Review by EPoetker

"It's ALL about the music..."

...because the game itself is merely average! Oh, I know Gradius has had a good reputation as a pioneer in shooting games, but come on! ''Convention'' would be the best word to describe it, and the only reason I don't give it a lower score is because it was one of the first games released for the Super Nintendo, so I didn't expect too much...anyway, on to the...

Graphics. I must admit, this title definitely gave gamers a glimpse of the power of the Super NES. I'd LOVE to have seen the expressions on the faces of the first play-testers when the HUGE sand dragon on the first level made it's way out. The bosses were pretty well done too, although not especially impressive. Your ship and its weapons, unfortunately, look best in the intro, as during gameplay they tend to be blurry and pixelated(something I'd expect int the first Gradius, but COME ON! This was the ''new system,'' for crying out loud!) Maybe there was too much emphasis on keeping a classic ''feel'' to this title, so they left the ship as it was. Anyway, we're the worst for it. But...

...the MUSIC is almost to die for! VERY upbeat, VERY well-composed, and VERY cool. It almost made you wish you could turn off the sound(although the laser blasts and such still ring pretty well on the ears.) EVERY SINGLE LEVEL has music that you could listen to easily outside the game! Whatever environment you were in, whether it was deep space or in the middle of a vine-covered planet, the music fit it perfectly. The Super Nintendo has been a champion of GREAT game tunes, and Gradius 3 was merely the forerunner of a whole bunch more...

...although it suffers from the same problems that plague most shooters: MONSTER DIFFICULTY! Those with emulators can merely use save states, but those without are in for a long and hard battle. Can't those development teams think of any other way to make a shooter harder save for filling a room with even MORE bullets? Fortunately, you can choose and customize your special weapons, and adding four Options will keep your sorry butt firing a little bit longer. Unfortunately, doing this will often cause what should have died out with the NES....SLOWDOWN! Darn you, Nintendo, you were advertising the Super NES as the box that would exorcise that horrible demon from videogaming! Not enough processor to stop it, unfortunately...

...but the game should appeal to nostalgics and shooter fans anyway, and deserves to be played for the music if nothing else! Most definitely get emulated, but get at a used-game store only if you have the patience and the reflexes to go through a shooter of Einhander-like difficulty. Enjoy...


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/18/00, Updated 02/18/00


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