The Man with the Golden Guns

The Man here would have to be me. No, this isn’t a James Bond review (the image on the home page should have been a strong indicator), it’s my first impressions of SEGA’s GOLDEN GUN, the action-packed arcade HIT* of 2011.

* While I hadn’t heard of it I’m sure it was a hit at the time. Or at least should have been. This thing is great, and by great I mean ”it’s making me forget about all of the Time Crisis arcade games… yup, even Crisis Zone” great.

Golden Gun

It had been ages since I’d gone to the arcade but the last time I had I witnessed After Burner Climax Super Deluxe and thought nothing could ever be more insane.  Then, while on my way to see A Good Day to Die Hard with my significant other and arriving at the movies twenty minutes earlier than expected, I stumbled on the pretty flashy-looking SEGA GOLDEN GUN cabinet. See for yourselves:

While the mechanics and arcade boot for SEGA’s SEGA GOLDEN GUN (or… is it just SEGA’s GOLDEN GUN?) aren’t nearly as impressive as After Burner, the game is sick, whacked, cheesy AND cheeky to no end. Oh, and most importantly AWESOME. Sometimes, it’s even all of those things at once. It made me forget about After Burner Climax. I don’t know if I’ve ever had THAT much fun with an arcade game aside from Lucky & Wild.

For those who don’t know Lucky & Wild, it’s probably the most wicked rail shooter ever made. You can drive and shoot, and if you have  two players one can focus on driving while the other can shoot using the driver’s gun. It’s fantastic. I finished the arcade three times with my brother, which cost us about… I forgot. Back then 25¢ meant 1 credit. Today, just finishing the intro and one stage from SEGA GOLDEN GUN (with two players) would probably cost as much as it took my brother to complete all of Lucky & Wild.

I suggest youtube for a better idea of the game than this screenshot

I suggest YouTube for a better idea of the game than this screenshot provides.

Which brings me to the fact that SEGA GOLDEN GUN is probably the most stupidly expensive experience I’ve had dual-wielding my way through an arcade game. It is likely a very expensive game single-player as well. One thing that struck me at the very moment I started playing: can you believe they have ”freemium options” in ARCADES nowadays? And by ”freemium options” I don’t mean the game is free and you pay for extra ‘pay-to-win’ features; the arcade is quite expensive AND you have the option to spend CREDITS for ‘not-so-pay-to-win’ features. It’s the worst of both worlds.

That aside, there is a neat ‘item shop’ which allows you to use Score as currency to help you out. My initial run also happened to be one of the longest for this type of game, so I’d say that despite the initial cost it is money well spent for the minutes you’ll spend kicking undead asses with ”two full-auto golden Desert Eagles (with recoil, of course)”. I think part of this has to do with the fact the game will grant critical damage bonuses when targeting reticles overlap and simultaneously damage the target… and that I was controlling both guns.

Not sure what Shot Gun+6 sec. is... I go with for ATK and Life anyway.

Not sure what Shot Gun+6 sec. is… I’d go with ATK and Life anyway.

I took from Lucky & Wild the habit of shooting at one target at a time as much as possible, which allowed me to stack up criticals and boost my score without too much effort. When an item shop would appear I could buy myself something to boost my bullets’ power or reload speed on top of refilling a life for each of my players. Playing with another person, though, could be MUCH harder.

The game is paced so that it WILL be frantic, and I mean ”House of the Dead doesn’t know frantic” frantic. Clearly this makes it perfectly designed to split a team’s focus, leading to desynchronisation of shots.  The two minds playing the game likely won’t think of shooting the same target at the same time, especially when the screen is filled up with six to eight zombies near arm’s reach rushing forward, or when three to five zombies simultaneously throw axes at you. And, honestly, scoring criticals is vital in this game.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Enemies will – even with crits – often not fall instantly. But in some (very few) situations, trying to do nothing but critical hits will be your undoing. I’ve only seen this during a boss fight, but there are times where you just have to shoot everything fast else you WILL take damage. Or maybe when this happened it was actually one of those ”unavoidable attack” streaks that are implemented just to suck coins out of you. If so it didn’t work, Sega. I stopped playing after that!**

** Mostly due to the fact that I hadn’t expected to play this long and my girlfriend was waiting on me as the movie was JUST ABOUT TO START.


This concludes my first impressions of SEGA’s Golden Guns. I would like to add that, as eager as I am to complete this game (as both player 1 and 2), I am far from willing to do so at the present time. Perhaps in a distant future where the price to play drops to a quarter per credit, or when the Xbox 900 Ki-‘next’ II will be out and feature it as a console re-release – with matching Golden Guns from the arcade unit available as a ”special edition” bundle, of course – I will pick it up again. Until then I’d sooner sink money into Mechwarrior Online than this booth, and I’m not considering giving PGI money for MWO any time soon.