Gradius (NES) Second Opinion Review

By Carrick Puckett 05.12.2016

Review for Gradius on NES

Gradius, one of the oldest and most storied seminal shooter series, was first published by Konami and released in arcades in May of 1985. The player pilots a spacecraft known as "Vic Viper" through several stages in a bid to defeat the invading Bacterian Army, culminating in a final battle against Bacterian himself. The arcade version was an outstanding success, encouraging Konami to release it on home computers and consoles. The NES version, the basis of this review, was released in December of 1986.

Gradius begins with the player assuming control of the Vic Viper. At first, the spacefighter has very little along the lines of mobility, offence, or defence, but collecting power-ups from defeated enemies allows the advancement of a "power meter" at the bottom of the screen. This meter has several options that can be chosen from: "Speed Up", "Missile", "Double", "Laser", "Option", and "?", each of which grant specific benefits when selected with the A Button.

At the end of each of the seven levels, a powerful boss enemy is fought, and each one has a weak point called a "core" that must be destroyed to defeat it. As progress is made, the bosses get crafty with how they defend their precious cores, forcing navigation of the flak-filled battlefield and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

Screenshot for Gradius on NES

Losing a life carries a heavy price: not only are you set back to the last checkpoint you passed in the level, you also lose any power-ups you were carrying at the time. Speed-ups, lasers, and options: all gone. If you had a power-up on your meter when you died, you were allowed to keep it, but it was set to the "Speed Up" slot on the meter. If you died in one of the later levels, you could consider your run finished, for continuing in Gradius is a painful and gruelling experience: without power-ups, players are hard-pressed to survive for any period of time.

Thankfully, a programmer testing the game also thought so, for he left behind something for players to discover: a special code that, when input on the controller, granted the player a slew of power-ups to ease their progress through the game. A code that has since passed into pop culture immortality: the Konami Code.

Screenshot for Gradius on NES

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Gradius is an example of timeless gameplay: tight controls, a plethora of enemies, and devilish difficulty combine to create something wonderful. It will frustrate new players terribly, but once they learn how to react, and begin conquering the game's obstacles, that same frustration will gradually transform into elation. If you have an NES, Gradius is definitely something to pick up. Of course, if you're reading this after picking up an NES Mini, then you already have it!

Developer

Konami

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Shooter

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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