Review by Emptyeye

"The arcade shooter that started it all!"

Gradius..ah yes, one of the first sdie-scrolling shooters ever (Along with R-type) It has your basic side-scolling plot: The world is in danger of being taken over by alien lifeforms, and you in the Vic Viper must stop them. Not very original, but then C. 1986 it was a wonder for games to even HAVE plots and endings. But enough ranting, on with the review:

Graphics: 4/10- Well it's 1986, what do you expect? The problem here is quantity, not necessarily quality. Basical, you usually fight over a black background, with some mountains thrown in whenever you go to a different stage. SOmetimes there are NO foregrounds except for enemies. ANother problem can be found in the very first issue of Nintendo Power, in which Kirk Cameron calls one of the enemies "Meatballs with Arms". It's a pretty accurate description really, and should give you an indication of the general graphical level.

Sound: 5/10- Your basic "zap!" Laser fire, and the "Boom!" of of stuff blowing up. The music is okay, not bad but not great.

Control: Variable/10- Yes, "Variable". Your lasers and stuff generally respond fluidly to button presses, but the variable comes in movement of the Vic Viper. There's a "Speed Up" Power-Up, and there's (I don't think..I used it some 9 times in one life once) not a limit to how many times you can use it. However, after you use it more than a certain number of times (Figure it out yourself :)), it becomes VERY difficult to control because it's going so freakin' fast.

Story: 3/10- Not very original by today's standards, but 1. At least it makes sense, and 2. It was probably alot MORE original in 1986 than it is now. Also 3. One typically does not play this sort of game for the plot.

Challenge: 10/10- No doubt about it, even though the enemies move pretty much in set patterns and there's only one real boss (Except for the last one, the same thing attacks you at the end of every stage), this game is TOUGH! I still can't beat it. :)

Replay Value: 4/10- There are a few secrets (Bonus Points and 1ups hidden in certain places), but generally once you beat it there's not much reason to go back and do it again (It's how all space-shooters of this time are, really).This game gets a few bonus points for introducing (I think) the now-legendary KONAMI CODE. If you don't know what that is, just stop reading now, you embarrass me :)

Overall: 9/10- A great space-shooter. Once again it has that element that most of today's games sorely lack- CHALLENGE. Though its graphics and sound are sub-par, I recommend you pick this game up if you find it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99

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