version: region free, 1st print - year: 2009 - developer: NG:DEV.TEAM - publisher: NG:DEV.TEAM - format: dreamcast, cd-rom - condition: mint - rarity: hard to find
The first print of Last Hope Pink Bullets was limited to 1000 copies and can be recognized because of the pink DVD case.
Review- Labeled as being the best version of Last Hope by its developer, Pink Bullets introduces a number of changes to the first release of the game on Dreamcast bringing it closer to the super rare NGCD version.
To put things in order, Last Hope was initially released as a mega rare AES Home Cartridge for NEO-GEO (only 60 units were ever produced!) but was plagued but several visibility issues and a few bugs. Subsequently, the game was released on Dreamcast as a normal jewel case edition and as a limited edition with a super-cool vinyl-looking OST (this edition was limited to just 500 units).
The Dreamcast version was cleaned up compared to the original Neo-Geo AES version with better visibility, but some bugs persisted (level 4) and the difficulty remained too high for most players. To address that, the NGCD version fixed all bugs, and also introduced a number of additional difficulty levels and the option to customize your ships stock. This version was limited to only 500 units (like the Dreamcast limited edition) and in my opinion, it is the best version of this game available anywhere.
Later, Last Hope Pink Bullets was released to respond to high demand, the first print limited to 1000 units (in a unique pink DVD-style case), while the second print seems to be manufactured in a black DVD-style case.
So what are the changes in this version? Pink Bullet is not a straight port of the NGCD version, since there are a number of substantial differences which include a different color palette for many of the levels, a reshuffling of the order in which levels have to be played, an increase in firepower of the ship and a now permanent pod which doesn’t need to be collected anymore. Oh yeah, and there is also a new mid-boss type enemy in level 1.
What this version is missing from the NGCD version is the option to select the ships in stock and the glorious animated gifs during loading time between levels. Still, the changes made to Last Hope with this Pink Bullets edition make it the most accessible version of this game across all formats. Does that mean it is also the best version though?
In my opinion, this version has been watered down too much to the point that the “tactical shooting” component is completely diluted, especially on the lower difficulty settings which can be completed from basically anyone with 10 fingers. No real challenge, no tension, no fear of being wiped out, Last Hope Pink Bullets feels like a compromised version of its former self to please collectors who can’t play shooting games.
Bottom line: What can I say, I am glad NG:DEV.TEAM offered a timed 50% price discount to owners of the Dreamcast Limited Edition because I probably didn’t need to play Pink Bullets. 7/10