For those of you following along at home, yes, I know the actual #38 should be Gradius II, but I don’t have a NES/Famicom converter, don’t want to play it on a handheld (Gradius Collection on PSP) and don’t want to get into the habit of emulating games. I find playing the original to be a fine compromise.
My teen years were consumed by two types of arcade games. The first 2D fighting games. Tekken could suck it, I had Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Samurai Showdown to play. The second were shmups, specifically Raiden and R-Type. At home, however, my only scrolling shooter option was my copy of Gradius III for the SNES. Not until years later would I learn the first entry was released on the NES.
I’m honestly expecting Gradius, but worse… ish… I mean Gradius is awesome no matter what, but I have some concerns as to how it will play on the NES.
Finally, it’s finally time to dust this baby off! I’m actually writing this post immediately after beating StarTropics at 11:45pm on a Tuesday so I only have about two minutes to play, but damned if I don’t get those two minutes in.
The game fires right up (First try!) and is, as expected, simpler than its sequels in that there is no weapon selection or configuration. You just press Start and you’re off. I’m cool with this. The first thing I notice is that this game is buttery smooth, so much so I get distracted and die early… because I was distracted… The game is fast and awesome and I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna beat it but I’m gonna give it my best!
After accidentally beating the first stage, I power down and head to bed. Until tomorrow!
The Advantage ended up being… not that. I guess I’m just too accustomed to using a D-pad. Same with fighting games. Anyway, Gradius did a good job at reminding me how unfair it is over the course of the first three stages.
And that’s where I am, Stage 3. While I’m having fun playing, this appears to be my stopping point, even with the Konami Code refilling my power-ups once per continue. The game, like Gradius III, is so reliant on power-ups that when you do die and come back with nothing, you may as well just reset the game.
Gradius is a fun distraction, but I’m not sure mastery of this game is quite within reach…
Another hour of me smashing my face into my controller. I’m definitely finding myself having less and less fun with the game the more I play it, and I think it’s time to hang it up…
I still have fun with this game, but for me the fun comes from picking it up for a few minutes at a time to shoot some aliens, then putting it down. By playing nothing but Gradius for three days straight, I nearly came to hate it. That said I’m still very impressed with how well it plays on the NES, though its SNES counterpart will most likely still be my Gradius of choice moving forward.
Play it Again?
Yep! Frequently in fact. When I need that arcade action. Will I ever sit down and beat it though? No, probably not.