Review by ShadowGuardian9

Reviewed: 12/26/06

It's back to the battlefield, Gunstars.

During the 16-bit competitions in the 1990's, two major gaming companies pit their consoles in battle. Nintendo’s Super Nintendo system was a hit, and Sega combated it with their Sega Genesis. Sega released many a memorable title during the 1990's for the Genesis, one of which was a frenetic side-scrolling shooter called Gunstar Heroes, from famous game company Treasure. A crazy and action-packed game, Gunstar Heroes was a hit, although its franchise slowly descended into obscurity. After a GBA sequel, the Gunstar franchise returning for another run on Nintendo’s Virtual Console for the Wii. The original Gunstar Heroes, the original Genesis classic, returns to gaming, courtesy of Sega, Nintendo, and the Wii.

Gunstar Heroes was originally on the Sega Genesis and pushed the world of shooters beyond what the world knew. It was blazingly-fast and full of action from one side of the screen to the next. With General Red on the rise and his crew close behind, it seems the Gunstar Heroes must stop him. The game’s emulation is near-perfect; the game’s frantic pace is unforgettable, showing bright colors, furious explosions, and quirky enemy animations. The gameplay’s side-scrolling roots are fluid and easy to get into, with acrobatic jumps and powerful weapon fire being plentiful. Multiple weapon combinations allow for different approaches to a battle and the crazy boss designs are challenging and artistic. The co-op play, brought from its original release, is still a wonderful inclusion. Gunstar Heroes was a legend to gamers on its original release, and thankfully, it’s back in all its glory.

Controls are quite easy in the game, as it can be played in either of the three controller formats: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, or Gamecube controller. Anyone who wants to play this game from the get-go won’t require an extra controller thanks to the Genesis’s simple controller layout. The Wii Remote is used on its side, a-la NES, with the D-Pad being used for movement. The 1, 2, and + buttons can be customized for shooting, jumping, and such, and switching weapons can be accomplished with the A button. The Wii Remote, despite my original worries, works phenomenally. With the screen filled with enemies, it’s difficult not to be able to control well. The other control setups work equally well. Controls are well-emulated, and the game’s frenetic pace benefits from such tight controls.

As for price, the game is rather pricey compared to other games for the Virtual Console. At 800 Wii Points ($8), it is pretty steep, especially considering the game is rather short compared to others. With only a handful of stages, there really isn’t much to go back to at first, but there’s a ton of weapon combinations and the stages are a thrill to play through. Unforgettable bosses and multiple difficulties will surely bring a gamer back to its thrilling gameplay. Sure it’s rather pricey, but it’s well worth purchasing.

Pros
+ Many control setups
+ Amazing graphics and sound
+ Fast and furious gameplay
+ Lots of customizability

Cons
- Pretty short
- Little pricey for such a short game

Gunstar Heroes was easily one of the most high-intensity, adrenaline-pumping, funfests on the Genesis back in the day, and Nintendo and Sega did a wonderful deed bringing it back into the public eye at a good price. Gunstar Heroes’ furious pace and over-the-top graphical style is still a constant, and the game has no sign of aging. The many control setups are great, so those without a Gamecube controller, Classic Controller, or the cash to buy either can play this intense game without worry. The controls are rock-solid and the replay value is fueled by multiple weapons combinations and hilariously unique bosses. Despite being a bit short (and as a result, a bit pricey) its fun factor tremendously outweighs these cons. At 800 Wii Points, it may not be the most reasonably-priced in the Wii Shop, but it surely is one of the most fun. It’s another excellent reason to check out the shop, and is a brilliant bit of nostalgic fun. Definitely worth a buy.

Rating: 9

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