Review - Blue Angelo is without any doubt one of the rarest and most obscure games I have ever put my hands on. The fact that it was released on GP32, and only in Europe makes it very elusive, so it took me about six years to locate a copy.
A few interesting facts about Blue Angelo: it was developed by Adriano Baglio at Virtual Spaghetti and published by Shibuya Interactive. Also Blue Angelo was the last boxed release for GP32 and apparently, only around 500 copies were ever produced and sold.
Reasons for the low production run include a launch price at 45€ which was perceived as high and the low adoption rate of the GP32 console in Europe and elsewhere.
Apparently, Blue Angelo was also in the works for Gameboy Advance and judging by the screenshots available online, it was fairly ahead in development although I have never seen a copy of that version so it may actually have never been released commercially.
Now talking about the game itself, Blue Angelo could be described as a quality clone of any of the Metroidvania games by Konami but with the art style winking at Akira Toriyama works (Dragon Ball).
The vivid color palette and the beefy sprites used for the graphics also reminded me of Sega's action platformer Altered Beast.
Graphically, Blue Angelo has an excellent presentation with expansive levels with detailed and colorful backgrounds, nice parallax effects and a smooth frame rate.
The moody and atmospheric music complements the graphics really well, while gameplay feels like a proper Castlevania chapter for GBA. You are free to move around a huge playing area, while defeating enemies and area-bosses to earn new powers and to level up. By earning new powers (double jump etc) , you can access previously inaccessible spots and collect new, more powerful equipment. Some of the equipment will also allow you to summon powerful demons and works just like a smart bomb. The sprite work when summoning demons does look good.
If we really want to look for negatives, I could mention the enemies A.I. which doesn't seem particularly bright or some rare frame rate inconsistencies but to me, these things aren't a big deal when everything else works so well.
As you uncover new areas, the world map will gradually become visible and you'll also come across save rooms which will come in very handy. Unfortunately, no teleport rooms are available in this game so you'll probably end up having to do some serious backtracking to uncover all rooms and secrets the game has to offer. There are also different endings depending on whether you can find and collect the five hidden star stones or not.
Finally, it's also possible to unlock at least 3 playable characters.
Although I got all hidden star stones and got the good ending, I only got 94,2 % completion rate so I am not sure at this point how to obtain 100% completion.
Bottom line: Anyways, to wrap things up, I highly recommend getting Blue Angelo if you can find it. It's an obscure forgotten gem which deserves to be uncovered and put as a center piece of your GP32 collection! 9/10