Review by Dais

Reviewed: 12/04/99 | Updated: 12/04/99

Contra- but with bigger eyes, cooler guns, and more robots.

Hey, you! Yeah, you! You remember Treasure, right? Makers of Alien Soldier and Light Crusader?They made all those cool Genesis games?

...what? You're telling me you DON'T REMEMBER TREASURE?!?!??!

More's the pity, especially when you get your hands on this little gem. What little gem? Look up, youmay see something of interest. Gunstar Heroes. Otherwise know as 'That durn shooter with anime people andGUNS. Yeeha!' (well, maybe not.)

Okay. I'll try to sum up what I know, which isn't overly much, since I played this via KGen, and can't finda site with the manual. Okay. Here goes: Apparently there is something or other in space that can only be unlockedby the owner of four gems. This thing is immensly powerful (you find out what it is at the end of the game, but I haveno idea what the manual/box says about it). Trying to protect these gems are a clone of Albert Einstien and the obligatoryanime type female who gets captured, fusses a lot, and generally doesn't add much. Oh yeah, and there's the "Natives", a bunchof inch high people who live in huts about 5 feet tall. Don't ask.

The evil guy is Admiral Blah or something, the game doesn't exactly elaborate on this point. He has a whole bunch of cronies.The evil lady, the evil general, the evil nerds, the evil gambler, the girl's brother (er...), and some guy who looks a helluva lotlike M. Bison. So who is going to defeat these badniks? Why, no-one but the GUNSTAR HEROES! Here is where you run into one of the gamesmost bizzare aspects: Nearly everyone is named after a color. The brother is Green, the girl Yellow, the general Orange, the lady Pink,the gambler Black, etc. I'm not sure what the two main character names are, but one of them is probably 'Red'. How classy.

Two? Ah, yes...now we delve into the gameplay. You start out choosing between two characters in the game: Young Guy with red shoulderpads,and Young Guy with slightly darker shoulderpads. It's hard to tell them apart. One can run while blowing things up, while the other just standsthere like a dip. The advantage in the latter is supposed to the ability to fire below you, but the real bonus is kicking people. I mean, with the other guy, you just do throws and body slams, while Fixed Shot get's to....ahem....kick some ass.

Throw? Bodyslam? This wrestling? No...'tis Treasure. And when Treasure makes a good game, you better shut up and play it. Anyways...one of thebest features is the weapons system. There are four primary weapons: Blaster (fast), Laser (powerful), Flame (extremely powerful), and Seeker (um...not really that good). You can have two at one time. BUT...if you have two, and you select neither one, you'll get a hybrid instead...for example, if youhaving Seeker and Laser, than you get a homing laser (which, in my opinion, is the best weapon in the game). This leads to lot's of possibilities, as differentweapons work better for different bosses. Hint: You do not want a short-range weapon with the final boss.

Starting out, you choose from four levels, each starring one of those rascally baddies. After that, there's several levels that sorta get weaved together, includingone where you are controlling a spaceship. It's good stuff, believe me. But..hmm..I need to get on to the ratings before I forget those..

RATINGS: (preferred by 3 out of 4 doctors when compared to a review without ratings)

Graphics: 9/10 It's a Genesis game, so you wouldn't expect much, would you? Well, you're wrong. This game is eye candy, and so much more. Although I must say, for havingcharacters named after colors, said graphical aspect is pretty damn fuzzy. Maybe it's just my emulator.

Sound: 7/10 Things blowing up. Not exactly awesome, although the grunts and shouts for the various physical attacks are nice.

Music: 8/10 There are some really cool tunes, but you'll probably ignore them, until you get to the ending sequence (which is dissapointing, but has a nice remix of the maintheme)

Replay Value: 8/10 Quite good, actually. You can try different weapons, there's the two characters and their styles, and things change between difficulty settings...for example,Seven Force (Green's mech) can change shape, and you get to see a lot more of the shapes in Hard mode than Easy or Medium. Besides, the game is fun. FUN!

Gameplay: 10/10 Once you get a few minutes into the game, you'll never look back. Smooth scrolling complements the frantic gameplay, and the game isn't extremely challenging...butit's enough so you'll have to spend some time on it. Although at first it seems like a standard platform shooter, the game keeps tossing little asides to you...Black's dice maze,riding the cart in the mine, etc, etc...

Buy? Rent? Well...if you can find it, BUY THE DAMN THING! You won't regret it.



*

My only regrets about Gunstar Heroes: It's far too short, with only seven or so levels, and an extremely promising setting get's little plot development (watch the ending, and noticehow odd it is). Other than that, this is a game no Genesis owner should go without, and action fans need to give it a try. It's like a drug, only with wholesome family values like bigeyed people with guns and large robots beating the hell out of everything in site.

Rating: 9

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