Year Of Release: 1991
Konami were the undisputed kings of the side scrolling beat em ups in arcades during the early 90’s. Games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons and even Bucky O Hare are still fondly remembered to this day. In 1991 though, Konami would turn their attention to the genre of the run and gun side scrolling shooter and the end result was this arcade classic, Sunset Riders.
The game has a really interesting theme in the Old West. This was not a very popular genre back then and while these days games like Red Dead Redemption have brought it back into the mainstream, Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s it seemed like game developers were more interested in making space or fantasy type games. So when Sunset Riders was released it did certainly stand out from the other arcade games. Sunset Riders like many other Konami games came in both a two player and a four player arcade cabinet. The idea of the game was that you would pick from one of four different bounty hunters and then you were tasked with tracking down the most dangerous criminals in the Wild West. One really cool feature about the game was how before each stage you would see an old style Wanted poster of the outlaw you needed to find.
Sunset Riders is a great looking and great sounding game. Konami really were masters at making games look and sound amazing. The game play is that of a side scrolling run and gun 2D shooter. The bounty hunter that you chose has a gun that has unlimited ammunition which is a good thing as the enemies do not let up! While the game is in 2D you can also jump up to higher areas of the levels once up here you can shoot downwards. The shooting action is great as you can shoot in all directions. There are power ups that you can get, but once you die you lose them. Speaking of which this is a game that has one hit deaths so it’s very hard, but thankfully the controls are perfect so there are very few unfair deaths. Once you get to the Outlaw you are looking for you take part in a boss battle. These Outlaws are designed very well and will give you a piece of their mind before you take them down.
Current High Score: 22,920 by Amber McAnally
Sunset Riders would be ported to both the Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive. The Mega Drive version would be released first in 1992 and made many changes. First of all there are only two bounty hunters to pick from. The shooting controls had been changed a little also. The arcade version only had one shooting button, but on the Mega Drive you have two. One lets you walk and shoot at the same time. The other lets you stand in place and just change your aim. There was eight bosses in the arcade version, but there are only four here and there is no voice acting instead it’s all text. There were bonus stages in the arcade version which are different in this version. Despite the differences from the arcade version. The Sega Mega Drive version of Sunset Riders is still a very fun game.
The Super Nintendo version was released in 1993 and is more arcade accurate than the Sega Mega Drive version. To start with you have all four characters from the arcade version to pick from. While the game for the most part is pretty close to what the arcade offered there are still some changes that have been made. Most of the changes that have been made are presentational ones. Things that were deemed “inappropriate” by Nintendo’s standards in 1993. Such as the ladies in the saloon wearing more clothes and the Native Americans you killed in the arcade version being replaced by regular cowboys. Also while there is voice acting in this version some of it has been changed to be more Nintendo friendly.
Truth be told all three versions of Sunset Riders are fun games and well worth playing through.