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Title: Gunstar Heroes
Author:Treasure
Rom Player: Nothing Entered
Reviewer: The 7th Level

Synopsis: My friends and neighbors, I present to you the pinacle of the side-scrolling shoot 'em up. Gunstar Heroes is quite possibly the best 2 player action game ever devised.

Let's set the wayback machine to the early-to-mid 90's. A group of disgruntled Konami programmers, tired of constantly being forced to spew out tired ass sequel after sequel, break off to form their own game company, Treasure. Their one solemn oath: To create original, top quality titles that focus on gameplay and fun factor, and to never, EVER make sequels to those games, nor ALLOW any sequels to be made. And they've stuck to that, releasing original top-quality titles time and time again. And it all began with Gunstar Heroes.

GH is a side-scrolling, 2 player action title that takes all the best aspects of Contra, MegaMan, Streets of Rage, and Ninja Gaiden and throws them all in to one beautiful 16-bit package.

From the beginning, you're allowed to choose between two characters. From there, a Dr. Lightish character allows you to choose which level will be the first you take on. From there, you're beamed into action and start blowing sh*t up!

As in Contra, the 2 player mode is simultaneous, allowing for multi-hit combos and such. You have a weapons system that allows you to combine different kinds of weapons for better results. In addition, you have the the ability to jump, flip, and climb in Ryu Hyabusa fashion. And for close quarter combat, you have a small but effective number of hand-to-hand moves for some old-school Streets of Rage action.

The graphics are some of, if not THE best you'll see on a Genesis cart. Colorful and well-detailed, the levels remind one of the MegaMan series in their cartoony style and changes in scenery. They're varied in mechanics as well. One level, for instance, places you inside a starship and sends you through a side-scrolling shooter style level. The bosses are a wonder to behold; HUGE multi-limped sprites that sometimes take up the majority of the screen, with little flicker or slowdown. The game looks so good, you'd swear it was an SNES title.

The music is fast and catchy, perfect for the tone and general feel of the game. The minute you pop it in, the music gets your blood pumping, and the urge to kick ass commences.

The sound effects are equally satisfying, from the heroes "Hyahh!" battle cry to the massive explosions. It's all good, baybah.

The game is fun all on it's own, but is best played with a friend. The sheer amount of damage two players can do in this game is staggering, especially considering the minimal amount of slow down that accompanies it.

THE LOWDOWN: To this day, when online polls ask what games people would most like to see updated on next-gen systems, Gunstar Heroes is ALWAYS high on the list. Over half a decade after it's release, it still is held in that high of a regard. And it deserves it. Never equalled, (though a one-player rip-off of it called Gunner's Heaven was released on the Japanese Playstation in 1995,) it stands as a classic in its own right. It's worth winning a Genesis on E-Bay just to play it. Just like HHH, it's THAT DAMN GOOD.

Best Cheats: Nothing Entered

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 8
Overall Rating: 9



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