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Arcade blasting at its best
Now this is a classic, a fast and frenetic shooter the likes of which are rarely seen today. An early release from Treasure, well known for other genre greats like Dynamite Headdy, Ikaruga, Sin and Punishment and Radiant Silvergun, Gunstar Heroes features gorgeous 16-bit graphics, inventive weapons and wonderfully simple old-school platform blasting action. Ignore the story which, in both the Japanese and Western versions, is overly convoluted and bizarrely scripted, and instead concentrate on the shooting, which is where the game really scores, especially in two-player mode. Levels are impressive both from a visual perspective and in terms of design, where you will find yourself moving in all directions and facing any number of enemies including some wonderful bosses. Players never really know what to expect next and will be constantly kept on their toes by the ever changing shifts to shooter conventions. The range of weapons on display here adds much to the game, especially the way in which they can be combined. Standard guns include flamethrowers, machine guns and homing missiles, but these can all be mixed freely to create your own favourites like homing fireballs. The game is fun enough in single-player mode, but adding a second person renders it even more so, partly as the two characters are actually notably different in playing style. In terms of run 'n gun shooters, this really is a classic, fast, thrilling, and visually impressive with real charm and personality. Not to be missed!