Masked Rider flees in anticipation of a homophobic beating.You may notice I seem to pick on Gundam video games more than other titles. It's not by design, really. I actually like some of those shows. It's just that the only games based on that franchise, with the exception of the fighting games, are just dismal fodder obviously cranked out by the Bandai-monster, whose favorite color is green. And yellow. And whatever else color money comes in in those fruity European countries.

What do Gundam, Masked Rider, Ultraman and VR Troopers have in common? Beats me, but they evidentally are all roommates in this ancient platformer from Banpresto which literally translates to "Bandai in Disguise," and is symbolized by a mask. Joy. Still, the Power Rangers aren't in it, so it couldn't be all bad, right? Wrong. It's actually much, much worse.

As is typical of an NES game, the opening cinematics serve only to heighten the mystery. (Left,) UFO appears and kidnaps a Popple and a Xerox machine. It turns them into pokeballs, which (right, ) creates the SD Gundam Heroes. Then the title screen appears.

Mars needs cheerleaders. And capsule toys. The sun sheds a tear of joy.
Not many know the true origins of the SD GUNDAM HEROES.


it's so hard to choose between all these winners, huh?This stage select screen implies that you would have to play through these stages as the character pictured next to them. When, in fact, you can switch characters pretty much at random by picking up vague looking items. Of course, if you're an expert of live-action Japanese cinema, you instantly realize that the red dot is the international sign for Ultraman, The VR Troopers are stock brokers by day, and Masked Rider really liked pinwheels. Anime enthusiasts will be pleased to see that the Gundam can be called into action by a robotic puppy head, just like in the famous 1983 OAV "Gundam 0089: A Manson Family Reunion." As for what Gundam or Gundams you're playing as, I really have no clue. Other items include the heart, which powers up your character to the next 'level' (i.e. next season's costume) the thing that might possibly be a tent or something, which restores your hard-lost life, and the Banpresto logo, which creates a line of unplayable video games based on overpriced action figures based on japanese guys yelling at each other in vinyl.

Ultraman runs afoul of Ghouls& GhostsEnemies are un-freaking-killable. It takes a good ten swats with the base Gundam's beam sword to get the first enemy to cough up an item, which is usually going to be a character-change item. While you're doing this, the enemy hits you at least twenty times, as well as any other enemies on screen at the time. Picture an entire game filled with enemies who fire homing shots, and those that can't can fire them in 360 directions. Factor in playing as a midgetized version of an armored warrior with a thing for red scarves whose armament at best consists of a glow stick. That leaves you with a 1 in craptillion chance at surviving to the mid point of a level. And even if you find a boss, rest assured it will put you out of your misery and back into the stage select. This also presents you with the enigmatic Game Over screen which depicts a female robot who is not only bound to a huge C-clamp, but also has a ball-and-chain on her ankle. These enemies are serious: You're not getting out of this game alive.

They're really quite bitter with our heroes in spite of the fact I can't remember who many of them are. I know the boss of Area 1 was the Shocker Rider (aka Robo-Rider), Masked Rider's evil twin, and it seemed safe to assume most of the cool-looking adversaries were from Gundam. Other than that, you'll spend all your time fighting Mega Man rejects, Zeiram lookalikes, and this guy, whom I'll refer to from now on as Tom Hanks.

Momma always said i looked like a green bloated parrot.

STILL not as sweet as Captain Novolin's boat.This game constantly forces you to go against every instinct you, as a gamer, have honed since childhood. You'll find yourself avoiding items more often than not, as you don't want to lose your powerups or randomly turn into another character. There were many spots where I would struggle with an enemy on the left side of a chasm while getting shot at from someone on the right. After killing the guy on the left, I'd leap the chasm, kill the right guy, and find out the screen wasn't scrolling with me, prompting me to jump in the chasm. Which unexpectedly led to the next room. Damn.

In spite of the fact it really isn't, this game is a quite accurate depiction of Sabandai/presto heroes: idiots leaping around in slow motion and shouting out attacks while knowing they make more doing it than you will over the next year. In fact, when you get down to it, this game has next to nil to do with Gundam itself.

Up Up and A-gay!

In closing, it isn't like I didn't pick up anything from this game. I got some of the coolest sprites ever from it, and learned that the ultimate form of the VR Trooper beats the hell out of the best version of the Gundam. I also learned that when Ultraman becomes Ultraman Dyna, he looks like he has a goatee. And if seeing Ultraman with a goatee isn't enlightenment, I don't have any concept of values.

Spacium-enriched ratings:

Graphics: 2- Once again- I have no expectations for platform game enemies. But I love the SD Masked Rider. I imagine him as what my conciense looks like.
Sound: X- I'm sorry, I was playing Shonen Knife songs the whole time. But I imagine they were sucky.
Gameplay: 0- Why the hell can't I have homing shots, too?
Overall: 1- Really, if they wanted to call this a Gundam game, they shouldn't have tempted us with sentai's greatest disco heroes.