Well, you saw it. Eyes unfastened wide through the screenshots, the movies, the articles, the interviews; all with the same uneasy wonderment that we had. In the eleven years it took for us to return here, Gunstar Super Heroes had become something of a tourist trap.
The same characters, the same bosses, the same landscapes to tear across; everything we once knew was again new. And that felt wrong. Even when I tried it at E3, I could tell the original Gunstar Heroes was being propped up, bolted down, and paraded around. GSH threatened to be little more than a swan ride down some nostalgia-snatching revisionist's idea of 1993, complete with "It's a Small World" piping through the water.
But who knew there was a method to revisiting the 2D run 'n' gun madness?"
So again there are the heroes, Gunstar Red and Gunstar Blue. And Yellow. And Green, Orange, Black and every other primary color that was killed in the original. Keeping up with the cryptic nature of the series, the introduction provides little guidance. The game recognizes the events of Gunstar Heroes so this isn't one of those painful sequels where the plot settles in some weird nether void with unclear relationship to the rest of the series.
But questions remain. What happened to the original team? How did Green survive? Most importantly, when did Red turn into a chick? Should we blame the hormones? When coherency is all we ask for, the finer details of plot are the last things on our mind. But Treasure's in a storytelling mood: they turn their pages to a real existential corker, and in several breaths imaginatively tell us everything we wanted to know abut Gunstar, but were too afraid to try to comprehend.
As before, the Colonel Grey-led Empire is attempting to resurrect Golden Silver (aka God of Ruin) via four Treasure Gems scattered across the village stage, the mine shaft, the warship, and Black's infamous dice maze. Yellow testifies a feeling of déjà vu, though cannot explain why. But we soon can: the world she and everyone else inhabit is not the same world we saved back in '93. There are billions of Earths, each with their own set of Gunstars and supporting characters, each diseased by their unique dystopia. The original Gunstar came to a misfortunate conclusion; it was not the perfect Earth the Treasure Gems were searching for and thus they disappeared from that reality.