Let us talk about a recent company that I just heard about, Agatsuma Entertainment. It is a new developer that is working on a 3DS action beat em’ up with RPG elements called Code of Princess. Why am I talking about this game and its developer? Well, I am very excited for this game because it looks amazing, but I am also talking about it because this is the team that worked on a gem that was recently released for the Xboxlive. The game I am going to review originally came out for the failed system called the Sega Saturn. Let me just back myself up here and say that the Saturn did have some really good games and I have even discovered some import gems from other reviewers, but I know this game is highly praised so that is why I am going to talk about it. If you haven’t read the title of this review yet, today’s review will be of the Saturn classic, Guardian Heroes.
The story is rather confusing and that is pretty common with games developed by Treasure. By the way, Treasure developed this game and many other Sega classics. A group of heroes we do not get a lot of back-story on find a magical sword to help them in their cause to take down an evil empire. Shortly after they get the sword, they get attacked by said empire and fight their way out of the village they were in. They then reach a graveyard, and the magic sword they had starts acting up and brings back a legendary warrior back from the dead that the heroes can command. It is up to the heroes with the help of the undead legendary warrior to stop the evil that is taking over the land. There are also some bits about Heaven and Hell for good measure, but overall, the story isn’t really that good. I mean, there are multiple paths with this game so the story isn’t set in one form. You might fight an evil wizard as the final boss, or maybe a super angel knight, or maybe some demon from Hell for the final boss. This is where a lot of replay value comes into play, but I need to get to the gameplay.
The gameplay is of the classic genre, the beat em’ up, but with a few new tricks brought into the formula to make it more unique than most brawlers. You get the usual normal and super moves that each character can use and perform if you press the right button combination. The new gimmicks come in the form of level layout. Instead of being on one plane or on one huge plane to scroll up and down and all around, you can jump from 3 different planes that can lead to some strategy in how you tackle the hordes of colorfully animated enemies you go after. At the end of each level, you have the ability to give yourself some upgrades to make your character stronger. This means you can use points to put into health, attack power, agility, and you get the idea. While you fight along with other friends, you will be able to give simple commands to the legendary undead hero to follow, attack, defend, or go berserk to name one of the few commands you can give him. During story mode you can go through 3 different paths that will take you through the different parts of the story that have multiple endings. They can be good, bad, or just weird. Outside the single player, there is a survival mode, and a fighting game mode where if you kill certain enemies in the story mode on medium difficulty, you can unlock them and play as them in the fighting game mode. It is over the top and hilarious when you are a tiny little hamster going against a 20-foot robot and winning. This game has a lot of great value to it with its fun combat, multiplayer, and extras that is well worth the 10-dollar price point.
Graphically, the HD remake looks amazing and everything is well-animated and well-detailed. The original version is rather pixilated and does not look as good as it did back in the 90’s. The enemies and characters are highly animated and look good if you are playing the HD version. Sadly, there is no bad mid-90’s video game voice acting, but the game is still entertaining without some enjoyably bad voice acting. The music is wonderful, especially the original Sega Saturn opening. The game is also very colorful with lots of bright colors and weird-looking character designs.
What could be wrong with this game? I hate how you have to unlock the characters to play in the multiplayer section of the game on medium difficulty. I mean, it’s reasonable to play through a harder difficulty with some reward, but I didn’t know that until I looked it up on the Internet. It made me peeved that I went through the game 4 times and unlocked zilch. While the 3-plane mechanic is fun, it can be a bit clunky at times, but it never got in my way too much at all. Even though this is just an extra in the game, I wish the opening from the Sega Saturn version had a bigger screen to watch it on since it is just way too small to watch, and it was one of the best things about the game back when it was only on the Saturn.
So now we have the awesome X-Men Arcade Game, Simpson’s Arcade Game, and now the kick butt Guardian Heroes. It is nice to see classic retro beat em’ ups make a comeback, and this is one of the best you can get your dirty little video game hands on. It is 10 dollars on the Xboxlive Market, and it is a much better deal than finding a hard copy that can cost you over 100 dollars and is riddled with poor looking graphics and slowdown. Treasure knew how to make a great beat em’ up and it is nice to see the team that made the game make a kind of spiritual sequel to this classic game. Just get on your Xbox360 and download it now!
This game gets a 9 out of 10