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Gradius: Interstellar Assault

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Reviewed by Seth Smith Ah, Gradius. One of my favorite series of all time. I just love guiding the Vic Viper through all of those strange worlds, going through impossibly difficult levels and bosses (well, except for the last ones...more on that later). Only Darius can compete as a shotter series (don't even dare mentioning R-Type to me....), and only because of the difficulty. When I saw this on Funcoland, I knew I had to have it. What did I think? Well, you've already seen the score, but humor me...

Graphics 10 out of 10

Fantastic. Varied. Amazing. Fast. These are some of the things the graphics in this game are. They truly look Super NES quality, and that, for a Game Boy game from 1991, is no small feat! Even better, this game features cinematics. Not exactly FMV, but they are still great looking. One example is at the end of level three, after you have killed the "Gradius boss" (Gradius nuts know what I am talking about, and for the rest of you, this boss has appeared in more Gradius games than Mario in Mario games). You start to enter the atmosphere of a planet, and the boss begins to fall apart slowly, burning up in the atmosphere, until it disintegrates completely! Another amazing scene is at the very beginning. A gigantic mothership is chasing you through an asteroid field at high speed, and then you dodge into a cave, but the mothership follows you, breaking apart, and causing tons of rocks to fall on you. Finally, it gets stuck, creating a massive wall of rocks to fall. This is the beginning of Stage 1!!! I don't need to say anything else.

Music and Sound 8 out of 10

Pechew pechew! Pop. Ping. Pechew! The sound is standard Gradius, but it works. The music, however, is great. When you are relaxed in the game, the music tries to make you nervous about what is coming up, and when that thing comes, the music goes frantic, making you jittery and nervous. What is a bigger compliment to shooter music than that?

Game Challenge 10 out of 10

Unlike R-Type, this game is BEATABLE!!!!! The challenge level of this game is perfect. On easy, the game is easy. On hard, well, if you beat level two without any continues, give yourself a medal: you deserve it. Not much more to say here, really; the game is hard enough to last, but fair enough to be fun.

Game Play-Fun 10 out of 10

This is where the game exells. Every time you start to get the slightest bit bored, something new will happen. The background will completely change, walls will crumble, the game will start to go at INSANE speeds, some big thing will explode, a miniboss will come, the level will start to collapse around you, and so on. Let me put it this way: if you want memorization, get R-Type. If you want fast, insane, thumb-blistering action, get this.

Frustration

None. At all. The game can be set up however you want, and there is even an option to practice the stages beforehand! If you get frustrated, lower the difficulty. If you get frustrated at easy, well, go back to canasta.

Replayability 8 out of 10

The small number of levels (4) makes this game seem like it wouldn't have much replayability. However, each stage is so packed that it has more stuff in it that most 16-bit shotters! Still, it does only have four levels of perfection...

Game Value 9 out of 10

$15. On Funcoland. Go. Now. You deserve it. It may be short, but you will play it over and over gleefully.

Overall 10 out of 10

As you can tell, I love this game. It hasn't left my Game Boy in weeks, and my copy of R-Type DX is getting lonely and sad. Oh well. That's what you get for trying to copy Gradius and failing. By the way, this is the sequel to Nemesis, which has five levels, but they are much less interesting. Still, it is a great game, and while it is not as good as this, it is only $10 on Funcoland. So pick them both up for $25. That is less than R-Type DX, and it is MUCH better. Get this NOW!

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