Gunhed - Compile/Hudson


Reviewed by Roger Post

Gunhed, a.k.a. Blazing Lazers, has the complete shootemup package deal: good music, challenging game play, nine levels which won't allow you to beat this one in a couple days.

Gunhed has the classic "button I shot, button II bomb" setup, with a choice of four main weapons, identified by roman numerals. There is even a (weak sounding) voice over when picking up the weapons: I for boring old, normal shot, II for wave, III for a twisting lightning like shot-very cool, and IV for a very useless bubble ring type shot.

Grabbing purple orbs power up whatever weapon system you are using. Bombs are very, very plentiful, and you can hold up to 16 total: don't be afraid to use them. There is also the flashing icon, like in Super Star Soldier, which allows a dead player to start up exactly where the ship met the untimely demise.

I loved the bubble level too...the music gets very funky, the graphics are colorful, and zillions of bubbles flood the screen...(every true shooter must have a bubble level and an 'attack the battleship' level).

My only problem with Gunhed is that is last level is very tough. If and when you beat this one, you feel as if you really accomplished something!


For being released in 1988, I feel this shmup was a little ahead of it's time. There is even a Gunhed movie out, but it looks like it was done on a budget of $50 and I heard it wasn't too good....

(eh!? Gunhed was brilliant! But of course, I prefer Japanese Godzilla films to the latest Hollywood effort - Malc:)

The intros show the usual lone ship taking on the entire enemy fleet...what else is new.


Gunhed has a style and feel all its own, kinda hard to explain unless you play it.

Use bombs frequently, you can only hold about 16, and you get them a lot.


Level one boss, play him by the book-stay away from the laser barrels.


The level two midboss fires candy-cane striped lasers, at least he is trying harder. Still nothing too challenging yet....


Notice I have a twisting laser here, a cool looking but ineffective weapon. The level two boss fires this laser and two homing "bees".....pull over to the side of the screen and the bees will zip right off and never come back.

Super Aleste, another Compile game, and effectively the true followup to Gunhed, uses the same laser weapon, but with an extra homing red state, infinitely more useful if your aiming is rubbish!


Level three offers lots of background stuff to shoot, and zillions of purple powerups.


Almost everything on the ground can be destroyed. Bombs help clear away the clutter here too... heaven if you are a compulsive tidy-upper...


Pull out a can of Raid on the level three boss......


Level four reminds me of Life Force. A mind is a terrible thing to waste (when they're bright green and shooting at me, I don't have any problem with that! - malc)


Again, if you are powered up, he should be no problem. After the first form, a second more mobile half assaults you.

More LEVELS this way!!


Cheers Rog! This was the first Hucard I managed to get hold of for my PC-Engine GT five years ago, and I remember slotting it in eagerly to just get a black screen. And then I remember waiting for another two weeks to get a convertor for it. Graaargh!!!! - Malc


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie