Sunset Riders - Gaming memories

Sunset Riders is a game that is definitely in my top 5 games that I loved from my childhood. I first came across this game at our local video shop...

Article by @GaryArds

In the back of the shop they would keep two arcade machines that the owners would change every few months and when Sunset Riders came along every kid wanted to play it, and you were often told to wait outside for your turn as the shop would be overcrowded with youngsters!

Arcade gameplay:

The arcade machine had four player mode which was great fun for myself and my friends to play together as a team and at 10p a go my weekly £2.50 pocket money would have disappeared in one afternoon.

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Not long after the arcade machine had arrived, and no doubt due to the popularity of the game, the owners of the shop acquired the Mega Drive version of the game to rent (yes, video rental stores also rented games back in the 90’s!).

After pleading with my folks, and when the game finally didn't have the red plastic marker which said ‘Rented’ I finally had a chance to take the game home for two nights and have a good blast at it myself.

As soon as I loaded the game cartridge to the Mega Drive and I powered it up, the first noticeable difference was I could only choose between two players, Billy and Cormano (poor Steve and Bob didn't make the cut) but I really didn't mind as they were the two characters I would have chosen on the arcade version anyway as they had better fire power out of the four original cast. Billy was packing two guns, one which shot straight and the other at a diagonal angle pointing up the way, while Cormano packed a shotgun which would spray shots out in typical shotgun fashion maximising your chance of hitting the enemy.

The game itself was extremely fun to play, on your own or with a friend on the two player mode. As the bounty hunter Billy or Cormano you are tasked with shooting your way through each level killing bandits as you try to free your lady friend who has been kidnapped and at the end of each level having a shoot out with the boss of and collecting your bounty.

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As you move through this side scrolling action adventure you can collect coins along the way to boost your high score, and finding a sheriffs badge will let you take part in a bonus stage at the end of the level. It is broken down into four different locations for each level, starting in a classic old western town and finishing at the final boss’s stronghold. Each level will bring different bandits to kill, while at the same time you have to have the reflexes of a gazelle to dodge on coming bullets!

The game itself is relatively short, but at the same time you have to develop your skills of shooting and dodging the bullets at the same time because as soon as you are hit by one you lose a life, so this makes the game one that can't just be completed straight away, but over time. Sunset Riders was released for the Mega Drive in the Spring of 1993, when I was about 10 years old and already an avid gamer.

Though very straight forward in terms of gameplay it is extremely fun and a must play for any gamer. At 30 years old and having kids around the same age I was when I first played it I have been able to break out my old Mega Drive console and play with them. Obviously not the standard of games they are used to they still love playing it due to its simplicity and their sheer fun of killing the bad guys. I have grown up with games and gaming consoles my whole life.

The first to bless our household being the ZX Spectrum, and moving through the generations with the Mega Drive, Amiga 600, Snes, Saturn, Dreamcast, Ps1, Ps2, Ps3, right up to Xbox 1, What I love about retro gaming is that the games themselves are timeless.

Progress in the gaming industry has obviously made the games of today incredible in terms of graphics and storylines, but there's nothing better than going back and blowing the dust off your old machines and playing a game like Sunset Riders which takes me right back to that old video shop when I was 10.

Article by @GaryArds

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