Review by mrduckyrisin

Reviewed: 12/18/06

Adrenaline in a download for 800 points.

Gunstar Heroes is a Genesis classic. For years it has been considered one of the true legends of the shooter genre. Amazingly, there's only been one sequel- Gunstar Super Heroes for the GBA. I am in a unique position to review this game as I have never played either of those titles before. However, I am a huge fan of Contra and Contra III- does this compare as a shooter?

The answer is a resounding YES. This game is pure adrenaline- one of the finest most heartpumping games I have ever played. The difficulty curve is just right, and there are plenty of enemies with virtually no slow down. Clearly, this is one of the best titles on Wii right now- and it's a VC game!

The game boasts multiple difficulty levels. For my first playthrough, perhaps being a wuss, I chose easy. I have to recommend this level to any novice, because even on this level, the game starts out hard and fast. There's a ton of enemies, and while they do die pretty easily on the Easy setting, there's always the possibility of being overrun. Of course, on harder settings, this intensifies greatly. The controls are very easy to get adjusted to and actually work well with the Wii Remote. The GCN controller is also a viable option, although perhaps second to the Remote. At this time I have not tried this game out with the classic controller, but the indication is that it should work fine.

The gameplay is best described as Megaman on steroids. You pick the order of your first four stages- and there is clearly an easy way (right to left) and harder ways. The game lets you choose your button configuration, your primary weapon, and your mode of fire- you can either choose to run and gun (probably easiest) or stand still when you fire but shoot in 8 directions. With this customization, you could easily make every playthrough different. And the Co-Op only helps.

Co-Op is what this game is all about. With 2 players, the contest is berzerk and much much better than Co-Op Contra. You could easily use tactics to take down a boss, or cover for eachother on the action stages. With Co-Op, you'll finish the game quicker- and the game is quite short- but it will probably be a more enjoyable experience.

Graphically, the game pushes the Genesis past what you may think possible. There are multiple 3D effects, and even the hand drawn ones are spectacular. The game, once again, VIRTUALLY NEVER SLOWS DOWN when faced with these- an amazing feat for a Genesis game. The music is not particularly exciting but never detracts from the game. When you throw an enemie, your character will cry out- voice effects are of course always appreciated.

The only problems with this game are that it may be too short for some players- although the varying difficulty levels will help that- and that there is also a space shooter level included. Many players will appreciate it, but I did not really enjoy this change of pace, as it felt too different from the rest of the game and disrupted the flow and fast paced action of the levels. If you like the idea of a space shooter level, however, it is certainly well done, even if the controls feel a little clunky in said level- but in an era where there was only one D-Pad, it's almost understandable and expected.

Gunstar Heroes is probably the most exciting game yet released for the Virtual Console, and one I knew instantly I had to buy. It's well worth 800 points, especially if you have someone to play with. It's certainly possible to complete the game in an hour on Easy- but the replay value is extreme with the level of customization and varying difficulty modes. 8.8/10, rounded up to a 9 for Gamefaqs.

Rating: 9

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