This is 1980s arcade run-and-gun absurdity at its finest. Back then, you didn’t need a complicated backstory, fancy unlockables, top-notch graphics, downloadable content, a promotional tie-in, or online play. You only need an itchy trigger finger, loads of quarters, 30 – 45 minutes to spare, and a friend. You take control of a mercenary (or two if playing in two player), and you are assigned the task of retaking an underground nuclear complex from a group of terrorists. You are armed with a weapon and grenades, and like in most top-down shooters, you collect power ups. One in particular, the Heavy Barrel, is split into 6 pieces which form an awesome super weapon once they are found and assembled. The gun will only remain active for 30 seconds, but its firepower can be used to easily take out some of the harder enemies, including the bosses. There really isn’t much more to it, it’s just a fun shooter in the vein of Ikari Warriors and Contra.
Only time will tell if this game will show up on Virtual Console anytime soon, as Data East went bankrupt five years ago. Many of its intellectual properties were bought out by Japanese Corporation Paon, who developed Donkey Kong Barrel Blast for Wii, DK King of Swing for Game Boy Advance, and DK Jungle Climber for Nintendo DS. They have released several Data East games for the Virtual Console already and are no doubt planning to release more, so we can only hope Heavy Barrel is one of them.