3D Gunstar Heroes
Image: Sega

For the month before the 3DS and Wii U eShops close for new purchases on 27th March, each day we're going to highlight a specific eShop game for one of those consoles and give a short pitch as to why we think it deserves your love and attention — before it's too late. The chance to add these to your library will be gone for good soon and, for one reason or another, these eShop-exclusives are close to our hearts.

Today, Alana nominates 3D Gunstar Heroes, a 3DS-specific re-release of Treasure's seminal run-and-gun shooter from the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis.

So, what's it called again?

3D Gunstar Heroes, a port of the original Gunstar Heroes from 1993.

Who made it?

This specific version was developed by M2 as part of the 3D Classics series on 3DS, and published by Sega. The original Mega Drive / Genesis version was created by Treasure, who was later responsible for classics like Sin & Punishment, Radiant Silvergun, and Ikaruga.

What's the premise?

It's pretty simple, really — you play as one of two members of the Gunstar family, protectors of the planet Gunstar 9. Your older brother has been kidnapped by a dictator, and you need to rescue him and prevent the release of an apocalyptic force from the moon.

Remember, this is 1993 — the more simple and over-the-top, the better.

Why should I play it?

It's flippin' Gunstar Heroes, for goodness' sake, one of the best Mega Drive / Genesis games ever made.

Okay, so various versions of Gunstar Heroes are available through other methods — including via Nintendo Switch Online with an Expansion Pack sub — but, c'mon, they don't have stereoscopic 3D. Ported by M2, who for many years has been responsible for some of the best ports in the business, bringing collections such as both the Castlevania Anniversary and Castlevania Advance Collection, the Contra Anniversary Collection, and the Collection of Mana to Switch, you know this re-release is just pure quality for that reputation alone.

This version also comes with Gunslinger Mode, which lets you start out with every single weapon type and lets you switch between Free and Fixed shooting modes whenever you want. And if you're finding the chaos a bit too much there's also Mega Life Mode, which doubles your health.

Ignoring all of the extra features, though, you're looking at maybe the best versions of one of the best video games on Sega's 16-bit system. The visuals and music are stunning, and the action is still as addictive as ever. Co-op is also still available in this version via 3DS local play. It doesn't at all feel like a 30-year-old game. Gunstar Heroes was Treasure's debut video game, and what a cracker of a debut it was.

How much is it?

$5.99USD / £4.49 / 5,99€ on the 3DS eShop. Yep, that's right — it's under a fiver here in the UK. What an absolute bargain for a classic.

We'll be back soon with another 3DS or Wii U eShop recommendation as part of this 'Countdown' series. Let us know below if you've already got this in your collection and share your thoughts. Also, feel free to nominate other games — we just might highlight those in the coming days, too.