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What's your favourite entry in the series?
Gradius/Nemesis (Arcade/Famicom/PCE/X68000/PS1/SAT/PSP) 9%  9%  [ 12 ]
Gradius II/Vulcan Venture (Arcade/PCE/X68000/PS1/SAT/PSP) 16%  16%  [ 23 ]
Gradius II (Famicom) 3%  3%  [ 4 ]
Gradius III (Arcade/PS2/PSP) 4%  4%  [ 6 ]
Gradius III (SFC) 9%  9%  [ 13 ]
Gradius IV (Arcade/PS2/PSP) 5%  5%  [ 7 ]
Gradius V (PS2) 23%  23%  [ 33 ]
Nemesis & Nemesis II/Gradius: The Interstellar Assault/Return of the Hero (GB) 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Gradius Gaiden (PS1/PSP) 26%  26%  [ 37 ]
Gradius ReBirth (Wii) 4%  4%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 141
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:57 am 


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Shepardus wrote:
According to Seahawk the rank is a sum of values based on your difficulty setting, the current stage (and loop), and your current upgrades, so your rank on easy would be equivalent to the rank on normal at the same location but with two fewer options (or some other combination). Importantly, dying multiple times doesn't lower your rank any further than the first death (which lowers your rank because you lose your powerups), unlike Gradius IV and the Parodius games.

I think practicing on a lower difficulty level is still helpful because a lot of techniques remain similar on higher difficulties and much of Gradius III comes down to familiarity with the stages.

pegboy wrote:
The one thing I remember about playing on easy vs normal occurred at stage 7 (fire stage) when you die. On your recovery the zakos will not fire on you if playing on easy while on normal they do fire. Might be the same for earlier stages too, I don't remember though.

Thanks for the info (and encouragement). It is frustrating that I essentially have to re-learn all the routes to get through these stages, since the margin of error is much thinner, and the discrepancy between easy and normal is huge. I made it back to the Big Core boss on stage 3, which uh, I guess to my credit, I never did that before on Normal difficulty. The bullet density is nightmarish now whereas before it was just tense. It's fun to look back on my early-days posts in that Seahawk topic where my initial impressions harbored both hope and frustration.

I am confused on the point about rank: so from what I understand then, dying twice in a row won't have any effect on rank. However, dying, surviving, and gaining power-ups (thus raising rank), and dying later - WILL - lower rank?

Sigh... I guess I can push back my hopes of beating the game about 8 or 9 months... I guess at least the stages can't overly surprise me with traps or gotcha moments.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:09 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
I am confused on the point about rank: so from what I understand then, dying twice in a row won't have any effect on rank. However, dying, surviving, and gaining power-ups (thus raising rank), and dying later - WILL - lower rank?

That sounds correct, though you may be overthinking it. In simplest terms, the rank system is only based on your current state, not how you got there or how many times you died before or how long you were at low power. If you die a bunch but then survive and make it back to full power, you'll be at the same rank as if you had never died at all.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:34 am 


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Might as well post a follow-up now that I have been since playing on Normal difficulty. Made it to the cell stage, but a stupid death there by a magically-appearing tentacle resulted in a frankly unwinnable recovery.

I don't know what to say. In a sad contrast to my enthusiastic posts earlier when I unknowingly was playing on Easy difficulty (put there long ago due to years-old frustration), this game is pushing me to the limit of my patience and endurance. I don't know if I can put up with it too much longer. It has long stopped being fun grinding the first three stages, especially the overlong stage 3 with its copious slowdown, only to accidentally fuck up and make a good 10-15 minutes of game be practically worthless. You simply are not equipped to survive some of these checkpoints, and it is getting ridiculous. What was a fun and frantic challenge on a lower difficulty becomes a slog filled with achingly bullshit deaths, enemy spawns, and RNG meant to fuck over your recoveries. It is starting to make me hate the game again. It's like grinding in an RPG and if that RPG is not named Suikoden then grinding is not fun. Except here it's grinding muscle memory.

