Sunset Riders

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Sunset Riders
Sunset Riders arcade flyer.jpg
Japanese Arcade flyer.
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Designer(s) Hideyuki Tsujimoto (director)
Composer(s) Motoaki Furukawa
Platform(s) Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES
Release date(s) (Arcade) 04/09/1991
(Mega Drive/Genesis) 03/03/1993
(SNES) 06/08/1993
Genre(s) Run and gun
Mode(s) (Arcade)
Single player, 2–4 player Co-op
(Mega Drive/Genesis)
1–2 player Co-op, Versus Mode
1–2 player Co-op
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system JAMMA
CPU Motorola 68000 (@ 16 MHz)
Sound Z80 (@ 4 MHz)
YM2151 (@ 3.579545 MHz)
K053260 (@ 3.579545 MHz)
Display Raster
288 x 224 pixels (Horizontal)
2048 colors

Sunset Riders (サンセットライダーズ Sansetto Raidāzu?) is a side-scrolling run-and-gun style shoot-'em-up released by Konami as a coin-operated video game in 1991. The game is set during the American Old West, where the player takes control of a bounty hunter who is seeking the rewards offered for various criminals. The coin-op version was released in two variants: a 2-player version and a 4-player version. Home versions of Sunset Riders were released for the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) in 1992 and for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993.


The game, which is set in a fanciful version of the American Old West, revolves around four bounty hunters who are out to claim rewards given for eliminating the most wanted outlaws in the West. At the beginning of each stage the player is shown a wanted poster, showing the criminal, the reward for stopping them, and the line "Wanted dead or alive".


Steve, the player character, fires upon multiple enemies on the third level.

The player can play as one of four bounty hunters, with their own firearm type. In the 2-player version, each player can choose the character they want to control before starting the game, while in the 4-player version each set of controls is assigned to one specific character.

The game's controls consist of an eight-way joystick for moving the character and two buttons for shooting and jumping. The player's gun has unlimited ammunition. The player has the ability to jump, slide and shoot ahead and upwards. In the case of being on upper levels, the player can can shoot downwards (diagonally or vertically) while crouching.[1]

There are three types of hidden items. All of the gun power-ups are lost when the player dies.

There are a total of eight levels. If the boss is defeated by two or more players, the reward is awarded to the player who deals most damage on the enemy. In addition, there are two bonus rounds, one after Stage 2 and the other after Stage 5.

Ports and related releases[edit]

Sunset Riders arcade PCB

Two years later, the arcade version was reprogrammed to two home consoles. Despite the arcade version having a release in the region it was created in (Japan), the home versions were only released in North America and Europe.

Sega Mega Drive (Genesis)[edit]

The Mega Drive/Genesis version of Sunset Riders features the most changes made to the game between the two home versions of the game. Out of the four main characters from the arcade game, only Billy and Cormano are featured. The two characters in the Genesis version were given surnames that they originally didn't have in the arcade version (Billy Cool and Cormano Wild).[2][3] The controls are identical to the arcade version aside from the addition of two shooting buttons instead of just one: one button allows the player to walk and shoot at the same time, while the other shoot button keeps the character still when pressed down, allowing the player to change their aim only.[4]

Only four of the eight bosses from the arcade version are featured, and each of the four chapters are divided into two stages. Each boss dialogue is worded in a text bubble instead of voiced. The power-up icons have also been replaced as well. Unlike the other versions, the player can cause a dynamite stick to explode by shooting it. To access the bonus stages, the player must collect a Star-shaped item located in either stage of each chapter. The bonus stages also differ from the ones in the arcade version: the player chases after a moving wagon on a horseback, while the woman in the wagon tosses bonus coins and extra lives at the player's path.[5][6][6][7]

In addition to the standard game mode, the Mega Drive/Genesis version features a two-player versus mode. The players must shoot each other until one of the players runs out of health.[8]

SNES version[edit]

In contrast to the Genesis version, the SNES version of Sunset Riders features relatively few changes. The barfly that kisses the player character in Stage 1 as well as the saloon dancers from Stage 4 are dressed more conservatively compared to the arcade version. Hunter dogs, which were present in first segment of the final chapter in the Genesis version, were removed. Also, the Native American enemy characters from Stage 6 were removed and replaced with regular outlaws, leaving only Chief Scalpem (who is renamed Chief Wigwam and re-voiced in the SNES game) as the stage boss. The dynamite tossing female bandits were replaced with male bandits in the SNES port as well.

All boss and cutscene dialogues are subtitled. While most voice clips are carried over from the arcade, some voice lines are either re-worded or replaced with other less offensive lines for censorship purposes.


Zero rated the arcade original a 3 out of 5, calling it a "fairly fast shoot'em up with a sense of humour".[9] Sinclair User gave the arcade game an 82 out of 100 writing that it "plays very well and should prove an interesting challenge for your finely honed arcade skills".[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Arcade. Level/area: Operator's manual, page 2. 
  2. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 3. 
  3. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 4. 
  4. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 7. 
  5. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 8. 
  6. ^ a b Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 9. 
  7. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 10. 
  8. ^ Konami. Sunset Riders. Sega Genesis. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 05. 
  9. ^ Sunset Riders review. Zero. December 1991. p. 92
  10. ^ Sunset Riders review. Sinclair User. December 1991. p. 62

External links[edit]