Gunstar Heroes

More from the Sega Vintage collection. For those of you wanting to play Gunstar Heroes on Live Arcade again, it’s still the same.

It’s awesome.

Except if you choose the ‘smoothing’ option for the visuals, it looks like you’re playing an oil painting based on Treasure’s great Megadrive side scrolling shooter, Gunstar Heroes.

Which makes it awesomer.

It still has more imagination in it’s bosses than entire series of games seem to have these days. It’s still very playable, the four types of weapons combining for a grand total of fourteen is a power up structure that should have been seen more elsewhere – doubling up the seeker and the laser weapon is so insanely powerful it’s essentially a cheat code. Facing off against ‘Black’ in the dice maze only to land on the square before the end is still the most frustrating thing in the entire world – but you still have to keep on going. It’s crack cocaine with cute 16 bit Japanese visuals – and a variety of visual tricks that were startling on the Megadrive, and still impress today (the reactor boss makes the pseudo 3D used in the fighter ‘Ballz 3D’ look, well, balls by comparison).

To encourage comments at the end of this review, Gunstar heroes is the best side scrolling shooter. Ever. Better than ‘Super Contra’, better than ‘Metal Slug’- even better ‘Mick and Mack in Global Gladiators’. Perhaps I am looking at the game through ‘Red’ tinted glasses, but the game had all the play control of Konami classic ‘Contra’ (in fact, there many of the Treasure team came from Konami), was less frustrating in the fact that you could actually finish the game, rather than continually losing all lives and continues at the elevator boss, and also had a health bar and throw attack to allow close attacks of enemies rather than instant death. The humour of Metal Slug is also in attendance here – the presentation of the boss rush towards the end of the game, the initial defeat of ‘Black’.

At the end of the day – it’s fun. Some may find it short. Some may find it easy – but sometimes all you want to do is blow the crap out of a boss that transforms between a crab, gun, runner, eagle, sea urchin, tiger and, um… a seventh thing, you know – the tail whippy magubbins.

You have the usual co-op mode and now there is an online co-op mode too for those people like me who have no actual ‘physical’ friends, and leaderboards to show off your scores.

If there is a disappointment, it’s in the way the achievements are structured – it’s an easy 200 gamer points to get through, but I would have liked an incentive to play the game through without using any seeker weapons – so then I could flaunt my massive skills to all, and actually have a reason to play the game as a shoot’em up rather than as an avoid them up.

If you have heard of Treasure, but not played any of their games – then this is one of the best. Then go and play Ikaruga. And Guardian Heroes on the Saturn. And Mischief Makers on the N64.

Then thank me for having had an awesome weekend.







3 responses to “Gunstar Heroes”

  1. Jake avatar

    It is awesome. Best of the bunch of Sega titles released the other day, by a long shot.

  2. Scott avatar

    Too true, Fran. Know this, Ready-Upers: she isn’t exaggerating. The best run-and-gun title this side of Contra III. This lost Mega-Drive treasure really is a gem of a title (sorry).

    Mischief Makers is fantastic. too!

  3. Rouf avatar

    . Wow, amazing garphics coming from a Sega Genesis Console CD System. Many Sega Genisis cartridge games look amazing too! Sega always had good music too, for old school gaming. I wish video games would scale back a bit, not graphically or with audio, but making the internet integral to console gaming is taking away from the solo-gaming experience costs too much when you have to buy add-ons to make the games complete. No Net= U miss out=WTF

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