Monday, 9 August 2010

Retro monday : Treasure ( 1992 - present )

In 1992 a small group of former Konami employees came together to form 'Kabushiki-Gaisha Toreja' otherwise know to us as 'Treasure.'
This small privately owned company houses 30-40 staff and is now widely regarded as one of the best independent powerhouses in Japan. Their impressive list of titles include Guardian Heroes (one of my favourites) Gunstar heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Wario World, Sin and Punishment and the now legendary spiritual sequel to Radiant Silver gun, the complex shooter Ikaruga.
Treasure have a close working partnership with some of the worlds biggest software companies including Sega, Nintendo and SquareEnix.
My love of treasure harks way back to when the critically acclaimed Gunstar Heroes was first released on the Megadrive in September 1993, i was a plucky young 13 yr old who had a taste in classic run and gun gaming. This was my ticket to awesome ! Best part of the game - the bonkers level bosses, often made up of multiple sprites allowing a smooth animated look.

Have a look at this classic bit of gaming

This piece of side scrolling lunacy kept me going on and off until treasure unveiled their latest masterpiece in may of 1996. During that time I had upgraded from Sega's 16 bit machine to the 32bit commercial disaster the Saturn. Oohhh i did love that console !!
Guardian Heroes is one of my favourite titles of all time, the 2D style Golden axe side scroller that worked with a 3 tier style environment (think Castlecrashers.) Adding RPG elements along with amazing cell shaded and hand drawn animation this mammoth game's influence is obvious 14 years on.

Click this link to see the game in action

After 18 years Treasure's feet are now completely under the table. Their cult fanbase grows more and more every year as these former Konami employees corner the market with amazing and bonkers Shooters. Their legacy of games continues even now, the bullet hell title Ikaruga (first released on the Gamecube then later on Xbox Marketplace in 2008) was developed by only a 3 man team and has entered the critical hall of fame as IGN's 3rd greatest shooter of all time. Oh, did i mention how f#*%$*g hard it is too; with the games core mechanic involving two polarities. Black enemies and White enemies, each one either having to be fired at to be killed or absorbed. I do recommend you pick this up from anywhere you can. If you have a death wish.

Click here to watch the madness

Lets look to the future, whats in store for this Japanese developer? With the incredible Bangai-o spirits available for the DS and Sin and Punishment 2 their latest release for the Wii, it looks bright. Treasure are also developing an as yet untitled Xbox 360 title. My tastebuds have been well and truly wet!
This indie powerhouse has been running in the background for 19 years, creating some of the most hardcore titles around and receiving critical praise on each release. They aren't a name that most people will know, it brings a kind of "Oh yeah i didn't know they did this" mentality. As with every Retro Monday here at Gainboy, we always talk about the media of yester-year that still holds a place in our hearts.
So Please; if you haven't played a Treasure game go seek one out or even better download a couple of these timeless pieces on the XBLA or Virtual Console. Its a treat for the eyes....

I'm off now to carry on playing Lost Planet 2, i know i know...
Till next time,
the good Dr Sanchez

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