Yep, another port of an old game has found its way to the Xbox Live Arcade. This time, Guardian Heroes has travelled from the Sega Saturn, but not before taking part in a quick face lift on the way.
The game is set in an unnamed fantasy world, full of swords, magic and your usual monstrous entities that have a strange urge to kill just you and no one else. You find a legendary sword, said to have been wielded by a well revered hero. Of course, the bad guys want this sword, as they believe the way of the sword is pushing out the way of magic. You are also given a history about two ancient factions that used to be at war.
If this seems confusing, then I should point out this is the CONDENSED version. I played the game for a good amount of time and I still don’t know the entire back story. This is because you get a branching storyline, full of multiple paths and different endings, so no two play-throughs are ever the same.
Guardian Heroes plays out like a 2D side-scrolling beat ‘em up. You run from one side of the level to the other, taking down some of the toughest grunts and goons I have ever met. Even when starting out with 10 credits, and on the ‘normal’ difficulty, I had my backside handed to me more times than I would like to count. Unlike most 2D scrolling fighting games, Guardian Heroes gives you the ability to switch from three different planes; near, far, and in between.
If you have some friends over to play, and a lot of enemies to defeat, this can make for a lot of entertaining chaos. If you play this game, I urge you to use the block button; it’s not some token ability that’s been shoehorned in the game… it’s a LIFESAVER.
Now, as I mentioned before, this game gives you branching storylines, meaning you have a different experience each time you play, but in my opinion, this seems a bit clumsy and random; it jumps from one level to the next without any indication of why or how you got there.
For example, I was in a forest on level, beat some bad guys, witnessed a cut scene, made my moral choice, then suddenly, I was in a cave that looked like the underworld. No warning, no explanation, no nothing. I would’ve liked the feature more if it had been a tad more syncopated.
I may have given it some negative feedback about the story, but the gameplay makes up for it. It’s unforgiving, chaotic, and really fun, especially when you have friends to enjoy it with. Give the demo a go, and see for yourself.