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File:Guardian Heroes.jpg

Our heroes, rushing to battle.[1]

A magically-supercharged Beat'Em Up for the Sega Saturn by Treasure

A group of adventurers find a powerful magic sword, but unfortunately, so The Empire has been looking for that very weapon. A red-armored girl bursts into their room just as Imperial soldiers start streaming in. They fight their way out of the town to a nearby graveyard, only to be confronted by a a robot. No, really. In the middle of a difficult fight, suddenly a massive armored skeleton, the sword's original owner, arises from his grave to claim it.

Guardian Heroes is, in a word, frantic. Lots of different characters, both playable and enemies, with nearly all of them available in the game's vs. mode, with full six-player support. The gameplay is mostly two-dimensional, with the action spread across three planes, giving plenty of space for some massively large magic attacks. Of the heroes, each has a wide variety of attacks, plus magic spells which as their levels increase, get bigger and more destructive. Through the game, you're followed by the aforementioned Undead Hero, who can be given different commands such as protecting you, staying his sword, attacking of his own initiative, or just going crazy and burning everything before obliterating whatever's left with a Sphere of Destruction. Depending on your choices during the course of the game, you could liberate the kingdom, storm the gates of Hell, storm the gates of Heaven, or face down a robotic army led by Golden Silver, the final boss of Gunstar Heroes.

A sequel, Advance Guardian Heroes was released, as the name suggests, on the Game Boy Advance, which ties the game even closer with Gunstar Heroes. In this game, the villains from the previous game have returned centuries later, ready to try again to take over the world. A young soldier allows himself to be possessed by the spirit that inhabited the Undead Hero to fight them again.

