Gradius III and IV

-Konami (2000)





The one-ship-armada known as the Vic Viper is called back into action to face impossible odds when the Bacterian Empire attacks planet Gradius again and again.

My Thoughts

Here youíll find two perfect ports of two great, yet sadistically hard Gradius games. These are so perfect that the slowdown of the originals was included. 

But isnít slowdown bad? In most games yes, but in a game like Gradius, slowdown can be a Godsend, letting you narrowly snake through enemy fire to survive those few needed extra seconds. The game also lets you adjust the slowdown this time, so you can actually play the game without slowdown, but it makes the games about five times harder. And do you really need the game to be harder? No, you certainly do not. 

I love the two CG movies made for this compilation. One is a great mini-movie opener and the other is like a music video. Both are very cool and give hope for what a new Gradius could look like. 

Gradius III (1989):  It's odd that how even the first R-Type game still looks pretty good to this day and looks much better than Gradius III, which came out many years later. Even though the graphics really show their age, it's still as hard as you remember. Besides the normal side-scrolling, Gradius III tries something "new" for the time and does two of the stages in a behind-the-ship perspective. These stages are pretty face paced for a Gradius game and a bit awkward. Gradius III also contains one of the most sadistic shooter levels ever - the crystal field stage. Here crystals randomly change direction to collide with your ship and getting through in one piece requires a bit of luck on your side.

Score for Gradius III: 7.5       

Gradius III also on Super NES

Gradius IV (1999): Ten years after Gradius III, the Gradius series finally gets a properly numbered sequel, but not before a bunch of Gradius side stories. Gradius IV was previously unavailable on a home console in the U.S. before this compilation and has PS One quality graphics. It also has some nifty morphing effects, cool explosions and lots of shiny surfaces throughout the levels. There's also a Boss Rush mode where a fully powered Vic Viper takes on each boss right after the other. Gradius IV features many cool bosses but the best must be the rave light show Bacterian ship boss. It makes you wanna dance when it kills you. Gradius IV also moves at a little faster pace than other Gradius games.

Score for Gradius IV: 8.5  

What puzzles me is why Gradius I and II werenít included. Surely there is a lot of space still left on the disc for the first two games, heck, even adding the spin-offs like Life Force, couldn't take up that much room. There is also a lack of any really good extras like the history of Gradius, or pics of Gradius stuff. You can unlock the crystal field stage from Gradius III, but youíd have to be insane to want to play through that stage again. Oh, I should mention in Gradius III, if you get hit by the final boss' shots you can be warped back to the first stage of the original Gradius, but it's only the first stage, nothing more. 

If you are a shooter fan, then you must buy this, simply for Gradius IV. Itís too bad the other games werenít included; otherwise this could have been the ultimate Gradius compilation.

Score for compilation: 7.0


More Gradius action!

Articles: Gradius and Yu-Gi-Oh.

Games: Gradius Mobile, Gradius V, Gradius Galaxies, Nemesis.