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Armored Core 2
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Street Fighter EX3
Tekken Tag Tournament
THPS 2

1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

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by Capcom

sshot6.jpg (8413 bytes)Remember Legendary Wings? The classic NES game, released in 1981 by Capcom, put you in control of a winged harbinger of fireballs. What’s more, if you had an Icarus to your Daedalus, you could play two-player simultaneous and dish out twice as much firepower. Great powerups, lots of baddies, and both top-down vertical and horizontal scrolling. It entertained me and my friends through endless sleepover gaming sessions. There have been plenty of shooters since then, but none have come as close to mimetic re-interpretation of the classic NES title as Gunbird 2. Capcom has given us many good things. Unfortunately, Gunbird 2 has one tragic flaw of mythic proportion.

sshot5.jpg (8543 bytes)Like Legendary Wings, Gunbird 2 puts you in control of a flying hero. You pick one of seven anime-styled super characters, and according to fashion, you can play two-player simultaneous and double-team a slew of big, bad Pirate crew minions. The action is frantic. The now classic Capcom style comes close to movie quality cartoons on the latest systems. Everything blows up, bullets fly in insane quantities, you’re constantly getting bigger and better weapons, and each character has two kinds of special that can really do some harm.

sshot4.jpg (7934 bytes)The first special move can be performed anytime you have a powerup, and is basically a super-powered close-range attack. The second special can be done so many times per life, and obliterates every bullet while damaging every enemy on the screen. These moves are devastating, and fun to watch. But you’ll never really run out of your limited special, because you die often enough to pretty much keep a good supply. Dying often is not the flaw of this game – you can continue to your heart’s content, and even when both players die and both players hit Game Over, you restart only a little behind wherever you were. Continues are unlimited.

sshot3.jpg (8420 bytes)If it sounds like Gunbird 2 must be really tough, it is. Were it not for the ability to continue all the time until you brute force your way through the game, it would be nearly impossible to finish. And even when you get pretty good at it, it takes a lot of continues to complete. While many gamers would rather have to get good enough at the game to beat it with no continues, the "continue as much as you want" system is actually the best possible scenerio for Gunbird 2.

sshot2.jpg (6983 bytes)Gunbird 2 suffers from what I like to call "Dragon’s Lair Syndrome." While it seems like it could go on forever, the game is incredibly short in its entirety. The first time I played, I beat it in 30 minutes. The second time, on a higher difficulty: 20 minutes. We finished the Very Hard level in a scant 14 minutes of furious action. Gunbird 2 would just be incredibly frustrating if you had to work for three weeks to realize the game is so short. And it is this brevity that makes Gunbird a two star game.

sshot1.jpg (6600 bytes)We can appreciate classic forms, throwbacks, even kitsch, but that doesn’t excuse games that fit into these catagories from being fully formed. Gunbird 2 is a very cool game if you hanker for some old-school top-down shooter action. But there is no reason to play this game for more than two hours. You don’t get more characters. Nothing changes when you up the difficulty. The only extra modes are different ways of moving the screen. You can play vertical scroll, horizontal scroll, or vertical scroll. Within a couple of hours you will have beat it many, many times and played every character. You’ll wonder where the next level is.

Shawn Rider

Snapshot

Ups: Cool character design; frantic shooting action.

Downs: Amazingly short; no innovation; very low replay value; too few characters.

System Reqs:
Sega Dreamcast

 

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