Gradius (Mobile Versions)

-Konami (2004)

-Low-end played on a Sanyo 8200. High-end played on a Sanyo 8300.

 

Summary

The Bacterian Empire has infested your pants.

My Thoughts

Before all you Gradius freaks hate me, hear me out. I love the Gradius series and its ultra-intense shooter action. Gradius V is one of my favorite and one of the best shooters I have ever played. Hell, I even purchased the most expensive Gradius collectible that exists. I am a Gradius freak but, Iím sorry to say that Gradius on a cell phone does not work.

The flight controls are unresponsive here. In a game where precise maneuvers are key to success, unresponsive controls do nothing but ruin what once was a great game. The stages are all just like the original. However, there are places where it looks like you can go, and in the original you can, but here if you attempt to fly through these places you end up crashing right into the walls. There is an auto-fire option to make up for it, but itís a feature I expect in a cell phone shooter. Something I also expect, however is not present, is a save feature. There wasnít one in the original, but again, this is on a cell phone. I hate having to play through an entire game in one sitting on a tiny cell phone, especially a game thatís as long as this. It should have had an automatic save feature like Raiden and saved the game after every stage.

I am a huge Gradius fan and it pains me to have to give this a low score. I know that the difficulty of these games is high and my score does not reflect that at all. For the most part, it is just like the original, but with control issues and the lack of a save feature, it just doesnít work that well.

As you can probably tell, I was infuriated by the first version of Gradius I played on a cell phone. Even on the Sanyo 8200, I couldnít understand how it was such a bad translation. Fortunately, an upgrade to a Sanyo 8300 gave me the blessed opportunity to play a high-end version of Gradius, which is mobile Gradius done exactly right.

Everything from the previous version is improved here. The graphics look cleaner, the sound is spectacular (for a cell game that is), and the screen scrolls just as it was meant to. Stages that are meant to have vertical scroll on the previous version scroll just as they should this time.  

Piloting the Vic Viper is smooth and avoiding enemy shots is just as difficult as its supposed to be, and not because of a shoddy game translation. Every stage and enemy is faithfully represented and contains nearly as much detail as the game originally did on the NES. Gradius also has an auto-fire option however, on my version I had to set the auto-fire to ďoffĒ to activate it. Iím not sure if this was an oversight in the testing department and affects all the games, or is just something weird with the one I downloaded.

The most surprising aspect of the game was the sound test. How many other cell games have that? For all the mobile games Iíve played Gradius is the only one. The music tracks are all MIDI versions of the originals, but sound nearly identical because of the technological limitations of when Gradius was originally released. During gameplay the music plays and the familiar sound effects chime, usually flawlessly with the on-screen action.

The game doesnít save, but it does have a stage select if you only have time to play through one stage at a time. The low-end version didnít have this all important and necessary feature.

If you are a Gradius or shooter fan, I canít recommend this version enough. Hopefully your handset is capable of handling the high-end Gradius. Now we just need Konami to bring Gradius Neo, an original Gradius made specifically for mobile phones, over to the US.  

Scores

 Gradius (mobile low-end): 4.5

 Gradius (mobile high-end): 9.0

-Shawn       


More Gradius for you.

Articles: Gradius and Yu-Gi-Oh.

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

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