#238 Gunstar Heroes

Posted: 23rd April 2012 by Jeroen in Games
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140th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Mega Drive
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Sega

Some of the games we play are ones that we’re playing because they’re on the list, not for any affinity or initial interest. I’ll be honest – Gunstar Heroes started off as one of those.

It’s a futuristic shooter. You kill lots of enemies. Let’s just go on to the game itself.

Our Thoughts

Let me describe the experience of starting the game. First, one or two player? Well, I’m busy, but maybe later we could do some two player. Fixed or free? Well, I may take my time, multiple directions would be good. Gun types? Let’s see… Chasing would be good, homing missiles would be easier. Wait a stage select too? When do we get to actually play?

That might not have been as succesful, but it gives an impression. You see, you start off with a lot of options, half of which make no sense before you start and it’s not easy to see what’s the best option. Then you get into the game and it really starts. The starting rigmarole isn’t really that bad to be honest. It is really nice to have a lot of options when it comes to ammo type and how often  you care to fire at them. The game itself insists on an edge of difficulty so the only real difficulty setting to hand would be your choice of ammo.  An interesting thing, however, is that power-ups later in the game further customise your ammo so it’s good to try out different combinations because it really can make for a different experience with every playthrough. Just beware of the aim on this game… not great.

We’ve featured manic shooters before, such as DoDonPachi, but those were top down shooters. This time we’re dealing with a side scroller, jumping and all, which changes the mechanics slightly. While still having lots of enemies come in, the lack of free movement means that you have to pay a lot more attention to where you’re standing, while you know enemies won’t always come out of nowhere.

Now these are all wonderful, colourful enemies that are incredibly difficult to deal with, but the real treat comes only further in. Each stage has several bosses in it and they’re brilliant. Each looks amazing, with their own tactics and attacks. Maybe it’s something we’ve seen before, but it’s worked out amazingly here. Whether it’s an overly complicated mecha or a number of cubes together stomping around as some simple human.

One thing I loved is the edge of humour. I am still not completely versed in what the background storyline of this game really is; to be honest I just got as far as shoot now, ask questions later, be chased by killer bees. However, whenever you beat a major boss or cause some major damage to the level the enemies do look on the verge of tears as they clamour around looking for their ringleader. It is also gratifying that many of the bosses are actually subject to the same rules you are. Typically whenever you fall off screen you are catapulted back into the level at the cost of 20 hitpoints, what’s cool is that the bosses will also be docked the same amount of points if for some reason you can lure them into jumping off screen. It’s a small point but it actually humanizes your adversaries.

Main thing though, it’s tough. Enemies from all sides, then bosses who have plenty of health and attacks and are difficult enough to shoot at. It’s hard enough to keep up with… whether you take time to gawk at the enemy or not.

Final Thoughts

This is the first time that we have heard from Treasure on this blog and it will not be the last. In fact there are two more games in this franchise alone as well as a game involving what I believe is a demonic blanket as well as a GBA game of Astro Boy. There is more than this, in fact they probably fall into the Top 10 most prolific developer on this list… that sounds like a good idea for a blog post. Watch this space people!

  1. […] we played Gunstar Heroes as game… oh, 140 on the blog, some 740 games and at least seven and a half years ago. It […]