After roughly 15 years, Treasure announced in May 2011 that they would be re-releasing the original Guardian Heroes on Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade, as Guardian Heroes HD. As the name implies, the game would be updated with HD graphics, new artwork, new AI, a re-translated script, new voice acting, online co-op, and a new 12-player online mode, although the option to play it like the original Saturn version would be available as well. It arrived October 12, 2011, and costs 800 Microsoft Points.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Serena.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American cover replaces the original anime-esque artwork with a fantasy novel-esque illustration depicting Han fighting the Undead Hero (even though he's a good guy). The European cover kept the original art, but for some lame reason they replaced the heroines Serena and Nicole with Zur the magician and Macho the beefcake (who aren't even main characters), turning the cover into a sausage fest.
  • Badass: A vast number of the characters, but especially Han, Ginjirou, and Valgar.
  • BFS: They only reason the Cool Sword may not look too big is because the guys carrying it are huge, too.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Most of the script for Advance Guardian Heroes is like this, and in some spots (like the intro,) it becomes a full-on Translation Train Wreck.
  • Crutch Character: The original Guardian Heroes characters in the sequel, in an unusual example of this trope. Defeating one of them in battle allows you to borrow their power, which gives you massive stat boosts. If you still aren't leveling up your stats normally, though, it'll come back to bite you in the ass later, as you frequently lose those powers throughout the game (usually when you fight another one of the original party, as the party members you've already beaten come back out and fight against you again.) And at the end of the game, the final boss permanently removes these powers one by one.
  • Competitive Balance:
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Depending on what path you take.
  • Difficulty Spike
  • Deal with the Devil: If you die in the sequel, an mysterious figure appears and offers you immortality in exchange for your soul. Agree, and you turn invincible for the next 6 minutes before you're killed, allowing you to power through to the next checkpoint. Using it at any point will automatically net you the bad ending, though.
  • Every Thing Is Better With Princesses: Lucia and Serena.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: Zur in the retranslated script for the remake is all about this, with hilarious results.
  • Head Swap: Some of the enemies are head-swaps of other characters (including the heroes), but they do provide a good explanation for some of them.
    • Han is the former leader of the blue knights and the new leader, Gash Deadeye, used to be his second-in-command.
    • Katrina, the new leader of the red knights, was Serena's old rival when Serena was the leader.
    • Macho and Sambo, the leaders of the Godats thieves, are head-swaps of each other (except that Macho fights shirtless as well).
    • Manon F. Brown (Randy's mentor) trained under the same mentor as Kanon G. Grey.
    • There's an one-armed skeleton knight who is a head-swap of the undead hero.
  • Heel Face Turn: Valgar in the original game, depending on which route the player takes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Advance, if the player loses to the final boss the first time, Dylan will sacrifice himself to refill the player's health.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Han is Kon, Nicole is Pikachu, Ginjirou is Gouken, and Macho as well as the versus mode announcer are Master Asia, to name a few.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Many of the more powerful spells in the game.
  • Killer Rabbit: Randy's pet bunny, Nando. He can set himself on fire and hurl himself at enemies.
  • La Résistance: They need all the help they can get.
  • Light Is Not Good: Depending on which path you take.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Randy's moveset can completely shut down almost every enemy in the game, in groups. Characters like Han are designed for single-opponent bashing.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are tons of NPCs in the game thanks to the branching mission structure, and everyone you interact with can be played with in the Versus Mode battle arena. Yes, even the villagers who die in one hit and have a two-fram Scratch Damage attack.
  • Luck Stat: Not only is luck used instead of defense (the higher your luck, the less damage enemies will do), Nicole's randomized magic types are dependent on luck; the higher the luck, the bigger they will be. Not always a good thing.
    • Not only does it help reduce the damage taken, it can also give you random bursts of extra damage.
      • It also increases the amount of EXP you earn.
  • Multiple Endings
  • Ninja: Ginjirou. Also quite the Game Breaker.
  • Nintendo Hard: Advance Guardian Heroes. You get only one life, unless you make a Deal with the Devil, and even in that case, you can only use it to preview some more of the stage for your next attempt before you die regardless, and using it even once leads to a Bad Ending. Thankfully, the game allows you to start over from your last save with no penalties.
  • Non-Player Character: Princess Lucia (Valgar's sister), the King and Manon F. Brown (Randy's mentor) are the only characters who are not playable in Versus Mode. Manon is a bit more notable than the others, considering that he is a head-swap of Kanon.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Fail to reflect the final boss' Desperation Attack in Advance Guardian Heroes and the Earth explodes.
  • Not So Harmless: Zur, after he steals Valgar's magic and becomes Super Zur.
    • Also the original, to some extent. It is Treasure after all.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The undead warrior, who fights on your side throughout the game.
  • Palette Swap: Most of the enemies in Story Mode. Specifically, Valgar adopts a white armor when he joins the Sky Spirits in one of the possible routes. In Versus Mode, everyone gets at least six possible color schemes. When Mid (the giant monster plant in Stage 03) is defeated, his true form is revealed to be a palette swap of Randy's pet Nando.
  • Playing Tennis With the Boss: The sequel is all about this.
  • Psycho for Hire: Zur, so very, very much.
  • Road Cone, Third Option Adaptation: The story in the sequel assumes an ending to the first adventure that could not have taken place in the actual game — but still significantly resembles one of the original endings, except for how it turned out.
  • Schizo-Tech: You got your robots in my Medieval European Fantasy! You got your Medieval European Fantasy in my robots!
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Edward and Randy are named after Edward Randy, the main character from the Data East arcade platformer The Cliffhanger.
  • Spell My Name with an "S"
    • In the GBA version, Serena became "Cerena."
    • The HD version featured a different translation, changing many character names. Samuel Han, for example, becomes Samwell Han, and Kanon G. Grey becomes Kanon The Grey.
  • Sphere of Destruction: as with the Kamehame Hadoken, many characters have a spell looking like a magical energy grenade for the smaller ones, to what the game itself describes as a "full screen explosion"
  • Sissy Villain: Zur.
  • Taking You with Me: When Kanon's flying fortress in the sequel starts to crash with the player and Dylan inside it, Dylan invokes this trope. He then waits for you to leave and runs like hell.
  • Theme Naming
    • The three main heroes in the GBA version are named after the elemental powers they use: Enn comes from En or fire, Hyu comes from Hyō or ice, and Ray comes from Rai or lightning.
    • The initials of the other main heroes in Advance Guardian Heroes (including those from the previous games) form the game's title: Admilla, Dylan, Valgar, Nicole, Cerena, Edo, Ginjiro and Han (Advance GH). Granted, Cerena was originally named "Serena" and Edo is actually Randy's pet possessing Randy's body, so they cheated a bit to make this work.
  • Wake Up Call Boss: Hope you make the right choice and don't end up battling Kanon after the first 3-4 stages, or you'll regret it. Hard.
  1. Clockwise from the left: Serena Corsair; Nicole Neil; Randy M. Green and his familiar, Nando; Ginjirou Ibushi; Samuel Han; and the Undead Warrior.