Gunstar Heroes, developed by Treasure and released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis is an amazing video game. One of the best ever, to be more specific. In fact, there was a study by world-renowned awesomologist Alejandir P. Feelgüd that found Gunstar Heroes contained more radness per second than had ever been recorded at that time. Go to our website and get f1 odds. Hurry up to go and start winning. It has it all: explosions, an endless army of robots to fuel said explosions, customizable weapons, anime art style, solid co-op play and rockin’ 16-bit tunes. It also had awesome bosses with hilarious names. This is their tribute.
Shortly into the first level (a village of leprechauns who are being terrorized by punk-ass robots who are burning their houses for some reason) we meet our first mini-boss: Papaya Dance. Papaya Dance, despite what you may initially think, is not a tropical fruit nor associated with swaying awkwardly to music. Papaya Dance bears a striking resemblance to a 3-story-tall asparagus and shoots pollen and caterpillar pods. You know, two things commonly associated with the vegetable that makes your pee smell.
What it doesn’t do is dance. It doesn’t move at all. It just stands there, and you beat it by standing under it and shooting straight up. Really, they could have chosen any two words at random, like Banjo Octopus or Ketchup Receptacle and it would have made just as much sense as Papaya Dance.
But it gets better.
Later on in the same level you come across Bravoo Man, who sounds like a pretty groovin’ superhero. Composed entirely of 3D cubes he’s a pretty valiant example of the cutting-edge technology inside the Genesis. To this day I can’t figure out what the hell his head is supposed to be.
One of his special moves is the “Dragon Punch,” which is exactly what you think it is. “Bravoo” doesn’t really mean anything so I’m not sure what his theme is supposed to be, and ripping off moves from fighting games just makes things even more confusing.
Skipping ahead to the fourth level we come to the Dice Palace, which requires you to roll a die to advance across what in any other instance would be the easiest board game ever. Every space labeled “FIGHT” has you fighting against a mini-boss which I figure was a creative way to cram even more awesome Treasure nonsense into a game with only 8 levels.
One of these is Melon Bread, who sounds delicious. He’s a floating face, and I honestly don’t know what his attacks are because you can kill him with two jump kicks and it literally takes longer to read this sentence than it does to finish him off. I always feel really bad too, because I imagine him being a pretty okay guy. He seems like the kind of dude that once you got to be friends, he’d always back you up and laugh at your jokes that really aren’t that funny, because he’s your bud and he really just enjoys your company.
This game really needs a hug button.
Another colorful denizen of the Dice Palace is Abarenbou Gel. I always thought it was a nonsense name but I’ve recently discovered through the magic of the internet that “abarenbou” is Japanese for delinquent. I don’t know what a gel can do to be classified as delinquent, though. Skip classes at Gel High School to smoke in the bathroom? Make someone’s hair fall down instead of stand up?
All Delinquent Goo does is rock back and forth, hop a little bit, and poop out a baby gel that explodes. I suppose that’s delinquent, but really in a game where robots set leprechaun houses on fire that seems like small potatoes.
Last, but certainly not least, is the bane of any aspiring Gunstar Hero’s existence, Curry and Rice. Curry and Rice is the only fight in the entire game where you can’t use your gun, and also the only boss you seem to fight EVERY TIME YOU PLAY THE DICE PALACE. Seriously. If you’re lucky enough to sneak past that square, you can bet your booty you’re landing on the square that sends you back to start. THEN you’ll fight him. Thanks, RNGesus.
Curry and Rice is only one enemy but he has two names. It’s an interesting buck of tradition, where people think they’re too good for a first and last name and instead opt for one, like Madonna or Cher or Alf. Anyway, he’s a pain in the butt because if you jump at him, he waves his arms like a wimpy kid against a school bully. Then he does this crazy flip that knocks you over. In one last act of douchebaggery, once defeated his head flies off and explodes, killing you if you’re too close. I was not aware of this during our first encounter, and my young self discovered exciting new profanities that day.
In conclusion, Gunstar Heroes is an awesome game with an insurmountable amount of charm, and you should play it. It’s on like every digital distribution platform ever. Play it.
(Editor’s note: this piece has been posted on, like, every site I’ve ever written for, most of which don’t exist anymore. It was also submitted to BitMob, an entirely user-written gaming site back when that was a thing. Once they switched over to VentureBeat all user submitted stuff was stripped of writer credits, so I’m reposting it here with some edits since I’m a better writer now. I think.)
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