(Wii Virtual Console / Mega Drive)

Gunstar Heroes (Wii Virtual Console / Mega Drive)

Game Profile

The Gunstar family has been the protector of the planet Gunstar 9 (G-9) for generations. In his youth, Dr. Brown defeated Golden Silver, a destructive android that traveled millions of miles to suck G-9 dry of all its resources. Dr. Brown was able to extract the four famous Mystical Gems, the robot's power source, and imprisoned it on one of G-9's moons.

Years later, a new menace rises. Smash Daisaku, a vicious dictator found out that the Gunstars knew the location of the Mystical Gems. One day, Smash Daisaku kidnapped the Gunstar twins' older brother Green and used a mind control machine to make Green obey his orders.

With Green's help, Smash Daisaku amassed all four Mystical Gems, has turned Gunstar 9's peaceful worker droids into deadly menaces, and is now preparing to leave for Gunstar 9's moon to reactivate Golden Silver.

Game Review

Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

The Gunstar family has been the protector of the planet Gunstar 9 (G-9) for generations.

This ranks as one of the finest Megadrive/Genesis titles ever, so it's no surprise that people are getting excited about the Virtual Console release! If you've ever played Contra or Metal Slug you will have a good idea of what to expect here. One or two...

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User Comments (76)

__Nathan G

#1

Nathan G said:

A fast-paced non stop carnage shooting pile of sega madness..and who doesnt love that!!! A legend of a game!

__mini_stephen

#2

mini_stephen said:

Who would have thought the megadrive was capable of the fx this game threw at you? mental stuff. i didnt play it at the time so it's been great checkig it out this time on the VC

__Bullio

#3

Bullio said:

Hands down one of the top 5 games ever released for the Genesis. I bought my first batch of points today and this was the first thing I downloaded. It's still just as crazy and intense as I remember, maybe even more so. Don't hesitate with this one. Get it. Get it now!

__RetroGuy

#4

RetroGuy said:

The boss battle against Green has to be one of my fave boss battles of all time :P DONT EVER GET THE GBA REMAKE.. its a mockery to this game

Jazzem

#5

Jazzem said:

Is the PAL version really that much slower though? It seems to run very smoothly, and I can't really see a big difference between it and Youtube videos. The borders are huge though

But yes, an absolutely fantastic game, the first VC game I downloaded, and it remains my favourite :) I even liked the GBA version, but I did play that before this.

__Zelnaga

#6

Zelnaga said:

This game is bloody mad! In a good way. Got the PAL version, and seems to run smoothly on mine. NTSC will always own PAL :(

__djdexcat

#7

djdexcat said:

If I had trophies for everything, I'd give this game...
-Best Genesis Special Effects
-Most Memorable Boss Battle (x3... Seven Force, Melon Bread, Final Level)
-The 'More Explosions Than You Can Count' Award
-Greatest Game With A Terrible Sequel
...The list goes on and on. 5 stars!

__Daft Hero

#8

Daft Hero said:

I, sadly, never had much time with the Genesis/MD back in the day. I was always a SNES freak. Games like this make me wish i owned a Genesis/MD too! It is amazing fun! Now only if VC can get saturn games and we can get Guardian Heroes as well! :P

Juice_Lee

#9

Juice_Lee said:

The single best purchase you can make on the Virtual Console right now, probably even moreso than Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, OoT, or Toe Jam and Earl. Fantastic game, one of my all time favorites. And it is at it's best with two players as well, so you can grab a friend and have a great time with it. BUY THIS NOW.

__Phrank

#11

Phrank said:

Does anyone else have problems with this game when the Wii is set to 480p mode with a component cable on a PAL HDTV? My TV just goes blue as if there was no signal. The Turbo-16 games which run at 60Hz work perfectly well thru the component connection, but the 50Hz stuff doesn't unless I go back to the nasty composite video cable...

__Gimp

#12

Gimp said:

I thought the GBA remake was quite good. Yes it was basically the exact same lvls but it was still fun and classic Gunstar Action. There was one new lvl but other then that the same. But still great as this game is.

__Tandem

#13

Tandem said:

Superb game. Challenging on harder difficulties but fair and always fun. The grappling and hand to hand combat skills are actually effective because you can throw enemies at each other (and their bombs!) for combo kills.

