Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils

A game by Platine Dispositif and Rockin' Android for PC, PS4, and Vita, originally released in Japan in 2006, and released in the US in 2012.
Developed by Japanese doujin studio Platine Dispositif, Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils was originally released in Japan in 2006. In 2012, it was localized for Western release by Rockin’ Android, featuring a remixed soundtrack and some graphical tweaks. However, the original graphics and sound are still available and may be activated by selecting them in the Options menu.

The story is about as zany as they come, featuring a Feline World War, initiated by “thermomewclear” cat weapons. The war doesn’t really cause any problems, and thermomewclear power brings peace and prosperity to all… until a thermomewclear power plant explodes, catching a bunny-girl named Bunny in the blast, infecting her with a cat curse, and causing her to grow cat ears, thus making her into a half-bunny half-cat thing. Things just get stranger from there with numerous humorous moments throughout the game, from dialogue exchanges with bosses, to allusions to other games, and to odd signposts planted here and there. When you see a little UFO drop down and attempt to abduct you, or grab a powerup that makes Bunny stronger but heavier (particularly her breasts), you know you’re in for a good time.

To further add to the ludicrocity, Bunny begins the game without the ability to walk to the right. She can only walk to the left… at least for the first 30 seconds, because immediately to the left of her starting position is a powerup that grants her the ability to move to the right, at which point everything returns to normal. So it’s basically craziness for the sake of craziness, and if the intro weren’t enough, this leaves the player well informed that the game is not taking itself at all seriously.

With the power to walk in two directions restored, the player is free to begin exploring the environment. Bunny has quite a bit going on with even her basic jumping controls. For starters, she has 2 different kinds of jumps. When running, she performs a 2x nonvariable jump and spins in the air. However, when standing still, her jump is highly variable and can reach a maximum of 2.5x, and she can move slowly to the left or right while she’s in the air. This means that some platforms can only be mounted by jumping straight up and then moving over to land on them. More distant platforms can only be reached by running and jumping toward them. This definitely takes some getting used to, but it allows for more nuanced environmental navigation. Bunny can also damage enemies by jumping on their heads, but this only works when performing a straight jump rather than a spinning one.

A second important aspect of jumping – and combat – is the direction that Bunny is facing. When facing to the right and jumping straight up, Bunny will continue to face to the right, even if you move her to the left while in the air. This allows you to continue firing at enemies while performing midair dodges, which is a particularly handy ability when fighting the game’s many bosses. The downside to this design is that it makes it more complicated for the player to change direction, since you can’t change directions in midair, and there is a momentary delay when changing direction on solid ground. During basic environmental navigation, the camera will swing to the left or right when turning around, which is somewhat jarring when compared to other games that simply move the screen when the player reaches the edge of the scroll box.

At the start of the game, Bunny is equipped with a weapon called the Sylph Shooter, which allows her to fire off a rapid series of sword-like projectiles. She cannot shoot while running, but she can jump and shoot. When standing still or jumping straight up, she fires off projectiles as quickly as you can press the button, or you can hold the button for rapid fire. When standing still and pressing UP, she fires upward, while pressing diagonally up or down allows her to fire projectiles at angles. Bunny must turn around in order to fire in the opposite direction, and she cannot fire downward. When performing a spin jump, she can fire off a series of daggers that string outward in a circular pattern matching her jump.

But this isn’t the only weapon she has available to her. Throughout the game, you will find new weapons, gained as drops from destroying certain torches, similar to the Castlevania series. Weapon types are vastly different from one another, greatly altering the strategies for completing certain areas. These include a short-range boomerang that has a wider hit path, a powerful ball and chain that you can send out, pull back, and swing around you, and even heat-seeking rockets. There’s also an extremely powerful but short range sword that appears to be Bunny’s favored weapon, but it requires that you get up close and personal with your enemies, including bosses.

Weapons can be swapped out at will by grabbing the icon as it drops from a destroyed torch, but you are certainly free to hold onto a weapon if it suits your play style. Some levels and bosses can be tackled much more easily with certain weapons, particularly since some weapons can affect enemies through walls, and some allow you to deliver continuous damage. Sadly, the game leans toward old-school Castlevania rather than neo-Castlevania when it comes to weapon drops, so if you grab a weapon you don’t want, you’re stuck with it until you can find another drop. You can’t just pick up your previous weapon again.

While you have a number of options available when it comes to disposing of your foes, much of the game’s challenge comes from navigating the environments. You start out with the ability to duck, and pressing the JUMP button while ducking will allow you to perform a quick backwards dash. Later, you’ll gain the ability to perform a forward dash which can be used to move more quickly. The dash can also be combined with a jump to reach great distances, or combined with an attack for a long-range flying kick that lets you take down enemies and cross wide gaps. You’ll eventually gain the ability to wall jump as well, which increases your mobility and lets you reach new areas.

Perhaps Bunny’s most important tool is the ability to manipulate time. In one of the early rooms, you come across an hourglass, and picking it up gives Bunny her first time manipulation ability: the power to stop time briefly. This ability is used more for environmental navigation than anything else, granting you a couple of extra seconds to make it through a door before it closes, or making it easier for you to land on a moving platform. There are several hourglasses tucked away throughout the game and each of them increases your Time meter. Most of them grant you a new time manipulation ability as well, including rewinding time in short bursts (depending on the length of your time meter), bringing yourself back from the dead, stopping time altogether for a single room, and slowing down time. Not all of the time powerups are necessary for completing the game, and finding them all is far from easy.

