Blast from the Past: Gunstar Heroes (SEGA Mega Drive)

Retro Review


The world is in danger from being destroyed at the hands of an evil organisation, equipped with a super-powered robot. It is up to the heroes Red and Blue along with their family the Gunstars to save the day.

The game begins with the player being given the option of selecting different shooting styles namely ‘Free Shot’ which allows the player to shoot while running and ‘Fixed Shot’ which allows the player to fire in different directions but remain on the spot. What’s more is that after selecting the shooting style, players will also be able to select from weapon types such as Force, Lightning, Chaser and Fire. Each with their own strategic strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed this option that the game offered as I found that it may suit both types of players, the run in and ask no questions and the wait and assess the situation first player. Since the game does have a two player co-op option, having a player with the free shot and a player with the fixed shot will grant the players a good advantage. Although players can also perform melee attacks such as flying kicks and slides.

I often found myself standing in one spot firing away for quite some time before realising that I should just move on.

Following the weapon selection, players will then be able to choose from four stages. The Ancient Ruins, The Underground Mine, The Flying Battleship and The Strange Fortress, each stage with its own boss. The levels are pretty short unfortunately but the intriguing bit is that at the beginning of each boss battle, the player is told what attacks will be used. What I did not like too much is the fact that the boss’s HP was displayed which removed a bit of the battle’s suspense. However do not be fooled by this as taking on some of these enemies can be daunting. One such enemy is a robot that changes form while the player fires at it from a vehicle, every time you think its been defeated it takes on another form.

A screen full of bullets

Apart from the boss battles the game is littered with enemies and at times I wasn’t sure as to what exactly was going on. The screen was full of action, with the player being able to also grab and throw the enemies, there were indeed enemies being thrown across the screen whilst others were blown away by my lasers and fire blasts. And since the enemies also fire projectiles at you its often difficult to see through the barrage of gunfire everywhere including your own. This is no Metal Slug nor Contra and players will find that standing still in on spot for too long does not decrease the enemies in any way. I often found myself standing in one spot firing away for quite some time before realising that I should just move on.

Although in essence this is a run and gun, being a huge RPG fan I thoroughly enjoyed the story behind the game. If players look deeper into the game’s story while enjoying the fast-paced gun slinging madness you’ll find a deep story of betrayal that is softened with the unity of love and honor. The levels are lush in color and designed in a way that allows for a flawless flow of movement. The music is fast-paced as well as catchy encouraging the player to fire at anything and everything that moves. Indeed this is truly a Blast from the Past and is a pure treat for 2D side-scrolling gun-slinging shooter fans out there. And most of all for those who enjoy co-op titles as mentioned above such as Contra and Metal Slug, this is surely a ‘treasure’ that cannot be missed.


  • Music
  • Fast paced gun slinging madness
  • Co-op
  • Good story
  • 4 difficulty levels to choose from


  • Boss HP displayed
  • Levels are a little too short


Fast-paced gun-slinging action that will keep you busy for a few hours.


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