Review by Xjph
"You've always got to exercise your options..."
Gradius... a classic from Konami. For those who don't know what this game is about, I'll sum it up. You're in a spaceship, you shoot things. Grab powerups, shoot more things. And everything kills you in a hit. From information I've gleaned from other various sources, mostly from the instruction manuals of later Gradius games, your ship is called the Vic Viper, costs one hundred zillion dollars, and you're protecting the earth from the Empire Bacterian.
Why a nine? When many people will say it's a very cookie cutter shooter? Think about when it was made. Gradius was the first shooter to use powerups so that your ship could improve. Talk about innovation. It's classic shooter play with a new twist. Terrain following missiles are nice, lasers are dandy, shields let you take extra hits (!), and options... little ghost ships that follow you and each have firepower equal to your own? Heaven.
A difficult category to judge this long after a game has come out... keeping other NES titles in mind, I'd rank this as pretty good, I've seen better, but I've seen much worse. There's a little bit of slowdown, but that's almost expected in a NES title with a lot of on screen sprites.
Adequate, a couple of nice music tracks, sound effects noting spectacular. The effects don't foul up the music though, which is more than can be said for a lot of NES titles.
Replay Value 4/10
Sadly, as a shooter, there isn't much replay value, unless you're one of those shooter fiends that can play the same stages over and over just to hone your mad dodging skills. Like myself. There's nothing quite as satisfying as weaving your way through a seemingly impassible wall of incoming fire.
As a shooter fan, I'll admit a certain upward tilt in my final score, I definitely recommend this game to anyone who enjoys other shooters, doubly so if those other shooters are the later Gradius games.
To conclude: I have to say I've always been a huge fan of the Gradius series, the first in the series that I played was Life Force, from there I went on the Gradius III, Gradius Galaxies, and Gradius IV. Getting my hands on a Gradius cart recently was a great day for me. Long live the series.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/20/03, Updated 01/20/03
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