<table> <tr> <td class=headerlogo> <p class=image><a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/logo/hg101logo.png" alt="Logo by MP83"></a></p> </td> <td> <table class=headerright> <tr> <td class=headermenu> <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/alpha.htm" target="_parent">Articles</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/features.htm" target="_parent">Features</a> | <a href="http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent">Blog</a> | <a href="http://hg101.proboards.com/" target="_parent">Forums</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/about.htm" target="_parent">About</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardcore-Gaming-101/109837535712670" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/facebook.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/HG_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/twitter.png"></a> </td> <td class=searchbox> <form action="http://www.google.com/cse" id="cse-search-box" target="_parent"> <div> <input type="hidden" name="cx" value="partner-pub-5230184257141993:xfg3mydy24k"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1"> <input type="text" name="q" size="30"> <input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search"> </div> </form> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=cse-search-box&amp;lang=en"></script> </td> </tr> </table> <table class=headerad> <tr> <td> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-5230184257141993"; /* HG101 */ google_ad_slot = "4961941287"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> </table>

Konami Run and Guns

<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Jail Break
Labyrinth Runner
Dark Adventure
Devastators
Crazy Cops
Surprise Attack

Page 2:
Aliens
Sunset Riders
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa
Mystic Warriors
G.I. Joe

Back to the Index


by Kurt Kalata - October 10th, 2009

When it comes to video game genre classifications, what exactly is a "run and gun"? Compared to other genres, it's pretty vague. Are they overhead scrolling shooters like Commando or Ikari Warriors? Or side-scrolling platformers like Contra and Gunstar Heroes? How about those isometric 3D ones, like the special stages in the original Contra, or Cabal? What about Gauntlet?

The answer is: we don't really know. So, we've taken the easy route and lumped them all together into one big article. Konami published a lot of games like this - Contra is basically the quintessential example, considering its covers most of the major variations, but they've also made similar games like Sunset Riders, and its spiritual successors Cowboys of Moo Mesa and Mystic Warriors.

Sunset Riders (Arcade)

In addition to the games listed here, check Rush n' Attack / M.I.A., two other games that would qualify as "run and guns", as well as the Konami Beat-em-ups article, which includes games like S.P.Y. and the arcade Bucky O'Hare, which also kinda sorta qualify.

Thanks to Shellshock, Johnny Undaunted, ZZZ and Sefanl for their help compiling this article.

Mystic Warriors (Arcade)


Jail Break / Manhatten 24 Bunsyo (マンハッタン 24 文書) - Arcade (1986)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

American Arcade Flyer

Konami's first (as far as well can tell) run and gun differentiates itself from the typical shooter by scrolling horizontally instead of vertically. You take on the role of a New York City cop cleaning up the streets of Manhattan, which is now infested with escaped convicts. The game shows off Konami's speech synthesis technology with lots of different sound bites, including cries for help from the hostages, and announcing the title of each stage ("Broadway!", "Battery Park!" "Manhattan Bridge!" Like many shooting gallery games, there are innocents wandering the street. If you rescue them, you'll get a powered up weapon (the bazookas seem vaguely reminiscent of Rush n' Attack), but kill them and you'll be downgraded. At the end of the game, the bad guys roll out the prison warden, who's been taken hostage. If you accidentally shoot him, you lose the entire game instantly. Pretty rough! Even though it's pretty no frills, it's a fairly decent shooter for the time period.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Konami

Publisher:

Konami

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling

Themes:

Player Character: Cop


Jail Break (Arcade)

Jail Break (Arcade)



Trick Trap / Labyrinth Runner (ラビリンスランナー) - Arcade (1987)

Trick Trap Title Screen

Labyrinth Runner Title Screen

This obscure run and gun is full of weird anachronisms and bizarre enemies. You play as a knight fighting through a vaguely medival-looking kingdom, except you're armed to the teeth with guns, lasers, and grenades, in addition to magic spells. Taking place in the land of Vegetaria, your goal is to rescue the Princess Papaya from the evil "Devil", although the final boss instead looks something like a walking robotic meatball.

Trick Trap (Arcade)

Despite some of these offbeat designs, Labyrinth Runner is pretty dull looking. Compared to other shooters at the time like Ikari Warriors, the sprites are awfully small and the layouts pretty boring. You can switch between any of three weapons, each of which can be powered up multiple times. You can also activate the screen clearing magic by hitting both buttons at the same time. It's hard to upgrade weapons, though, since they reset when you're killed. Like many early Konami games, you're also sent to an earlier checkpoint upon death, and it's quite tough, especially considering you can only take a single hit. There's also a rather aggravating mine cart sequence near the end of the game, which requires several deaths and memorization to actually beat. The Japanese title is Labyrinth Runner, while the standard World version is called Trick Trap. Neither of these names really make any sense - there's a maze level, but that's as close as you get to a labyrinth, and there really aren't any "tricks" nor "traps" to speak of.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Konami

Publisher:

Konami

Genre:

Action: Top-Down View

Themes:

Fantasy-SF Mashup


Trick Trap (Arcade)

Trick Trap (Arcade)

Trick Trap (Arcade)


Additional Screenshots


Dark Adventure / Majū no Ōkoku (魔獣の王国) / Devil World - Arcade (1987)

American Arcade Flyer

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Devil World opens with two characters - an Indiana Jones-style archaologist and a leggy blonde - opening up something that appears to be the Ark of the Covenant. As expected, this is a bad idea, and the two are sucked into an alternate dimension filled with monsters and other evil baddies. It's essentially Konami's take on Gauntlet, where two players take on hordes of near infinitely respawning enemies while navigating mazes, searching for keys, and finding the exits. Your characters, by default, are armed with crossbows, and obtain more weapons via another Gradius-style powerup bar. There's a pretty considerable arsenal of weapons, including a shotgun, a laser, and a flamethrower. The levels themselves are fairly small, but they're numerous, and more detailed than the stages in the arcade Gauntlets. There are some larger enemies to fight too, including a gigantic dragon that pops up every few levels.

