Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before the GBA succumbs under the pressure of the new bad boys on the block, the DS and Sony?s PSP. However, little gems like Gunstar Super Heroes prove that the older, more experienced GBA can still hang with the big boys.
Gunstar Super Heroes is a non-stop action roller coaster that is fun from beginning to end. The game is so simple to play, but yet so entertaining. Every action packed gameplay element that can be in a game is uber-sized in Gunstar Super Heroes. Constant machine gun bullets flying in every direction, tons of onscreen enemies, massive explosions, huge boss battles, gameplay variety, and sweet graphical effects set this game well over the top and proves that there is still plenty of juice left in the GBA. The game is filled with such a high amount of energy that only the designers at Treasure could cram it all into this single cartridge. The smallest detail was taken into consideration in order to make this game as action packed as it can be.
Gunstar Super Heroes is an action, run, jump, and shoot everything kind of game. It is a sequel to the first Gunstar Heroes on Sega Genesis. The story directly continues from the first game, which stars the heroes named Red and Blue. In fact, each of the game?s main characters, friend of foe, are named after a color, in traditional Gunstar fashion. Apparently, the moon blew up and was split into several new moons. Now, the Gunstar Heroes must travel to each moon, each level, and collect a special gem specific to that moon.
The meat of the game is a side-scrolling shooter, similar to Contra or Metal Slug. But on occasion, the action breaks up to spice up gameplay. However, these different types of level by no means stop the action. If anything, they help enhance it. For example, one level will place the player on the top of a flying plane. But instead of scrolling from the usual left to right, the player rotates in place, 360 degrees. Another level will have the player taking control of a ship in which enemy vehicles on the ground, and the sky must both be destroyed from a top down view. In fact, most of the extra levels are based off previous Treasure or Sega made games. Plus, each stage is filled with some of the coolest graphical effects on the GBA. Every single sprite based trick that can be used, is done in Gunstar Super Heroes. The game boasts fancy rotations, sprite scaling, 3D effects and polygons, Mode7 techniques, multi-layered backgrounds, fluid animations, and tons of movement and action on screen at one time all without ever dropping a single frame. The programmers at Treasure are true coding wizards to use every ounce of the GBA?s processing power without losing anything in the process.
The game supports two playable characters, but the differences are mostly cosmetic. Each character has the ability to switch between a set of three different weapons. But to keep the action intense, each gun requires no ammo pick-ups or reloading. Each weapon is best used for a different situation, which will force the player to switch things up a bit. This keeps the game fresh and moving. The game has its fair share of platforming as well. But gamers need not worry, as the jumping also adds to the excitement of the game. Ledges can be jumped through or clinged upon, ensuring that each location of the game is well accessible. Wall kicking is another important aspect of the game. Again, keeping the action constant, the player can even shoot, move, and cling to ledges all at the same time. A Dragon Punch and slide technique can even performed with a combination the jump button and a direction. The player has many moves and weapons available right at the start of the game, again, ensuring nothing but a high entertainment package. The audio even helps boost the intense action of the game and definitely sets the mood. Voice work is even sprinkled throughout the game as well.
Treasure definitely knows action and 2D gaming. If you thought the action was intense in Astro Boy: The Omega Faction, then you will love what they have done with Gunstar. The game may not be the longest, but there is some replay value within each level by trying for the highest score possible. Action is the main focus of Gunstar Super Heroes and it is a well deserved sequel to the original Genesis game. Players will realize that they are also in for a visual from the very first title screen, as it displays a sweet rotating 3D cube. Only the geniuses at Treasure could make a game of this stature. This game proves that the GBA can still hang out with the newer handheld systems. The only let down about this is game is the lack of a two-player link mode. But with all the action on screen, adding another player could have very well screwed up the frame rate that the programmers worked so hard to maintain. Altogether, Gunstar Super Heroes is yet another reason to continue holding onto your GBA.