Gunstar Heroes

aka: 3D Gunstar Heroes, Gunstar Heroes Classic
Moby ID: 6581
Genesis Specs
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Description official descriptions

Once upon a time, Dr. Brown managed to defeat a mad android known as Golden Silver, who tried to suck out the energy of the planet G-9. Dr. Brown extracted four Mystical Gems, the android's power source, and sealed them on one of the planet's moons, where it was guarded by the four Gunstar siblings. However, years later, a dictator named Smash Daisaku kidnapped Gunstar Green and brainwashed him into telling him where the Mystical Gems were. The dictator is now close to reactivating Golden Silver. The Gunstar twins Red and Blue, guided by their sister Yellow, must find a way to stop Smash Daisaku - but they know that their older brother is on that way...

Gunstar Heroes is a fast-paced side-scrolling shooter. Controlling either Red or Blue Gunstar, the player has access to four basic weapons: Force, rapid shot; Lightning, a straight shot that penetrates enemies; Chaser, a homing weapon; and Flame, a powerful close-ranged. The player can combine two weapons to produce a new one, for a total of fourteen weapons. It is also possible to use melee attacks and moves such as grabbing and tossing enemies, jumping, and sliding.


  • ガンスターヒーローズ - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Genesis version)

14 People (10 developers, 4 thanks)

Main Programmer
Enemies Programmer
Treasure Logo Programmer
Cool Character Creator
Background Art
Music by
Sound Design
Special Thanks
Presented by
  • SEGA
Produced by
  • Treasure



Average score: 85% (based on 52 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 99 ratings with 3 reviews)

Did I Miss Something?

The Good
Gunstar Heroes is to me a very basic shoot em up with decent graphics. However this game is critically lauded & praised so highly that it confuses me.

The Bad
The premise of this game is run & shoot, keep running & shoot some more. Which doesn't require much thought. It is at a frantic pace, but this serves to do bad rather than good. Simply put, it is too fast. With the amount of action going on it is very difficult to keep up.

This game to me is one for the graphics junkies. The gameplay is minimal at best and doesn't have enough going in order to keep your attention. I have however pushed my way through the game, but to no avail. I can't seem to like it.

Although there were some touches that I liked, it's not enough.

To me it's the SNES game that never was. Too many colours, too little gameplay.

The Bottom Line
I think you either love it or hate it. I'm in the latter camp.

Genesis · by Liam Dowds (39) · 2003

A truly stunning action game, with surprises and magic at every turn

The Good
Visually things are nothing short of stunning. Tonnes is going on at a time, the characters are well drawn and move fluidly, with some cataclysmic explosion effects, the scrolling and animation are super-smooth in every direction, and the weapons give off impressive rippling effects. It certainly goes beyond what most people thought a Genesis could do.

There's a good range of weapons available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, making for interesting choices as you try to decide which two to have at a time, and which to use - if you know which sections are coming up, you might know which weapon is especially useful for that, and should thus be saved.

The different bosses are impressive, all with their own individual traits in terms of their movement patterns and any available 'sweet spots'. The ticking damage meters for them work well too.

The four game worlds are noticeably different in terms not only of appearance, but in progression style, structure and feel. Being able to play them in any order is a nice touch. There's a surprise at every turn, including the auto-scrolling sections, the dice game near the end, and the short celebratory sequences after completing each world

The Bad
The power-ups can be quite hard to collect in pressure situations. The use of unlimited continues means that it's a little too easy - the only plus to this is that more people will get to see the brilliance, which just seems to continue throughout.

The Bottom Line
A truly immense game that everyone should play. Once you look beyond the graphics there's still a lot on offer, all put together with attention to detail and true class. It's a shame the Sonic the Hedgehog games are better known - for all their strengths, they can't match the brilliance of this.

Genesis · by Martin Smith (81743) · 2005


The Good
Where to start? In pure, simple form, this is a raw, undistilled, undiluted, no preservatives added game. Plain and simple. Treasure is a true face of white-knuckle twitch action, kick-you-in-the-teeth gaming.

Gunstar Heroes carries a AAA pedigree: awesome graphics, loud, powerful music and sounds, and like I said, pure, pure, super-fast, unstopping gameplay. It's almost like eating potato chips: a few potato chips aren't enough. Likewise, a few minutes of Gunstar Heroes isn't enough!

The Bad
What's there NOT to like?

The Bottom Line
Any action fan in their right mind should try and grab this game. This is action gaming at its best!

Genesis · by Satoshi Kunsai (2020) · 2002


1001 Video Games

The Mega Drive version of Gunstar Heroes appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The U.S. version of the game came with one free Fruit Roll-Up.


Most bosses of the game are in fact "borrowed" for famous movies, anime or video games. For instance, Colonel Red is Vega from Street Fighter II (aka "Bison" in US version), Pink and her two hunchmen are the Gladys gang from the anime Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (The secret of blue water), the Emperor is a clone of Darth Vader, and you'll also meet a copy of Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z...

About Pink, you'll also notice that the jewel she tries to steal is similar to the "blue water" jewel from Nadia.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1993 (Issue #52) – Game of the Month (Genesis version)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #27 (Best 100 Games of All Time) (Genesis version)
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #50 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Pirou Julien


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 6581
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Satoshi Kunsai.

iPad, Android added by GTramp. Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. iPhone added by Sciere. Macintosh, Arcade, Linux added by Foxhack. PlayStation 3 added by Doppelgamer. Windows added by lights out party. Game Gear added by Игги Друге. Xbox 360 added by Ben K. Wii added by phlux.

Additional contributors: J. Michael Bottorff, Guy Chapman, chirinea, Alaka, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, GTramp, FatherJack, Harmony♡.

Game added June 6, 2002. Last modified June 21, 2024.