Our heroes, rushing into battle.Who? Clockwise from the left: Serena Corsair; Nicole Neil; Randy M. Green and his familiar, Nando; Ginjirou Ibushi; Samuel Han; and the Undead Warrior.
A magically-supercharged Beat 'em Up for the Sega Saturn by Treasure.A group of adventurers find a powerful magic sword, but unfortunately, so The Empire has been looking for that very weapon. A red-armored girl bursts into their room just as Imperial soldiers start streaming in. They fight their way out of the town to a nearby graveyard, only to be confronted by a robot. No, really. In the middle of a difficult fight, suddenly a massive armored skeleton, the sword's original owner, arises from his grave to claim it.Guardian Heroes is, in a word, frantic. Lots of different characters, both playable and enemies, with nearly all of them available in the game's Versus Mode, with full six-player support. The gameplay is mostly two-dimensional, with the action spread across three planes, giving plenty of space for some massively large magic attacks. Of the heroes, each has a wide variety of attacks, plus magic spells which as their levels increase, gets bigger and more destructive. Through the game, you're followed by the aforementioned Undead Hero, who can be given different commands such as protecting you, staying his sword, attacking of his own initiative, or just going berserk and burning everything before obliterating whatever's left with a Sphere of Destruction. Depending on your choices during the course of the game, you could liberate the kingdom, storm the gates of Hell, storm the gates of Heaven, or face down a robotic army led by Golden Silver, the final boss of Gunstar Heroes.A sequel, Advance Guardian Heroes was released, as the name suggests, on the Game Boy Advance, which ties the game even closer with Gunstar Heroes. In this game, the villains from the previous game have returned centuries later, ready to try again to take over the world. A young soldier allows himself to be possessed by the spirit that inhabited the Undead Hero to fight them again.After roughly 15 years, Treasure announced in May 2011 that they would be re-releasing the original Guardian Heroes on Xbox 360 via Xbox LIVE Arcade, as Guardian Heroes HD. As the name implies, the game was updated with HD graphics, new artwork, new A.I., re-designed gameplay mechanics, a re-translated script, new voice-acting, online co-op, and a new 12-player online mode, although the option to play it like the original Saturn version is also available. It arrived on October 12, 2011, and at the low price of $4.99.For games with similar gameplay to Guardian Heroes, compare and contrast to Panzer Bandit, Code of Princess (a Spiritual Successor for the Nintendo 3DS), and Phantom Breaker's retro-styled brawler spin-off, Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds.
This game contains examples of:
Action Girl: Serena, a knight and a princess who's not only good with a sword and shield, but an adapt spellcaster with array of magic attacks at her disposal.
Ancient Conspiracy: Heaven in Advance Guardian Heroes, working for eons in order to create the Ultimate Warrior. Not that one, mind you.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American cover replaces the original anime-esque artwork with a fantasy novel-esque illustration depicting Han fighting the Undead Hero (even though he's a good guy). The European cover kept the original art, but for some lame reason they replaced the heroines Serena and Nicole with Zur the magician and Macho the beefcake (who aren't even main characters), turning the cover into a sausage fest.
Badass: A vast number of the characters, but especially Han, Ginjirou, and Valgar.
BFS: They only reason the Cool Sword may not look too big is because the guys carrying it are huge, too.
Crutch Character: The original Guardian Heroes characters in the sequel, in an unusual example of this trope. Defeating one of them in battle allows you to borrow their power, which gives you massive stat boosts. If you still aren't leveling up your stats normally, though, it'll come back to bite you in the ass later, as you frequently lose those powers throughout the game (usually when you fight another one of the original party, as the party members you've already beaten come back out and fight against you again). And at the end of the game, the final boss permanently removes these powers one by one.
Counter Attack: Blocking at the right time to stun and counter enemies is an important combat mechanic of the sequel. Its climax even revolves around it, with the hero reflecting a giant fireball the instant * About 00:00:10 or less. before it hits Earth.
Difficulty Spike: Depending on the path you take, the later stages of the game can go from manageable to chaotically difficulty when you have six or more foes bum-rushing you.
Deal with the Devil: If you die in the sequel, an mysterious figure appears and offers you immortality in exchange for your soul. Agree, and you turn invincible for the next 6 minutes before you're killed, allowing you to power through to the next checkpoint. Using it at any point will automatically net you the bad ending, though.
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Randy's moveset can completely shut down almost every enemy in the game, in groups. Characters like Han are designed for single-opponent bashing.
Loads and Loads of Characters: There are tons of NPCs in the game thanks to the branching mission structure, and everyone you interact with can be played with in the Versus Mode battle arena. Yes, even the villagers who die in one hit and have a two-fram Scratch Damage attack.
Luck Stat: Not only is Luck used instead of defense (the higher your luck, the less damage enemies will do), Nicole's randomized magic types are dependent on Luck; the higher the Luck, the bigger they will be. Not always a good thing.
Not only does it help reduce the damage taken, it can also give you random bursts of extra damage.
Nintendo Hard: Advance Guardian Heroes. You get only one life, unless you make a Deal with the Devil, and even in that case, you can only use it to preview some more of the stage for your next attempt before you die regardless, and using it even once leads to a Bad Ending. Thankfully, the game allows you to start over from your last checkpoint... with however much health you had when you reached said checkpoint.
The game has four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Super Hard. Super Hard truly lives up to its name.
Non-Player Character: Every single character in story mode (including neutral villagers) can be used in Versus Mode except for Princess Lucia, the King (Valgar and Lucia's father) and Manon F. Brown.
Palette Swap: Most of the enemies in Story Mode. Specifically, Valgar adopts a white armor when he joins the Sky Spirits in one of the possible routes. In Versus Mode, everyone gets at least six possible color schemes. When Mid (the giant monster plant in Stage 03) is defeated, his true form is revealed to be a palette swap of Randy's pet Nando.
Phlebotinum Rebel: It turns out that the player character is this in Advance Guardian Heroes.
Road Cone, Third Option Adaptation: The story in the sequel assumes an ending to the first adventure that could not have taken place in the actual game — but still significantly resembles one of the original endings, except for how it turned out.
The three main heroes in the GBA version are named after the elemental powers they use: Enn comes from En or fire, Hyu comes from Hyō or ice, and Ray comes from Rai or lightning.
The initials of the other main heroes in Advance Guardian Heroes (including those from the previous game) form the game's title: Admilla, Dylan, Valgar, Nicole, Cerena, Edo, Ginjiro and Han (Advance GH). Granted, Cerena was originally named "Serena" and Edo is actually Randy's pet possessing Randy's body, so they cheated a bit to make this work.
Updated Re-release: The HD version features (obviously) optional HD graphics, redrawn character artwork, new A.I., a re-translated script, and online multiplayer with an expanded 12-player Versus Mode. There's also the "Remix" mode of the game that changes quite a lot of how the game is played (you now have three attack buttons instead of two, normal attacks can be canceled with stronger attacks, MP is capped to 100, air-dashing is possible, etc.), although the ability to play the game with the original mechanics are still available in "Original" mode.
Wakeup Call Boss: Hope you make the right choice and don't end up battling Kanon after the first 3-4 stages, or you'll regret it. Hard.