Gradius Galaxies

-Konami (2001)




A Bacterian remnant from a previous war has impacted on Ramiles, a neighboring planet to Gradius. The Vic Viper takes to the stars with the hope of peace once again. 

My Thoughts:

I initially thought that the GBA’s smaller screen would make things hard to see and in a Gradius game, you need to be aware of everything that’s happening on screen. It is essential. Fortunately, the small screen wasn’t a problem as everything, even the tiny bullets, was crisp and clearly visible. In fact this was actually one of the easier Gradius games. Hold on, let me re-fraise that. It’s not easy, but as far as Gradius games go, it’s not as difficult to get through the eight stages thriving with alien obstacles. You only need very good shooter skills to beat this, not hyper advanced shooter skills.

As with many of the Gradius games, the player can choose from four types of weaponry from the start, each offering their own slight advantages and what-not. The familiar power-up system remains, preserving the Gradius series’ unique strategy element not found in other shooters. Many familiar enemies make an appearance along with many new ones as well. The bosses can get to be large and menacing, but on the whole aren’t too difficult to take down. Except for the final boss, that is.

The graphics are detailed, colorful and, as stated before, everything is actually very easy to see on the small screen. The stages are take-offs of previous locals and a couple newer types, like the glass and comet stages. All the stages do feature some original things not found in other Gradius games. The game shows off some graphical effects the GBA is capable of such as “Mode 7” like scaling and rotation. Unfortunately, the sound is limited to the GBA’s mono speaker and sound capabilities. The music and sound effects are still classic Gradius though, along with the “Shoot the core” voices. 

Gradius Galaxies actually has a save feature that saves your position at a check point, meaning the Vic Viper doesn’t have to start from the beginning to save the galaxy all the time. This helps the GBA’s ability of “on-the-go gaming” and is a big factor for the overall slightly easier Gradius game. Another factor is the help demos. These are sectioned recordings of a Gradius master demonstrating a way through the tiny chaos.

One thing that surprised me was that when inputting the classic Konami code, to get the Vic Viper all powered-up, it activates a self-destruct sequence and destroys your hopes of winning the battle. There is a variation of “The Code” you must discover to become all powerful.

Gradius Galaxies is an excellent game and a terrific addition to the Gradius mythos.  

Score: 8.5 


More Gradius action!

Articles: Gradius and Yu-Gi-Oh.

Games: Gradius Mobile, Gradius III and IV, Gradius V, Nemesis.

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