Before we get into how Gunslinger Stratos’ plays take a look at the controllers. Players get two pistols – a Bastian 357 Magnum and a 9mm Parabellum.
Remember the badass feeling of playing House of the Dead with two guns? That’s half of Gunslinger Stratos’ appeal. The other gimmick is the guns lock on to each other. If you’re playing as Tohru (the pretty boy with purple hair) “side style” changes his dual handguns to a machine gun and “tandem style” gives Tohru an assault rifle.
Gunslinger Stratos has a cast of characters to play as like Remy, a kid with a needle gun and missile launcher, or a tiny girl with a cutesy rocket launcher. I played as Kyoka who has a handgun and an energy shield creator. Unlike most light gun games, Gunslinger Stratos is not an on-rails shooter. Players can move around the screen using the left analog stick and flick the right analog stick to change targets. One of the guns also has a jump button which lets you soar upwards and then dive towards an enemy.
Imagine a third person shooter’s deathmatch mode. Now, imagine it with light guns. Gunslinger Stratos feels like that. The map I played on was an impressive recreation of Shibuya’s scramble crossing with an huge amount of vertical scale. Landmarks like the 109 shopping mall and Q Front building were visible. The only thing off, aside from the lack of people, was all of the Lord of Apocalypse billboards in the background. I guess Square Enix saved their advertising budget for virtual Shibuya. Gunslinger Stratos also has maps for Nanba, Ikebukuro, Saitama, Yokohama, and Nagoya.
Characters in Gunslinger Stratos can obtain more powerful weapons if you have a NESiCAxLive card by purchasing weapon packs. You can buy packs with in-game money and are rewarded with more points if you do well during a round.
Gunslinger Stratos has some neat ideas and it looks like it would be even more fun to play against another player. Unfortunately, the game was so busy getting even one machine to play on was a challenge.