Sometimes the things that appear simplest can be the most
complicated. Still waters run deep, or summat.
It’s much the case with this throwback to the glory days of the SEGA
Saturn. So that’d be approximately November 22, 1994 to November 23,
1994. Yep, sadly after the all-conquering Mega Drive, the grey box
that continued SEGA’s rings obsession (Saturn, Sonic… it can’t just
be us?) went down like the opposite of a cottonwool bulldozer.
Back on topic, Saturn fave Guardian Heroes initially looks
like another Street Fighter/Final Fight/Streets of Rage/Double
Dragon/[insert fave side-scrolling beat-’em-up here] cloney
thing. Indeed, it plays that way if you just mash. You may progress
OK doing the ham-fistededness, but you’ll miss the intricacies those
developer cleverclogses Treasure instilled.
Sure, the genre staples are present, but there are extras. You fight
on three planes. No, not things with jets and wings and stuff,
rather you can move in and out of the screen both for defence and
convenient assaultationality. Slick combos exist for those willing
to try a little patienceness. As for fighters, basically anybody you
destroy within story mode will subsequently be controllable, meat
puppet style. Well, perhaps pixel puppet style – and there are
around 45 of them, from teensy bunny-wunnies to gargantuan, hulking
brutes that hog mucho screen real estate.
It’s all swaddled in RPGish drag – but it's unobtrusive (save for
endless fricking dialogue screens, although deliciously overwrought
lines like “damn their iron deviltry” amuse). There’s more
earn-points-then-level-up-your-dude (or dudette) and get
hacking/slashing/jumping/spelling than anything too leaden.
GH shows its age, despite a revitalised look and controls.
The music is, however, perfection. Meanwhile, sometimes so much
flashes about it’s easy to lose your character, especially as
everything’s so 2Distic. As for the arcade mode, all we’ve got is “WTF?!”
Remember nostalgiaholics, big shoulder pads rule!