A classic beat-em-up that no one has played.

User Rating: 8.5 | Guardian Heroes SAT
Yes. It's been awhile since we've stepped back on memory lane but here we are with another retrospective look at another old classic. Developed by the guys behind Alien Soldierand Radiant Silvergun comes Guardian Heroes – one of Sega Saturn's great gems that debuted during an era where ugly 3D texture gaming was the in-thing and where 2D has taken a backseat. Guardian Heroes is a game that has enticed even the most casual of gamers. Moreover, it was one of the few games (if not the only game) that allowed simultaneous 6-player combat and even utilized Street-Fighter-like joystick movements for its special moves. It is organized chaos at its best. Even by today's standards there have not been many beat-em-ups today that can stand up to Guardian Heroes' gameplay style. Although, in our FPS-laden era, it is fair to say that there haven't been many beat-em-ups in years past.

Commercially, Guardian Heroes did not hit the sales numbers they wanted when compared to other well known franchises such as Virtua Fighter. To note, it was released on the Sega Saturn – a system that stayed mostly on game store shelves because of Sony's dominance with the 1st Playstation. But for a game that was developed in the mid 90′s, it had everything:

A developed story mode that contained multiple paths and multiple endings, a versus mode where any of the characters are in a timed battle to the death. Even its unlockables were creative. In todays fighting and beat-em-up games, it was predictable to unlock bad guys and bosses. But in Guardian Heroes, you can even unlock civilians.

Gameplay even had RPG-like elements that utilized experience points during each level and players are open to customize up to six different attributes that are all equally important and can significantly change the style of play. These attributes comprised of Strength (physical damage and knockout distance), Vitality (which deals with health), Intelligence (strength of spells), Mentality (which affects magic points/recovery), Agility (speed of attacks) and Luck (modifies damage attacks and spells). During the fighting, Guardian Heroes uses a multi-plane system where players can jump and move between planes. It worked seamlessly and helped round out the game to avoid becoming a button masher and more of an action game that rewarded methodical approaches to beating up guys. Often, evasive actions could be taken by switching a plane. For example, being enveloped by a mob of enemies with little hope of fighting through them without taking extensive damage could be mitigated with a simple plane change. Additionally, how the game gets played can also dramatically change the story and change who you fight at the end. Treasure fans will have a treat if they repeatedly beat the game.

Guardian Heroes is considered a favorite among the LTG staff as well as many friends of ours who have at least gotten a chance to experience it during their younger years.

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