Name: Guardian Heroes
Genre: Scrolling Beat 'em' Up
Region Reviewed: PAL
Year of Release: 1996 (UK)
Guardian Heroes was Treasure's (Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, etc.) mammoth explosion onto the 32-bit home consoles and 5th Gen overall. But this was an explosion not of a terrorist, but one much like the firework-laden contribulations of a Disney park.
The game can be classed as a side-scrolling Beat-Em-Up with RPG elements, so its appeal from the off can be seen as pretty widespread. You have a choice of memorable characters to do battle and progress through the game with. I'm very typical in that my favourite is Han, because the guys badass yet amusing.
I kinda dont wanna speak about the story too much, but for what is a typical beat-em-up it throws you off guard. Or at least, did when I had no idea what to expect popping the disc in the first time those many moons ago. The plot is fairly well crafted, with various twists and turns. Its, in short; rather epic. Or at least, as epic as a game such as this can get.
But this is a Treasure game on a Sega console. If you know what that means already, then you'll be as happy as Bob. If not, you'll get a first class lesson in what they're all about. Dashes of genuinely funny humour fill the game, bright, quirky characters and sometimes nutty enemies with awesome boss fights. Yup, s'all here! But this game is special in fact that it holds a certain humanity, a quaint quality lacking in many a game. When you fight to save the world in this - it...It actually feels important. Not a plot point, but important. Legit.
Musically, I don't have a whole lot to say - but it does have some catchy tunes and moments of off-kilter jazz infused madness that you've come to expect. The audio quality itself though is top notch as always on the Saturn.
The gameplay, as with any good sidescroller, is addictive as all hell. What makes it worse/tenbazilliontimesbetter is that there is multiple paths that trail off, with choices you make having direct influence on the games outcome and where the story leads. With the various branches, multiple cut scene variations and endings; the replayability is off the charts. You can play the same game twice, but you can go roughly five other games before doing so if you do it right and thats not including changing up who you're playing as. AWESOME.
Guardian Heroes really is a masterpiece of game design. No, really. It is. A supremely stupendous piece of magnificence that looks down snidely on lesser games. It feels dirty to put it alongside some of the other titles in my meager PAL Saturn collection as they are underserving.
It's not just the main game that is a thing to behold, the arena combat mode, time attack and ranking options all add to the package as a whole and further shows a clear example of a developer absolutely on their (pardon the pun) game. The multiplayer elements are also first class and help make the seemingly impossible sections feel a bit more do-able.
The graphics are so well detailed even when they switch from forground to background and the CD-32 aside (private joke with Megatrons_Fury) this reviewer has never seen so many colours, everything just radiates class.
This was the first game I ever played fully on the Saturn, co-oping with my buddy (most of you know the story of me and the Saturn by now). To this day? It remains my favourite. All time. 32-bit. Game.
Guardian Heroes, is quite simply? Priceless.
Verdict:- Some games are utterly timeless and this is one of those prime examples, Treasure may be the name of the developer but treasure it is what you will do when you play this.
As defining to the saturn as Goldeneye was to the N64 or Metal Gear Solid to the Playstation it's just magnificent as a software title and is every single bit as good today as when first released.
Those quick to judge the Sega Saturn need to sit down and play this and know how great it was.
Second Opinion:- This game makes Transbot smile. After checking all memory modules and data capsules Transbot has concluded that this game is perfect.
By order of the imperium of the galactic federation of Two-Level's you are hereby ordered to proceed with much haste to pick up a copy of this game and enjoy your miserable human lives. Obey fleshlings!
Transbot Scores:- 10 out of 10