Treasure - 1993
Machine: Sega Megadrive
Genre: Platformer, Character Shooter
With this game treasure revolutionised the character shooter. They took everything that Turrican had taught us about power-ups and platforms, they added fantastic smooth graphics and well designed characters and then somehow managed to put more sprites on screen at once than was ever thought possible.
For those of you that don't know, sprites are the basis of most old style 2D games. A sprite is a object on screen that moves; the character you're playing, the baddies and the bullets the baddies are firing at you are all sprites. The gameplay progresses depending on the movement and collision of these sprites. Moving sprites at the same time takes a lot of computing power (particularly sprites the computer must also animate) so there was always a limit of how many sprites could be on screen at once. Gunstar Heroes broke that limit and piled sprites into the screen. Quite simply, this meant lots and lots of baddies all coming at you at once.
I'd like to say that there was more to it than that but nothing more was needed. The graphics were as beautiful and well animated as ever, the game moved very fast as we'd come to expect from the Megadrive, and the baddies all attacked in different ways to keep you on your toes, as usual. It has the quality you expect but significantly it has the quantity as well, that's what sets Gunstar Heroes apart.
Jakey 21 Jul '03
Classic Gaming GSH Fansite - A fansite with some good info and artwork.
Wikipedia's Gunstar Heroes page - Lots of great information.