Gunstar Heroes plays as a sides-crolling shooter similar to Contra. The player has four weapons to choose from, and they can be combined in various pairs to create different weapons. In addition to the weapons, the player can engage enemies in close quarters combat. It is possible to grab and toss enemies, perform a sliding and jumping attacks and a long-range skid.
Gunstar Heroes is a sides-crolling shooter very similar to Contra or Metal Slug. Unlike Contra, however, the player has a life total calculated in numbers. Therefore, death to a player requires multiple hits but just one death will issue the option to continue or to end the game.
Not only did the game provide one of the most adaptable weapon systems around, it also boasted some of the most amazing boss characters from the time period; not to mention a terrific art style and technological brilliance matched by few others.