Sunsetriders Nintendo Switch review: ride ‘em, cowboy!

We’ll never quite understand why Konami didn’t give more love to Sunsetriders this generation. It was almost set to arrive in Game Room for Xbox 360, only to be canceled when the developer shut down. And before that, the only sign we saw of this classic cowboy game on the home front was on SNES and Sega Genesis.

But lo and behold, Hamster has stepped up to give this Konami favorite the love it deserves with a home release on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. As part of its Arcade Archives collection, Sunsetriders comes home with a bevy of options and an incredible price tag – eight bucks! That means you won’t have to “bury me with my money” as you add it to your collection. And you should, like ASAP.

The Sunsetriders ride again

In this 90’s arcade favorite, four cowboys ride off to do justice against the vile Richard Rose, a fiendish Englishman who’s terrorizing the countryside with bandits. Whether on foot or horseback, these cowboys will come across a number of ne’er-do-wells, from rogue Indians to deadly shooters with a knack for jumping around. It’s up to you to keep your finger on the trigger and take these varmints down.

Even the intro movie is intact!

The action is a classic shoot-em-up style, as you control where your cowboy runs and shoots with one joystick. In an age of twin-stick favorites, this may be frustrating for some. But the game handles real nicely after all these years; and you can tweak a number of options in case you feel like running through it to the final fight with Rose.

What’s more, the boss encounters are incredible fun. A showdown with a pair of explosive brothers in a saloon can’t be beaten; and even the battle with the deadly Indian knife thrower is intact. It keeps true to the original arcade code, controversial design and all. And we love it.

Still the Best Looking Wild West Game From the 90s

Kudos to Hamster for staying true to the original arcade code of Sunsetriders. It looks just as great as it did back then, even with four players running around the screen. The colors are pretty much perfect; and the bosses look wonderful, particularly Iron Horse, who looks so confident upon his invincible steed.

The music, provided by Snatcher composer Motoaki Furukawa, is also perfect, with all the original tunes completely intact. It sounds just as wonderful as it did in the old days, right down to the various boss themes. Yes, they all have different ones. Oh, and the voice samples are gold. “BURY ME WITH MY MUNNY.”

Get four players in on the same game and it’s madness.

Probably the only thing that hasn’t aged the best are the bonus rounds, in which you shoot at static cowboys as you try to get the most hits before time runs out. But this is a lot of fun with four players, a little competition to see who can stack up the most cash.

Options Galore For an Affordable Arcade Game

What’s great about Sunsetriders is that Hamster loaded up the game with tons of options. Both the Japanese and U.S. versions are here and intact; and what’s more, you can select between two and four-player arcade cabinets. Four lets you play with up to three other people on the same console; while two lets you choose which cowboy you want to play as. It’s excellent to have these versions available in the same place, even though the game is identical.

There are also leaderboards available in case you feel like getting into a high score contest (no online play, though), as well as dip switches if you want to adjust difficulty, lives, and more. You can also adjust the display however you see fit, though full-screen is the best way to go. It’s amazing what all you can do here, even if the game itself can be beaten in about 20-30 minutes, depending on the number of players. Hey, you can always go back and try for a higher score – or get your friends together for a wonderful old-school romp.

Ya Got Me, Hamster

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the home arrival of Sunsetriders for some time; and I’m happy to report that the port doesn’t disappoint in the least. It may not look the best, but it retains its classic arcade appearance, right down to the victory poses and the women kissing you as you run into saloons for power-ups. It plays wonderfully, no matter which way you go; and the music can’t be beat. Not to mention the various options on hand for how to play.

Hamster has always done a great job with arcade ports in the past, but Sunsetriders sets a bold new standard. And it has me thinking what other Konami greats it can dig into down the road. The Main Event would be aces; and, hey, if they can get the rights, there’s always Marvel’s X-Men

RATING: 9.5/10

One of the best arcade-to-home ports ever, Sunsetriders wins with its options, gameplay, and incredible price. 

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