A cooperative Run and Gun game released on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis by Treasure in 1993. In it, Gunstars Red and Blue are protectors of Earth, attempting to stop a dictator named Smash Daisaku from collecting powerful Mystical Gems in order to awaken a planet-destroying beast known as Golden Silver.At least, that's how the U.S. release describes it.That being, you (partner optional, but highly recommended) take control of either one of Red and Blue and traverse several levels of increasing chaos and explosions. What really adds to the run and gun nature of it, though, is how the two playable characters differ in action, as well as the clever weapons system. Technically, Red is Free Shot - meaning you can run and gun at the same time with the primary drawback being that it's a bit harder to aim in a specific direction (since... you move when you fire); counter to this, Blue is Fixed Shot, he can't move and fire but is capable of firing in all 8 directions. This doesn't seem like much of a difference at first, but when you add that certain weapon combos work better for certain types - it allows for a wide variance in playstyles.Overall the game is best known for its impressive graphic effects, frantic action, great music, and epic boss fights.A single-player sequel, Gunstar Super Heroes, was released in 2005 for the GBA, and sets up a new team of heroes (who have the same names as their predecessors) to fight against The Empire once again to stop Golden Silver from reviving a second time.The original game was first made available post-Genesis on the PS2 Sega Ages series (with less slowdown) which...alas...is a fine example of No Export for You. However, it is now available for download on Virtual Console, Xbox Live, PSN, iOS and Steam.
Tropes used in this series:
Advancing Wall of Doom: In the sequel, there's a one space on Black's boardgame where you need to get to the bottom of a shaft before you get crushed to death by a tombstone.
And the Save File Deletion threat in the Japanese version makes it so much more exciting... Doesn't it?
Bait-and-Switch Boss: This actually happens twice in the game. Once at the halfway point of the game (against the so-called "Final Great Soldier" whose only attack is "Love Love Dancing"), and once at the end.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: The fastest, yet not the safest nor the easiest, way to defeat Orange in the first game is by throwing him. Since he's an expert melee fighter, he will wrestle you good if you fail.
Big Bad: The God of Ruin, Destructor, Golden Silver at the first game. The Megalith in Super Heroes. Golden Silver also appears in Guardian Heroes.
Bigger Bad: In Super Heroes it is the Megalith, the self-proclaimed secret fifth gem, who turns out to be the subordinate of an entity known as OutsideSpace, the TRUE Big Bad. Up to this point, the gems only want to help humanity in the Gunstars' dimension, while Outside Space wants to destroy everything in EVERY dimension. At least, that's what is mentioned here.
Boss Rush: With a twist; you play against all your old enemies again, but in completely new battles that in most cases don't even resemble the original. The bosses are actually watching your progress on a big board until you reach certain points where they'll move to intercept you.
Boss Subtitles: Every boss fight begins with a warning, followed by the boss' name and attack names.
Card-Carrying Villain: All the villains in Super Heroes except Green are reduced to this if you pick Easy mode.
Chasing Your Tail: Black's re-fight has an attack that sweeps the whole playing field.
Crosshair Aware: The tiger form of the Seven Force has an attack which invokes this trope.
Cut Song: Super Heroes features a variety of unused songs from previous Sega games.
Darker and Edgier: In Gunstar Super Heroes, the plot and dialogue become this as you move up the difficulty levels.
Deletion As Punishment: One Advancing Wall of Doom area (see above) in the original Japanese version has the game warn you that if you fail it, your save data will be erased and tells you to take precautions due to this. It's all a lie, though. This warning isn't present in the localized versions.
Difficult but Awesome: A certain number of the weapon combos are like this - particularly, any of the combinations that are more effective at close range. Some combos are better (but not exclusively so) in the hands of specific characters (like the controlled fireball, a weapon that is arguably better suited for Fixed Shot - see Evolving Weapon below)
Difficulty Spike: Stage five is arguably the hardest level in the original game because A) you have to fight through a horde of Mooks that will whittle your health down B) you have to fight Smash Daisaku, who would be hard enough if you weren't in a weakened state and C) there are no check points in the stage, which means a game over places you right back at the beginning of it all. Mind you it's also considered the Best Level Ever since you can completely cut loose against a horde of moving targets.
Optional for the original game - only by selecting Blue/Fixed Shot
Gunstar Super Heroes consolidates both fixed firing and free firing into one mode; whichever fire button you press determines your movement freedom. It also offers a third firing mode that lets you fix your aim direction but still move.
The Dragon: Smash Daisaku to Grey. Green fills this role for the Emperor in the final stage.
Easter Egg: Timeron in stage 6 is an Optional Boss you can dispose of in about 2 seconds and move along, but there's a reason the game puts a timer on the screen and taunts, "How long can you last?" Letting him live sends you on a seemingly endless journey through Bullet Hell. But, if by some miracle of endurance you manage to hold out for 100 minutes... this happens.Very telling that the programmer's signature laughs at you.
