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Gradius V

version: jp - year: 2004 - developer: treaure - publisher: konami - format: playstation 2, dvdrom - condition: mint - rarity: uncommon


The 1st print of GV comes with the "History of the Vic-Viper" booklet


Level 1 is a sight to behold!


amazing bosses...


Level 4 is basically the 1st level of classic Gradius spin-off Salamander, reinvented


Level 5 difficulty is insane especially with the Instant Revival option turned ON


Level 6 features ingenious gameplay design and mode-7esque extravaganza!


Upon finishing the game, the loop mode will unlock. Playable only after finishing the game, that's what it looks like on the 31st time...


















Review - Gradius is a legendary shmups series whose roots go back to the mid '80s. Its classic gameplay survived all of the 1990s almost without alterations. The very challenging difficulty level coupled with the distinct design and the peculiar mechanics of the "options"system became the trademark of Konami's most popular shmups series. Konami handed over the development of Gradius V (GV) to prestigious codeshop Treasure, presumably to create a game that could not only retain the classic feel of the old days but also pack enhanced audio-visuals with top-notch design.



Graphically, Gradius V is nothing short of breathtaking. The game looks so sharp that it could be mistaken to be running on a Dreamcast equipped with a VGA box. On the 1st level, the Kaleidoscopical colors recreate masterfully the magnificence of the universe, leaving the player stunned in pure awe. Vibrant and beautiful, deep space seems to literally come to life and indeed, it has never looked so captivating! The first level is a showcase of what the programmers were able to achieve, and by itself it would be worth the purchase of the game...The subsequent levels are also very nicely designed, with a great attention to detail. Textures are always well chosen and convincing, while graphical effects such as explosions, transparencies etc are greatly implemented to give to the game an extra edge over any other shooter.



The music is well done, and usually consists of techno beats and the likes which suit the game just right. Sound-effects are also very well done, and sound realistic enough. The only downer here are the garbled voices though, since they are almost impossible to understand... Gameplay is exactly what you can (or should?) expect from a Gradius game, although some major concessions have been granted to newbies to the series. As Star Soldier already pointed out, the default setting allows the player to continue from where he last died (Instant Revival - OFF). And this means no more checkpoints. Furthermore, the player can collect the options he lost since they will be still flying around after the player has been hit. The "funny" thing is that before getting started on the game, I switched, in the configuration menu, the setting relating to Instant Revival setting it to ON. This basically reverted Gradius V gameplay to the older games of the series, meaning that once you get hit, you start over not from where you died but from the last checkpoint. And this without having the opportunity to grab the options lost...This explains why I had such a hard time going through the 8 levels of GV!!



With the Instant Revival option turned ON (I know, it sounds confusing, but that's how it is), GV will become a real nightmare. Some levels, and I am thinking in particular of level 5 and level 7 will just have you try over and over..and over. Luckily, once you reach a level, it is possible to replay just that one level thru a very handy practice mode. Actually, I will say that I used the practice mode to learn the last 4 levels and it worked great for me.



Another interesting thing relating to Gradius' gameplay is the type 2 weapons set up. Basically in this mode, it is possible to direct the shots of your options covering 360 degrees! This is especially powerful when you have 4 options gravitating around you. When this happens and you equip the laser beam, it is major clean up time as you literally wipe out anything that shows up, anywhere! The only drawback is that when controlling the direction of your shots, you can't move your ship which stands still...So either you control your ship, or you control your shots' direction. Lastly, GV has 5 difficulty levels (ranging from very easy to very hard) and on easy mode, when you accumulate 4 options, after some time the dreaded Options Grabber will show up, and grab as many of your options as he can. He can't be destroyed so you will have to dodge the bastard as fast as you can. Personally, I found this particular enemy to be both cheap and infuriating...

To conclude, GV is probably the best side-scrolling shooter on PS2 (along with R-Type Final) and is one of the coolest-looking titles of 2004 altogether!

Bottom line: the pinnacle of the series which single-handedly revamped it from the bottom-up and modernized it while keeping the spirit of earlier chapters intact. 10/10


Second opinion by Gradius veteran Star Soldier

What's cooking? Besides the huge gap in graphics and the impressive 3D backgrounds, Gradius V is still kept in the traditional Gradius style, but with a few minor twists, mostly focused on the weapon department, "options" can now be controlled and retrieved after death, it's a life saver, but one can argue if that's in the spirit of the classic Gradius universe. 2 player mode is also a new thing in the series (besides the offspring games like Gradius Gaiden), it works well, but something I would prefer ditched, I like the "one hit and back to checkpoint" style of play, the instant-revival gives the "novice" player too much room (it can be turned On/Off in 1 pl. mode though). The layout is basically the same as it has always been (complete with the speed-run stage), but it is "missing" the Moai stage (aka The Easter Island stage), which I think is a shame. Some sub-bosses are back and are a welcome sight, however the "Green liquid" and last stage seem out of place somehow, that could have been done better in the form of a erm... Moai stage? and even give space for a real showdown this time. Gradius fans should rejoice once again (which I can imagine they will do) and should stop talking about the minor flaws like I do, the 20th anniversary of Gradius is coming up next year, let's see what they can come up with, a remake of Gradius 1? One can only hope so. I'm a real Gradius fan and have followed the series since my first go on the C64, so I'm thrilled once again, Gradius V is hard to judge though because of the killer grafx (hard not to get blinded), but the minor flaws like the hard to recognize voice, music and missing classic stuff, forces me to give it a simple A-

Star Soldier @ motherbase.com










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