Gunstar Heroes 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 players battle it out against a seemingly endless array of baddies in this run and gun action platformer.
The pace is fast and furious right from the very beginning, you will have to keep your wits about you. Thankfully there are a nice selection of weapons you can pick up such as a flame-thrower, homing shot, machine gun and a lightning blaster. You can hold one in reserve or fuse them together to make a devastating weapon.
Lots of variety is offered from level to level, backgrounds are colourful with each area sporting a unique and detailed look. In addition to that you are given the choice between four different starting levels. Another innovation in this game is the big boss fights don't just await you at the end of the level, they can surprise you at any time with no warning! The manga-styled team are quite nimble too. You can grapple on to platforms, scale walls, perform throw attacks and even slide attacks!
Gunstar Heroes is quite simply one of the most graphically intense platform shooters available on any 16-bit machine and still looks breathtakingly brilliant even today. The screen is packed with sprites and explosions, the speed of some sections is amazing and as for the end of level boss battles - well, let's just say that until you've encountered the 'Seven Force', you really haven't lived.
The game itself can be completed quite quickly but it has to be remembered that there were no save states in the original Megadrive release of the game. The Virtual Console version improves on this with the built in suspension points so you can break up your game into several sessions if you just want a quick blast. This is a must-have title for the Virtual Console and should be downloaded without hesitation!