Sunset Riders, Konami's run-and-gun arcade western, didn't exactly have the smoothest of transitions over to the Genesis / Mega Drive. While the Super Nintendo version of the game managed to be a fairly accurate port, with only some minor cosmetic changes here and there, the Mega Drive version drastically altered its aesthetic, swapping the colourful outfits and vibrant visuals of the original for a much more muted palette overall.
These changes weren't only skin deep either, with Konami also removing two playable characters and four of the game's bosses in order to fit it on the cartridge. For fans of the arcade version, who wanted to experience it at home, this had the effect of making the Sega Mega Drive port seem a bit inferior compared to other platforms. But you need not worry, as this is where homebrew developers, GabrielPyron and TiagoSC, come in.
Together, the pair have started working on a new (and unofficial) Mega Drive port of the game, giving it a facelift and bringing the action more up to par with the original arcade experience.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Pyron explains his reasons for doing this:
This was the first game that Konami ever created for the Mega Drive and it was programmed by an inexperienced team with the task of bringing an excellent arcade title to a near 4mb cartridge. The end result was a game that felt more like it was inspired by Sunset Riders. All of the art assets were remade and simplified to try to fit the cartridge. Everything is ugly, dim, and without any of the arcade's personality [...]
Due to my love of Sunset Riders I always thought the Mega Drive deserved better, as the console was more than capable of delivering an excellent port. So, over a year ago, I teamed up with Tiago to do something about it. This was a long journey and during our free time we tried to create a professional port, implementing the game mechanics and creating an engine that explored all of the system’s potential.
From what we've seen so far, the two have done exactly that, vastly improving the graphics, creating more faithful recreations of the levels, and reintroducing those eye-popping colours - which are part of the arcade game's original charm.
Currently, there is no release date for the port. But we'll keep you posted on when you can start double-gunning your way through the wild west once again. For now, your best bet is probably still to find an arcade cabinet out in the wild or play the Arcade Archives version on your Switch.
Good ol' St1ka!
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