Gunstar Heroes

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Gunstar Heroes
Gunstar Heroes.jpg
North American boxart
Developer(s) Treasure (original)
M2 (Game Gear version)
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, Hideyuki Suganami
Composer(s) Norio Hanzawa
Platform(s) Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear, Virtual Console, PlayStation Network, Xbox 360 (XBLA), Microsoft Windows/Mac OS 9 (via GameTap), iOS, Cloud (OnLive)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Run and gun
Mode(s) Single player, Cooperative
Distribution 8-megabit (1-megabyte) cartridge

Gunstar Heroes (ガンスターヒーローズ Gansutā Hīrōzu?) is a run and gun video game developed by Treasure and published by Sega.

Treasure's debut game was originally released on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in late 1993, and later on, ported to the Game Gear by M2. On February 23, 2006, Gunstar Heroes was released as part of the Gunstar Heroes: Treasure Box Collection for the PlayStation 2. It is also available on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console. In 2009 it was released on June 10 for Xbox Live Arcade and June 11 for PlayStation Network.[1]


Gunstar Heroes is a side scrolling shooter. The player has four weapons to choose from, and these four can be combined in pairs to create an additional 10 weapons, for a total of 14. In addition to the weapons, the player can engage enemies in close quarters combat. It is possible to grab and toss enemies, perform sliding and jumping attacks and a long-range skid.

Unlike most games in the genre, the player has a life total calculated in numbers. Death to a player requires multiple hits but just one death will issue the option to continue from the start of the level or to end the game. Players have unlimited continues.

The main highlight of the game are its boss encounters, which often feature large enemies made up of multiple sprites allowing for fluid movement.


Japanese story
The world was nearing its end. An evil organization created the ultimate weapon, Golden Silver, the God of Ruin, to destroy countless cities on Earth from the moon. The Gunstars (Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow) seeing the Earth turn into a living hell before them and fueled by anger, had a showdown with the powerful Golden Silver. At length, after an arduous battle, they defeated the evil God of Ruin. To make sure he was never resurrected, they sealed his body on the moon and took the 4 gems that powered him, and sealed them away in separate places on Earth. The Gunstars, having been pushed to their limits, prayed for a new civilization to arrive, and they began their long sleep. All that is, except for one...
Time passed, and a new civilization was built on Earth. A legend was spread across the land. "Revive the God that sleeps on the moon, and he will guide the most righteous people to Utopia."
Grey, the commander of the dictatorship calling themselves "Empire", believed in this legend and attempted to carry it out. So he sent people to the moon in a battleship called the "Ark", in order to mine for the 4 gems that would call the God forth. It was then that the leader of the underground mining excursion, Dr Brown, uncovered some capsules, in which the Gunstars were having their long sleep.
Once they awakened, they learned of the Empire's plan to revive Golden Silver. Their companion, Green, whom they had remembered being with them until the very last moment, had lost his previous memories and was assisting the Empire in the revival of the God of Ruin.
"We won't let such a tragedy happen again! We'll get back the gems and put a stop to the revival of Golden Silver!" Once Dr. Brown heard the Gunstars' words, he decided to betray the Empire and promised to help the Gunstars in their battle.
Western Story
Sometime in the future, somewhere not too far from where you live, an amazing adventure takes place...
The Gunstar family has been the protector of the Gunstar 9 (G-9) for generations. Professor White Gunstar, in his youth, defeated the Robot Golden Silver, a machine that traveled millions of miles to suck G-9 dry of all its resources. Professor White was able to extract the four famous Mystical Gems (The robot's power source), and imprisoned the robot on one of G-9's moons.
But now, years later, a new menace has arisen. Colonel Red, a vicious dictator (and a very bad dresser), found out that the Gunstars knew the location of the Mystical Gems. One day, The Colonel kidnapped the Gunstar twins' older brother Green and used a mind control machine to make Green obey his orders.
With Green's help, Colonel Red has amassed all four Mystical Gems, has turned Gunstar 9's peaceful worker droids into deadly menaces, and is now preparing to leave for Gunstar 9's moon to reactivate Golden Silver. As one of the Gunstar twins, you must fight your way past Colonel Red's Empire Army and retrieve the Mystical gems, or Golden Silver, the Destructor will rise again and destroy your world! Are you heroic enough for the task?
(Note that the original Japanese storyline is considered the proper one, as it is reflected in-game and other Treasure sources.)


