If you were a hardcore gamer back in the days of Sega’s Genesis, then you’ve undoubtedly played Gunstar Heroes. Published by Sega and developed by fan favorite Treasure, it is widely considered to be one of the best titles for the system. Playing much like Konami’s Contra series, the game was perfectly put together. Great graphics, outstanding (and sometimes bizarre) level design, a cool weapons system, and some of the best boss encounters of the 16-bit era made this a game made up for the terrible box art.
When it was revealed that Treasure had a “no sequel” policy, fans were understandably disappointed. After all, there were few games on the Genesis more deserving of a sequel than Gunstar. Things changed in 2004, though, when Treasure developed (and Ubisoft released) the sequel to its popular Sega Saturn game, Guardian Heroes, for GBA called, appropriately enough, Advance Guardian Heroes. That release got people thinking — could we now see a Gunstar Heroes 2?
Well, it turns out that we can’t. But we can see Gunstar Super Heroes, which admittedly, is the same thing with a different name. Hot on the heels of its last GBA game, Astro Boy, Treasure’s latest title brings all of the fast-paced action of the Genesis predecessor, but loses a few things along the way, too.
First things first, this game is fantastic. If you have a GBA, you should be playing it. The stages are all well designed and full of varied goals. Sure, most of the time you’re running to the right blasting though an army of enemy soldiers, but then you’re running through a rotating circular room rescuing little, yellow birds and leading them to the stage’s exit. If that sounds a little too goofy for you, there are also more traditional stages like a stage where you’re riding atop a space ship that’s zooming into the camera. As enemies fly at you from behind, you rotate the ship to aim (although technically, you’re rotating the background around you).