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ups: 200 hit combos, deep controls, music, replayability.
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Guardian Heroes: A Sega Saturn Classic
game: Guardian Heroes
five star
posted by: RJ Brooks
publisher: Sega
developer: Treasure
date posted: 09:43 PM Wed Feb 22nd, 2006
last revision: 09:40 PM Wed Feb 22nd, 2006

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Click to read.This is the fourth in a six-part series featuring the work of legendary game developer, Treasure. Click here to read the full series.

In 1996, a real \"Treasure\" was released to the world. Like most of Treasure\'s original titles, Guardian Heroes received minimal promotional support, but much praise from critics and those consumers who did play it. However, that praise was not enough to garner massive sales, and that\'s what Sega needed.

In 1996 the Saturn was struggling to stay competitive in the game market against their newest competitor, the Sony PlayStation. If you ask me, though, had they promoted Guardian Heroes properly, the game could have helped turn the tables in Sega\'s favor. I can personally attest to this game being the reason I purchased a Sega Saturn over the Sony Playstation 8 years ago-- and the same can be said for two other people I knew at that time.

The best way to describe Guardian Heroes\' gameplay is this: combine Street Fighter moves, Streets of Rage action, Killer Instinct combos, traditional RPG style monsters, environments, and character building, and crank the action up by ten. You know how when you play most action adventure games, they pit you against 2-4 enemies at once? Well, in Guardian Heroes, there are times you will find yourself fighting against 10+ enemies at the same time-- it is an action fan\'s dream come true.

The story begins when five friends find a special sword. A rebel royal soldier named Serena comes to get the sword, but she is followed by the royal army who is also trying attain the sword, even if it means killing Serena and the others. This is where the game starts, as the player takes control of one of the five friends.

The controls are very responsive and easy to master. Moves and attacks include plain, weak, or strong attack, guard, magic and Ancient Warrior control. The Ancient Warrior control is very interesting. He is a computer controlled AI ally that follows your commands. You can have him execute one of the following actions at any time during the game: guard player, follow player, stand still, fight freely, and beserk. Unlike many AI allies in other games, he actually helps. In fact, you will find yourself turning him off for most of the game because you need to kill as many enemies as possible to build your character, and he will often kill more enemies than you.

Graphically, Guardian Heroes features very colorful hand drawn anime-style animation. Treasure even implemented one of the special effects that Saturn supposedly could not pull off-- transparencies. However, my only issues with the game actually have to do with the graphics because certain characters become incredibly pixelated when they are featured in close-up. The game also slows down when the action really picks up, which used to be a bigger problem than it is in current generation consoles.

The music in Guardian Heroes is great. You hear everything from dance-type tunes to epic, orchestrated music, and, of course, traditional MIDI-style videogame music. The audio is very unique, creative, and diverse, which compliments the mood of the game, scenes, and environments very well. The sound effects are nothing spectacular, but not bad either. However, if you are not accustomed to (or don\'t like) anime-style sounds/voices, some of the sound effects might become a little annoying.

Guardian Heroes is the true definition of a diamond in the rough. Sure, PlayStation had Wipeout, Resident Evil, or Metal Gear Solid, but what it never had was Guardian Heroes, and that is all that matters to me. So if you are willing, and able, to purchase this now pricey classic Sega Saturn title (the game has been seen on eBay going for as much as $125), Guardian Heroes is definitely worth every penny.

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