Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 27, 2016

TG 16 Review: Gradius

Note: Gradius was reviewed using original Turbografx 16 hardware. This game was released only in Japan.

Image result for gradius pc-engine

This is the port of the arcade game, Gradius. Can it get a Malstrom Award?

The Malstrom Award is given to games, older than twenty years old, that can stand as classics with Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, and the rest we know as classics. Seeing as Gradius, the inferior NES port, could stand with these games and is today selling next to them on the NES Mini, the answer is an easy yes. Gradius is one the two grandfathers of the shmup genre along with R-type.

Hey look! It’s a remastered third generation game for a fourth generation console. Gradius was released in 1985 and this version is 1991.

I cannot recall a bad port of Gradius, and this one is solid. What I like about it is the four options that we never got on the NES. The four options will eventually create slowdown later on in the game which makes it easier (this is either a bonus or a minus for you). Some people say this game looks ‘darker’, but I think it is using more colors than was available in 1985. The game looks and sounds great.

The Konami code works too. Up up down down left right left right II I RUN!

What I do hate about Gradius and R-type is the difficulty. I can sit back and really enjoy myself with the Star Soldier games or Blazing Lasers, but Gradius and R-type still kick my ass. However, getting your ass kicked is part of the game’s value.

UPDATE: Originally, I gave this game a ‘Malstrom Award’ based on it being a ‘classic’. This game holds tremendous value in playing it due to nostalgia. But the point is, it isn’t a fun shooter today. It really isn’t. Every boss guy is the ‘shoot the core’ guy. While the Moa head level on stage 3 at the time was shockingly awesome, it is mote today. Aside from a trip to nostalgia lane, there is no reason to play Gradius. This is the Turbografx 16! This is shmup land! There are more fun shmups here and on any other system including the NES.

“But what about R-type?” R-type is aging much better than Gradius, that is why! R-type still has that awesome memorization gameplay. Gradius has mechanics that just plain suck.

Gradius is being downgraded to ‘5’. You can skip this one, but it is a good port!

Above: Even other gamers agree that Gradius still stands the test of time.



-TG 16 Games Reviewed-


Malstrom Awards: (Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)

Gradius (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)

R-type (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)


Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)

(7) Alien Crush (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)


Don’t bother: (Not that fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)

(5) Neutopia (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)



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