This 1991 arcade classic from Konami is a simultaneous four-player, horizontally-scrolling run-and-gun game with a colourful, cartoony, wild western theme.
Obviously you can play the game single-player if you want (that’s what I did because I have no friends*), but in general the most fun you can have with Sunset Riders is to play it multiplayer. Maybe four-player is too much, but two and three-player are definitely a lot of fun.
You can tell by the manga-style character design that Sunset Riders is a Japanese game, but the game’s designers obviously love American Westerns (ie. old movies about cowboys) because the situations in this game pay tribute to them throughout.
One minute you’re jumping over cattle stampeding towards you; the next you’re galloping along on a horse trying to shoot chasing riders and jump over logs. Just like in the movies: when someone throws a stick of dynamite at you, you’ve got a short while to grab it and throw it back at them, before the fuse burns down and it explodes. There’s even a ‘shooting gallery’ style bonus stage, because it’s the law that all cowboy video games must have one…
The basic game, though, is running and jumping from left to right, trying to survive, and making your way to the end of the level.
At the end of each stage there’s a boss battle with the guy on the ‘Wanted’ poster shown at the beginning of each level. These usually require a serious number of bullets to put down and are often shielded by items too, meaning: you have to blast their shields away first, before you can damage them. No arcade game ever made has been easy… 🙂
There are four playable characters: Bob, Steve, Billy Cool, and Cormano Wild, each with their own unique style and slide move (slide along the ground to avoid bullets).
Sunset Riders is still great fun to play now and is a memorable arcade game from Konami. It was also successfully converted to the Megadrive and SNES, with some changes.
*= That’s not entirely true, but in these COVID times multiplayer gaming in the same room is obviously taking a hit.