REVIEW: Sunset Riders (Sega Genesis 1993)

The best westerns always existed in cinemas and books. Movies such as “Once Upon a Time in the West,” and books such as “Lonesome Dove,” gained reverence from critics and fans alike. Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson rose to fame through their roles in westerns. Many games also attempted to try their hand at bringing the western genre to the arcades and consoles. Many failed and some succeeded, for example the recent release “Red Dead Redemption.” But only the young fans remember the best western game on the Sega Genesis, called “Sunset Riders.”

”Sunset Riders,” was originally released by Konami on the arcades in 1991. It drew in many players with its four player co-op shoot-out that played like “X-Men,” or “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” but with guns and cowboys instead of swords and mutants. It finally made its way to the Sega Genesis on March 3, 1993 and the Super Nintendo on August 6 of that same year. The Genesis version wasn’t a straight port of the arcade original, but rather built from the ground up due to the limitations of the Genesis. The four player co-op was cut, which was replaced by a two player co-op mode. Additionally, the level layout was entirely different, and the game as a whole was less cartoony.

Players start the game choosing one of the two bounty hunters, Billy and Cormano, who wield a peacemaker (quick shot) and a shotgun (wide shot) respectively. Power-ups can be earned as you make your way through the levels, for example by picking up the “rapid shot” or the “dual shot”. The main objective is simple, as you must get from point A to point B, taking out the bandits that stand in your way and rescuing a damsel in distress, after which you must take on the boss to collect the bounty. With levels that range from canyons to trains, and from a town to a villa, the level design is both varied and memorable.

The controls are simple to learn, as there are no complicated actions or moves to be learned. Whilst the graphics and animations don’t hold up to the standard of the arcade and SNES counterparts, they are still decent for a 1993 Genesis game. The game’s music is extremely catchy and fun to listen to. Even to this day, I still remember the opening theme to the game, as well as the final boss theme.

This game is very fun to play, even if it is a bit racist at times (horrible Indian stereotypes). The game is so addictive and enjoyable that it’s difficult to put down. I’ll rate this as an exclusive because both the Genesis and the SNES versions are drastically different in terms of gameplay.

How I Rated it Then

How I Rate it Now

Writer’s Note: I’ll use the dual scoring system for reviews of older titles. Firstly, I’ll rate the game based on how I would judge it according to the standards of the era the game was released in. My second rating will then reveal whether or not the game has aged well over all these years. Most importantly, my reviews are NOT to be taken as fact, but strictly as personal opinions.