Review by NWalterstorf

Reviewed: 04/04/06

One of the best GBA shooting/action titles I've played so far.

Alright, how many of you played Gunstar Heroes for the Genesis? M'kay, I see a few hands. Good, and if you remember it, then congratulations: you're officially hardcore. Gunstar Heroes for the Genesis was one of the best games ever made along the lines of sidescrolling shooters/action titles. I remember playing it when I was little; it had it all, big guns, entertaining gameplay, and one of the best multiplayers of all time. So how does Gunstar Superheroes, by Treasure for the GBA, hold up? Does it meet the critical acclamation that Gunstar Heroes deserved?

Graphically, this is a very impressive game. From the effects to the character animation, everything looks like a playable action anime, which is definitely the feel the game was going for. It has Treasure's usual graphical "charm" (see Mischief Makers for more of that charm). The guns, special weapons, explosions, levels, bosses, characters, everything looks fantastic.

And the sound's good, too. The sound is not realistic, but the effect which it delivers was desired from the company; like I said before, a playable Anime shooting/action title. The guns sound nice, there's plenty of entertainment for the ears, and the music even has that quirky Japanese feel Treasure is duly noted for.

So how's the gameplay? By far, this is one of the best sidescrollers I've ever played. Seriously. I've played Contra since the NES days, I've played the entire Megaman Series, both X and regular, and I played the previous Gunstar Heroes game. This is one of the best little games I've ever played. The controls are nice; your character feels like a powerhouse as they charge into battle equipped to the teeth in devastating firepower, special extra weapons, and even a sword for close-range combat.

The variety is amazing, as the gaming styles will shift from scene to scene. Take, for instance, one of the early stages which has you standing on top of a plane, dodging missiles, taking out jetpack-equiped soldiers and drones, then jumping into a sidescroller as you destroy a town full of enemies, liberating the little green people (which look like Lemmings), then put into another room where you must jump from ledge to ledge rescuing what appears to be chicklets, while dodging enemies left and right, thrown back into a sidescroller, sprawl a pyramid, rocket down into the pyramid shooting out the debris bellow you, then bring a huge mecha to it's destruction. All in one level. There's that much variety, and everything's so fresh with each stage.

The only downside here would be the fact that the game is so short. There's practically no unlockables, but luckily you can play the game over which both characters and experience a varied story mode which changes depending on 1) what character you're using, and 2) what difficulty you're playing on. Of course, the game's short, so that's kind of a bummer. Luckily, I'm a nut who likes to play the same stages over and over to get a huge record, then to publically display it on-line and compare with others (kinda' like the Megaman series does). Also, there's no multiplayer to be found of any sort. Bummer; multiplayer is so underrated in games like this.

Should you get it? Absolutely. It's a little pricey right now in the stores, but luckily the prices will be declining in a short while; you should be able to pick it up for twenty bucks in a little bit, and I recommend getting this gem. It's an excellent game which will keep you busy. It's short, but sweet.

So should you buy it or rent it? Well, there's no market for video stores who "rent" GBA games, so I'd recommend automatically purchasing this game. Of course, you could get it preowned, but then you'd be missing out on the manual. In conclusion, this is an excellent game, the only problem with it would be the length, but luckily the two characters and the story changes are enough to keep you around for a bit. Oh yeah, and feel free to post your records, too; to some it's a short game, to others, it's a never-ending competition. ^.~

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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