Game Freaks

Gunstar Heroes Review

Posted in Blogroll,Game Reviews by gamefreaks on November 1, 2006

Gunstar Heroes

This week the Matts take on a Sega classic by the name of Gunstar Heroes.  The game is usually classified as a “run-and-gun” game, and on this promise it delivers in spades: this game certainly has plenty of running AND gunning.  Sometimes you get to do them both at once! What more could one ask for? On to the review!

Matt #1

Play Control: 8

Well, I have a hard time deciding about the play control in this game, because I can’t tell if it’s that the controls are finicky, or that my Sidewinder is finicky. I mean, wait, what?  I never play games on an emulator.  Ever.  And you never heard me even suggest such a thing.  I gave it an eight because I’m not sure, and over all I think the control system is smooth, especially for the run-and-gun style game that this is.  I think I’d probably have enjoyed the experience more on the actual system, let’s just put it that way.  I mean wait, what?  The level of customization in the game is really cool, though – I love the fact that it just GIVES you the heat-seeker gun free at the beginning of the game.  I love seeker ammo.

Graphics: 9

I actually have to differ with Matt about his regular, tedious complaint about the enemy sprites.  Yes, OK, so the stage enemy sprites look about the same as each other, with very few variations.  Look at the bosses, dude.  Between them, the weapon and character animations, and the backgrounds, this is quite easily one of the better games graphically that I’ve seen.  There’s a real level of detail here, despite the cartoony feel, that I’m very hesitant to overlook.  It’s a solid scorer in this department, as far as I’m concerned.

Difficulty: 7

This may have something to do with the fact that I’m just not good at this kind of game, but seriously, damn you die a lot.  You get unlimited free continues, which really helps the curve (unlike Contra, where you just get raped three times and then it’s Game Over kids), and the health bars are a big help, but I can’t shake the feeling that the game has it in for me, which isn’t the kind of feeling I cherish as a gamer, understandably.

Replay Value: 9

I can see playing this game a lot.  It’s a little difficult, the controls take a little getting used to, but it’s FUN, dammit.  That’s not something that I’m always able to say at the end of a review, and I think, after reviewing games like Boy and His Blob and Demon’s Crest, that I have come to appreciate fun games much more than I may have once upon a time.  I think that Gunstar Heroes is definitely worth coming back to.

Overall: 8.25

This one’s a keeper, folks.  If you’ve got it, play it, and enjoy a game in the style of Contra that isn’t obnoxiously suckawful.  Yeah, suckawful’s a word.  I just made it up, and the voices in my head tell me that that makes it a word.  So there.


Matt #2

Play Control: 9

This is where the game really excels. You can choose from 2 different control schemes, one of which allows you to shoot while running and the other which stops your character when shooting, allowing you to control where you are shooting. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the way the style of gameplay the player likes.

You also have the ability to combine weapon power-ups to create different guns, which lends a strategic element to the game. Between these two elements, this game is a rewarding experience for every type of gamer. Well, except for gamers who like text-based RPGs. There’s really no support for text-based gameplay in Gunstar Heroes, text-based RPG fans. Sorry.

Graphics: 7

The game has a fun cartoon feel to it, and there’s a lot of variation in the backgrounds of the game. However, and I know I seem to complain about this every week, but the enemies are really repetitive. I don’t know if that’s a conscious decision, like the designers wanted you to feel like you were beating the crap out of the same dude over and over again, or if it was just laziness, but either way it detracts from the visuals of the game.

Difficulty: 9

This game is remarkably well balanced difficulty-wise. It’s challenging, but the game’s unlimited continues allows you to play all the way through the game without too much difficulty. If anything, it’s actually a little bit on the easy side, hence the lost point. But you know what? I’ll take a game that’s too easy over a game that’s too hard any day. It saves me the money I would spend to replace broken hardware.

Replay Value: 8

The simplicity of the gameplay in Gunstar Heroes makes it easy to pick the game up and play when you have a free minute. And while it’s true that playing the game is pretty much the same every time, it’s still remains a really fun thing to do. The ability to mix and match weapons and to choose your control scheme also helps the game gain replay value: after you beat it one way, you can beat it a totally different way, and it will be a different experience.

Overall: 8.25

After all the positive things I’ve said about the game, I need to gripe about one thing: the dice level. Whoever thought it would be cute to put a board game in a video game needs to have it explained to them that if I wanted to play a board game, I would’ve pulled Monopoly out of my closet. They need to have it explained to them WITH MY FIST.


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