Sega Ages: Gunstar Heroes Treasure Box Import Impressions

We get on Sega's Treasure retrospective for the PlayStation 2.

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During its reign, Sega's hardware was one of the most fertile playgrounds for Japanese developers. One shining example of this is the recently released Sega Ages titled Gunstar Heroes Treasure Box, a compilation of three of the finest games to hit Sega's hardware: Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, and Dynamite Headdy. The titles show off Treasure's unique flair for awesome 2D graphics and pulse-quickening gameplay. As fans who cut their gaming teeth on the trio of titles, we got our hands on the import game to see if the games have been done justice.

For those unfamiliar with the three titles in question, we'll offer you a brief history lesson. The first title in the compilation is 1993's Gunstar Heroes, the now legendary side-scroller that cast you as one of two peacekeepers. Your mission? Blow up the forces of evil in order to maintain peace in the galaxy. The next gem in the collection is 1994's Dynamite Headdy, a side-scrolling platformer that cast you as Headdy, the puppet with a heart of gold. Your mission? To rescue all of your puppet friends from captivity (didn't expect that, did you?) by defeating the forces that are causing havoc in puppet land. 1995's Alien Soldier is the last of the titles. The game cast you as--surprise, surprise--an alien soldier, which looked like a humanoid bird. Your mission? (Wait for it...) Blow up the many forces of evil to ensure that peace reigns in the galaxy. Noticing a trend, are we?

In addition to the above games, you'll find some very cool extras tossed into the compilation. The Game Gear version of Dynamite Headdy, a prototype version of Gunstar Heroes, and the US versions (complete with English text) are easily accessible from a menu in the game. With some work you'll also find some very cool historical docs tied to Gunstar Heroes. Though we'd obviously like to have seen more included, be it games or supplemental content, the package is pretty robust for a budget title.

With a wealth of English text options, the Treasure Box is extremely importer-friendly.
With a wealth of English text options, the Treasure Box is extremely importer-friendly.

From a presentation standpoint, Treasure Box acquits itself very nicely with its charges and re-creates all the games almost perfectly. The visuals are well done and re-create the look of their 16-bit predecessors well. Purists will notice some variances, mostly revolving around the audio, but the visuals are just about nailed. You'll even find some display options that will let you re-create or do away with some of the visual glitches found in the original games.

Based on what we played, Sega Ages: Gunstar Heroes Treasure Box is a tasty little compilation of some of Treasure's best that begs for a proper, comprehensive gathering of the developer's cracking catalog. Still, for anyone hankering to try the old games again, you would do well to pick up the title; the game's about as import-friendly as they get with its English options. Sega Ages: Gunstar Heroes Treasure Box is currently available in Japan.

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