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Gunners Heaven

Alberto 'Kazuya'
If sometime asked you how would looks Gunstar Heroes running in 32bit system here is the answer, approximately.
Gunners Heaven

About the game

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (from now on SCEJ) ordered to Mediavision, a team recently created for the occasion, which later created the Wild Arms series, a product inspired on those from Treasure, but adapted to the technical possibilities of Sony's new hardware. If we analyze the decision of the people in charge of Playstation, it may be a bit curious that a platform created basically for the scope of poligonal calculus allowed that one of its first productions was a 2D title with those specific features.

Game synopsis

In this case we are able to choose between two characters: Axel Sonics as the main male character, and Ruka Hetfiel as the female protagonist (each one of them featuring different weaponry on the visual aspect, but same function). Their main objective is to obtain the magic stone "Valkiry", which grants great powers to its owner. Unfortunately, our friends are not the only ones searching this strange artifact, and they will have to deal with an organization known as Pumpkin Heads, who are willing to obtain this item for their evil plans.

The similarities of style with Gunstar Heroes are evident.

Equivalent on the console catalogue

Being Gunners Heaven one of the first available titles for the Playstation, it's not rare that for many users of the 16bit, this game may have some kind of resemblance with Gunstar Heroes from Treasure, because of its mechanics and visual aspects. Their similitudes are quite obvious. The production from MediaVision becomes a valuable run&gun for the console's catalogue, specially because of the 2D, but with some deficiencies that do not allow this title to be crowned as the best of its genre.

Graphics and sound

The graphical difference between a 16bit and a 32bit console is made obvious if we compare this game to Gunstar Heroes. Beautifully detailed sprites, huge quantity of enemies in screen, gigantic final bosses, explosions everywhere and all this without affecting the action, showing the true power of the system moving sprites, although it's certain the scenarios are very static. The melodies just have a secondary role during the action.

The graphic detail shows the jump to a 32bit system.

Gameplay

The player can choose between four kinds of weapons: the machine gun, a laser which automatically aims the enemies, the multidirectional shot and the classic flame-thrower. Another sutile reference to Gunstar Heroes. As novelties, or better said, differences towards the title from Treasure, we have useful bombs which destroy all enemies on screen, the "Boost Mode" that multiplies the power of your weapon, becoming almost invincible for a few seconds because of its destructive power. And last but not least important, the most controversial decision, the temporal exhaustion of the shot.

Conclusion

The title serves as a good example of the genre for the 32bit, as it includes almost all the ingredients of the classics. A pity the absence of a two player mode, the decision of losing temporary the fire power of your weapon and the excessive similitude with Gunstar Heroes. Comparisons are odious and in this case, Gunners Heaven is not in the best position. Anyways, the game is a must buy if you are a fan of the genre.

7 | GOOD