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GUNばれ!ゲーム天国 GUNbare! The Game Paradise 2 (Sony PlayStation)

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GUNbare! The Game Paradise 2 was made by Jaleco in 1998 for the Sony PlayStation. It is a sequel to Game Tengoku for the Sega Saturn which is an arcade port.

In the game's story an exhibitionistic super villain attacks an arcade. Video game characters leave their cabinets and fight him together. Interestingly many of those characters arise from real old arcade games.

As its predecessor GUNbare is primarily a shoot 'em up game. However the main campaign can be played by two players simultaneously. Player one games as usual, but player two uses a light gun. As Jaleco licensed the Namco G-con 45 the game is very playable that way. I had the idea of playing this game on my own, operating a joystick in the left hand and holding the light gun in the right hand. I was already prepared of using peripherals with turbo buttons, as I thought the game would be too difficult otherwise, but I have to say it was very doable with standard devices. The game lets the player remap the buttons, and therefore I was able to lay the real in game turbo shot onto the Joystick trigger without any tricks.

The second player uses a full automatic gun with infinite capacity and infinite ammunition. Everything in both planes can be shot. Player one may use normal shots and homing shots independently in a semi automatic fashion. However two buttons are mapped to a turbo combination of both shots. The normal shots just hit objects in the nearest plane, whereas the homing shots hit objects on both planes. Player one may release bomb attacks, which are limited and are restocked upon collecting icons. Other pickups are power ups and egg plants which are used as currency in a store. At the beginning of a stage the player may pick one of 7 characters. These all have different weapons and therefore play slightly different. In the store the number of lives and the power level of every character can be increased. The higher the level, the bigger and stronger the shots get. Furthermore the player may buy an anime, sound test menus and radio plays in the store.

In total there are 6 stages which can be selected freely. The first stage plays at the arcades. The second stage plays in the game room of a game enthusiast. The next stage is space themed and gets vector based after some time. The fourth stage plays on a racing track. After that a doll is fought in stage five. The last stage plays inside of a computer.

Besides the main mode there is a training mode and a time attack mode. The time attack mode is just for one single player, however here is a pure light gun mode available. Here the player has 180 seconds to pass a special level with a boss fight at the end.

Personally I like this game. The anime cut scenes and the bonus anime are well drawn and show off the PlayStation's motion jpeg based video capabilities. The sound is catchy and I like that the player may listen to the tracks freely in the sound test menus. The difficulty is adjustable in very fine steps and can further be tweaked by the store upgrades. However in my opinion here lies a weakness of the game: The player may power the characters up too much, thus making the game dull by making it too easy. Personally I kept most characters not upgraded by intention. Possibly GUNbare wouldn't be an outstanding shoot 'em up on its own but as for the unique combination with the light gun functionality I would definitely recommend it!

The cover shows a well drawn image of most of the characters framed by a purple border.