Gunbird 2 is a vertical shooting game developed and published in 1998 by Psikyo. The game is a direct sequel to Gunbird, and features a light-hearted cast of characters trying assemble the ingredients for magic potion to make their wishes come true. This was the first Psikyo game to feature medal-chaining as a scoring mechanic, which would later feature in Strikers 1945 III/Strikers 1999.
Gunbird 2 is noted for it's comedic tone, wide selection of characters, and addition of a melee attack which offers a powerful new offensive option. The game has been ported to a number of platforms, including the Sony Playstation 2, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.
Gunbird 2 is a 3 button game. Each game loop consists of 7 stages, with the first three stages being randomly chosen from a possible four. In the second loop, stage 2-1 takes place in the stage that was not selected in the first loop. Completing the first loop rewards the player with a choice of two uses for the magic potion, with a unique ending for each choice.
- A Button (Press): Shot
- A Button (Hold): Charge Attack (depletes Power Gauge)
- B Button: Bomb (depletes bomb stock)
- C Button: Melee attack (depletes Power Gauge)
Basic attack performed by pressing the shot button. This attack is upgraded by collecting Power-Up items, and reaches max power after 3 items have been collected. After collecting two Power-Up items the shot is supplemented by a secondary attack, or sub-shot, which offers some additional screen coverage. Colliding with an enemy will reduce the shot power by one level, and losing a life will reduce the shot to its base level.
The power gauge is located at the bottom left of the screen, and is filled by killing enemies and collecting coins. Holding the A button releases a character-specific attack which depletes the gauge. Melee attacks, performed with the C button, will also deplete one level of the gauge.
Bombs do not grant invincibility, but instantly clear enemy bullets and deal damage within specific areas of the screen. The precise effects of bombs are character-specific.
Gunbird 2 offers 6 playable characters, each with their own playstyle and unique advantages. 5 Characters are available by default, but a 6th, Aine, can be unlocked by entering the code 51024 in Maintenance Mode. He can then by selected by pressing down on the "?" icon on the character select screen.
- Shot: 3 green bat projectiles aimed forward. Good horizontal coverage.
- Subshot: Purple bats that fly forward on a slight delay. At max power, up to 8 bats can be on screen at once.
- Charge Attack: 2 swarms of blue bats that home in on enemies.
- Melee Attack: Alucard strikes with his cape.
- Bomb: Deals damage in a + shape. Can move during the animation.
While Alucard's bomb has limited use, he makes up for it with fast movement speed, wide coverage with his basic shot, and a powerful melee attack.
- Shot: A 6-way spread shot.
- Subshot: Homing star projectiles.
- Charge Attack: A single large projectile that fires directly forward.
- Melee Attack: Marion attacks the enemy with her rabbit familiar
- Bomb: A starstorm that clears the screen. Marion cannot move during this attack.
An all-round character with a useful homing shot. She lacks the burst damage of some other characters, but has the tools to handle most situations.
- Shot: Blue shot aimed directly forward
- Subshot: Purple sawblades that move slowly up the screen. Up to 4 blades on screen at once.
- Charge Attack: 2 rocket arms that move slowly up the screen, each firing a 3-way shot.
- Melee Attack: Rocket punch.
- Bomb: A 360 laser sweep that covers the entire screen.
Valpiro is the slowest character, but he packs a (rocket) punch, with a good multi-hitting subshot, and a powerful melee attack.
- Shot: 6 green shots aimed directly forward. High fire rate.
- Subshot: Blue ripples that expand as they travel.
- Charge Attack: A wide missile barrage that snakes upward.
- Melee Attack: A pink energy whip. Destroys enemy bullets.
- Bomb: An armada of robots carpet bombs the screen. Tavia can move freely during the attack.
Tavia offers a superb rapid shot, along with the ability to move during her bomb animation, as well as a melee attack that cancels bullets. Considered a strong choice for survival-oriented players.
- Shot: A purple 6-way spread shot
- Subshot: Blue scimitars that spiral upward. Up to 4 on screen at once.
- Charge Attack: Summons a djinni that shoots directly forward for several seconds.
- Melee Attack: Hei-cob launches a bomb a short distance forward. The explosion lingers and deals damage for a few moments.
- Bomb: A djinni appears and clears the screen with a huge shockwave.
An unorthodox character who offers a strong shot with wide coverage, and a charge attack that lets him control distant areas of the screen. His slow movement speed, and awkward melee attack make him a difficult character to handle for beginners.
- Shot: A single purple arrow projectile.
- Subshot: 2 orange arrows that flank the main shot.
- Charge Attack: A sword swipe that covers the entire vertical length of the screen. Narrow coverage, but hitbox lingers for a few seconds.
- Melee Attack: A 2-hit sword swipe.
- Bomb: Converts enemy bullets into rose items that can be collected for points.
A guest character from Sengoku Ace. Aine is the fastest character in the game, and has a very powerful 2-hit melee attack, which promotes an agressive playstyle. His toolset is overall quite linear, so later stages can be challenging for survival, but due to the unique properties of his bomb he has the highest scoring potential in the game
After clearing 7 stages and defeating the last boss, the player automatically enters a second loop. The second loop features significantly denser bullet patterns, and enemies will now release revenge bullets on death. Stage 2-1 takes place in the stage that was not selected in the first loop.
Scoring in Gunbird 2 is relatively straightforward. Certain enemies, when destroyed, will leave behind gold coins that rotate on the spot. These coins will reward the player with 200, 500, 1000 or 2000 points, depending on when they are collected during their spin animation. To achieve the max score of 2000 points, coins must be collected specifically when they flash brightly.
If two 2000pt coins are collected consecutively, the player is awarded a chain bonus of 500 points. Collecting a 3rd 2000pt coin in a row will give a chain bonus of 1000 points, and collecting 4 in a row (and beyond) will give a bonus of 2000 points.
Each stage contains a hidden item called a gemhead, which releases valuable gems when attacked. Gemheads can be spawned by hovering over specific parts of the background scenery, at specific times during each stage. If the player can maintain fire on a Gemhead, it will release a maximum of 19 green gems worth 1000 points each, before releasing a final blue gem which is worth 4000 points. Gemhead locations can be found on the Gunbird_2/Strategy page.
Clearing both loops rewards the player with an endgame bonus as follows:
- Bomb Stock x 50,000
- Power Level x 10,000
- Lives Remaining x 100,000
- Max Coin Chain x 1,000
See Gunbird_2/Strategy for secrets and advanced play strategies.
Following its original arcade release in 1998, Gunbird 2 was ported to the Sega Dreamcast in 2000.
The game was later bundled with Gunbird and released on the Sony Playstation 2 as Gunbird Special Edition in 2004.
The game was ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2018 by Zerodiv. After initially only being available on the Nintendo eShop, the game was later released physically as part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo compilation.
On June 10th 2020, the game was released on Steam by Zerodiv and City Connection.