Review by hard_cor_e_ddr
Few games in the world actually deserve a ten.
Gunstar... Heroes?????????? I had never heard of the game before, even though I had owned a Genesis back in those days. I decided to buy it; it got good reviews, and it looked much like Contra... a game that was undeniably great. So I spent my 800 valued Wii Points on this game... and somehow, I found myself playing it almost as much as Twilight Princess. Why is this game so great? Read on to find out.
When you first boot up, you are greeted with a title screen that already looks promising: honestly, you can tell right from the beginning that you're going to be playing a game that contains some of the best graphics seen on the Genesis. As you start your game, you must select between Normal or Fixed shot - Normal lets you fire in 4 directions while running, Fixed lets you fire in 8 directions but you must stand still. And then you choose your type of shot, and then you get to pick from four levels. Oh yes, you can pick the first four levels in a random order.
Being able to customize literally everything is one of the best things about this game. There are SO many ways to play this game. There are 10 different combinations of weapons - you start out by picking one, but certain enemies drop extra powerups. Thus you can end up with a Fire/Chaser weapon, rather than a lame ol' crappy laser weapon. Some of these powerups are SO DANG COOL. Oh, but I forgot to mention; some combinations stink with Fixed Shot but are insane with Normal, and some are sort of hard to maintain in 1-Player but in co-op can be a very supportive weapon. All of them have some sort of use in some sort of combination of Normal/Fixed shot and 1-Player/Co-op - you'll never dismiss a weapon combo as useless.
And speaking of co-op, the co-op in this game is insane. You and your friend can both obliterate together... but don't think it will be much easier, because your health will be halved. I actually thought it was harder in co-op... but more insane and even MORE fun. What's more cool is, you can throw your partner. Ok, a trivial addition, but it's fun throwing your friend into the boss if they accidentally fail to do something well. Even if it thoroughly screws you over.
What else is there to say about Gunstar? Well, it's difficulty is the perfect amount. It's not so hard it makes you rip your hair out; it's not the kind of game that would do well if it was. On the other hand, it's not so ridiculously easy that you can beat it without dying quite a few times, and getting stuck in a few places. One of the only problems with Contra was that I thought it was a little too hard in a few places; Gunstar Heroes never gets to the point where I want to throw my controller on the wall. There are multiple difficulties, too; you'll definitely want to start on Easy.
What about the sound and music? Well, when I played Gunstar, the game was often so chaotic with sounds that I could barely hear the music, but when I did hear some of the tunes in the game, they sounded great, upbeat, and very fitting to the level. Often, it's just the bosses and in a few other places, but the boss music especially is good, so there's definitely no complaining there. As for the sounds, even though they cover up the music a lot, they're good sounds, and no, the sound of an enemy dying doesn't get annoying even when there are a ton coming at you at once. Overall, the audio was great.
The graphics aren't quite as good as the title screen throughout the whole game, but they are done very well, still. The boss designs are superb, and the backgrounds are nice, colorful and great to look at. The character designs look rather odd, but that's basically the only thing in this game that looks worse than awesome. And I forgot the weapons... which look so awesome. The fire especially, the weapons' look is literally in the top 3 best things you can see on the Genesis. Oh, and somehow, the game does not slow down at all EVER, even though there are usually 50 things going on on the screen at once.
The difficulty of Gunstar is perfect; it's not horrendously challenging nor mind-bendingly easy.
The sounds are excellent and never get anywhere near annoying, and the audio is great when you can hear it.
It'll be hard to find a better-looking game on the Genesis... and this game will never slow down, EVER, even though it's chaotic as can be.
Gunstar Heroes' superb customizable options and chaotic gameplay make for one of the best experiences you can get out of a video game.
Everything I said above, except it's even MORE fun with 2 people. There's a reason why my friends played more Gunstar at the New Year's Eve party than Wii Sports. (It's true.)
I've beaten this game three times, once on co-op and twice on different difficulties, and I'm still playing this game having just as much fun as I was before. This game isn't short, either: each level manages to take me a while to complete, especially the ones in which you die a lot.
Gunstar Heroes is one of the few games in video gaming history that actually deserves a 10/10. Some people just give games a 10 when they are undeserving on this website. But Gunstar Heroes is right up there in my book, standing next to titles such as Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. If you've played any of those games (and it's likely you have), then you know what sort of game this is.
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