Review by sonicteam2k1
"A Tale of Souls and Swords"
One day my brother came home with this game and we didn't put it down for days. Guardian Heroes is a must have if you won a Saturn. From the introduction to the ending, this game is one of the most innovative titles that I have ever seen and still play today. If you wanted a Streets of Rage for the Saturn, this is it plus some. Right off from the start you're thrown into the action of a house burning down, chased through graveyards, travel down the pits of hell and up through the clear skies of heaven. This game just isn't you're ordinary beat em up. No sir, it isn't. This game mixes elements from a beat em up, a fighting game, a RPG, add a bunch of weapons, special moves, manual and auto combos, magic spells and roll it all up into one fat action packed chaotic experience and you have Guardian Heroes. Once you enter the realm of souls and swords of this game, you may never want to leave.
Right from the start of the game, you get a cartoon style introduction. My dad is a huge fan of Japanese anime cartoons and he asked me what new cartoon was I watching? The introduction looks that good. You're pulled to the screen with the sun rising then the mug of the Undead Hero reflecting of the Hero Sword then the action starts. Bullets flying, swords swinging, spells being cast, all fully animated just like a cartoon, very well done Treasure.
I can't explain how wonderful the graphics look. Just for being 2D sprites, they rock! I mean the people at Treasure made use of the Saturn and it's 2D capabilities. Nice work on the character models, great facial animations when the characters interact, and the special effects of the magic and special attacks or gorgeous. Some slowdown occurs when the screen is filled with enemies and magic, but you can expect this from the game time to time, but it doesn't effect the gameplay much. The backgrounds are nice and sleek and some of them are interactive. In the graveyard level later in the game, you can break the tombstones and on other levels like outside of the castle you can bust up chairs and statues. Barrels, boxes and a whole lot of others can be destroyed while dishing out a beat down. But we wouldn't expect anything less from our friends at Treasure, now would we?
The best I can describe it is Metal/Jazz/Techno. Sound track was very well put together. The music sets the fighting mood. Sound effect are crisp and clear. The music and sound is put together so well, one doesn't drown out the other. You can hear all of the cracks of thunder, all the screams and yells of a fallen character and the loud blast of a magic explosion while still able to enjoy the music.
This is where the game earns it's gold. I cannot tell you enough how fun this game is. This game has a twist to it that I have never seen in a fighting game. It's not you're standard free roaming beat em up like Streets of Rage where you can move all over, but you have 3 planes in it. Sort of like the Fatal Fury games. You can choose to fight in the front, mid, or far plane. Most of the special moves and magic attacks are preformed like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. You fight on one plane but you can switch from plane to plane. It's pretty neat and very useful when trying to escape a barrage of magic one a plane. You have a level up system like in a RPG game which makes you work harder and puts you more into the action. You have six different attributes......
Strength (measures how strong you're character is)
Vitality (measure how much damage you can take)
Intelligence (determines how much magic you can hold)
Mentality (determines how much damage you can withstand from magic attacks)
Agility (speed of you're character)
Luck (how often you'll dodge an attack)
And the only way to gain points as in any RPG is ''FIGHT''. So no standing around, get you're butt in there and kick some shell! You have experience points and when you reach a certain amount you'll gain a level point and it allows you to add points to you're attributes at the end of a stage, and you're ''next'' experience point total will go up so you'll have to fight to reach the next point. You have a basic H.P. bar and a M.P. bar, and unfortunately, you can't gain life back unless you use a cleric type character, but you can gain magic back and it's by fighting. So sit around if you want, you'll miss out on EXP. points and won't gain magic and you're friend will be a lot more powerfull then you and you'll die more often. There is a lot to this game, learning magic spells, switching planes, doing combos and all of that good stuff. Nicely done.
When you beat this game, you'll always come back for more. I'm playing it as I'm writing this review. There are 40+ characters to unlock for the versus mode (6 players via multi tap) and 1 character for the story mode (1 or 2 player only) And the characters you defeat in story mode you gain in the versus mode. So more of a reason to play over and over and over. There also are 7 endings if you like that type of this so that will keep you busy also. The best thing though is the 6 player versus mode. It's almost like Super Smash Brothers and Power Stone 2 but with 2 extra people if you have the multi tap. You can also add bots (CPU controlled characters) if you don't have a full house. This game never gets old or boring.
Last Appeal: 10/10
I think anyone can get into this game. The controls are a bit difficult on a first try but you'll get the hang of it in minutes. Guardian Heroes is one awesome game that every Saturn owner should pick up if they can find it, it's pretty rare now. I'm glad I found this little bundle of joy, now it's you're turn to experience the same pleasure.
Overall Score: 10/10
The Tale Of Souls And Swords: Guardian Heroes
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/26/02, Updated 03/26/02
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