The way you can combine weapon powers allows for 20 different gun types, many of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages and are suitable for different situations. There is a lot of replay value in replaying the game using a different set of weapons.

The first four levels can be tackled in any order you want which makes things less repetitive when you start a new game.

The only faults I found with this game were in two player mode. You could throw your partner across the screen as the fire button doubles as a throw button when you are on top of another character. This is not really useful for anything (unless you want to fight over items) and more often than not ends up in the thrown character falling off a ledge and losing health. In my opinion it should not have been included in the game. The two main characters also look very similar and you may occasionally get confused which character you are controlling (especially if your partner throws you across the screen).

Ian_Daemon

#14

Ian_Daemon said:

I had no idea what I was downloading, but the reviews kept raving about how great this game is... so I got it. And MAN am I glad I did. Gunstar Heroes' two player co-op is awesome! Highly recommended. Fun like Contra 1, but it's easier to stay alive and there are enemies EVERYWHERE on screen. Fun fun fun.

__Beantastic

#15

Beantastic said:

Tandem - Something for you to try. Throwing your partner can easily be the most powerful weapon in the game!!! A great demo for this is the first level with the first boss that is a tall green plant thing that drops the red cherry bombs. Stand Directly below it with both players and have one of you throw the other person straight up and the boss will be dead before you know it.

TheNintendoBoy

#16

TheNintendoBoy said:

Excellent run 'n gun action. My only complaint is that the levels can sometimes be very flat and repetitive. I guess I'm just spoiled after playing the Metal Slug games.

__JD

#17

JD said:

Anyone who is a fan of the run'n'gun genre needs this game. It is absolute gaming perfection. While it's bliss 1P, don't forget a friend! 2P is even better~ :D

__http://MrDexterm.bebo.com

#18

http://MrDexterm.bebo.com said:

WICKED game! I'fd neevr even heard of it unitl I was browsing the vc games list and then my friend said AW THAT GAMES WICKED, GET IT. So I took his advice and I thoguht it was great! Really is lot's of fun and you just neevr seem to get tired of the levels, the 1st one was the only one that was a bit boring but the mine cart one and the dice one are my faves, It's really hard as well! I sucked so bad at first but eventually you can become a master at it haha, yeah it's just a great game! Download.. now...

Jazzem

#19

Jazzem said:

Have to post another comment, just to be able to give this game the five star score it deserves! Without a doubt the ultimate 2D run and gunner ^_^

Luigison

#20

Luigison said:

This game came highly rated and recommended, but I just couldn't get into it. I give it a 3 star average rating.

Elmernite

#21

Elmernite said:

Very fun! I purchased this game based on the review that it got here. Having never played or heard of it before.
It was well worth the download. I would tell anyone even remotely close to a shooter fan to get this.
An amazing fast paced shoot'em up!

link64

#22

link64 said:

I could not really get into this ether all the levels seemed really flat and the game seemed to lack atmosphere.

It just seems to be about speed I would recommended contra 3 / super protector over this.

SKTTR

#23

SKTTR said:

2-player co-op nonstop team-action at it's best.
7 unique levels. loads of cool bosses. big amounts of enemies on screen. scary humour. whacky music. fast paced autoscroll.

__Son Of Welcome

#24

Son Of Welcome said:

Should I choose this over Contra III?
Contra has challenge, but Gunstar Heroes has a fusing weapon system.

Shortay

#27

Shortay said:

I've never got round to playing this one...
Good enough download for my first Megadrive/Genesis game?

__John Bäckstrand

#28

John Bäckstrand said:

I think I will have to download this! Only I have yet to buy and GC or classic controller yet...

Wonderig, are there more co-op games for the vc that are good? Ive got Bomberman 93 already, but I would love more games that play well with 2 players

alvieao

#29

alvieao said:

Gunstar Heroes is the game that began Treasure's legacy, not to mention having their start with Sega. It is considered as the "Contra killer," since Treasure was formed by ex-Konami employees who made Contra III, Super Castlevania IV and other Konami games. It sure beats Contra III in terms of creativity and gameplay. The GBA sequel/remake is good (and I do have it), but I can see why the Genesis original is better: switching weapons and fusing them together. In other words, Treasure's first gem is a MUST download...

