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Guardian Heroes

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Released: 1996

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Sega Saturn

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Treasure

Submitted by: Phil Harrison

A year into Saturn ownership (cheers Mum) bought a scrolling beat ‘em up to nuke from orbit the sherbet from my Dip Dab. This title was Guardian Heroes; a game from Treasure (hello Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier), a scrolling beat ‘em up (I love ‘em) and on the mighty Saturn! Guaranteed win?

WIN!

If I was to describe this title with a word it would be ‘rich’. It was rich in every aspect of what it did and it did it fabulously…er…richly.

We had the presentation which was bright, colourful and came with a very attractive anime intro cartoon. The characters were very stylised with the big lead Han possessing tiny wrists and ankles but mahoosive Popeye style muscles, all the better to carry that ridiculous sword with.

Enemies were varied and plentiful, with dozens filling up the screen in all their ugly shapes and sizes. You could also jump between 3 planes to cope: fore, middle & background and the level also zoomed out and in to take account of everything as players battled at each end.

There were also tons of levels, at the end of each you where given options (centred on the story between Sky and Earth Spirits) of where to go next and would lead you to vastly different levels, endings, enemies and bosses. The re-playability was huge.

Your performance in the level also awarded points that you could dole out to boost 6 different traits of your character.

One story path gave you an impervious, golden armoured, un-dead warrior to command. But let’s not kid ourselves the only command that mattered was ‘Berserk’. A command were he went utterly ape-shit on anything near-by and finished off with a screen levelling nuclear-style self explosion, screaming as the screen filled with orange & yellow. The greatest NPC a game has ever had.

The game also made use of the 6 player multi-tap, where you and 6 chums could pick any 1 of the main characters or any enemies you defeated from the story (inc. Bosses!) into a coliseum for a huge ruck!

Amazing times, amazing game.