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Gunstar Heroes: What Did Critics Say in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 18, 2014   |   Episode 31 (Show Archive)  

   

Gunstar Heroes (Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Who needs Contra when you can play Gunstar Heroes? Created by a group of former Konami developers, Gunstar Heroes came out of nowhere and raised the bar for 2D shooters on home consoles. I would argue that it's a bar no Contra game has ever matched. But forget what I think, what did Electronic Gaming Monthly, Die Hard Game Fan, GamePro, Sega Force Mega, Sega Magazine and other classic magazines think of Gunstar Heroes when it first came out? We dig through these old issues to get to the bottom of this manufactured mystery!

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Gunstar Heroes
[ Company: Treasure | Console: Genesis ]

GAMEPRO (February 1994)
5 out of 5

"If you're itching for classic side-view shooting action, Gunstar Heroes wants you. But be advised: This Genesis action/adventure cart is an assault on your sense as well as your trigger finger. This cart doesn't blast open new territory, but it soups up a new standard shoot-out game with murderous action, excellent controls, and imaginative game design. Gunstar Heroes is a certified Genesis gun star." -Bro' Buzz

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
99% out of 100%

"Gunstar sets new standards in the small character action game category for cartridge. I have never, and probably never again, be this impressed with a cartridge based game. Treasure is a treasure indeed and deserves a big round of applause for this phenomenal effort." -Skid

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #52
9 out of 10

"This cart represents the fact that the Genesis can still beat out the competition! This has got to be one of the best intense carts to date, providing non-stop blasting and hand-to-hand combat thrills that will strain your abilities to the max! There are plenty of levels, all of which are truly original and are an absolute riot to play through! Add the fact that it is two-players and you have a fantastic winner!!" -Ed Semrad

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
98% out of 100%

"There is a new standard for 2 player action games. The programmers at Treasure shrunk themselves down, entered my brain, saw what kind of Game [sic] I wanted to see on the Genesis and did it. This game has just about every kind of play technique imaginable and to say the action is fast paced is an understatement ... The action game benchmark." -K. Lee

SEGA FORCE MEGA #5
94% out of 100%

"Yes you have read that right. It's definitely 94% for this outstanding game. If you thought the platform arena had become a little jaded and repetitive of late, this is the game that is going to give the genre a much needed kick in the backside. If you only get one game this year, then Gunstar Heroes should be top of your list, even if it means sucking up to Great Aunt Nelly to get your hand on it." -Marc

SEGA MAGAZINE #1
94% out of 100%

"Programmed by an ex-Konami team called Treasure, this has all the hallmarks of a classic from the people who brought you Zombies. Superb fun, and very challenging on top difficulty setting. Future games from Treasure are definitely ones to watch out for in the future. Gunstar Heroes is a title no self-respecting Megadrive owner can afford to be without, and only misses out being Release of the Month due to impossible competition from Street Fighter II."

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #12
93% out of 100%

"Gunstar Heroes is one of the most incredible games I've ever seen on the Megadrive. The graphics are fantastic, with an amazing depth of detail and a lot of attention paid to the animation. Gunstar Heroes most definitely is Ribena, in fact, it's 5000 pounds worth of Harry the Lime flavor. Camp outside your local software palace until this is released and buy it immediately." -Rad

COMPUTER & VIDEOGAMES #142
92% out of 100%

"Gunstar Heroes has everything! Platform action, fighting, shoot 'em up stages and more special effects than a Spielburg movie. My particular favourite was Black's board game, which is one of the most original features I've seen for a long time. There's no way on Earth you could become bored of Gunstar. What more is there to say about the game, other than buy it?" -Paul Anglin

SEGA FORCE MEGA #5
92% out of 100%

"Impressed? You bet your bottom dollar! This is definitely my choice for game of the month. Fast, furious, fornicating action ... Well fast and furious anyway. What more can I say? A great game, compliment indeed from a renowned anti-platformer such as myself, which will make a welcome addition to anyone's library of MD masterpieces." -Chris

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #52
9 out of 10

Every once in a while, a game will come right out of nowhere and take you completely by surprise so much that it'll take you a while to recover. Gunstar Heroes is such a game. This is one of the most intense and complex carts to hi the Genesis ever! Fighting hand-to-hand as well with guns (with more than their share of fire power) will keep you on the edge of your seat! With killer music and graphics, this is a real winner!" -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 94% - As you can see, I'm not the only person who fell in love with Gunstar Heroes. I scoured through stacks of magazines from all over the world, and I couldn't find a single review giving the game anything lower than a 90%. Pick a review at random, every single one of them gushes about the fast-paced action, great graphics, innovative weapons and the bosses. Oh, the bosses. This is one of those times when GamePro and Die Hard Game Fan are caught saying exactly the same thing, Gunstar Heroes "sets a new standard." As Electronic Gaming Monthly's Sushi-X notes, this is a game that came out of nowhere and changed the action game landscape forever. These 21 year old reviews are not wrong, Gunstar Heroes is one of the best shooters of all time.

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