Review by NMetatron

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 11/01/99

Undoubtedly the system's best game.

From the team that brought you Contra 3 and Radiant Silvergun is a Genesis game called Gunstar Heroes. It's crazy side-scrolling action at its best. Yes. This game is better than Contra 3, and nothing has come close to touching Gunstar Heroes.


"Holy shintos" was what I said when I first saw the game. I almost ripped off my pants when I saw all those cool Treasure-style explosions covering the screen. All the sprites look great, but sometimes I wish the Genesis could display some more colors onscreen. Barely any slowdown even when there's a billion explosions scattering the screen. The bosses look so damn cool. Just look at how they drew Seven Force! Pure genius.


The voices are muffled, but then again, this is the Genesis. I love those sound effects, especially the explosion sounds. Music is pretty cool. It's kind of hard to describe.


This is probably the biggest fault of the game, and it really isn't the designers fault, it's actually the Genesis's fault. Three buttons is just not enough. If only they had an L or R button, this game would have a whole lot better. You see, with a shoulder button, you probably could have been able to stand in one place and shoot in any direction you want. The way they did it in Gunstar Heroes was to give you two options, free shot or fixed shot. That's not the way to go because some bosses are nearly impossible with a certain weapon and a certain "shot". So with free shot, if you want to shoot down, you have to jump up and aim down and shoot. It's annoying. Oh yeah, the Genesis directional pad sucks too.


The first thing I was wowed at was the amount of moves they gave you. You can slide, throw(you can throw bombs, enemies, ships, and even your friend), and jump kick. The next thing that wowed me was the weapon system. You get these powerups and you can mix two of them up for a different weapon. Neat. Then there was the HP system. Instead of lives, you get hitpoints! Instead of losing your life when you fall down a whole, you just lose energy. Much less frustrating. This game is just better than Contra in so many ways. When an evil henchman makes contact with you, you don't die, but you'll have to grapple with him, and whoever wins that battle gets thrown. There are a lot of mini-bosses to fight. They are all completely different from each other and usually require you to use all your moves. Play it on Expert, and it gets extremely hectic.

The only problem I could find with this game was replay value. Besides having a bunch of difficulty settings to increase the challenge, there's not much else to do. Overall though, if you're one of those people that hate the 32-bit Contras(hey, doesn't everybody?), then this should be on your to-buy list. A true step up from the original Contra formula.

Rating: 8

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