Since the days of the original Raiden there haven't been many shooters that have made me lose sight of my ship against the backdrop of never-ending enemy fire. Or that have thrown so much at me that avoidance is not an option. But Gunbird 2 is such a game. This is a balls-to-the-wall shooter. Crafted by Japanese shooter wizards Psikyo (and the first time a game of theirs has made it to the U.S.), it's the perfect example of an old-school twitch game. In fact it's almost too reflex-intensive and it's easy to get frustrated. Enemies throw so much crap at you that most of the time--depending on what difficulty you have it set at--it is impossible to avoid getting hit. After you pass a certain point in the game you are thrown back to the beginning of each stage (those continues are unlimited) and can't continue from where you died, which is actually good 'cause it keeps the difficulty high. The game has some wacky Japanese humor, and each character has two possible endings to choose from. In one of them you sprinkle a fattening potion on the citizens of a city. In another you become a "bright" girl, literally. Unfortunately, it's so old school that the cinemas are mostly still images. Sound-wise, character voices get repetitive very quickly, and the music is very plain synth-pop. If you remember the old days of shooters, this is worth picking up. At the lower price it's being sold at, it's a worthy purchase.
What's up with Capcom lately? They've got a stable of shooters the likes of which hasn't been seen since the glory days of the Genesis, No complaints here, though this game reminds me of just how easy games have gotten...or how slow I am in my old age. The difficult/on the single-player game is definitely way up there, and the fact that after the third level you need to restart any level you die in from the beginning means you won't beat it in one sitting. Well, unless you play the two-player mode, then you can rifle through the game's seven missions immediately. Barring that, Gunbird 2 feels like a great old-school shooter with sweet 2D graphics.
I appreciate it when a company the size of Capcom brings over a humble 16-Bit-style shooter these days. But when it barely has the strength to compete with shooters from the early '90s, I wonder why they even bothered. Gunbird 2 is a paint-by-numbers textbook scroller stencilled in from the blueprints of mediocre shooters past. The game lacks the hook that made recent blasters like R-Type Delta and Radiant Silvergun so much fun to play. Of the half-dozen characters available, the only one compelling enough to play as is Morrigan of Darkstalkers fame, although why Capcom shoehorned her into this mediocre shooter is beyond me.
Download Gunbird 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP