- Original release year: 2012
- Consoles: Neo Geo, Dreamcast
There’s no other way to say it, Gunlord is fucking awesome. Remember the Turrican series? Well this is just like that, but the difference is, this was released in 2012, for the Neo Geo and Dreamcast consoles (yup, you read that correctly) and developed by the German developers, NG:DEV.TEAM.
Gunlord is a wonderful 2D run n’ gun platformer, full of depth and complexity. Each level has a distinctive and obvious direction to go in, so you will never feel lost, but similar to the Metroid games, the level design is open and encourages (and rewards) exploration as you run, jump and shoot at anything that crosses your path. I have to say that the level design is simply brilliant. This is not just an average “run, jump and shoot” game. Gunlord is a deep and varied game within its relatively simple genre.
There are 9 long, action packed stages and 7 different weapon types, as well as a powerful beam weapon that works through walls and allows 360 degree control. Oh, and remember in Metroid how you can turn into a ball, roll around stages and into small gaps and drop bombs? Yeah, you can do that in Gunlord too.
Each stage is diverse and crafted with fantastic attention to detail. The only stage I’m not a huge fan of is the second, which is a shmup (and a little nod to their first game, Last Hope, which Gunlord is kind of a sequel to), but it doesn’t outstay its welcome. The stage that comes after is awesome too, so there’s that to look forward to whenever I get to the second stage.
Out of all the Indie releases on the Dreamcast, this is probably my favourite (although Sturmwind comes close). It works perfectly as a love letter to the ‘run, gun and explore’ games of the 90s and, dare I say it?, but it’s possibly better than any Turrican game (sacrilege and blasphemous, I know). The only criticism I have, is the game doesn’t allow you to replay stages and each time you die and run out of continues, you have to start the game from scratch (especially harsh for people like me who plain suck). That said, a level select cheat was recently found, at least (Pause the game and press: down, down, up, up, right, left, right, left, right trigger, Y).