As far back as the gaming revolution began again in the mid-80's, Konami's Gradius series was there. It originally launched on the NES system during its hey-day of 8-bit glory, and hasn't looked back since. We've seen a number of chapters arrive in the series since that time, culminating on the release of the stellar Gradius V for the PlayStation 2 a year and a half back. Now, we're getting another taste of Gradius goodness, this time focusing on the series' history and giving us hours of shooting mayhem.
Gradius Collection is the first Gradius game for the PSP, and looks to be a lot stronger in terms of portable shooting goodness than the previous Game Boy Advance release Gradius Galaxies. In the game, you get to choose from five different Gradius games, as well as view trailers and listen to music in the Gallery mode. It truly is a utopia for classic gamers.
It contains the following five games...
Gradius- As stated, this is the game that debuted the series and originally appeared on the NES. It features pretty simplistic action and a power-up system that includes speeding up your craft, powering up with lasers, double shots, and missiles; and activating a force field and "options", accompanying icons that shoot the same ammunition as your ship.
Gradius II- Not seen in the US (although it was quite a hit in Japan), this Famicom release improved upon the original with better boss designs, more intricate level layout (scrolling!), and a couple of additional power-ups.
Gradius III- This title originally arrived when the SNES was launched in 1991, although some felt it suffered slightly with its slowdown. However, later versions would bring out its sheen with higher-quality visuals and the same great gameplay we got so used to.
Gradius IV- Another title that avoided US shelves for some god forsaken reason, IV introduced even more shooting madness with a better power-up system. This eventually did see the light of day in a collection for the PS2 in 2001, Gradius III & IV.
Gradius Gaiden- A game never released before in the US, not even in terms of a collection release, Gradius features a number of new challenges to tackle in the series, such as smarter enemies and more submersive level designs.
So, as you can see, this is pretty big news for Gradius fans. The Gallery mode should also be worth a look, as the game will contain a number of trailers that can be viewed, as well as a music player that allows you to blare favorite selections from your game soundtrack of choice, be it the 8-bit beats of Gradius or the new music in Gradius IV. To top off the presentation, the game will allow you to work between different screen displays, including the original arcade aspect ratio and the widescreen mode, built specifically for the PSP.
Gradius Collection is set to arrive this summer, and looks to be nothing short of incredibly intuitive shooting bliss. Look for us to come right back at ya with a full review.