Sunset Riders - Bring Lots of Quarters
Sunset Riders is best described as a cult-classic among retro gamers. Often listed among collectors favorite games, the price tag has steadily climbed purely based on popularity. Developed by Konami in 1991, this title launched on arcade and grew in rapid popularity until it was later produced for console play in 1993. The rise of fame largely started in the arcade's presence in your local pizza shop or arcade. God bless my parent's for giving me a ten dollar bill when my elementary school had a fundraiser at the pizza joint!
So what's so fun about Sunset Riders? Why are collectors stashing this famous game? Well...perhaps we are infatuated with cowboys, the wild west and bounty hunters? Or perhaps this side-scrolling shooter, mercenary for hire themed co-op was just the right game at the right time.
At start, players get to choose from four characters: Steve, Billy, Bob, or Cormano. Each themed with a different style and weapon, every player found their favorite character and started a lifetime loyalty. I was always fond of Bob; he wielded a shotgun and green was my favorite color. Cormano was my often chosen as my partner, both for the perceived advantage of the spray blast from the shotgun and his amazing pink poncho and sombrero!
As the game advances, the team of cowboys set out to defeat a villain/tyrant/despot and collect the bounty on their head. Each level increases its difficulty and price tag for said villain's capture. Part of the fun was figuring out how to defeat each foe, each displaying their own unique abilities and fighting styles. This often required a pocket full of quarters at the arcade or plugging in the Game Genie to the console and getting additional lives to use.
What might be the true treasure of this game is not the shooting, the peppy soundtrack or the rewards for each bounty; it's the fun we shared with our friends traversing through dynamite laden bridges, running atop a line of stampeding bulls and taking the occasional trip to the saloon and finding the multi-shot badge weapon upgrade. This nostalgic game will always be one the most favored games for collectors because somehow we never played it alone. It was always meant to be played with a good friend or neighbor. So next time you dust off that retro console, make sure to call some friends and cowboy up.