Many of the game’s environmental puzzles are solved through time manipulation. Stopping time has the obvious effect of allowing you to bypass enemies and avoid projectiles (although they will still hurt you if you touch them), but you’ll also find that some rooms have gates or walls that change states when time is stopped, allowing you to pass through them. There are numerous timed switches in the game, most of which require you to stop or reverse time to get through, and there are even some enemies that can be bypassed by reversing them off the screen and running past unscathed. Refilling your time meter is fairly easy, as torches and enemies drop bunches of triangles when destroyed, and these triangles – which are automatically pulled toward you – add a bit of time to your meter. Since enemies and torches respawn when reentering a room, you are generally free to farm for extra time whenever the situation demands it. Boss battles, of course, leave you with a limited supply of torches and force you to employ more strategy.

The player can hunt the environments for health increases as well, many of which are hidden or require a bit of environmental puzzle solving to reach. There are numerous hidden rooms and alcoves throughout the game which can be reached by breaking blocks or passing through solid-looking walls. Some of them are apparent based on the level design, but many are easily missed. This can be a bit frustrating since there are occasions where accessing a hidden room or flipping a hidden switch is required for progression.

Hidden lives are tucked around the levels as well, which appear in the form of bunny dolls. Once you gain the appropriate time power, you can bring yourself back from the dead, which will use up one of the dolls in your inventory. However, dolls are available in limited quantities, and save points are frequent. Furthermore, using a doll merely resets the room, so this is not a free ticket to getting past a difficult encounter. As such, loading from a previous save is roughly equivalent to using up a doll. With this design, grabbing all of the dolls is more for bragging rights than anything else, and they contribute to your completion percentage.

The game features a Metroidvania-style map on the pause screen that shows the outlines of each room, the available (non-hidden) exits, and the colors of the locked doors. There are a number of colored doors throughout the world, each requiring an orb of the corresponding color to open. This is the primary means of accessing new areas in the game, although some new areas are available through the use of earned abilities in traditional Metroidvania fashion. When an orb is acquired, it is added to your inventory, and dropping it on a pedestal near the corresponding door will open it, while also removing it from your inventory. This is an important distinction to giving the player a key, as orbs can be used in multiple locations, and dropped orbs must be retrieved in order to be used again elsewhere.

The game’s enemies are often in place to thwart your environmental navigation, and most can be defeated with just a couple of hits. Also, most enemy projectiles, including many boss projectiles, are destructible. Given the speed of most weapons available to the player, this means that you can saw through most regular enemies rather quickly, and deflect a great deal of incoming fire. Some of the stronger enemies include those that are shielded against head-on attacks, agile cat creatures that can be difficult to reach, armored tanks that come in a couple of varieties, and sword-wielding bunnies that are very powerful and immune to your time manipulation powers.

The game’s boss battles generally offer a solid challenge, and they vary drastically from one to the next. Some will see you fighting characters who are about the same size as Bunny, while others will pit you against huge tanks, giant floating eyeballs, and even a huge cat who sits in the background while his paws shoot up from fiery pits to launch projectiles at you. There’s even a Dracula-style character who – rather than opening his robe to toss fireballs at you – actually opens his robe, exposing himself and shooting fireballs from his crotch! In the more powerful version of this attack, looking directly into the vampire’s crotch will kill Bunny instantly, presumably from disgust. Yes, welcome to crazy town.

At this point, you may be asking yourself “Where in the heck is Chelsea!?” (Either that or "Tell me more about this vampire crotch.") Well, she’s in there, although you won’t see much of her during the game proper. She appears briefly if you stop time near a floating clock, but you really won't properly encounter her until the end of the game. At that point, you’ll learn who she is and why she is important to the story, and beating the game grants the player a bonus that falls in the pretty damn huge category as far as additional content goes. But we’ll leave you to discover that on your own.

Platine Dispositif is a doujin studio (i.e. Japanese indie developer) who originally released Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils on the PC in Japan in 2006. The game was tweaked and re-released by Rockin’ Android in 2012.

Rockin’ Android is a publisher who has generated a number of productive relationships with Japanese doujin game-makers, and it is their mission statement to bring interesting properties to the West that might otherwise never be known. They have localized a number of titles on PC and PSN, including Acceleration of SUGURI, Crescent Pale Mist, Qlione, and Flying Red Barrel.

Rockin’ Android is also responsible for localizing the GUNDEMONIUM Collection, which was also developed by Platine Dispositif. The GUNDEMONIUM Collection is a series of bullet hell shooters, which is made up of GUNDEMONIUM ReCollection, GundeadliGne, and Hitogata Hapa. What sets these games apart from other shooters of the kind is that rather than piloting a cutting-edge spaceship or mecha, you are instead controlling a little girl with an array of impressive weapons. And, rather than a space theme, the action takes place in a number of fantastic environments against other girls and fantasy-inspired craft. GUNDEMONIUM and GundeadliGne are both horizontal scrollers, while Hitogata Hapa is vertical.