Game review: Guardian Heroes

PREVIOUSLY released on Sega Saturn in 1996, Treasure’s superb beat-em-up Guardian Heroes is back, courtesy of Xbox Live Arcade.

Its remastered HD edition is well worth seeking out if you’re a fan of fighting games, particularly fellow Sega classics Streets of Rage and Golden Axe.

The plot follows four heroes as they stumble across a powerful, ancient sword, and are quickly set upon by an evil army looking to claim the weapon and use it to control the world. Guardian Heroes was innovative in its day for letting the player determine the story through pivotal decisions, ethical actions and more.

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As such, there are plenty of endings and levels to explore, requiring many playthroughs to uncover them all. The fighting mechanic blends light and heavy weapon attacks, magic and clever use of blocking. Being swarmed by multiple enemies or hulking bosses is common, and demands mastery of combat in order to survive.

The ability to jump between the front, middle and background planes lets you navigate around enemy attacks, obstacles and more, throwing a neat strategic spin on combat to keep it fresh.

Special mention must go to Treasure’s stellar sprite work and animation. Similar to their classic Gunstar Heroes and Dynamite Headdy games, Guardian Heroes boast incredible visuals that actually stand up today, giving the whole game a colourful anime veneer. Big, challenging and immensely playable, Guardian Heroes is a must-download title for all fans of retro and fighting.

• £9.99, Xbox Live Arcade

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