On the positive side, I can say that for the first time ever I cleared the Moai stage on normal in Gradius III. A new personal best after owning the game for 5+ years. I wasn't prepared for the boss's puffer Moai's shooting back, but I managed to kill them blind by killing the bottom row of heads and slowly herding the upper row's Moai's while the collateral damage of the spread bomb killed the heads themselves.

While I can survive the checkpoint in stage 3 when it starts at the mudwall, I have found no good strategy for taking out Big Core Mk3 without the help of four options and the slowdown it gives you to position yourself properly. Worst of all is when you destroy the two cores when its criss-cross laser is still firing, meaning you will almost certainly be caught between its fast second-phase volley and the criss-cross patterns.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:48 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
While I can survive the checkpoint in stage 3 when it starts at the mudwall, I have found no good strategy for taking out Big Core Mk3 without the help of four options and the slowdown it gives you to position yourself properly. Worst of all is when you destroy the two cores when its criss-cross laser is still firing, meaning you will almost certainly be caught between its fast second-phase volley and the criss-cross patterns.

There's a fixed sequence to the boss's attacks in the first phase (before you destroy the two cores). People generally recover from that checkpoint by memorizing that sequence and timing out the boss. In fact people even do that when they have full powerups. It's actually one of the more recoverable checkpoints in the game when you have that memorized (especially since it's followed up by the 3D stage which gives a ton of free powerups), but if you don't have it memorized then, as you found, it's pretty silly.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:46 pm 



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The only way to do the 3rd stage boss on recovery is by timeout, it has a fixed sequence of attacks that is the same every time you just need to memorize the positions to be in.

I've found that there are only a few checkpoints in the game that are legitimately recoverable, and oddly enough they are mostly near the end of the game. If you die anywhere before the last checkpoint of stage 3 then just reset the game, it's not even worth trying those.

If you die anywhere before the cube rush you probably will just want to reset as well. Stage 7 and 8 can be recovered on (7 moreso than 8) but it will probably drain you of a lot of lives. The plant boss is a bitch if you don't have double shields lined up, might as well restart there too. If you get to the cube stage then you have a legit shot at clearing the game, as every checkpoint from then on can be done if you have them practiced them a bit.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:20 pm 


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pegboy wrote:
If you get to the cube stage then you have a legit shot at clearing the game, as every checkpoint from then on can be done if you have them practiced them a bit.

Though if you die on the first part of the fortress and get sent back to the boss rush you'll probably want to rage quit. :lol:
I think the other checkpoints are worth trying for the bragging rights if you do manage to recover. :P Even if you don't make it, it won't take too long. Unless it's timing out the stage 5 bosses, screw that.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:27 am 


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I find stage 5 fairly recoverable as well (at least with Spread bombs). Managed to improvise that during a nearly-full run one time. I feel like I could figure out a consistent recovery before the Moai boss too if I really put some time into it (again with Spread bombs).
pegboy wrote:
If you get to the cube stage then you have a legit shot at clearing the game, as every checkpoint from then on can be done if you have them practiced them a bit.

I'm not seeing this at all though. I find dying anywhere on the final stage aside from just before the final boss pretty hopeless. Much of my strategy on that stage predicates pretty heavily on having large numbers of Options to destroy things behind walls.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:38 am 


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By the way, for anyone who hasn't seen it, here's a 1-ALL (well, the video cuts off before the escape sequence, but close enough) with no powerups except speedups, and here's a 2-ALL (to 3-6) with no options.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:13 am 


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Meh, autofire. :roll:
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:34 pm 


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I believe one member here (tviks) also done this before.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:48 pm 


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MathU wrote:
Meh, autofire. :roll:

It's all doable without autofire too, just very painful.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:07 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
In a sad contrast to my enthusiastic posts earlier when I unknowingly was playing on Easy difficulty (put there long ago due to years-old frustration), this game is pushing me to the limit of my patience and endurance. I don't know if I can put up with it too much longer. It has long stopped being fun grinding the first three stages, especially the overlong stage 3 with its copious slowdown, only to accidentally fuck up and make a good 10-15 minutes of game be practically worthless. You simply are not equipped to survive some of these checkpoints, and it is getting ridiculous. What was a fun and frantic challenge on a lower difficulty becomes a slog filled with achingly bullshit deaths, enemy spawns, and RNG meant to fuck over your recoveries.

