Hands On With Two Distinct Presentations for Guardian Heroes HD

By Kris . July 7, 2011 . 2:01pm

During my brief time with Guardian Heroes HD, I had a chance to try both the classic and modern visual styles for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title.


I started the game with the modern visual style after selecting my character from a newly designed character select screen featuring Treasure’s redrawn character art. The opening story sequence also featured updated art for the character portraits that sat alongside character text (which has been notably changed from the original, but seemingly less focused localization).


Naturally, the visual changes spilled into battle as well. I was playing as the mage Randy, and as I cycled through my available magic abilities (as represented by a thought bubble above his head), I noticed that each spell’s representation had been redrawn. When I chose to cast one of the spells, it appeared with a number of snazzy transparencies and effects that never could have been done on the Saturn.


As for how it plays, Guardian Heroes is a side-scrolling brawler divided into three planes. Characters can hop between the three planes, cast area-eliminating magic spells, perform special attacks by inputting fighting game-style d-pad motions in conjunction with either the light or heavy attack button, and even issue some limited commands to a skeletal knight in battle (when joins it the player at the end of the first level). The brawler has certain RPG elements as well, with each defeated enemy providing the player with experience points. As each character levels up, they’re given points to level up various stats, such as strength, magic, defense, and MP.


After beating the first stage, I felt a little nostalgic. I opened the pause menu and attempted to turn off the very prominent sprite filter, as it wasn’t entirely to my liking. However, as much as perused the options menu, I couldn’t find any sort of filtering options. The Sega rep noticed my confusion, and told me that I had to exit to the main menu to change to the classic visual style. I did so and restarted the level.


The art on the character select screen was changed to Treasure’s original sketchier art from the 90s, which I personally preferred to the original game’s anime-screenshot-portrait-only character select screen. The original game’s sprite portraits were returned to their positions alongside the onscreen text. The unfiltered sprites and original spell effects also looked quite nice with the jump to a 16:9 aspect ratio.


Guardian Heroes HD will be released around the end of the summer for Xbox Live Arcade.


Food for thought

It was interesting to see the difference between the less accurately proportioned original art and the somewhat more streamlined takes on the characters for the modern revision. Aside from reflecting the change in popular tastes in anime, Han looked remarkably like Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud in his new character portrait.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • I remember loving this game back in the day but I haven’t played it in years.  How does it hold up to modern day beat em ups with this same sort of level progression, like Castle Crashers?

    • godmars

      What, you played both.

      Castle Crashers is a bit better, a bit worse as far as play mechanics go. Guardian Heroes certainly has an anime feel to it and it would be nice if someone tried making a modern version with improved gameplay. 2D fighter super and combo moves. 

    • Aoshi00

      Final Fight Double Impact was still fun and hold up quite well after all these years, and Scott Pilgrim was a blast and worth more than its price.. but ultimately beat em ups are best played in co-op w/ a friend to enjoy the mayhem together, otherwise boredom sets in on repeated plays.  Definitely getting this for old time’s sake.. I hope Dragon’s Crown would be fun too :)   Although the HD remake for Turtle in Time was god awful and not fun like the SNES game I remembered which I’ve played for years w/ my cousin, the new control just felt horrible :(…

      • RupanIII

        Do you have FFDI on PS3? If so we should play sometime, I still don’t have that ‘complete all levels in co-op’ trophy.

        Yea, I find most of the classics hold up really well. I agree with the Turtles in Time remake though, they totally missed the point. I still love the SNES version and can play it for hours. But the game is supposed to be rad/90s, not dark/edgy, which is what they did with the remake. If you’re going to re-release a classic, make sure you keep the original mode/music/etc. in there too.

        • Aoshi00

          Sry I have Final Fight on 360, I mostly get d/l titles from XBLA.. I think I have gotten that achievement w/ some guy who joined my game online lol.. yea, the bosses are pretty hard and frustrating going solo.. playing co-op and sharing the beating is so much more fun..

          Turtle remake was pretty bad, I think they threw away some important moves even.. FF DI did it right w/ all the optional modes and filter but you could still play the original game.. and the new music, might as well mute the TV :(..  SNES ver is definitely still fun, just like Mario Kart :)

    • superdry

      The game-play is also pretty deep for a beat’em up – lots of special moves, crazy combos, RPG leveling elements and the really cool multi-plane battle field. 

      The awesome thing though is the branching storyline.  I must’ve sunk hundreds of hours into the game with friends we never unlocked all the endings.  As Aoshi00…a game like this is best played with someone else.

      I’m really glad this is coming to XBLA.  Now, I just want SEGA to localize and bring over all of Shining Force III to this gen consoles, but that’s just a pipe dream and I’m being generous with that one.

  • I can’t wait to play this in English. I have the Japanese Saturn version since it only cost $25 or so. Getting an English copy is easily triple that price. It is an excellent game! 

  • mikanko

    Pretty sure Working Designs had nothing to do with the original localization.  If they did it was the only game they ever published that didn’t have their logo plastered all over it to the point of obscuring the original developer.

    • Thanks for pointing it out. I believe Kris got it mixed up with Dragon Force. Fixed! :)

  • Can’t wait.

  • majorhavok

    I guess it’s minor but am I the only one who hates how the HUD elements look?

  • i need to thunder teleport in this game with the volume on the highest setting!

    Man i need this game so bad !

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos