“ Brand: Sega / Genre: Action / Live Arcade „
Despite being one of the best games to ever grace the Sega Mega Drive (Genessis), Gunstar Heroes lacked the recognition it deserved during it's prime. The run and gun side scroller was, by far, one of the most action packed games available at the time. You add on the ability to play with a friend locally and you had one hell of a fun time ready and waiting.
Like a lot of games that get imported over to the west from Japan, the story gets somewhat discombobulated and lost in translation. But then that has never really been a big part of these sort of games and Gunstar Heroes is no different. The game is all about action and less about story line. Throughout the course of the game, the player has the opportunities to pick up multiple types of guns. Now this was something that made Gunstar Heroes unique at the time. The player could pick up two different styles of guns and depending on which combination they held, the gun would fire differently.
As far as progression goes, Gunstar Heroes plays like a lot of other platform games at the time. The players will brawl their way through the gun totting bad guys before running into an end boss. Just like another popular game at the time, Mega Man, the bosses in Gunstar Heroes were all unique and the players had to figure out their weaknesses before they could get past them and progress to the next stage. If a player was having trouble getting passed a certain boss, it was no big deal. Another thing that made this game unique was the fact that you could pick and choose which levels you wanted to take on. So if there was a level you was having a hard time getting by, you simply bypass it and do it at the end instead of racking your brains trying to figure out how to beat it.
All in all, Gunstar Heroes was indeed one of the better games to grace the Sega Mega Drive. It's fast pace, unique weaponry and inventive end level bosses made the game a joy to play and with it being released on the current generation consoles under Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, fans of the series can take a ride back down memory lane and regale in the nostalgia of getting their hands on the perfectly awesome Gunstar Heroes.
Originally released in 1993 on the sega megadrive (or genesis as it is known in America) this fantastic shooter has been re-released on xbox live arcade in 2009 for 400 microsoft points (around £3.40) so lock and load...
Gunstar Heroes is a side scrolling shooter that puts you in the role of either gunstar red or blue twin brothers who are attempting to stop the revival of the evil space robot by the evil empire, this can be done in single player or two player co-operative mode. The controls are simple, you have the directional pad for movement and a button for jumping and one for shooting which can be directed by the aforementioned d pad. There are close combat attacks and throws / jump / slide kicks which can be activated with the attack button. As well as this the shoot button can be boosted with four different pick ups, chaser, force, lightning and fire, these all have different effects and can be combined with one other of the power ups into 14 different combinations.
Your life is represented by numbers in the top corner of the screen different attacks cause different number based amounts of damage and when you are down to zero you have the choice of using a continue or having game over. You have to run through the levels fighting enemies and epic bosses who each have different attack patterns to learn and exploit. Each of the bosses have different colour based names and the end boss is called Golden Silver, this is an odd quirky touch and one I really like, I do however have no idea why. The plot of the game flows well so I don't want to spoil it here but it mixes epic adventure with humour perfectly and is a key playing feature.
The soundtrack is perfect 32 bit joy, epic soundtracks that really get you into the action. The graphics are good for '94 but now they don't seem as impressive, in my other reviews I have mentioned that the graphics say they are 'smoothed' but it doesn't look at all pleasant.
The achievements are almost all story based and will be able to be grabbed on one playthrough, this lets the game down slightly as you feel they were added in within the last ten minutes with no real effort or thought behind them. The xbox also allows a quick save option which makes them game easier however it is up to you if you wish to use it or not.
Overall I love this game, it is a great co-op game and for the price a wonderful addition to the arcade. Sure it has a few little flaws but if you can get by them this is a great funny game.
Gunstar Heroes was originally a Megadrive platform-shooter, now re-released as part of Sega's Vintage Collection. That name seems appropriate; this is both vintage in terms of being old, and vintage in terms of being a classic.
It's manic action all the way, as you take control of one of two twin brothers on a mission to defeat an evil dictator and rescue their kidnapped older brother. Gunstar Heroes is a side-scrolling shooter where you pick from a selection of weapons and take to a series of imaginative levels against hordes of enemies. And I do mean hordes - Gunstar Heroes is notorious for it's harsh difficulty level.
There's a co-operative mode, but that doesn't really make the game much easier since power-ups and health packs have to be shared. However, playing a game with a fellow human at your side is almost always a fun experience, and in a neat addition you can also play in co-op over XBox Live.
As well as shooting your characters have a melee attack and a slide attack. You can also grab and throw enemies and hang from the ceiling. When you start the game you're given a choice between two different shooting modes; Free Shot allows you to run and shoot, while with Fixed Shot you can only shoot while standing still but are given a lethal flying kick attack. The controls are spot on; some retro updates lose out because of the 360 controller's rubbish directional pad, but that's not a problem here, with excellent use of the analogue stick.
The graphics are fairly typical of the Megadrive at the time, with bold, colourful sprites and backgrounds. At the time the developers really pushed the Megadrive hardware, with some of the huge bosses in particular looking impressive, and although the graphics have obviously aged the animation in still nice.
This isn't the longest game in the world, in fairness. There are four levels which you can choose to play in any order, and each has its own boss. Once these initial four levels are beaten a fifth opens up, challenging you to take on those bosses again one after another before confronting you with the end game boss. It's not a huge number, admittedly, but the differing combinations of weapons and the multiple difficulty levels mean that replay value is high.
Back when it was released games magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly gave Gunstar Heroes their Game of the Year award, and time has not greatly dulled its charms. Yes it's old and a bit short, but don't let that put you off one of the best scrolling shooters ever - and, at a mere 400 Microsoft points, a real snip.