Then just play on Easy. That's what I do. Gradius III is a lot of fun when turned down a notch, and it's foolish to play a video game for any reason other than to have fun.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 3:37 am 


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I collect the Gradius Yugioh cards (and other Konami arcade cards). I feel like I may have missed some though...
I have...

(Of the Gradius cards)

Gradius (how Konami botched the name of their own IP gets me)
Gradius's Option
Victory Viper XX03 (again)
Lord British
Falchion Beta
Jade Knight
Big Core
Big Core Mk 2
Covered Core
Crystal Core
Delta Tri
Ducker Mobile Cannon
Trigon
Gofer
Brain Golem
Moai Interceptor Cannon
Solar Flare Dragon
Option Hunter
Boss Rush
Cyclon Laser
Tetran

(of the misc Konami arcade cards)

Flint
Blue Thunder

(what I know of that I'm missing)

Big Core Mk 3
Safe Zone
Flint Lock
Flint Missile
Thunder Option Token
Those colored featureless guys on the paper airplanes whose name I forget

Anyone know what else there was if any?


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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 4:03 am 


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Mortificator wrote:
Then just play on Easy. That's what I do. Gradius III is a lot of fun when turned down a notch, and it's foolish to play a video game for any reason other than to have fun.

Oh I'm about at that point to be sure. I had a minor epiphany after dying yet again at stage 3 thanks to Big Core Mk 3's laser hitboxes and destroying the second core too soon. As fun as it is doing that over and over again for the 1/20 chance of getting to practice the Moai stage, I decided to put in Gradius V instead, and was actually enjoying myself and marveling at how well the game played and controlled. I thought to myself "why am I sitting here wasting my time with Gradius III when I haven't even cleared Gradius V yet?" The difference in quality is night and day.

I dunno. It's sad to see my enthusiasm shrivel up so much, but it might be better just fucking around with the SFC port instead of hitting my head against a wall.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 4:07 am 


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Gradius 3 SFC > Gradius 3 ARC
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 6:57 am 


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One of these days I wish a noble ROMhacker would figure out how to remove the slowdown in Gradius III SNES.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 4:39 pm 


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MathU wrote:
One of these days I wish a noble ROMhacker would figure out how to remove the slowdown in Gradius III SNES.


MESS does have overclock feature on SNES module.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 6:27 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Oh I'm about at that point to be sure. I had a minor epiphany after dying yet again at stage 3 thanks to Big Core Mk 3's laser hitboxes and destroying the second core too soon.

if the odds are so, why not just time him out every time regardless of your ship's power level?
that's what I used to do :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:07 am 


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copy-paster wrote:
MathU wrote:
One of these days I wish a noble ROMhacker would figure out how to remove the slowdown in Gradius III SNES.


MESS does have overclock feature on SNES module.

I've tried exactly that before but I can't remember what the result was. It doesn't fix it right up like for example overclocking Metal Slug 2. Some actual hacking on the ROM needs to be done.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 9:15 pm 


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After finally spending some serious time with Super Famicom port of Gradius III, I am about completely ready to transfer all of the goodwill and excitement of my previous posts in this thread (when I had played GIII arcade on easy) to the SFC port. My 6-years-ago self who dismissed the port as "slow-down city" has no idea what the hell he was talking about, and should be summarily ignored. There is slowdown, yes, but nothing so bad as the latter half of stage 3's maze. And more importantly, the slowdown doesn't suddenly fling you into a wall with the same tap-tap input you were doing on the dpad when the game was chugging along. For the amount of action onscreen, what is there and present is commendable. And the amount of sprites and things to dodge onscreen is also impressive for an early SFC game, especially when you stack it up to the lamentable likes of games like Super R-Type.

Of course, a number of the cooler arcade setpieces are missing, and are sorely missed - like the giant Moai heads, cubes (for at least the sheer visual spectacle), or the three-headed fire dragon. But I will gladly take higher playability and balance over a few neat sprites to look at when it comes to Gradius III.

Perhaps a vocal minority will say that the game was casualized or made far easier, thus making it easier to enjoy/praise. And while the game is mercifully easier it isn't part of some console dumb-down, but actually feels like balance, whereas the arcade game has no balance. Checkpoints - like at the volcano eruptions on stage 3 - are manageable and give you the satisfaction of solving a particular puzzle for each one. "How do I get out of this spot with no power-ups?" That is the singular joy of a Gradius game, and Gradius III's arcade mode denies you that joy, siphoning most of that appeal out for frustrating, rote technical expertise.

I also like how this game, in a further bid to give you options, actually makes different playstyles/load-outs viable. You mean I can actually pick something besides Type B with Force Field? Whoa, don't spoil me now! Different weapons now feel like they have meaningful uses instead of distractions or the illusion of effectiveness. I even made great progress with the Thunder Cross option style -itself a charming callback not unlike Gradius V's different weapon edits/modes.

Right now I am still trying to figure out how to survive the two-headed fire-dragon's suicide attack, but I feel far better about that than I ever would wasting my time playing arcade Gradius III on defaults. Thank goodness this port exists, as it saves all the work that the sprite artist, composer, and level designers did from being wasted on some arcade flop.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 10:30 pm 


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I am pleased to see more positive commentary on III SFC. I should probably try overclocking in MAME and see what happens.

I am not pleased to see III AC framed as a "flop" though. You may personally dislike it as much as you like, but history does not agree with you, nor does it care about whether something was a flop "to you". It didn't earn quite as much as II did at first, but it still did fairly well, placed fairly high in best/favorite game votes, and was extensively played for years and years. Players demanded a ridiculous game, and that's exactly what they got; III has a lot of respect precisely for the ridiculous challenge it presents. When all other games fall before you, Gradius III is waiting.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:42 pm 


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woosh
where did all the other posts go? :o
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:48 pm 


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Kollision wrote:
woosh
where did all the other posts go? :o

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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:42 am 


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I'm surprised there's not much discussion for the MSX Gradius/Nemesis games in this thread. They're not even poll options. I've found them to be quite peculiar entries. The first Nemesis is a pretty respectable port of the original arcade game (on-par with the NES version) with an exclusive stage, but Nemesis 2 and 3 are completely original (although part 3 does draw a bit from the arcade version of Gradius II, hence the Japanese title of GOFERの野望 EPISODE II). The MSX version of Salamander is also its own game too.


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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:59 am 


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rjosal wrote:
Darius thread has a better title. Gradius is awesome. I don't suppose there are Gradius events, towels, and posters still being made in Japan. Gradiusburst coming?

Meh. Just BEMANI.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:39 pm 


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There's actually a character named Izumi Izumi in the new Tokimeki Idol smartphone game whose gimmick is that she's a Gradius fangirl whose dream is to fund a new game in the series. Her entire character is based on nothing but Gradius references. I get the feeling this is Konami's way of trolling Gradius fans.


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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:45 pm 


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Jonny2x4 wrote:
I'm surprised there's not much discussion for the MSX Gradius/Nemesis games in this thread. They're not even poll options. I've found them to be quite peculiar entries. The first Nemesis is a pretty respectable port of the original arcade game (on-par with the NES version) with an exclusive stage, but Nemesis 2 and 3 are completely original (although part 3 does draw a bit from the arcade version of Gradius II, hence the Japanese title of GOFERの野望 EPISODE II). The MSX version of Salamander is also its own game too.


