Review Code Provided
You are the Gunlord, you have travelled across the galaxy to defeat The Master and rescue your wife Vanessa Gaiden from certain doom.
Gunlord X is an arcade styled side scrolling shooter complete with a cheesy story and some amazing tunes and to really help complete the look you can have a box screen with a wallpaper behind it, which you can choose from a small selection and you can see it when you pause by pressing the shoulder buttons. It’s also present at the sides of the screen though you can’t really see enough of it to enjoy it properly during play.
Most of the time you’ll just be running from side to side blasting away at your enemies and in true arcade fashion, never letting go of the fire button seems to be the safest option if you want to keep all of your lives. You have a choice of three weapons that you can pick up any time you shoot one of the floating item boxes that double as platforms and often are the key to finding secret areas. One weapon acts as a traditional spread shot, another is like a variation of the spread shot except with this one the bullets bounce off the walls and if you hold the button down the fire becomes more focused and no longer bounces, the last of the guns you can pick up is more of a high energy wave shot. One weapon you have with you at all times is a beam shot that is fired using the right analogue stick and it uses the energy bar at the bottom of the screen but since it recharges quickly there’s almost no limit to how much you can use it and to make it ever better it has a decent range, can shoot through walls and can destroy some enemy projectiles.
As well as the beam gun using the energy bar, there’s an ability that allows you to roll up into a ball that also uses it but it doesn’t really have much use in a combat scenario, you can drop bombs but it’s better for avoiding attacks and getting into hidden areas. There are some special weapons that you can find dotted around the levels and while they are incredibly effective, they only have a short usage time so you can’t really make the most of them when you find them, the same story goes for the shields as well.
The levels are mostly quite large, they seem free form in where they allow you to look around but they’re always pointing you towards the end in one way or another and it can be a bit annoying not being able to get back to some places when you’re trying to collect all of the gems. Normally things like gems would be for score but in Gunlord X the larger of the gems allow you access to more continues but only if you manage to find them all for each level, as well as that there are also lives hidden around the stages that come in handy due to the difficulty of some parts. You can also collect bombs that enable the use of a devastating screen wipe attack that will clear off most enemy projectiles and weaker enemies but rather annoyingly if you die, the number of bombs you’re carrying returns to the default amount.
The further on you get in the game, the more difficult it gets, not so much that the enemies become more of a threat since the weapons keep the same level of effectiveness but that the environments get harder to traverse with bigger gaps to jump and more sneaky enemy placements as well as more hazards. There’s a good deal of detail in the levels and each one looks unique which is great, as a bonus they don’t all follow the same format, though the ones that do veer away from the basic template tend to be drastically shorter than their counterparts, for example; the average level took me around 30 minutes to play through while one of the other types only took a couple of minutes.
There’s quite a lot of bosses in Gunlord X, with some stages having more than one and they each have their own attack patterns and difficulties but none of them require too much effort to defeat. They may take you out a couple of times but if you’ve explored the stages a lot you’re likely to have stocked a few lives and you should be able to beat them before you’re forced to use a continue, providing you’ve learned from your previous mistakes of course. If you do happen to run out of continues then, unfortunately, it’s back to the start of the level and you only have a very limited number of continues, especially if like me, you’re not very good at finding the big gems.
Gunlord X is one of those games I found myself questioning my ability to finish given the kind of game it is and if not for the beam weapon then I may still be stuck somewhere on it, thankfully though I was able to finish it and I can say that I got a good deal of challenge from it and while there were some annoying parts, I found it to mostly be an enjoyable experience. Despite the challenge though, I did find that I was able to finish it fairly quickly since there wasn’t anything thrown at me that couldn’t be overcome with a little perseverance. I particularly enjoyed the music which does a great job of letting you focus on the game and get lost in the sounds and I would definitely recommend this to any retro arcade fans.
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