Genre: Run and Gun
Sunset Riders is a side-scrolling run and gun game developed and released by Konami on the JAMMA arcade platform in 1991. The game is set in the American Old West, where the player takes control of a bounty hunter who is seeking the rewards offered for various criminals.
PLAYING SUNSET RIDERS
The konami game is set around four bounty hunters called Steve, Billy Cool, Bob and Cormano Wild. Their aim is to claim rewards for wanted outlaws. The player is shown a wanted poster at the beginning of each level.
In the Sunset Riders arcade game you can play with up to four players, other versions can only be played in one or two player mode. In the arcade, in 2 player mode you can choose one of the four bounty hunters, in 4 player machines each player on the control panel is already pre-assigned to a specific bounty hunter.
The controls consist of an eight-way joystick for moving and aiming, and two buttons for shooting and jumping. The player(s) can jump between higher/lower floors and slide to avoid enemy attacks.
The aim of the Sunset Riders game is to defeat the gang of outlaws over eight stages, there is a boss character at the end of each stage. In 2 or more players, the player who delivers the most damage to the end boss will receive the entire bonus for beating them. There is no “i” in TEAM but there is a “ME”!
Five of the stages are played on foot, two on horseback, and one on a moving train. A bonus minigame is played after the second and fifth stages, in which the player(s) can earn additional points by shooting outlaws as they pop up. After all eight stages are cleared, the game restarts with increased difficulty.
You can get bonus items and power-ups by entering doorway, opening sacks on the ground or defeating sack-carrying bandits. There are 2 power ups in Sunset Riders, a gold sheriff’s badge that gives full automatic fire and a silver badge, this gives the bounty hunter a second gun.
THE SUNSET RIDERS GAME CHARACTERS
Here are the four playable bounty hunters in the Sunset Riders game:
- Steve is a bounty hunter who also wields revolvers similar to Billy’s, though his bullets from his revolver appear to be more powerful than Billy’s own bullets.
- Billy Cool is a bounty hunter who wields a revolver and speaks in a western country accent.
- Bob is a bounty hunter wielding a shotgun who speaks in a southern American accent.
- Cormano Wild is a bounty hunter wearing a Mexican poncho and a sombrero who wields a rifle. He later wears a red sombrero worn by El Greco after neutralizing him.
THE OUTLAWS OF SUNSET RIDERS
- Simon Greedwell is a rich and greedy outlaw who is the boss of the first stage. He wields a shotgun while ordering his men to deal with the bounty hunters. His last words on death are “Bury me with my money.”
- Hawkeye Hank Hatfield is a rich outlaw who is known to shoot a gun in one hand and the boss of the second stage. Despite his efforts to kill the bounty hunters, he was neutralized.
- Dark Horse is a muscular outlaw who rides an armored horse. He is the boss of the third stage. Once he is neutralized by the bounty hunters, the armored horse runs away along with his corpse.
- The Smith Brothers are siblings and outlaws who cause trouble inside a saloon owned by a beautiful woman. They are the bosses of the fourth stage, fought immediately after Dark Horse. After the bounty hunters neutralize the brothers, they watch the dance performance of three beautiful women on stage, who then inform the bounty hunters about Richard Rose and his three henchmen.
- El Greco is one of Richard Rose’s henchmen and a Mexican outlaw serving as the boss of the fifth stage. He carries a shield to deflect shots and a whip. Once he is neutralized by the bounty hunters, El Greco tosses away his red Mexican sombrero. If Cormano is being played, he will catch the hat and wear it in place of his own for the rest of the game.
- Chief Scalpem is a chief from the native American tribe, an expert in knife throwing and one of Richard Rose’s henchmen, serving as the boss of the sixth stage. Despite his efforts to defeat the bounty hunters, he was neutralized but was soon spared by the bounty hunters due to his younger sister’s plea knowing he was following Richard’s orders. In the Sega Genesis version, Scalpem serves as the boss of the third stage.
- Paco Loco is a hulking outlaw who wields a gatling gun, and is one of Richard Rose’s henchmen, serving as the boss in the seventh stage. Once he is neutralized by the bounty hunters, his last words are Hasta la Bye Bye! referencing the T-800’s main catchphrase in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In the Sega Genesis version, Paco Loco serves as the boss of the second stage.
- Sir Richard Rose is a rich and elegant outlaw, and the main villain of the series, serving as the final boss of the game. He is an expert gunslinger, using his revolver in one hand, and demonstrating his agility at a fast pace. Upon his first “death” he reveals he is using a metal plate to cover his chest and avoid injury. After the second phase, he is finally neutralized by the bounty hunters, symbolized by a graphic showing a single rose being destroyed (not shown in the SNES version). In the Sega Genesis version, he serves as the boss in the fourth and final stage.
Sunset Riders was first showcased at the 1991 Las Vegas Amusement Expo. It release for the arcades in September 1991. The home console versions were only released in North America and Europe. First for the Sega Megadrive (Genesis) in December 1992 and then the Super Nintendo in June 1993.
SEGA MEGADRIVE/GENESIS VERSION
This version of the Sunset Riders game features the most changes, the only bounty hunters in the megadrive game are Billy and Cormano.
The controls are identical to the arcade version aside from the addition of two shooting buttons instead of just one: one button allows the player to walk and shoot at the same time, while the other shoot button keeps the character still when pressed down, allowing the player to change their aim only.
Only four bosses feature, Simon Greedwell, Paco Laco, Chief Scalpem and Sir Richard Rose. Each of the four chapters are divided into two stages, with the speech missing, this game features speech bubbles instead.
The bonus stages also differ from the ones in the arcade version: the player chases after a moving wagon on horseback, while the woman in the wagon tosses bonus coins and extra lives at the player’s path.
In addition to the standard game mode, the Mega Drive/Genesis version features a two-player versus mode. The players must shoot each other until one of the players runs out of health.
SUPER NINTENDO VERSION
In contrast to the Genesis version, the SNES version of Sunset Riders features relatively few changes.
The barfly that kisses the player character in Stage 1 as well as the saloon dancers from Stage 4 are dressed more conservatively compared to the arcade version.
Hunter dogs, which were present in the first segment of the final chapter in the Genesis version, were removed.
The Native American enemy characters from Stage 6 were removed and replaced with regular outlaws, leaving only Chief Scalpem (who is renamed Chief Wigwam and re-voiced in the SNES game) as the stage boss. The dynamite-tossing female bandits were replaced with male bandits as well.
All boss and cutscene dialogues are subtitled. While most voice clips are carried over from the arcade, some voice lines are either re-worded or replaced with other less offensive lines for censorship purposes.
Game platforms: Arcade, Megadrive/Genesis, Super Nintendo