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- Gunstars Red and Blue - Player 1 and 2. There isn't a lot about these characters other than they are the Gunstar Heroes.
- Gunstar Green - Brainwashed by the Empire, now he is working to collect the Gems that can reawaken Golden Silver. He also has possession of the giant mech, "Seven Force".
- Gunstar Yellow - Navigator and sister of the Gunstars, she gives them short briefings on the levels.
- Professor White Gunstar - Also known as Dr. Brown, he deactivated Golden Silver in the past, but is too old to do so again; instead, he helps Red and Blue as their mentor.
- Pink - A well-known bounty hunter hired to stop the progress of the Gunstars.
- Kain - The tall member of Pink's group.
- Kotaro - The small member of Pink's group.
- G.I. Orange - Head of a huge warship, Orange loves melee combat, and attacks with his incredible fighting skills and strength... and, in desperate situations, bright blue plumes of energy.
- Dr. Black - A gambling fanatic, he awaits the Gunstars at his fortress, which is filled with many treacherous traps. (And goodies if you're a good gambler!)
- Smash Daisaku - He is a villain who aspires to reawaken Golden Silver. He is eager to face the Gunstars, but he, in fact, answers to...
- General Gray - Little is known about Gray, other than the fact that he is in charge of the Empire. He doesn't make an appearance until Stage 5, however, and is never actually fought.
- Golden Silver - A 1000-year-old robot, programmed to go across the universe and suck the energy out of planets. He was deactivated by the Professor earlier, but now an uprising threatens to reawaken him with the Gems taken from him.
When the game begins, players can choose to play with either Fixed Shot, or Free Shot.
- Free Shot - Allows the player to move while firing (Similar to the Contra series), and can do a diving attack on enemies. The sprite for a player using Free Shot has short dark hair.
- Fixed Shot - The player must stop to fire, but may fire in all eight directions while standing. In addition, he performs a flying kick, which can be directed forwards or downwards. The sprite for Fixed Shot has lighter and slightly longer hair, held back with a headband (resembles Gunstar Blue in Gunstar Super Heroes).
Players can then choose one of four weapons to start with (Which is what they will always start with when revived)
- Force - A rapid fire weapon.
- Lightning - A narrow blue beam that can go through enemies
- Fire - A short-range flame thrower
- Chaser - Small green triangles that seek out the closest enemy.
The weapon system gives each player space for two weapon shots. The player can then combine any two simple shots to form a combo shot.
|Force||Stronger force shots||Rapid fire burst shot||Explosive shots||Force with slight homing|
|Lightning||Rapid fire burst shot||Continuous lightning bursts||Short range lightning sword||Powerful homing laser|
|Fire||Explosive shots||Short range lightning sword||Powerful flamethrower||Controllable fire stream|
|Chaser||Force with slight homing||Powerful homing laser||Controllable fire stream||Strong chaser stars|
This isn't to say that the player is forced to use the combination; with the press of a button the player can choose to rotate from the combo to only one weapon, then to the other, and finally back to the combo. Generally, though, the combo shots are more powerful.
Although players choose their main shot at the beginning of the game, the weapons are dropped very frequently from bird-like robots that fly by during the heat of battle. If the player only has one slot selected, then they can choose to swap that weapon out for the new one, creating entirely different combos.
In addition to all the weapons, it is also possible to grab enemies that get too close, and toss them into other enemies, damaging both enemies involved. This wont be risky since only one enemy is capable of melee attacks, but is an effective last resort. Less risky but also useful is the sliding tackle movement, which allows the player to dodge and attack a nearby opponent at the same time. The characters can also use a jumping attack that depends on the character used, and a long-range skid attack that's good for destroying boxes.