Game: Guardian Heroes
Genre: Hack and Slash RPG
Review by: MrB4
Not too long ago, I decided to go out and purchase a Sega Saturn from one of those collectible type stores. After acquiring a few titles, something caught my attention. Apparently there was a game called Guardian Heroes that came out for the system back in 1997, which ended up being one of the main highlights during the consoles lifespan. Now the game has become a rare collectible item, and will cost you a pretty penny to own an original copy of it ($about 90 bucks or so). Being on a tight budget to begin with, you could imagine my disappointment after finding out this sad, but true fact. Thankfully, Sega and Treasure games have decided to re-release the title, in downloadable format, on the Xbox Live Arcade, and needless to say, I could definitely see what the hype was all about.
Story: Nothing deep or engaging, but what is included here at least gives you a reason to keep on fighting. A group of warriors come across a sword that once belonged to an ancient warrior, and decide to keep it for themselves. In the middle of their relaxation time, a band of knights invade their home, and decide to take it back by force, no matter what the cost. After escaping death, the warriors decide to embark on a journey to find out exactly what is going on. I won’t spoil any more of it for you, but the whole story is more filler than anything else, and more than likely, nobody will really pay attention or care about what is going on.
Graphics: Characters designs look pretty good, are decently animated, but I definitely prefer the original designs as oppossed to the remixed ones. The updated graphics look like the designers just took a pencil, outlined each body, and added in a few different shades of color to give the illusion of HD, but never really decided to go much further than that. Level layouts are comprised of simple still images, and other than a few interactive objects, don’t really offer much in the way of variety. Does that mean they are bad? absolutely not, just means that this was the way these games were designed back then.
Gameplay: Fun, challenging, varied, and rewarding all at the same time. The controls are easy to understand, and rely more on specific button presses than complex combinations. For the most part, everything is laid out in a simple hack and slash format. Characters move from one area to another, constantly attacking a certain number of enemies until that particular section is cleared, rinse and repeat the process throughout the entire stage, defeat the boss at the end, and then move on to the next area. Sounds simple enough right?, well, here is where things get complicated.
The player can move between the background and foreground at any time to either dodge a powerful attack from an enemy, or try to gain an advantage on someone by sneaking up on them from behind. This adds a great level of strategy to each stage, because one move could either resolve in success or death, so be careful, and try to have a gameplan set up beforehand. The best way to do this is by adding attribute points in a way that will best compliment the strengths of your particular character (healing, attack power, defense, etc.). To be honest with you though, even after doing all of this planning, I still tended to get my you know what handed to me on more than one occassion, but that’s ok, because this game was still a blast to play anyways.
Sound: Sound effects were decent, but not special by any means. The worst thing about them is that some of the noises that the characters made tended to repeat so often that they became annoying after awhile. Other than that, everything else was ok. Background music was acceptable, and added tension and relaxation in all the right places.
Replayability: There a number of different modes to play, characters to unlock, and multiple story paths to explore that will keep people coming back for more, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You can also play through the entire campaign with a friend, or duke it out with up to 12 players online as well. Anybody looking for a trip down memory lane should download Guardian Heroes as soon as possible, because sometimes we need a reminder of how fun games used to be.
Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars
Developer: Treasure Video Games
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99)