While this release might not mean much for gaming overall, it’s significant for me on a personal level. I used to play this game on the Sega Genesis with my childhood buddies. I loved the game so much that my mom took me to the local FuncoLand to purchase Sunset Riders for myself. I’ll always love the Genesis version, but it was missing half the content from its arcade counterpart. Two playable characters and four of the game’s bosses were absent. However, thanks to Hamster Corporation the arcade version of Sunset Riders is available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
Sunset Riders is a run-and-gun shooter where you’ll be dodging punishment, while dishing out your own. Depending on which character you pick, you’ll be equipped with a pistol or a rifle. Power-ups can boost both weapons, which when picked up will provide rapid fire or a second firearm. Other weapons include a mountable railgun and dynamite that can be hurled back at enemies. Some levels will have you on foot, while others will have you on horseback. There’s also a minigame where you have to shoot bandits as they pop up on screen, similar to a light gun game.
Sunset Riders really captures the aesthetic of the wild west. Some levels will have you traverse through saloons, chase trains, and scale mountains. The sprites and backgrounds really pop with color and are animated brilliantly. Characters will go flat when hit by falling hazards or burn to a crisp when hit by flames. The game’s design is comedic as well as charming. Sunset Riders feels like you’re watching a Saturday morning cartoon. The game also has a great soundtrack that captures the setting of the levels.
Like other releases from Arcade Archives, Sunset Riders features quite a bit of modes. Players are able to choose between the North American and Japanese versions. Both versions feature local multiplayer with the ability to play with up to four players. There’s also a High Score Mode where you compete for scores without using saves. Caravan Mode has you compete for scores within a five-minute period. All scores can be uploaded to an online rankings board.
It’s good to see Konami finally bring the arcade version of Sunset Riders to consoles. The preservation of classic arcade games is always nice to see. While it might be small, there’s still an audience that appreciates these gems. With the Switch version I not only get to play on the big screen, but on the go as well. My only disappointment is that there is no online multiplayer. Regardless, I still had a blast playing through Sunset Riders even after all these years.
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