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Sunset Riders

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Released: 1993

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Submitted by: James Nelson

Think of your five favorite things – if you’re like me, you said Cowboys, Bounty Hunters, Super Nintendo, Shotguns, and Homoeroticism. What if I told you could have all five in one game?

It’s called Sunset Riders, and it’s fun as hell. You play as one of four questionably masculine cowboys  who hunt down bad guys (read = minorities) and bring them to justice (read = shoot the shit out of them and everything around them).

It’s fast, bloody, borderline offensive (though it’s been toned down from the arcade original). The script and voice acting is ridiculous– one fat outlaw mumbles something like “Marry me with my mommy” right before you blast him away – you’ll be laughing as much as you’re shooting, which is nonstop.

The stages take you all over the Wild West, including towns, outposts, trains, Native American reserves – not that you’ll pay much attention to it, since your double-automatic shotgun toting character is blasting everything that moves, and a chorus of dead outlaws screaming in pain will underscore the classic western soundtrack.

The game takes you through a handful of levels, curving nicely in difficulty, and it moves at a great pace. The game lets you play with a friend, and it’s among the best on the SNES for multiplayer platforming – easily on par with TMNT 4 and Contra III (I prefer it to both).

The real fun of the game is picking out who is the most flamboyant character – the shirtless suspender wearing “Dark Horse”? Cormano, with his pink outfit and My Pretty Pony worthy steed? Or is it the quiet Billy, who, when given a private show from the dancing girls in a saloon after he saves it, chooses to sit by himself and stare in the opposite direction – even though EVERY OTHER CHARACTER WATCHES THE GIRLS. Oh Billy…

This game is not to be missed. Grab a friend, grab your six shooters, and paint the town red – you won’t find a more satisfying platformer this side of the dusty gulch.