Dark Adventure

Similar to how Konami morphed Salamander into Life Force, they took Devil World, altered several aspects, and rereleased it as Dark Adventure. On first look, it appears very similar, with the addition of third player to join in on the action. Instead of the crossbow, though, each of your characters starts with a sword. The powerup bar is gone, and instead you pick up weapons and power-ups individually. Most of the projectile weapons are gone (the laser and flamethrower made the cut, at least) but instead there's a greater focus on melee weapons, like whips and spears. The game is not remotely balanced for close combat, with enemies closing in on any direction - it takes a derivative but playable game into a totally frustrating mess. Furthermore, it removes the linear levels in favor of a non-linear branching structure, which some levels having multiple exits. A neat idea, but it's also possible to go into circles, searching and researching the same areas to find the same keys to maybe try to make some kind of progress. The original game was okay, if not exactly a classic, but here they've turned it into a total mess.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Konami

Publisher:

Konami

Genre:

Action: Top-Down View

Themes:

Indiana Clones


Dark Adventure (Arcade)

Devil World (Arcade)

Devil World (Arcade)


Additional Devil World Screenshots

Comparison Screenshots


Devastators / Garuka (餓流禍) - Arcade (1988)

American Arcade Flyer

The 3D over-the-shoulder corridor sections were definitely the weakest part of the original Contra - so much so that Super Contra ditched them completely - but that didn't stop Konami from evolving on the idea anyway. Devastators (named as Garuka in Japan) essentially takes commandos that look identical to the Contra dudes and places them on long 3D battlefields. Rather than advancing screen by screen, you can walk forward by holding Up, as the background slowly scales toward the screen. It's a cool effect, especially since you can see your goal way in the horizon, as it slowly gets larger as you march towards it. The landscape is filled with sandbags and other bits of debris that can be used as cover, although strangely, you can shoot and walk right through it, putting you at a distinct advantage. Your arsenal is strangely limited, consisting only of a standard rifle, a series of grenades, and a rocket launcher, which is used automatically on certain enemies that are outside of your normal range. Most boss fights require the use of the rocket launcher, but your ammo is limited, requiring that you take out smaller foes constantly to refill your supply.

It's not a bad game, but the action is curiously slow paced. Your commandos don't walk very fast, nor do they have any evasive manuevers - you can't even jump - so it's hard to dodge enemy fire. And since you seem to only barely inch forward, it seems like you're running at a mere snail's pace.

The Japanese title of the game is Garuka, written in ateji, a way of spelling out foreign words using kanji, much like the titles for Contra and Salamander. The literal translation doesn't mean much, something like "hungry flowing calamity", but some people have speculated that it's supposed to be "Gurkha", referring to the people from Nepal and northern India, possibly indicating the game's jungle setting. Others have noticed that it's similar to "Galuga", the island on which the first Contra takes place. It's pretty clear, based on the way the characters look, that this was meant to be a spinoff of Contra.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Konami

Publisher:

Konami

Genre:

Action: 3rd Person

Themes:

Military
Sprite-Based 3D Graphics


Devastators (Arcade)

Devastators (Arcade)


Additional Screenshots


Crazy Cop / Gangbusters - Arcade (1988)

American Arcade Flyer

American Arcade Flyer

A goofier expansion of the police theme from Jail Break, Crazy Cops feels like a silly version of the overhead stages from Super Contra. There are still hostages to rescue, although there's no danger to killing them. When you grab them, they follow you and grant you an upgraded weapon. If you manage to get them to a squad car without dying, then you'll get some bonus points. Beyond some of the more humorous enemies, like the flying alligators, there's really not much to this slightly enjoyable but ultimately unremarkable title.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Konami

Publisher:

Konami

Genre:

Action: Top-Down View

Themes:

Player Character: Cop


Ganbusters (Arcade)


Additional Screenshots


Surprise Attack - Arcade (1990)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Surprise Attack is basically a Shinobi clone - you shoot at bad guys, jump between levels or backgrounds, and are killed in a single hit - except it's set in outer space. Instead of rescuing children, you need to grab bombs, which congratulate you with an inane "U DID IT" message when you grab one. The attention to detail is kind of cool - your characters and the enemies wear helmets when outside but take them off when indoors. When you grab a certain power-up, your character becomes temporarily electrified, allowing him to fly around the screen and shoot bad guys with lightning. Certain areas flip the gravity, too.

Surprise Attack

The bonus rounds consist of trivia questions regarding both science facts and pop culture science fiction, which feel more than a bit out of place. Otherwise, it's an average and not particularly notable game.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Konami

Publisher:

Konami

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling

Themes:

Free Floating Bodies


Surprise Attack (Arcade)

Surprise Attack (Arcade)

Surprise Attack (Arcade)


Additional Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Jail Break
Labyrinth Runner
Dark Adventure
Devastators
Crazy Cops
Surprise Attack

Page 2:
Aliens
Sunset Riders
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa
Mystic Warriors
G.I. Joe

Back to the Index