Guardian Heroes

Moby ID: 9738
SEGA Saturn Specs
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Description official description

Ages ago, the spirits of Earth and Sky waged war on each other. Neither could win, and eventually the Sky Spirits bestowed some humans with their powers, turning them into wizards and allies in the war. The Earth Spirits were banished into darkness; but the Sky Spirits feared the human wizards and cast them underground as well.

Years have passed, and a powerful wizard named Kanon escaped from the gloomy prison and turned the human land into a puppet state trembling before his might. One legendary sword is said to bring an end to Kanon's reign. Four warriors - Han, Randy, Nicole and Ginjirou - retrieved the sword, but knights sent by Kanon are determined to take it away and destroy it at all costs. Aided by the renegade knight Serena, the four heroes must keep the world safe and protect themselves against the onslaught.

Guardian Heroes is a hybrid of a side-scrolling beat-em-up and a role-playing game. The four initial player characters are distinguished by their attributes and abilities: Han is a strong fighter who cannot use magic; Randy is a sorcerer who can cast attack spells but is physically more vulnerable; Ginjirou is a ninja-type, agile character; finally, Nicole has weak attacks but can cast healing spells.

The fighting mechanic is slightly deeper than in most other games of this type, with light and heavy attacks, special moves (executed the same way as usually in fighting games), magical attacks and the ability to block. Defeating enemies yields experience points, with which the player can upgrade the characters between levels, sharing them between various factors such as strength, speed, constitution and magic resistance.

The game has a branching storyline that develops according to the player's selection of stages. There is also a "Karma" system that evaluates the player's actions depending on how he or she treats enemies or innocent people in the game world.

Even in one-player mode there are always two controllable characters on screen - the player commands the other character by changing his "mood" - aggressive, cowardly etc. - of which there are six. On top of this, it is possible to play the game as a more traditional beat-em-up with up to six players (human or AI-controlled); in this mode it is possible to play as any character encountered during the main game mode.


  • ガーディアンヒーローズ - Japanese spelling

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Credits (SEGA Saturn version)

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Executive Producer
Executive Director
Character Design
Director of Graphics
Sound Director
Assistant Sound Director
Sound Effects
Assistant Programmer
Emergency Staff
Creation Director
Action Director
  • SW20
  • Ahill
  • 'Gacha Complex' Go
Cast - Ezaki Production
[ full credits ]



Average score: 85% (based on 27 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 42 ratings with 1 reviews)

Great re-visitation of a rare gem.

The Good
Guardian Heroes was one of the most slept-on games of the Sega Saturn, and eventually came to be regarded a cult classic fetching fairly high prices on eBay. It blended western fantasy conventions with oriental aesthetic sensibility, side-scrolling action with choose-your-own-path multiple endings, an RPG character-point system with classic beat'em-up fighting... It had a ridiculously enormous selection of characters, from useless villagers to god-like spirits... It had multiplayer for up to 6 simultaneous contenders... Well, it really was a good game. Now, to all that, add a 16:9 aspect ratio expansion, up-scaling filters and effects, tweaked and expanded gameplay (all optional), new game modes and multiplayer limit increased to 12... This, ladies and gentlemen, may very well be the epitome of well-deserved second chance.

The Bad
As a personal note, I do not care much for anime-style illustrations. Guardian Heroes, though, sometimes pushes this too far, with grossly incorrect anatomical perspectives on some of its characters (Han's arms, anyone?) although this usually seems to be in line with the game's over-the-top style, overall.

The Bottom Line
2 parts Golden Axe to 1 part Street Fighter and 1 part Dragon Ball Z, with a sprinkle of Dungeons & Dragons and a liberal dash of Japanese "funny-weird". You will most likely enjoy it if you have fond memories of ANY of these things above.

Xbox 360 · by iPinteus (7) · 2012


1001 Video Games

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


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • March 1997 (Issue 92) - Side-Scrolling Game of the Year
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #66 (Best 100 Games of All Time)


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Related Games

Advance Guardian Heroes
Released 2004 on Game Boy Advance
Released 1984 on Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Electron
Released 1981 on VIC-20
Released 1982 on TRS-80 CoCo
Released 2009 on Xbox 360
Released 1983 on TI-99/4A
Released 1982 on Apple II
Released 1982 on Atari 2600
Released 1986 on Arcade

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  • MobyGames ID: 9738
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by yprbest.

Xbox 360 added by Sciere. Xbox One added by Eufemiano Bullanga.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Alaka, ケヴィン, FatherJack.

Game added July 17, 2003. Last modified January 14, 2024.