__Endaso

#31

Endaso said:

Pick up another type of weapon in order to get fused (such as Chaser + Lightning, Chaser + Fire, etc).

Gunstar Heroes is an all-time classic. It's essentially Contra meets Metal Slug, only done better. The single-player mode is fun and all, but to get the full experience, you'll need to check out two-player.

PoisonTaffy

#32

PoisonTaffy said:

I've been hyped up by all the good reviews it got, and after beating two levels I got extremely bored with it. It's too hard and frustrating, and there's nothing "amazing" about it. It's just a gem for people who spent hours on it when they were kids. Now it's just a piece of junk. Don't download unless you're not already a fan

__bunny

#33

bunny said:

"Who would have thought the megadrive was capable of the fx this game threw at you? mental stuff. i didnt play it at the time so it's been great checkig it out this time on the VC"

The MD had a fairly powerful CPU (faster than the SNES) but suffered from worse graphic and sound capability. The SNES put out better looking games but needed help from add-on chips to help the CPU out. A game like Sonic wouldn't be possible on the SNES without "help".

Link_O_Fett

#34

Link_O_Fett said:

An incredibly fun shooting game that's great to play multiple times, especially with a friend.

__Hum

#35

Hum said:

*yawn* still trying to figure out why people think this game is good. It's short, lacks any kind of substance to connect me with the game, makes little to no sense, and is overall very bland and boring.

I can't believe you people with your dumb reviews talked me into wasting 8 hard earned dollars that I'll never get back on it.

Phant

#36

Phant said:

Unbelievably fun with a friend... This is my first time to ever play Gunstar and it didn't disappoint. I'd give co-op 5 stars and single player 4... so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Mad_Bomber

#38

Mad_Bomber said:

I've found that I'm not a huge fan of this style of game.

That being said, this game is undeniably amazing. Super-fun, fast paced action with some seriously impressive sequences including brilliant boss battles that had my heart racing. 'Seven Force'!

Not really impressed by the graphic style. Game moves smooth and fast with screens full of enemies, though.

I'd have to say that Treasure certainly mastered this genre.

Check it out if you like to run and gun.

The_shoemaker

#39

The_shoemaker said:

Yeah I'm starting to think about it and I don't know if I'll like this game. I'm not a big fan of shooters, I wonder why i want this so much.

Virus

#40

Virus said:

My first game on the Virtual Console. I wasn't a fan of shooters, much less the Genesis for that matter, and when I bought the game, I was hoping to high heaven all the online sites were right about its greatness. Sure enough, they were more than right. This is a wonderful game for everyone, whether or not you are into shooters. It's short, but it's enjoyable enough for multiple playthroughs on single and two player. It's the best game in the Genesis section of the Virtual Console, and it's pretty darn high up there on the entire Virtual Console list. Buy it and be happy.

Although it's wonderful, it takes a truly amazing game to get a 10, so: 9/10

Garlyle

#41

Garlyle said:

Ah, here's a game with a name behind it...

Gunstar Heroes was wonderful. For the five hours it took to finish it... like a lot of Treasure games, it is absolutely incredible - the gameplay is simple but leaves a great amount of room to master, the music is good, the graphics are good, and there is a large amount of variety to the gameplay - but also like a lot of Treasure games, it is very short. That's my only complaint about it, really.

Master_Chief53

#42

Master_Chief53 said:

This game is awesome. Though it is hard even on Normal with 2 players. I beat this game with my bro on Normal, it was a great experince. Anyone with a friend looking for a good co-op game need to chekc out this game.

sirmatt

#44

sirmatt said:

I've had this for a long time and got seduced by the five-star reviews. I see why it gets five stars but more on an academic level than a sheer fun level. It is pretty manic but can be pretty frustrating too. Two player is pretty solid.

Honestly, I was looking for an ersatz Metal Slug, but this does not really match Metal Slug for character, fluidity and flow. It's more disjointed, the animations are Genesis-y (not as fluid), the characters are less detailed...in other words, it's less ALIVE.

