Review by TKDBoy1889
A definite rare gem in the NES library
I have played quite a few shmups in my time, from NES to Genesis to the SNES to the N64 to the PS2 and so on and so forth. Gun Nac has to be one of the better ones on the sheer fun factor alone. If you are a fan of shoot 'em ups, this is a game you need to play if you haven't already. Aside from a rather stupid story, Gun Nac is just incredible. It's a high-octane action packed shooter that keeps you on your toes and offers so much for a shoot 'em up game.
The plot is that a distant federation of multiple planets undergo a crisis when suddenly everything from small animals to toy factories- Yes, I'm dead serious, their toy factories and the toys within-- come alive, mutate, grown huge, and start attacking everyone. It's up to you, the pilot commander known as Gun Nac to shoot your way through all the trouble and save the people. Yeah, fairly silly story since it has toys and rabbits attacking you, but the gameplay is where it's at, and Gun Nac delivers.
You start off the game in the ship, where you are given four bombs for free and told you can buy things for money after each level. Then the game starts. Instantly, you are thrown into the action as things left and right are trying to kill you. You shoot, dodge, shoot, evade, and throw bombs at them. The game design is superb. Each level has all kinds of enemies coming at you, with a new variety in each one, usually revolving around a theme of sorts. It never dulls, and it's constantly keeping you on your toes and you do your best to avoid incoming fire. The bosses are also designed really well and some of them are really difficult and push your reflexes to the max to overcome them. Luckily, the game gives you a whole ton of different weapons to pick up during the game. A total of five different weapons and four different bombs. he weapons are designated by a number in a circle labeled 1-5, which tells you which weapon it is, from the typical rapid fire gun to the homing weapon to super fire weapon. The weapons just kick butt. The bombs are determined by letters, and they differ quite a bit in how they explode. Whenever you pick up a certain number or letter, you weapon.bomb switched to that and usually upgrades. Speaking of which, upgrading your weapons is really awesome as well. Your firepower can increase by either picking up the same number multiple times, or picking up P symbols. Both can boost your firepower. There is also a wing upgrade which further boosts your weapon, and also grants you a free hit. You get hit, you lose it and the weapon upgrades. Without it, one hit and your dead, so this game is definitely a challenge. But it's a good challenge. That kind of challenge that makes you want to keep playing and beat the game because you know you can do it. The kind that takes time to develop skill with but once you've developed it, it feels amazing to get through the game and conquer it.
As previously stated, after each level you can use earned money to buy upgrades like weapon upgrades or turbo power for your ship. Money earned is determined by how well you did, and how many times you died. It's a definite reward system of sorts for doing well.
Gun Nac also boasts a pretty nice soundtrack, a nice set of 8-bit space tunes to go along with the stages. I will admit there are a couple I don't care for much at all, but other than that I love these songs. They fit the game perfectly and go along really well with the different level designs. It's epic space theme 8-bit music at it's finest, save for a couple tracks. The boss battle themes are epic, especially one of them which just gets the blood pumping and makes it feel so intense. The sound effects are also well done, making just about as clear and awesome explosions sounds as you can get out of the NES sound chip.
The graphics? Pretty nicely designed 8-bit sprites. It is rarely dull or boring, and has a nice amount of detail for being 8-bit. The game can also scroll really fast at moments to give a real sense of speed and adrenaline without losing a step in it's frames per second. Pretty solid overall.
If you are a shoot 'em fan this is a game you must, MUST check out if you haven't. It's a rare game to get a hold of but doing so is well worth it, because this game is just amazing all around. It is definitely a challenging game, but it's a fun kind of challenge. It's that hard game that only makes you more determined to beat it when you die. Definitely among my favorite shoot 'em ups.
Final Score: 9/10
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Gun Nac (US, 09/30/91)
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