Gunstar Heroes review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar Heroes box artSome offers are just too tempting for their own good, and what at first appears to be a the lucrative deal ever often turns sour. The plot behind Sega's Gunstar Heroes follows a similar line to this, yet reads like some kind of bad gag.

There's this bloke called Green who has two friends named Blue and Red. Collectively this trio are known as the Gunstar Heroes - a mighty intergalactic fighting force that don't take no hassle! One day Black, a bad guy, hires Orange to bribe Green with the promise of eternal wealth. In return Green captains a mining expedition in search of four mystic gems that are rumoured to awake 'The Creator'. Unfortunately for Green, Black has quite a reputation for global chaos. Disgruntled by the whole affair, Red and Blue disown Green and take after Black's entourage as all this Creator business is surely a disaster in the making! Get it? I don't.

Experienced shoot 'em up fans have encountered challenges such as this in the past but never one so stylish. Gunstar Heroes takes one or two players through seven stages of frantic, high-density blasting mayhem.

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" So this is where all the video-games bosses go for a holiday is it?! Gunstar Heroes' fast-moving action is astounding. We thought we'd seen it all on the Megadrive but Sega once again ignore any preconceived ideas about their machine's limitations and call upon it to scale and rotate sprites all over the place. All character are incredibly lively, there's no danger of finding any idle sprites in this game! Other than the path that Red and Blue tread, pretty much everything else on screen is alive and dangerous! The acrobatics that the central characters display add to the excitement and their determined stances strengthens the player's resolve in helping them win. Success isn't easy either, and there's no doubt that the completion of this game requires a lot of skill with a pinch of luck. The Seven Force is an absolute nightmare! Just like the kind of roller-coasters that bear warnings for people with nervous dispositions and the like, you'd better prepare yourself for a real white-knuckle ride with Gunstar Heroes because it's that amazing! "

" Gunstar Heroes is one of the most incredible games I've ever seen on the Megadrive. The graphics are fantastic, with an amazing depth of detail and a lot of attention paid to the animation. Later levels see remarkable displays of scaling and rotation that put even the Super NES to shame, such is their brilliance. The sound matches the standard of the graphics with a huge variety of crunchy, thrashy tunes holding the atmosphere of the action and really booming, echoing explosions. And for once the gameplay matches the high standard of presentation. There's so much variety in Gunstar, every level is completely different, going from a deadly board game to piloting a space fighter. There's loads of cool weapons too, with is just as well because there's zillions of enemies too. The two-player option really rounds everything off, and there's not so much as a hint of slow-down even when the screen is completely packed. Gunstar Heroes most definitely is Ribena, in fact, it's £5000 worth of Harry the Lime flavour. Camp outside your local software palace until this is released and buy it immediately. "


Overall Score93%

Retrospective comments


Put simply, Gunstar Heroes is mind-blowing. With this game, Treasure make the Megadrive do things we were always told that it couldn't - silky-smooth sprite scaling and rotation being the most impressive features.

Considering this was Treasure's first game, it's easy to see why they've gathered such a massive worldwide following. In the space of one game they rendered practically every other Megadrive action title obsolete! The speed and number of sprites on-screen at any one time is often intimidating, but thankfully the game is accessable enough for non-shooter fans to enjoy.

This was recently 're-imagined' on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance as 'Gunstar Super Heroes' (or 'Gunstar Future Heroes' if you choose to use the crap European name) and as good as that update is, I still prefer the Megadrive version.

JT - 04 Nov 2008, 23:01 GMT

Simply put this game was awesome!!
Admittedly, i was never a major shoot em up fan at the time but this platform shooter changed my mind. Not only was it fun, but it was a game that i could boast about to my Snes owning mates about how my limited megadrive could also do sprite scaling and rotation.
How the hell my megadrive coped with the hordes of enemies that were constantly on screen is still beyond me and the amount of bosses to get through was the icing on the cake!

great graphics, fun gameplay and good music add up to one hell of a game.

Tris Wicks - 11 Nov 2008, 02:33 GMT

Every game developer should attend the Treasure Academy of Fine Arts and Kick Ass Explosions.

Dan - 10 Jun 2009, 14:53 GMT

On of the most overated peices of crap ever. It just never felt as if I was actually doing owt - pure clagnut juice.

Matthew Taylor - 31 Aug 2009, 00:17 GMT

Gunstar Heroes...It's kind of hard to know where to start. Not because of the sheer variety of all the games perfectly crafted elements, but because so much has already been said about this powerhouse Megadrive title. Treasure made the finest debut into video gaming with this cult and critical hit but what was exciting about the release of this title was where it came in the chronology of video games. Finally after years of the SNES ruling the roost in terms of graphical capabilities and eye popping effects, Megadrive owners had reason for a wry smile with a game that could silence SNES owning naysayers. Along with Ranger X, Pulseman and Contra: Hard Corps, Gunstar Heroes stands as testimony to what was under the hood of the aging console if you just had the right vision and technical know how to find it. A classic.

barry - 29 Apr 2010, 09:08 GMT

Wow, the punk muhfucka named "Dan" doesn't know shit about QUALITY video games. Gunstar was one of the greatest 16-bit games ever produced. Not even debatable.

Dan - 30 Jun 2010, 14:03 GMT

I'm starting to come to the conclusion it must have bee timing on my part with birds n beer taking priority over games at that time in my youth, coz so many folk disagree with me on so many games now they can't all be wrong.

Still hated it though. N I actually am a punk muthafucka \m/

Alex - 18 Feb 2012, 15:22 GMT

Classic game, still plays as well today as it did in 1993. Agree that Treasure made the Megadrive do things that no-one thought possible.

Mean Machines Sega
Shoot 'Em Up Sega Megadrive
Buy today!

Mega Game

Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar Heroes

The Mean Machines Archive Sega Megadrive Reviews Super Nintendo Reviews Nintendo Entertainment System Reviews Sega Master System Reviews Amstrad GX4000 Reviews Nintendo Gameboy Reviews