  • Red & Blue: Red is Player 1 with Free Shot as default, and Blue is Player 2 with Fixed Shot as default. They are the active Gunstars who protect the planet.
  • Green: The amnesiac older brother of Yellow who is now controlled by the Empire. He integrates with a shape-shifting mech known as Seven Force, which later appeared in Alien Soldier.
  • Yellow: The sole female member who assists the good doctor and befriends the miniature natives conquered by the Empire. She is later kidnapped by the Empire as a bargaining chip for the gems.
  • Dr. Brown: This kind old man trusts the remaining Gunstars' claims that Golden Silver is actually a destructive force, so he renounced the Empire and supports the Gunstars. He also appeared in Advance Guardian Heroes.
  • Grey: The leader of the Empire. He believes in the legend of the creator of the new world. As a result, he desires to collect the gems and reawaken his God at any cost.
  • Smash Daisaku: Grey's red-suited subordinate who appears to be directly in charge of military operations. He appears throughout the game to oppose the Gunstars.
  • Pink, G.I. Orange, and Black: High-ranking Empire commanders who appear as stage bosses. Pink has followers in Kain and Kotarō, Orange prefers brute strength, and Black is a gambler.
  • Golden Silver: While it is revered as a harbinger of hope, this "God" is actually an android who once brought the Earth to ruin. It currently sleeps on the moon, waiting for the four gems to return to it. It also appeared in Guardian Heroes.


Gunstar Heroes featured four basic weapon types: Force, a powerful shot that fires rapidly; Lightning, a straight shot that goes through enemies; Chaser, which homes in on enemies; and Flame, a shot that is very effective at close range.[2] By combining two weapons, a new weapon can be formed. For example, combining Lightning and Chaser gives a homing lightning beam attack.


Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 4.5/5 stars[3]
MegaTech 95%[4]
Publication Award
MegaTech Hyper Game

Gunstar Heroes was awarded Best Action Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[5] MegaTech magazine praised the animation and speed of gameplay, and could not think of any downsides to the game.

Versions and releases[edit]

Shortly after its original release, Gunstar Heroes made its way to Sega's handheld machine, Game Gear. The port was handled not by Treasure, but by development house M2. As the console's power could not be matched to that of the Mega Drive, the game was significantly scaled down, stripping its multi-player mode, Black's Dice Maze, and several graphic effects. It does, however, add in a few new features such as a jetpack level and the chance to drive one of the later walker robots from the 16-bit version.

The game received a PC port on December 17, 2004 as a part of the Sega Honpo series, titled "Sega Game Honpo Gunstar Heroes" (セガゲーム本舗 ガンスターヒーローズ?).

On October 6, 2005, Treasure and Sega released Gunstar Super Heroes, a Gunstar title for the Game Boy Advance. The game makes a few changes to the gameplay, such as having a fixed weapon selection and the addition of 'super' attacks controlled by the trigger. In addition, it presents itself as a distant sequel to the original, but the levels and bosses are remixed and thus gets labeled as a "retelling."

On February 23, 2006, Sega released a Treasure-oriented entry in their Sega Ages series for PlayStation 2. Named "Treasure Box" (トレジャーボックス toreja bokkusu?), it contained Gunstar Heroes prominently (to the extent of it being on the front cover), along with Dynamite Headdy and Alien Soldier. Treasure Box also contains the various versions of these titles (such as Game Gear versions, versions from different countries and a Japanese prototype, which is essentially a near-final game lacking some polish and functional end stages), as well as digital manuals and other bonus materials.

Gunstar Heroes was released December 11, 2006 in North America on the Wii Virtual Console and December 15, 2006 in Europe. A version for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network was released on June 10, and June 11 in 2009, respectively, with online co-op, leaderboards, and 'improved graphics' via smoothing. However, both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions have reported that the co-op feature is a step backwards from the original, due to the inability to rejoin your partner upon death. Instead players must wait for their partner to also die in order for the level to start over, whereas in the original you could rejoin immediately in return for half of your partner's HP.

Gunstar Heroes debuted on the iOS platform on November 22, 2010. It received a Steam release on January 26, 2011. On September 19, 2012, Gunstar Heroes: Treasure Box was released on the PlayStation Network in Japan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gunstar Heroes hits XBLA and PSN on June 10th and 11th". Retrieved 2009-05-30. 
  2. ^ “Gunstar Heroes: Weapons Details,” Game Informer 181 (May 2008): 105.
  3. ^ Marriott, Scott Alan. "Gunstar Heroes". Allgame. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 21
  5. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1994. 

External links[edit]