Review by Writer

Reviewed: 05/30/01 | Updated: 05/30/01

One seriously hardcore action game

Treasure has been responsible for making some of the best action games on the 16-bit consoles. With Contra III and Super Castlevania IV under their belts it comes as no surprise that Gunstar Heroes is another gem.

As if the story of these types of games really mattered, powerful gems have fallen into the hands of the empire and its up to you to get them back and save the universe. While the game's story isn't like Final Fantasy IV, betrayal does plays a role in the story. Gunstar Heroes plays very much like a Contra game in that it is loaded with gobs upon gobs of action and like Contra, two players can play at the same time. You're able to carry up to two weapons and both can be modified to become more powerful. The weapons range from lasers, flame throwers, and even homing shots. You'll need the heavy duty fire power to take out the onslaught of enemies that fill the screen. Enemies attack you from from just about any angel you can think of and in large numbers. You'll end up keeping your eyes on just about every inch of your TV as wave after wave of enemies attack. For the most part the Genesis does a good job of keeping up with all the action on the screen but slowdown does rear its ugly head.

The game gives you a bit of a choice of which level you want to go through first but only on the first four levels. The remaining three will be done in an ordered manner, making for a total of seven levels.

Gunstar Heroes has some pretty cool gameplay mechanics that make it stand out from other titles in the genre. One level has you riding a mine cart that lets you shift gravity any time at will. Another level has you playing an interactive board game where you actually roll dice to determine where you'll end up. One of the later stages even turns the game into a space shooter. The game also has some cool bosses. One boss transforms into a giant pistol that actually has to reload after firing so many shots at you. Then there's a boss who plays like a moving version of the classic game Pong. At times the game is like an endurance test. At times you'll face three bosses back to back and if you die fighting any one of them you'll have to start with the first one all over again. I highly recommend starting on the easy setting before trying to tackle the normal mode. Anyone looking for a challenge will definitely fine one in Gunstar Heroes, especially on the harder settings.

Gunstar Heroes isn't a particularly long game. You can finish it in a day, but it's still worth owning. Action fans and Contra fanatics should certainly try to track this one down.

Rating: 9

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