79: Gradius

Genre: Shooter

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Year: 1986

Basic Idea:  Upgrade your weapons just in time to die.  Ha ha, just kidding.  You don’t even have time for that.

Review: The game that a generation of great shooters were based off of, Gradius is a beautiful shooter that has a great soundtrack, fun enemies, and an innovative weapon system that allows you to upgrade to kickassery.  Unfortunately, the game is so insanely difficult (with three lives and no continues, no less) that it loses its fun pretty quick unless you’re the type to wear out your thumbs and your brain trying.

I had difficulty rating games that I felt were awesome with a game genie, but closed off to those with limited hand-eye coordination (and patience).  I think I’m okay with this spot, considering I’m not a great fan of shooters to begin with.

13 thoughts on “79: Gradius”

  1. Even now I’m a sucker for space shooters, but yeah, what is with the unforgiving difficulty of those days? Once again, I think it’s because the developers were so used to creating games where we’re supposed to be manipulated into pumping in quarters. A fun but punishingly difficult game in the arcade makes a ton of money. A fun but punishingly difficult game without continues at home collects dust. And it’s a bummer, too, because this was a very good one. I got to the point where I could get pretty far, but “pretty far” is all I remember. I have no recollection of how far “pretty far” is.

  2. Heh, Gradius is the perfect example of a game that I love for about a minute and a half before violently flinging the controller across the room saying “fuck this game”.

    1. I was playing Lion King the other day and was swearing at various parts, but not throwing my controller. Mrs. Troggle asked if I did that when I was a kid. I realized the reason I probably threw the controller as a kid was because I couldn’t swear. Even “this sucks!” would have got me in trouble.

      1. My brother and I would pound the controller against our carpeted floor. This did end up badly for one of them after some time, but it was better than getting in trouble. I still yell at vids on a regular basis, to the point that I intentionally am always playing an easy one that I can jump into when the real stuff is punishing me too much and raising my blood pressure.

      2. Ah, Lion King. I remember sitting down with some friends a couple of years ago with the absolute fire in our bellies, ready to spend as much time as it took to beat it. A few hours and several continues later, we couldn’t do it. We could get to the cave level, but the acid drips and wonky hit detection did us in every time.

        Fun fact: that copy of Lion King came from my wife, who bought the game as a 7 year old. She told me how much she loved playing it, but she never once made it past the elephant graveyard. It’s truly insane how difficult they made some of those games, considering the target audience.

        1. There are a lot of really solid Disney games from around that time. Strangely, I never played Lion King. Aladdin was an excellent platformer.

          Going back 5 years or so, Duck Tales and Rescue Rangers were both great properties. They played out a bit like Mega Man, with some tough platforming, challenging enemies and huge bosses. I’d play an emulator of those in a heartbeat. I wonder if the Wii store has added any of the Disney properties. I haven’t checked the Wii store in ages…I’ll probably be depressed by the amount of money I want to spend.

      3. This is resurrecting an old post, but I couldn’t skip Lion King. Played it on the Game Gear (my first video game device purchase!), so probably had a different experience than those that played it on other systems. I think it might be one of the first, if not the first, game I beat without any cheats. Kicked ass at it really.

  3. This is also significant among my friends for the controversy over how to pronounce “Gradius.” It seems obvious to me, grammatically, that it should be “GRAY-dee-us,” but there were always a few who insisted upon “GRAH-dee-us.” What’s your take, America?

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