Arcade shooters were a gaming staple in the 90s; everywhere you looked and every game you played featured some kind of heavy bullet action with detailed sprites that were unthinkable before the 16-bit era. Wild Guns is a true product of the ever-popular genre that was seemingly synonymous with video games at the time. It was what every kid wanted; a space-western with the goal to shoot all bad guys that crossed your way.
Wild Guns was different in some rather interesting ways. The game wasn't a traditional shoot-em-up nor was it a run and gun. It was a rail-shooter and bullet hell hybrid that succeeded in almost everything that it set out to accomplish. Rope up some bad guys, stun them, and prevent them from gunning you down, then it's time to go in for a few shots. All the while, you're jumping around dozens of bullets on the screen, picking up gold, and increasing your high score. It's a hectic, fun time that manages to remain challenging and rewarding.
The game takes place over a variety of different levels that you can select after completing the last, choosing your path to the end. You shoot some guys, fight a boss, and move on to the next level. You also get access to different power-ups along the way, such as the wide range shotgun or the fast shooting machine gun, not to mention bombs that clear the screen of enemies. You only get a few at a time, so be sure to use them carefully.
Artistically, the game is beautiful. The music is awesome and the general design choices are really well made. It looked great back then and it looks great now in the new widescreen format. The game was optimized to perform stunningly, alongside options to filter the graphics settings to look more modern or to add scan lines for a more authentic gameplay experience. By far, though, it's just simply great to be able to pull out my Switch on the bus or in the park and have a blast with an amazing arcade game.
Fans of the original game might remember its two characters, Annie and Clint. In the remastered version there are two additional characters, Bullet and Doris. Bullet is a cute, small dog who uses a drone to move around and shoot. Not only is he adorable, but his drone gives him extreme maneuverability so he can freely move around the level, dodging bullets and picking up items. Dorris is a bigger, slower character who packs quite a big punch compared to the others. She has a strong melee attack and a fast dash to compensate for her lack of general movement speed, offering a really fun and new way to tackle the game. All four characters are blast to play and provide a lot of unexpected depth to an already amazing game, especially with the new four-player co-op mode. Originally, the Super Nintendo only had two controller slots so with the improved new technology, we can have more people play all at once. It's a bit chaotic, but very good time nonetheless.
Friends make everything better, including your playthrough of Wild Guns Reloaded. The ease of access to multiplayer on the go or at home with the Switch just makes the game feel right at home with Nintendo. Playing through Wild Guns Reloaded with a friend not only makes the game easier, it also makes it more fun. It's just the kind of game where co-op is truly a benefit to the experience, and with four different and unique characters to choose from, there's quite a lot of variety.
Wild Guns Reloaded isn't necessarily a game I asked for, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless, especially on handheld mode. It's colorful, vibrant, and an artistic beauty. Among other things, it remains to be a very fun title from a time when video games were still evolving. With some extra polish and new ways to play the game, Wild Guns was remastered as best as it possibly could have been. It's not new or special in today's landscape, but I still think that it's a title everyone should pick up and play for a really great time.
Most of my time is dedicated to tearing apart games and movies, then telling you what I think about it. I've been a gamer since birth, practically born with a controller in my hand. I've always spoke my mind, so critique was a natural fit. Twitter: @Jsrf38