Review by MasterVG782

"A dying genre is revitalized by a great game.."

A SHMUP is definitely one of those genres that seems to be going under. However, there always seems to be a resurrection by one single game. We've seen Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun bring the genre from its encroaching death. Now, the Gradius series is definitely considered a classic among the SHMUP fanbase and the includement of Treasure as its developer this time around only ups the ante.

Treasure has spared nothing in regards to the visuals of Gradius V. Wonderfully done backgrounds fly by as you're shooting the hell out of everything that comes your way. The levels have also been designed well, including small nooks and crannies that one can barely fit through. The bosses are also designed very well and they explode with exuberance when defeated. Amazing.

*****SOUND & MUSIC*****
The sound effects are also well-done and greatly integrate into the game. The music is a mix of the upbeat-type of music usually found in the genre and something else that makes it seem very well done.

The controls are excellent and make this game that much better. You'll have no trouble squeezing through narrow passageways with the control scheme in the game. Something new in Gradius V is the option to control the multiples that can be accessed through the power-up bar. You can make them revolve around you, lock them in place, make them fire in one direction or have them spaced out around your ship.

Ah, the bread and butter of the genre. Nothing gets your adrenaline pumping faster than flying through outer space decimating the enemy by any means necessary. You have the standard Gradius power-up system in this latest installment. You collect power-up icons during each stage that can be used to add an extra punch to your fighting power. There are 6 options on the bottom of the screen: speed up, missile, double, laser, multiple and ?. The second, third, fourth and fifth are determined by the type of ship you choose before beginning the slaughter. Nothing different from previous Gradius games.

There are many different modes in this game. You have your standard mode, which go through the stages in numerical order. Then there is Stage Select, which can be considered as training for a particular section of a stage (cannot advance in this mode). Next is the Score Attack, which is basically a mode set with specific parameters (one set of lives and no continues). Upon dying in this mode, you are rewarded with a password, which can be used to determine a ranking online on the game's main site by your score.

First, this game is definitely challenging. There are five difficulty levels, ranging from Very Easy to Very Hard, and each one definitely gives a challenge to the player. The ability to get custom power-up types and the addicting nature of the game could keep you glued to the TV with the controller in hand.

This is definitely a worthy purchase to add to your PS2 collection. Treasure definitely doesn't disappoint when it comes to this genre, and I would say this ranks up there with Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun (two highly respected Treasure SHMUPs). The $30 price tag makes it all that sweeter.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/23/04

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