KONAMI - PLAYSTATION
Reviewed by Rob
Gaiden has got to be one of the greatest Gradius games I've ever played,
right up there with Gradius III (SNES). From the kickass CG opening,
which shows the four fighters in action, to the fantastic music, the
killer graphics and the dead-on gameplay, Gradius Gaiden is a must play
for any shooter fan.
For once, Bacterion isn't the evil force that you fight. The opening
story (done up a la Star Wars and read by either a male or female voice)
explains that unknown forces are attacking out of a section of space
called the Dark Nebula, aka the Evil Range (if you've played Salamander
or Life Force, you'll recognize the leader of the armada). Four fighters
are sent in to destroy the advancing forces - the Vic Viper, the Lord
British, the Falchion Beta, and the Jade Knight.
The levels are similiar to the other Gradius games - there are the usual
levels (the speed up zone; another replay of the first level of Gradius,
which is DESTROYED by a black hole; and everyone's favorites, the Moai
heads from Easter Island - after all, it wouldn't be a Gradius game
without them!), as well as a few new ones (an ice board; a junkyard
full of the rusting and partially functioning remains of earlier Gradius
bosses - fans of the series will recognize a lot of these guys; and
a pulsating organic level, among others).
There's not a wide variety of powerups like Gradius III, but each weapon
can be powered up to a second level (cool!), and each ship has it's
own set of weapons. Above all, this can be a TOUGH game (watch out for
the Axelay-looking mech in the last board - he can be a bitch if you
don't know the pattern!).
Gradius Gaiden is a truly awesome addition to the series, and should
be given a worldwide release by Konami (here in the US, Konami has a
thing against Gradius. Morons.). Pick it up if you can find it. You
won't regret it.
Rob! About time someone did Gradius Gaiden (or Legends as I am wont
to call it) as I was a bit slow about it myself:) I played this game
to death when I first got it, and refused to play it on anything but
hard for fear of spoiling it. Still haven't finished it either! It's
a true 'old-skool' shmup, redolent of the heady mid-eighties, with some
beautiful yet restrained use of the Playstation's effects. Strangely,
there isn't a Saturn version afaik, it's one of the few solely PSX shooters.
On a similar note, Thunderforce V is now out on Sony's portable cooker
lookalike, with a lovely intro and nowt much else changed. Here's a
few pics of levels 5-9 - Malc
5. Organic Fortress
This level should really have been in Salamander
2. It's all wobbly and wavy, and dead easy to get stuck in traps. End
of level baddie is a huge eye blob, with a nasty laser attack.
LEVEL 6. Green Inferno
One of my favourite levels, reminiscent of the grassy
one in Gradius III. I love the windy snakes and the organic 'walkers'.
Not too easy this one.
LEVEL 7. On the Event Horizon
Did you ever see that film? Personally I thought
it was pretty good, but I know of no-one else that even remotely liked
it. And this level's not remotely like it either, having lots of orange
platforms and stuff. Very like the first level in Gradius I, with extra
LEVEL 8. Formidable Guardians
Oui, les Guardians etait tres formidable, m'sieur!
Er, sorry. Finally we get a series of Bosses (just like in Gradius II)
except we haven't seen a lot of these before! GREAT level this.
LEVEL 9. Fate
This level type has been seen before in Gradius
games, just rush through a speeding spikey sharp area before you get
to the boss... and the boss is?? Ha hah!! You'll just have to buy it
to see! I wonder if he's as easy as all other Gradius end-bosses?