Review by Dyne153
"How does it hold up? (reviewed 10/13/2011)"
Guardian Heroes is a side scrolling brawler. There are 4 characters to choose from initially and 1 more that can be unlocked. Each character has a different move/magic set and it can take some time to get used to playing each different character.
This is where Guardian Heroes shines. The gameplay is so fun and addicting that you'll want to play through every branching path and see every possible ending. Your character is restricted to moving left or right however there are three different planes that he can jump between. Instead of having free roam to move up or down while walking, your character stays on one of the three planes. I found the system to work very well because it takes the guess work out when trying to see if you're lined up to hit an enemy. It's clear which plane you're on and which plane the enemies are on. The characters have a fairly large move set with many of the moves requiring street fighter 2 like input on the controller. Your character will level up, usually multiple times, each stage. At the end of the stage you get to spend points equal to the number of times your character leveled up on increasing stats like strength, vitality, intelligence, etc. I liked having control over how my character progressed and what areas I wanted to improve. Having a friend play along only makes the game more fun. As you play through the story mode, you will unlock characters that you beat for use in the versus mode. Up to six players can play at a time, but you can use computer controlled players if you don't have enough people. There is a lot of customization that can be done in this mode like choosing what level everyone is, setting teams, or just randomizing everything. I had a lot of fun with my friends by just randomizing everything and seeing who you get and at what level. The versus mode is a great addition considering the story mode alone would have been a great game.
The story will vary depending on which branching paths you take. There are parts where the storyline gets confusing or just plain weird, but it's very easy to skip through the dialogue if you're replaying a level trying to get to a different branching path. I didn't find the storylines to be anything special, but when the gameplay's so great, I can forgive an average story.
The graphics still hold up well. Things are a little grainy and certainly can't be compared to HD games, but if you own a Saturn you'll be pleased with the graphics in this game compared with most of the rest of the Saturn's library. The characters have a good amount of animations and move fluidly. I was surprised by how well the graphics still hold up.
Getting through the story mode will only take about 2 hours (even less if you're skipping some or all of the dialogue). Multiple endings with characters to unlock will keep you playing the main game through all the endings though. Once you're done with the story, the versus mode can be great fun if you can find a friend who's into the game also. This will be a game that I go back to with my friends again and again.
If you own a Saturn, you owe it to yourself to track down this game. 2D games are becoming more and more rare. Treasure's one of the best at making them and this game just has to be experienced. You won't regret it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/14/11
Game Release: Guardian Heroes (US, 1996)
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