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Sunset Riders – SNES

Sunset Riders – SNES

Sunset_Riders_arcade_flyerPlatformSuper Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Konami


Release Date: October 1993

Genre: Run and Gun 

Nerd Rating: 6.5  / 10

Reviewed by Rhutsczar

Damn, this game brings me back. While it was released before my time in the arcade (I was prowling around arcades in the late 90s and early 2000s) I still found myself wandering over to the retro/classics section just to put on my cowboy boots and shoot up some criminals in Sunset Riders. Damn this game ate up so many of my quarters.

The story behind Sunset Riders is incredibly simple. Originally set during the American Old West, the player takes control of one of four different bounty hunters. These bounty hunters are hired to do exactly what they do best, hunt down criminals. At the beginning of each level you are shown your target criminal, with a bounty as well as the information “Wanted: Dead or Alive”. Yes we get it, we are in the Old West.


So many choices…so little time. Oh…there is no time limit!

There are four playable characters for the player to choose from, each color coded differently. While essentially the characters play exactly the same, the key difference is that each character has a different set of weapons/fires differently. This can severely change how you approach the game. You can either play as:

  • Steve – Color coded yellow, uses a revolver and fires traditionally.
  • Billy – Color coded blue, uses a revolver but fires at the hip.
  • Bob – Color coded green, uses a rifle with an auto-fire upgrade.
  • Cormano – Color coded pink, uses duel shotguns but fires traditionally.

Choose wisely, or not. Its up to you.

Unfortunately, the game isn’t much to look at. Even with slightly updated graphics from the arcade to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the game hasn’t aged well. It definitely has the overall retro look and this definitely appears to gamers that love all of that nostalgia as they play. Through its many different ports, that graphics have relatively stayed the same. Some people would say that is a good thing, keeping its identity. I would agree, just touch it up a little bit. Sunset Riders wouldn’t be the same if it received a modern overhaul. Then it would turn into a Red Dead Redemption mini game.

Too much clothing for the Old West girls...

Too much clothing for the Old West girls…

Sunset Riders is a perfect retro entry in the Western shoot’em up genre. Bounty hunting? Check. Cowboys? Check. Bars and saloons? Check. Oh, what about the scantily clad barmaids? Somewhat of a check. Depending on what version you play, you may find them. In the arcade version, the barmaids we know and love that inhabit the Old West are closer to how they traditionally dressed, particularly slutty if you ask me. In the SNES version, the barmaids are dressed more conservatively. Maybe the big Whigs at over at Nintendo were being a little prudish during the early 90s?

As with many retro games, the controls for Sunset Riders are very simple. With different variants depending on what version you are playing, on the SNES the controls consist of the operation of only three buttons. Just like in almost every game, you move with the D-pad, that is a given. The other two remaining buttons are used to shoot and then jump/slide. This allows you to access both levels of the buildings that can be found on each level.

When I fired up Sunset Riders, I just wished that I would hear some amazing Ennio Moriconne western classics. I was obviously wrong, as I remembered how much I enjoyed the chip tune-esque soundtrack, I just was wishing for something more. How much better would Sunset Riders be if while you mowed down criminals all you could hear is Moriconne’s “Ecstasy of Gold”? That would be amazing if you ask me. If you would like to listen to the rest of the soundtrack so you too can see what I mean, it will be below.

As far as my review for Sunset Riders goes, there isn’t much else to say. The game is a sure blast from the past, and I had a fantastic time revisiting my arcade days with this Western gem. With simple controls, a nice Western influenced chip tune, and a variety of playable characters, Sunset Riders is retro meets the Old West. While the game is far from perfect. That nostalgia feeling will kick in and you won’t be able to to put it down. Or just go back to playing Red Dead Redemption as we all know that is one of the best Westerns in the last five years.

Written by Rhutsczar

Hello everybody! Thanks for reaching the end of whatever my newest/current addiction is above me. I’m pretty sure it’s an RPG, since it’s my favorite genre I try to find the most underrated and niche games possible. Anyway if you like what you read and would like to check out more, follow the links below. Also be sure to check out the RBG over on Beyond Bacon!.

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  1. Cormano is the only correct choice 🙂

  2. InfiniteKnife
    InfiniteKnife says:

    Ah yes. Steve the Cowboy. haha. Way to get creative there, Konami.

  3. whaaaat?! um, hell yea this game looks sweet. I used to love these old shooter games in arcades bc my parents never let me play them at home! but they used to drop me off at the arcades, so they didn’t know I was playing all the violent games (even the non-graphic gun-based shooter games like this) anyway! haha


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