Evolving Attack: At the start, you chose your gun type, from Force (Rapid Fire, medium damage), Fire (close range, high damage), Lightning (thin rounds that pierce enemies - and can pierce through certain walls), and Chaser (homing attack, low damage). You can later pick up powerups in the form of the other guns, and create a hybrid weapon from two weapon types, or two of the same. Take for example:
Combining Fire with Lightning creates what is effectively a Lightsaber, the shortest ranged weapon in the game but has what may be the best damage output as well as the ability to block certain shots.
Fusing Fire with Force creates rapid-fire explosive rounds that go off either on contact or when you let go of the trigger.
Fire with Chaser gives you a remote-controlled Fireball that can continually swarm an enemy for damage as well as block shots. It's one most effective with Fixed Shot, as you won't accidentally throw yourself into an enemy while controlling the fireball.
Not unlike Chaser and Lightning - putting Chaser and Chaser together gives a rapid-fire homing stream of projectiles. The difference is that the projectiles can branch and you can effectively home in on multiple mooks. The damage output suffers for it though.
Another double-up is Force and Force, which gives the game's equivalent to More Dakka: lots of bullets, increased speed, and increased bullet spread.
Generation Xerox: The characters in Gunstar Super Heroes all share names and likenesses with the ones from the original.
Gender Flip: In Gunstar Super Heroes, Red is a girl; for some reason, the only mention of Red's gender from any Japanese source comes from a Nintendo Dream preview◊.
Grind Boots: Towards the end of Pink's stage, the game has you sliding down the side of a pyramid whilst shooting mooks.
Heroic Sacrifice: Green, in both games. In Super Heroes, he gets better in two of the endings.
In one storyline in Super Heroes, Yellow does it instead.
In another storyline, everybody does it, though the Treasure Gems save them at the last second.
High Altitude Battle: You fight Orange for the first time on a helicopter that's constantly tilting as you fight. You can throw him out of it for extra damage, but expect him to jump back up with an impressive elbow drop. (If he lands on the wings rather than falling off, it deals 400 damage, but beware of his Mercy Invincibility...)
High Speed Battle: Green's stage takes place entirely while riding specially modified mining carts.
Hoist by His Own Petard: some enemies throw bombs that explode on impact. If you time it well, you can catch the bomb and throw it back.
Invincible Minor Minion: In stage five, there is one mook that hides under a barrel and runs away. The odd thing is that not only is this the only enemy you can't kill, but also the only barrel you can't blow up.
Mirror Boss: Green, though not so much in Super Heroes, because instead, you get to fight Seven Force on foot!
- Warning -
The Final Battle - Green
Action - The Gunstar's Action
More Dakka: The whole point of the game, really. Any weapon (or combo of weapons) will produce a healthy amount of dakka, especially if there's two players involved.
Multiple Endings: In the sequel, and not as a result of branching paths, but as a result of the difficulty level chosen. On Easy mode, the story is simple ('kill the bad guys!'); on Normal mode, the story gets a bit more serious, and there are hints of darker forces; and Hard mode has a dark story. To add, the story also changes depending on the character you chose. Red's path is generally more idealistic while Blue's is cynical.
Nintendo Hard: Sort of. The game uses that very special Treasure formula of making both you and the enemies very powerful with a lot of different moves, and all you really need to do is understand the controls and bosses. Once you do that, every death will be your fault. It's hard but fair.
The sequel however makes some cheap death spots in Moon 3 (Orange's stage) in hard, because you start with VERY LOW health, the mooks can obliterate you in seconds and by the moment you aim on them you will lose most of your health.
In fact, most of the stages are beyond insane in difficulty on hard mode.
Not What It Sounds Like: Most people think the "seven" in "Seven Force" refers to how many forms it has; it actually references the SNES' Mode 7, since Seven Force is designed to showcase Mode 7-style rotation on the Genesis / Mega Drive. This is why the Seven Force in Alien Soldier only has six forms.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Minion Soldier, one of the Dice Game bosses in Black's stage. He's 17 pixels tall and both gives and takes plenty of punishment. Beware of his mighty throw!
Reflecting Laser: The Tiger form of the Seven Force shoots a laser from his tail that does this.
Sequential Boss: Green's Seven Force. At the higher difficulties, you're going to have to fight all seven forms.
Shout-Out: The fact that the Four Treasure Gems mention in Hard Mode that they come from different dimensions may not seem like much, but if you pay close attention to how they describe the worlds they come from, it may be a reference to previous Treasure-developed games.
Miko, the red gem, claims to be a peacemaker that comes from a world torn apart by war, but after accomplishing its task, it lost consciousness—a world related closely to that of the hero from Advance Guardian Heroes.
What Could Have Been: There are Dummied Out sprites and a piece of official art that imply that Red in Super Heroes was originally going to be a male who resembles the Genesis Red, as opposed to the Bifauxnen Red that we received in the final version.