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Often called the father of the modern shmup, Nemesis introduced the often imitated (but not always equalled) multiple power-up system.

Reviewed by Malc

Nemesis (aka Gradius) remains to this day a fondly remembered arcade shooter. With a great C64 conversion, and an almost pixel perfect PCEngine version, we weren't stuck when it came to playing it at home. The arcade board is probably one of the hardest to get hold of today, but if you want to play it again, there's also perfect emulation on MAME, Sparcade and Johan Kohler's standalone one.

Nemesis' gameplay was unforgiving - lose all your weapons, and it sometimes was downright impossible to build them back up again. Fortunately, the old UpUpDownDownLeftRightLeftRight'A'B' Konami stock cheat works with the PCE game - to be honest, it was the only way I was going to get all the screenshots I needed! If you're at least as old as me (nearly 30! eek!), and frequented the arcades back in the early 80's, this was one game that you *had* to master to gain the dubious credibility required amongst your arcade-going peers.

Let me take you through some of the best bits of what can only be termed as an original classic shootemup...

....... nemesisintro.gif 8.5 K Think of the complete uselessness of FMV intros when all you need is a shot like this. Says it all really. Tell the CG artists to go home and learn how to make GAMES.

Twiddle your thumbs with delight as you prepare for an unnerving blast through the classic Nemesis... and don't you dare put on autofire - the best thing about shooties in the arcade was manically trying to batter more bullets out with a bruised index finger.
....... nemesislevel1.gif 4.3 K Blutering through level 1, your ship (the Vulcan if I remember right) has already picked up a healthy dose of attention.

Those spikey blue things are an essential - they protect your ship from forward fire to a certain extent.
....... nemesislevel1end.gif 6.0 K Reaching the end of level1, you are peltered by popcorn. Nasty vicious stuff it is too. There's two places to hide fairly safely here - naturally I took the easiest!. Alternatively you can sit just infront of the first popcorn volcano, and rack up the score a bit.

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This mothership accosts you quite regularly throughout the game. Must have run out of ideas or got bored. Never mind, they made up for it in Vulcan Venture (Gradius 2)

....... nemesislevel2.gif 4.1 K Scooting into level 2, after having wasted the mothership (well, one of them anyway) you encounter the delights of some vertical scrolling leeway, which makes it awfully easy to clatter into a horde of spaceships at the top or bottom. Relax a bit, this level's easy!
....... nemesislevel3.gif 5.9 K Konami really likes Easter Island heads. Well I don't. This level is a bast if you lose your weapons, you'll just have to wriggle about like a cat with skitters and hope you don't get hit.

I won't bother showing you level 4, as it cops out by repeating level 1 quite a lot, although it does go all nasty and red at the end.
....... nemesislevel5.gif 9.3 K I don't remember this level in the arcade much. It's great, with bones tinkling about, and loads of bullets to avoid.

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End of level guardians are these flying skulls, which spit out wiggly blue sperm things. Needless to say, avoid these.

....... nemesislevel6.gif 8.6 K I think I missed a stage somewhere. Level 6 I think. One of the nicest looking levels, all blue, pink and fluffy. With teeth. Don't even think about tackling this boss without lasers.
....... nemesisendboss.gif 9.6 K Why the hell are the last bosses in the Gradius Series so bloody easy to kill. You just need to tickle this one and it blows up. Awfully disappointing really. I do hate anticlimaxes. Especially when you've worked yourself up for a great big juicy finale.

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Well, I suppose it would have been a bugger if it was too hard, and you'd only one life left, and BLAM! eh? The end...let's go home...

....... nemesislevelforgot.gif 3.6 K No no! wait! sorry! I did get mixed up with my levels! This pic was hiding behind the buggerin' layers window in Photoshop. And it;s one of my fave levels too, with flying raspberries with strings of peas for arms. Mad all over their faces these konami peeps. I think it must be level 6 or 7. Good level. Sorry I forgot about it.

Now away and play the thing....


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie