Guardian Heroes once a Sega Saturn classic now makes its way onto Xbox Live Arcade in a remastered skin. This game is sorta new to me for several reasons. First off, i never played Guardian Heroes back in the Sega Saturn’s lifecycle but i do remember the name and gamer’s love for it. The concept behind Guardian Heroes is unique with its RPG beat’em up action adventure elements intertwined within its presentation. Guardian Heroes was developed by Treasure and published by Sega as an downloadable arcade title for the Xbox 360/XBLA. It released last week Oct 12, 2011.
There are two visual mode with corresponding controller set-ups to choose from in Guardian Heroes, Origins and Remix. I choose Remix for its updated graphics along with Remix controls that suit the Xbox 360 gamepad batter. The menu screen features a plethora of sub menus including Story (available), Versus (available), Training, Arcade, Gallery, Xbox Live Party, Leaderboards, Achievements, Help & Options (available), Unlock Full Game and Exit Game. Help & Options is a good way to start learning Guardian Heroes. The latter section shows you basic and advance techniques pertaining to combat and magic usage.
Controls for the Remix version: X-Quick Attack, Y-Medium Attack, B-Strong Attack, RT-Block, LB-Row Shift (closer), LT-Row Shift (away). Guardian Heroes is a classic 2D brawler set up with rows that are in back or closer to the screen on the map. LS-Row Shift. You can also turn toggle vibration with the Remix controls set-up. The controls aren’t the best. Shifting rows was just a headache. The actual sword combat was good. Blocking, knocking back enemies and performing special attacks were responsive. Using magic was also simple to master. I just didn’t enjoy the shifting up and down th 2D levels to hit a enemy that magically shifts away, quite annoying.
The demo regarding the Story Mode wasn’t that long in length. However i did get some tidbits as to what the story is about surrounding Guardian Legends. The protagonist was given a special legendary sword that is sought after by evil armies who want to harness its power for world domination. The protagonist looks sorta like Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy 7 (or maybe Cloud Strife looks like this guy depends who was first). The artstyle is pure anime with vibrant colorful graphics detailing the action. The Remix version was a big upgrade visually over its old school origins. Back to the story. It seems the entire story of Guardian Heros is to protect and unlock the magical legendary sword’s power and bring peace to thw world. The latter is how i interpreted what i played in the demo.
The beginning section you have to fight your way out of a burning house after being attacked by soldiers who want the sword. From a pure gameplay perspective its evident this game has clear co-op gameplay elements. You fight along side a sword toting magic guy AI partner early in the game. The full game of Guardian Heroes features online XBL co-op through the entire story campaign. As you make your way out of the burning house and into the village streets more fighting ensues. Soon you will make your way into a forest with some stops where you read some text dialog between the main characters. You will have a boss fight with a sorcerer which leads to your sword unlocking a golden golem like beast that you can control.
The fun that i had came from the simple combat gameplay. Jumping, blocking and using special attacks was fun. Its old school style gameplay that carries a bit of nostalgia with it. Beat em ups never get old whether they are old school 2D or newer 3D. The boss battles weren’t difficult i died one time during the demo on normal difficulty. The co-op makes this game easy. There is always somebody by your side whether its a real person, bot or golem you can control. The RPG elements come into play as you kill enemies and level-up during in-game. You can assign points after you complete the section. Vitality, Strength, Intelligence, Mentality, Agility and Luck. The second level was titled Prelude to Hope in which you control the golem beast by giving him orders to kill enemies.
I can see why Guardian Heroes had such a cult following back in the day. Its classic beat em up featuring swords, sorcery and special attacks. The story seemed fleshed out from all of the text in-game cutscenes. The visuals looked really good in Remix mode. The music was catchy. Just about all of the elements combine together creating a good presentation. Thanks for reading.