Imaginative, yes, but for example the dice-rolling level is tough to get out of and I didn't really "get" it. I am more of a casual gamer. I don't want to chip away at something for hours on end. It feels a little tedious to me. I like to play for a little while after work, that is my style.

The bosses can be tough, but luckily you get a hit counter to show you how much more damage you have to do.

Personally, as a 26 yr old "short session" after-work-for-fun gamer, I have found this game hard to get super-excited about. Games like Devil's Crush, Air Zonk and Wave Race have done me better.

= Matt =

MasterMario

#45

MasterMario said:

I love this game! I really liked that you can combine 2 weapons for a even better weapon, like in Kirby 64.

Ricardo91

#51

Ricardo91 said:

It's a cartoony Contra on stimulants, and it totally ROCKS! The boss battles are some of the most awesome of the era (Seven Force simply must be seen to be believed!) and It's just a blast to play! Though I do wish it was longer.

Thanks to this game and Sin and Punishment, I now consider myself an official member of the treasure army!

retrogamer

#52

retrogamer said:

This one's in the veins of Contra and Metal Slug. But it has so much style and uniqueness that it's actually better than those two! Plus, the difficulty level isn't tormenting because you can actually adjust it to your shooter skills.

CanisWolfred

#53

CanisWolfred said:

As good as this looks, I already have Gunstar Super Heroes, and I'm still working on that. I'll still end up getting this, since I'm a Treasure fan, but it's not as high a priority for me as Alien Soldier or Vector Man. Who knows, maybe it'll turn out to be the best thing in the world, but if it is, I'd at least like to play some other great games before my stagards get raised to an impossibly high level.

Epyo

#54

Epyo said:

better than contra, but could use more replay value after beating it. the co-op is admittedly excellent.

Wiireview123

#55

Wiireview123 said:

this game is INCREDBLE! my first Genesis game and im so happy i got it. there may be only 7 levels but they are all super - fun to me. 5/5 * * * * * exelent game

puresthatred

#57

puresthatred said:

After years of holding off I bought this game and although it is well made, I didnt like it as much as others have. Its a bit too cutesy, some of the deaths seem a bit unfair, hard to avoid...like Contra on the SNES but in a colourful fantasy World as opposed to the Terminator 2 stylings of The Alien Wars. If you're a run and gun fan you probably will like it, unfortunately I didnt like it too much. The endless continues are a welcome plus though, eventually ill get through to the end...Remember, only my opinion, a lot of people love this game so watch vids before purchase if possible.

Dormin87

#58

Dormin87 said:

Another great game by Treasure. I like the fact you can choose what order you can do the levels in (a bit like Megaman,) and you can customise what weapons you want to your liking too. Some of the bosses are pretty unique too, though do become quite ruthless on the harder difficulties. I always have a blast when I play this!

Cally

#59

Cally said:

Gunstar Heroes is full of epic action and great boss battles. Anyone who knows anything about Treasure is familiar with its "boss fetish" (to borrow the phrase from Wikipedia).

Therein lies a major complaint I have with this game. Many stretches of the levels in this game are really repetitive or non-descript, just throwing more and more bad guys at you, clearly indicating that the developers gradually lost interest in the level design and left it in the boss fight they were crafting for the end of the level--this is especially frustrating when you are repeating a stage, trying to preserve your life for said (often fierce) boss fights. Another unfortunate problem is the way you have to choose, before you even start playing, whether you have the capacity to run-and-gun or fire in all directions from standing in place, thanks to the limitations of the Genesis controller (though the excellent GBA sequel, Gunstar Super Heroes, fixed this problem VERY well). It's rather sad, since the ability to do either per different situations would really help.

It's a Genesis classic, to be sure. The graphics are colorful and energetic, and controls are unique among shooters for having moves like sliding to attack enemies in addition to shooting. However, some of its faults make memories of it less perfect than similar games in the genre (Contra 3 comes to mind). 4.5/5

Icegoten

#60

Icegoten said:

This is a great game and you will have twice the fun if you play this in 2 player co-op! Me and my cousin sat around all day and played this game and it took us around 20 hours to beat it on hard spread out across 2 days (Saturday and Sunday).

Its a really great game and challenging as well.

swordplay

#61

swordplay said:

Is the GBA game a remake of this or a are they different? is the game really hard?

