon crawler just works and it’s easy to spend hours upon hours making yourself tougher and tougher in hopes of finally coming out victorious against Darkdeath Evilman!Score: 8 / 10
In terms of the collection, Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2: Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound / ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman was an awesome follow-up to Volume 1: Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle Remastered / Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Thankfully we won’t have to wait long for Volume 3: La Pucelle: Ragnarok / Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure.Total score for Volume 2: 8 / 10