After being teased several weeks ago, today finally sees the Virtual Console release of Gradius II: Gofer’s Ambition (better known as Gradius II, because no one wants to acknowledge that goofy subtitle). As much as you might question whether the VC needs yet another shoot’em-up, this one is genuine cause for celebration; with enticing thematic stages, amazing music and visuals, and the ability to select from a variety of power-up schemes, it’s one of the most beloved games in the genre — and a sterling example by which to judge its progeny. Aside from a limited arcade run in Europe and a handheld release on PSP, this is the first time it’s been made available to Western gamers, too. If you still can’t empathize, then for you old-school Square fans, imagine that Square Enix suddenly decided to haul off and localize Seiken Densetsu 3, and forego the forty-dollar DS release to sell it for nine bucks on VC. That’s roughly the level of excitement shmup fans are feeling right now.
[[image:nn_081011_graii_01.png:Destroy them all.:center:0]]
If anything, we thought we might get the Famicom port, which made interesting revisions to the arcade stages but frequently suffered from abysmal hit-detection (not entirely unlike the odious Gradius III). But we can rest easy, for this is the PC Engine CD version: nearly identical to the arcade original in both function and aesthetics — not to mention putting the CD format to use with the rockingest animated intro of all time. If you have ever longed to Shoot the Core, or found yourself curious at the prospect of a “Ripple Laser”; if dodging dragons made of fire amidst a field of artificial suns sounds like a pretty good time (and it should); Gradius II will do you right.
So, so right.
12 thoughts on “One to scratch off the wish lists”
The Famicom version of Gradius II had bad hit detection? Huh. I always found it more accessible than the PCE CD version.
You iconoclast, you.
The dragons are smooching. Hot.
As a fairly recent fan of the SHMUP genre, I think that screenshot alone instills me with more excitement than any text could possible hope to do.
I do go against the flow.
Really though, the Famicom version of Gradius II was less taxing than the PCE version. I also preferred a few of the tracks. (The arcade/PCE/X68000 version soundtrack was still fantastic though.)
Don’t you die in this version if something hits your exhaust? I know it’s some version of Gradius II and it irritated me to no end.
Easily the best of the series, alongside V.
Too many shmups? They still need to dip into the wealth of Technosoft and Compile games. Not that I have room for anything else.
eirikr: exhaust is safe in the PCE port, and the hitbox is pretty small (4×2 pixels?)
Awesome! There’s some Gradius game where it’s not safe and I don’t think it’s III, but…
Kishi, you couldn’t be arsed to include a screenshot from the PCE version of the game? :P
Comments are closed.