Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

SNES vs. Genesis: Alien Soldier and Gunstar Heroes

Treasure, long associated with fast-paced shooters, had two such titles for the Genesis: Alien Soldier and Gunstar Heroes.

Alien Soldier

Released in 1995, you play as a sort of bird-guy who must blast his way through waves of enemies and bosses both on the floor and on the ceiling. One of the unique aspect of the game is that the character can hover in the air and fire at bad guys or leap up on the ceiling and shoot down at bad guys. There aren’t too many shooters I can think of that do that and it adds another layer to the gameplay to distinguish itself. As with most Treasure titles, it looks great. Everything’s detailed and explodes beautifully and there’s a wide range or well-animated bosses to fight. There are a few problems I have with the game. One is that switching weapon types during the heat of battle is a pain, since you have to bring up a weapon wheel and the game doesn’t pause when this happens. The second is that your ammo is depleted very quickly, so you’re going to change fairly often, including when you’re trying to take down a boss. There’s also the issue of having to stop firing to change direction, which can be frustrating when you want to change quickly in the heat of battle, though it does have its uses such as when you want to run backward while shooting at a boss. It’s a pretty difficult game, definitely one of the harder shooters I’ve played so far, even more so than Hard Corps I think. It’s got a health bar, but when the health bar is gone the game is over. Again, this is a game that rewards patience, so bring an extra bag with you.

Gunstar Heroes

Probably the most well-known Genesis shooter. Released in 1993, Gunstar Heroes features the same sort of fast-paced, explosions everywhere action that Alien Soldier offers. As per usually, the graphics are very well done and it looks great with huge explosions and debris flying all over the place. There’s a variety of weapon types to find and use and the game has a health system, rather than lives. It also gives you the option of multi-directional shooting or freezing the direction of fire whilst firing. The levels take place in many natural settings, such as a tropical rain forest, a mountain, or a cave. The first level even has a final boss ripped straight from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water! Overall, it’s more fun and less frustrating to play than Alien Soldier and it’s not nearly as hard. Make no mistake it’s still a hard game, like most shooters from this period were, but it’s much easier to pick up and play immediately.

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April 18, 2010 - Posted by | Console Wars, Games | , , , , , ,

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