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Gunstar Future Heroes

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Released: 2005

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Treasure

Submitted by: Ryan Davies

Way way way WAY back in the old days (1993, to be exact), a rag-tag bunch of scally-wags from Konami got together and made the best game in the world ever. Everyone loved it except for Edge and Sega Power. Twelve years later, they made up a new in-office game called "Let's Rape The Past", and thus, Gunstar Future Heroes was born.

It's not a total disaster – you'd probably enjoy it if you never owned a Mega Drive – but this is a fine lesson in respecting the source material. I mean, if you make a game, and realise that to release it would piss all over a near-perfect track record, you'd perhaps give it a different name? Just call it Future Heroes instead of Gunstar Future Heroes, and call it a "homage" or something? I would've done that if it was up to me, anyway.

Now, visually, this is pretty much the best game on the Game Boy Advance. Massive sprites, loads of graphical tricks, super-speedy gameplay, music good enough to warrant a seperately-available soundtrack CD – but none of that matters when the game is such a sad little travesty, right?

Everyone talks far too much in this game. Every six screens or something, you'll find yourself smashing the 'A' button to try and skip through the sixty lines of dialogue that the re-styled characters throw at you. Yeah, all of your old friends have been given a 21st-century makeover, so now they're all a bit more "edgy"-looking. You thought Sonic's style-change was hideous? You haven't seen this one yet.

No more weapon combinations either. What a shame. There's some nice little "tributes" to older SEGA games – that is, levels based on After Burner, Flicky and Thunder Blade – but these serve as little more than chances to show off the graphical tricks some more (so much rotation, so little gameplay!).

Well, it came out around the same time as Treasure's vastly superior Astro Boy: Omega Factor, and no-one bought either of them, so it's not like the legacy of Gunstar Heroes was shat 'pon that much. Just a shame about Astro Boy.