Gunstar Heroes Review (iOS)

Gun Star Heroes Review
By Jesse Hayges

Sega has re-released the classic genesis game Gun Star Heroes for the iOS platform. This game is a game a few friends of mine were so excited to see it appear in the Wii downloadable games center. They loved this game, and after playing it for a few weeks, I can see why. In this classic side scrolling shooter, we see some of the goods and the bads of porting older games to the iOS platform.

The first notable down side to this game is the game mechanics themselves. While being a great genesis game, this game was formatted to be controlled remotely by a genesis pad, so the character tends to get under your fingers. The one good thing though is they do include a secondary view to fix this, moving the controls into a border than goes around the now smaller screen. Sega has a few games out for the iOS platform with this option, Sonic 2 being one of them. This alternative mode is nice, but with game more or less being an emulator, and showing us no graphical improvements over the original, this style of game feels aged and sluggish. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the game still retains all of it’s charm and 16 bit goodness. It just shows its age none the less.

The controls for the game are good though. The virtual d-pad works as well as most do, and the buttons are placed in a reversed L shape on the right bottom corner of the screen. This makes playing the game a pleasure, considering that the original game gear only conceived of having two buttons to work with, and the iPhone is considerably smaller than the Game Gear ever was, and this game actually uses all three of the buttons that the genesis controller offered. The buttons are fully customizable, meaning you can select what each button will do, but sadly you cannot move them about on the screen if you want them at an angle in line as opposed to in the L shape. None the less though the controls work well enough.

The story is pretty thin, considering it does come from a genre and time when story was second to gameplay anyway, it’s ok. The story is the same as it always was, and I’m oddly comfortable with the notion. This sort of game though makes me want to see more of the classic Genesis games come to the iOS platform. I’d like to see them actually release like a classics remix pack like they had for the PSP. It might be a little more expensive that way, but at least they could use coverflow to select what titles you could play and it would make better use of the emulator API that Sega gets away with using, while some others have not been so fortunate.

Actually though I’d like them to re-brand the emulator App as a separate store from the AppStore and call it something like “GameGear Rebooted” or something like that and have different titles to download from a cover flow like environment, use in app purchases through iTunes, and just have it load it up into your GameGear library. Or maybe instead of reviving the GameGear, they could reclaim the little known about Sega Nomad trademark and make a skin that looks like the Nomad. For those who don’t know, the Nomad was something of a hodgepodge of the Genesis and the GameGear. It was a little bigger than the GameGear, but similarly styled, and it would play your Genesis cartridges. This would make for a cool piece of nostalgia for on the iOS platform and set them apart from their other endeavors on the Wii.

This game is a solid game for the price, and I would recommend it for those looking to relive their childhood on their iPhone. I give this game a 7 out of 10 for giving a good show. One constructive comment though; you’d get a better score if you’d go back into these games and retool them so that the main character stays mostly center so you can enjoy the full screen goodness and not have the characters hiding under your thumb.

Game receives a 7 on a 10 point scale.

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