Jazzem

#62

Jazzem said:

@Swordplay It's a semi-remake as some of the levels are clearly based on the MD/Genesis game but the controls, level design, story and bosses are all new. It's a good game although it feels slightly unpolished in places (The top down helicopter level is horrendous!), I'd reccomend tracking it down. I'd reccomend Astro Boy on GBA even more so, one of Treasure's finest games that :)

Marvel_Maniac

#63

Marvel_Maniac said:

I bought this game soley to play co-cop. I haven't even tried it in solo and I don't think I care to do so. Its just one of those games that you have to play with someone else. There's nothing wrong with that.

That being said, this IS NOT a perfect game. It is certainly short and is devoid of any depth, so its really genre specific. It's not something I could recommend to general gamers. For those who like a multitude of styles, it is a really fun and enjoyable game. For $8 its not ever going to be a waste of an investment (unless you live alone and never have any friends to play with).

capcom83

#64

capcom83 said:

Guys to be honest you can better play this on an emulator instead on WII. why? You can choose NTSC or PAL. They really should give the option to people to choose 50 or 60hz! It's not that hard to add that option if you ask me.

BTW: i've bought dozens of games from the VC, but some games are really needed to be played at 60hz!

slangman

#65

slangman said:

@capcom83 I keep hoping for that myself (i don't really like games with watered down music like Kid Icrous, Castleveina and Sonic 1) Besides i dislike PC emulators anyway, doesn't do the games any justice.

Man i love this game great Run n' Gun action on the VC. I even replayed this game again. :)

CorbsAdmin

#66

Corbs said:

One of the best Sega Mega Drive games of all. I can drag this one out and play it anytime and still love every second of it.

AlphaNerd01

#67

AlphaNerd01 said:

A friend of mine gave me the original cart yesterday, and I spent some of yesterday and today playing. Wow, the GBA remake really doesn't do the original justice.

I became an instant fan of the game - run 'n gun at its finest. The levels are unique, and the boss battles are epic. Plus the game has a surprising amount of replay value. Definitely a game I can recommend to everyone. 5/5.

Cally

#68

Cally said:

^the GBA remake really doesn't do the original justice.

It isn't a remake. It's a sequel. The levels, enemies, moves, weapons, and the story (such as they are in these kinds of games) are all different. And I'm surprised. I played Gunstar Super Heroes and kind of liked it better than the Genesis game, thanks to all the movement options--you can run-and-gun, shoot in all directions from one spot, shoot in one direction while moving backwards . . . they all come in handy, and you can do any of these at any time, unlike the Genesis GH.

Divock

#69

Divock said:

Quoting Screwattack, "The NES had Contra, the Neo Geo had Metal Slug, and the Megadrive had Gunstar Heroes."

AND I CAN'T PICK!

I think I'm going to...no...wait...no

Frig. There's only one way to settle this and that's to buy them all.

Fine! I'll buy all three. They all got 5 stars anyway.

Kaeobais

#70

Kaeobais said:

This is officially a download. Leaving me with 1200 points. What should I buy?

SamuraiBlitz

#71

SamuraiBlitz said:

This game is amazing especially when you have a friend over. The normal fighting throughout the level is fun but what really sets it apart are how great the boss fights are!

Gamer1030

#72

Gamer1030 said:

Contra on roids, a must download. One boss has seven forms (one is a GOLD GUN). Nuff said.

Cally

#74

Cally said:

Contra on roids? Nah. :P
It kinda depends on my mood (they really are pretty close), but:

Contra 3>Gunstar Heroes>Metal Slug

GH's mostly uninteresting stages bug me. It's all in the boss fights which are epic (and oppressively strung-together toward the end. Sheesh). Both of those stomp all over MS in the control department.

President_Leever

#76

President_Leever said:

I do like Contra (Hard Corps of course) better, but this game is at the very least a huge technical accomplishment, and it does a much better job than Contra at easing you into its mechanics. The game gets even better when you've mastered normal difficulty as boss patterns and health change when played on hard, and on expert every boss is pretty much impossible (for me anyway). The only thing that I really don't like about GH is the Dice game. It's just so tedious.

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