Wow! So what started as a simple tribute piece when the HD remake came out, turned into quite the artistic endeavor!
I've been asked "why Guardian Heroes" and that made me think about what this game means to me.
It's kind of funny now that I think about it but once again I remember going with my friend Carmine (see my "Game that got away" post) to buy this game. We went to FuncoLand which for those of you who may not know; started the whole used game selling and buying thing. At least to my knowledge. Now this was back in 95-96 I believe and I couldn't drive yet so we got a ride from my mom and we busted into the store. he picked up Doom for the Playstation, and I knew what I wanted: Guardian Heroes!
I remember seeing and article in Game Fan prior to the games release. It just captured my imagination. I was a huge fantasy buff (being the nerd I was). But outside of roleplaying games in those days finding ANYTHING fantasy in games was actually kind of difficult.
But this simply wasn't a high fantasy Tolkien retread, this had a style all its own. Anime was still new to me. I don't think I had even watched an Anime film at this point. So seeing this style was a breath of fresh air.
I popped it in once I got home, my older brother Chris (who I shared a bedroom with) was still sleeping as I had gone in the morning while my mom ran errands to pick it up. The opening cartoon struck me immediately, the music the characters, just the overall sense of adventure.
Starting the game I of course picked the warrior Han and started to play. I wrote about this a few posts back when I started this project (Undead Hero), but when the Undead Warrior finally makes his appearance at the end of the first stage I knew this game was something special. At this point Chris had woke up and when the UW screamed out even Chris was like: dude this game looks bad ass! Or something like that, cut me some slack it's been like 17 years!
Over the next weeks and months I played the game almost everyday. Trying play EVERY SINGLE path in the game (at the end of each level the game gives you a choice of where to go next). I even tried to chart the branching paths in my sketch book.
People always talk about getting lost in books or movies as a form of escapism, and that's what I think this game (among countless others) was for me. It was a bright vibrant world that although dangerous was one that I could succeed and triumph in. For a fat kid who got picked on in school, that was priceless.
Anyway. I still pull out Guardian Heroes from time to time (on my Sega Saturn) and play through it. I was REALLY excited when I found out that it was getting a re-release, but REALLY bummed when I found out that it was coming out only on the XBOX 360 (for now). But even more exciting is that I read that Treasure the company behind GH wants to do a proper sequel. I say proper because we're not going to count that shitty Gameboy Advance version.
So that's a long winded reason as to why I felt the need to pay tribute to this game. It's not as creative or inspiring to me as say OddWolrd, or Shadow of the Colossus. But it was a part of my life when I needed it most. I look back on the times I spent playing it by myself, and with my brothers very fondly. THAT alone makes it something special.
I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed making it! I learned a lot while working on it and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The graphic design elements were inspired by one of my favorite contemporary artists Marko Djurdjevic who uses graphic design to great effect on a lot of his covers for Marvel.
"The Last Guardian (Hero)"
If you are curious there are some work in progress posts on my personal blog