Gradius: Interstellar Assault Review

Already there has been one Gradius game given to the Gameboy called Nemesis that was released by Konami's subsidiary Ultra.  This second release of this classic series now bears the name of Gradius and was put out by Konami.  The game at first to the untrained idiot may seem to have a lot in common with the other Gameboy title and earlier games, but that isn't quite so.  Gradius has always been a popular series and I imagine really is what started selling the whole side scrolling shooter genre to millions of fans.  The question is though, does the game hold up against the already established games or not.

GraphicsThe graphics department of this title has been served quite well and is a bit more noticably nicer than the original overall, but in a few places really shines through.  The game has been given an excellent treatment graphically showing how much Konami loved to pay attention to detail back in those days. Not only were the levels given a good touch of detail even the menus, and the
introduction sequences as well.  As you can see below there are two shots from parts of the in game action.  In the first you see your craft having to deal with an enemy while navigating an intricately detailed set of ruins.  As you pass through the level you will pass the Candy Crush Saga Cheats Tricks and Strategies  by broken pilars, statues of warriors and others, a giant stone creature carving and much more.  When I first playing the game this level stood out as the highest detail I had seen in a game to date pretty much and I still remember it clearly.  While some levels are in areas like this others are in space.  While space levels aren't always that detailed they did well with the starry backgrounds and rock formations.  The graphics given to enemies you will find are in many cases just as detailed as the nice stuff from the ruins stage adding much to this games appeal.
Rating: 4.0 SoundThe audio effects of this version of Gradius are comparable to the sounds from Nemesis its prequel.  The sound effects of this title sound just about the same in many cases from the original title.  There are some new and refined effects though that do add to the game.  Some of the new effects come from the different type of weaponry that you can use in this game, but that is pretty
much it.  The music of this title unlike some of the tidbits of Nemesis though is all completely original.  The music sounds extremely well and doesn't sound like the typical beepy audio of older Gameboy titles which is surely welcome. Some of the musical scores do stick out in my mind as things that can just pop in now and again, but nothing I would go as far as say as are tunes to hum by.
Rating: 4.0 Theme & FunThis game since it didn't have some of the familiar level and audio elements
of the NES classic in Nemesis had an upward battle to beat it out.  This game has added so much more and took away some of the weaknesses that did plague Nemesis.  In Gradius you will come across many twists of fate and surprises that you might not expect from your average shooter, or from any of the other previous Gradius titles as well.  This game has added some excellent features
such as a weapon selection screen to choose which type of Missile, Double, and Laser you can arm yourself with.  With the wide variety of levels with the unique look to them, such as the Ruins, the game is a quite fun tital overall.
Rating: 4.0 Play ControlThe play control of Gradius is held together really well.  The hit detection
is accurate and fair so you know when you are going to die or not.  The ability to bob and weave in any direction to open fire, or dodge an attack is there for you to attempt.  In a few places though it can be a little difficult to tell if you are going to smack into something, or part of a boss as it is
hard to tell how much of you can touch something before an explosion occurs. Typically I find myself allowing just part of the wing tip is more than enough for a safety barrier, but realistically don't let the body make contact at all.  Once you get used to this little quibble you should be able to breeze through this game to the end if you try long enough.

Rating: 4.0 ChallengeThis game is not easy, and is more of a challenge than Nemesis.  Thankfully
the brains at Konami removed the option to give you up to 99 lives so there is a much harder curve of play here.  To level out the problem (if you see it as one) there is now a practice mode so you can try out four of the five levels to find out how they are structured.  While you are just given three lives in
this game you will find that it is enough since you can set three different difficulty modes and continue.  A nice added feature is that when you continue you can reselect new weaponry options for that stage in the game.

Rating: 4.0 Replay Value and Closing Notes:Since this is a side scrolling shooter, part of the Gradius legacy, and that there just aren't many of these on the Gameboy there is a great level of
replay value here.  Because you are given multiple choices in weapony, the ability to experiment in levels, and the fact that it is harder than Nemesis I can safely say you will stay more glued to this game.

I have always been a Gradius fan as it has been my favorite shooter series. This game has to be the best of the two portable versions of Gradius by a good distance and I highly recommend it as a purchase if you can locate the game.

Overall Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

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