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Lord Spencer avatar 10:47 AM on 04.23.2014  (server time)
SNES REVIEWS: Sunset Riders

For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

88- Sunset Riders:
Year: 1993.
Genre: Side-Scrolling Shooter.
Publisher: Konami.
Developer: Konami

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

There are few things the side-scrolling shooter can do to stand out, and yet games in this genre need standing out the most. We do not play these games for the story, and the combat in many of them including weapons and such is very similar. These games competed in the arcade floor trying to attract players from the genre's leaders.

Sunset Riders is not different from other competitors. The gameplay is similar to other games in the genre, but it wants to attract players by its wild west style, and its personality. For the most part, SR succeeds in being a fun shooter with tons of personality, and it is that personality that differentiate it from the crowd.

"Get ready to pow-wow"

From the first stage, to the final battle, SR is a consistently good shooter. It is not the shooting however that is best about this game, but the setting itself. Set in the wild west, the game takes spaghetti western themes with looney over the top characters worthy of Punch Out fame.

The stages themselves are regular frontier villages with far too many saloons, or more exhilarating fast paced horseback shootouts. These stages end being just a regular vehicle for delivering a number of iconic and weirdly quotable boss fights.

Like contra, one hit equals a loss of life. Anywhere outside the bosses, getting hit is an annoying and mostly avoidable mistake. Against those bosses however, you do not want to get hit, not because it would be annoying to die, but because you want to beat these bosses with as much skill and finesse you could.

Story-wise, all of those bosses are bounties for you to collect. They are classical miscreants from the wild-west. Including a Mexican bandito, an Indian warrior, and of course the English cowboy. Try not to crack up when the fat banker's death quote is: "Bury me with my money".

Personality: +5

"Bury me with my money"

So, let us remove the bosses from the equation. Does the personality of the game holds without them. Well, the answer is mostly yes.

The stages themselves fit with tone of the game, especially when riding a horse and dodging logs all the while shooting bad guys. However, the bad guys themselves come in only four interchangeable kinds with no personality whatsoever. In effect, you are mowing down scores of faceless clowns in order to get to the real treat in the bosses.

Luckily, this is accompanied by some decent, even if not spectacular music. However, coinciding with the drabness of your enemies, the stage's regular music pales in comparison with that of the bosses.

All in all, we find that while the personality so obvious and overwhelming in the bosses, is not present as much in the rest of the game. It is not represented in three of the heroes, who are boring blonde rangers, and it is not represented by the regular goons you dispatch. Also, it is somewhat confusing that the bullets you shoot look like green laser pellets, or pink if powered up.

At least one of the players you could choose is the very cool Mexican ranger, Carmino, who wears a pink poncho and sombrero.

Mexican Swagg: +2.5
Decent Music: +2.5

"Draw Pilgrim"

Now, take out the bosses and the wild west design. What you are left with is the bare mechanics of the game. Essentially, these mechanics are similar in most games of the genre. The objective is going forward without dying, and shooting those who wish you dead.

SR does not deviate from this basic formula at all. You have the choice between protagonists, but that means simply choosing between two who have pistols, or two who have shotguns. Yet, is there really any difference between the two? In full power up mode, (which means picking up two common items). both are similarly potent.

That is all you have in your arsenal. No other guns, no bombs, and only the ability to duck and jump. Basically, this serves you throughout the game with the exception of the bosses. Who will require a more nuanced approach from the players.

With no variety in gameplay, their is little beyond the personality of the game to old your interest. Sure, the game will hold your interest for a second and third play-through. However, you are likely to have mastered the game by the second time, with the final battle being the only challenge you face.

No Variety: -2

In Conclusion:

Perhaps the greatest achievement of Sunset Riders is in being able to be expressed so thoroughly in a short review. It is a by-the-book side-scrolling shooter with no wish to stand out. Yet, it stands out by virtue of its unique and playful personality.

I cannot say that Sunset Riders is a great game, not even a very good one. Yet, it is a game I am happier having played it, and a game I would recommend anyone buys in any emulator.

Final: 33/50.



1- Learn the pattern of the bosses thoroughly.
2- Shotgun are better than pistols in my opinion.
3- Tap the fire button rapidly for faster firing.
4- Do not lose any lives going to the bosses.

"Next Game"

Continuing my second climb down IGN's top 100, I am going to play another Konami game. This one is Konami's answer to Sega's sonic, starring an opossum instead of a hedgehog. This is going to be #87 Sparkster, who looks to be a 90's animal icon wannabe through and through.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

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