Although they're good ports, I don't much like Gradius 1 for MSX and NES, but I love so much Gradius 2 for MSX ... the game is amazing and completely unique in the series! Wii's Gradius ReBirth (which by the way is a good game) was heavily influenced by this title. For me, Gradius 2 is the best shmup for MSX along with Space Manbow (another amazing title).

I really enjoy playing the Konami classics for MSX through the 'MSX Antiques Collection' Vols. 1, 2 and 3 that I imported from Japan some time ago on my Japanese Playstation 2. These games with Component Video Cable on a CRT TV look gorgeous and due to the perfect emulation they are nicer to play than on MSX itself!


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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:18 pm 


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Well Gradius ReBirth is supposedly a pseudo-remake of the Game Boy Nemesis from my understanding. The first of the two Game Boy Nemesis games was actually directed by Naoki Matsui, who was also the director of the MSX Gradius games. He also supervised the development of the PC88/MSX2 version of Snatcher, which is how I got to learn about him. That's why Gradius ReBirth is a prequel to the MSX Gradius 2.


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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:39 pm 


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Location: Nebraska, USA
In my exploration of the original Gradius this month, I spent time with several iterations of the game. I played the US NES version quite a bit, and probably put the most time into the Gradius Collection PSP version, which appears based on the Japanese arcade board, with some notable differences. I also played on the Gradius Deluxe Pack on Saturn, where I noticed a key difference in the first stage, to later ports and conversions: When you reach the twin volcanoes in the NES or PSP iterations, you can position your ship just above where the rocks shoot out, and if you have options, and especially lasers, you can destroy the overwhelming majority of the forthcoming rocks. If you've no-missed up to that point, you can rack up a score of over 70K before the boss comes out. In the arcade versions, however, there's not enough room on the left side of the screen to sit the Vic Viper that close, because it will likely be destroyed by rocks, so your best play is to move the Viper to the top-left corner of the screen, and hope any bombs and/or Options you have can pick up a few rocks, but I wasn't able to get to much more than 30 or 35K at that point, though enough for an extend in the first stage.

I also bought the Arcade Archives version of Gradius on PS4, and found out very quickly that the later model PS4 pads have a terrible D-pad for precision movement, and that the game feels a bit too fast in that port. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems as if that version is faster than the Deluxe Pack, and definitely faster than on PSP. Maybe it's my perception, because I'm playing on a bigger screen, though even when I shrunk the display down to approximate the size of my CRT (around 32"), it still felt way too fast. I typically go with 2 speed-ups, but on this port, 2 felt too fast. But then 1 felt too slow, so I was constantly fighting that battle. Stage 2, with all the stuff you have to navigate through, is quite difficult with a ship that moves to quickly and a D-pad that is imprecise. I kept careening into platforms, trying to dodge enemy fire. What fascinated me more, however, is the discovery that the US Nemesis arcade game has some very significant changes to the Japanese Gradius. When you die in the US version, you're given an opportunity to power back up to some extent, as the game throws several ships at you right away that will offer power-up capsules, but to counter-balance that, the game throws a lot more mayhem at you, with enemies being more aggressive, and shooting more bullets at you. It also seems as though the RNG element is more prevalent, as I didn't see a lot of consistency from one run to the next, in terms of enemy behavior. Nemesis (US) is brutal. I can see why the later NES port was based on the original Japanese Gradius, and I think it's better for it. I also found it odd that the European release of the game kept the Nemesis moniker, but moved back toward the Japanese level and enemy placement/behavior structure. I didn't spend too much time with the European version, but it seemed to play very similarly to the Japanese game. It makes me wonder if subsequent entries in the series got retooled for the US market, or if they came over relatively untouched for arcades.
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 Post subject: Re: General Gradius thread
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:13 pm 


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From my understanding, Vulcan Venture (the export version of Gradius II) never made it pass location test in the U.S. and was only released in Europe. However, the X68000 port of the game refers to the Vulcan Venture mode as "U.S. version mode" for some reason. Gradius III also got an Asia release and even kept the same title (none of that Nemesis/Vulcan Venture shit).

I get the impression that STGs in general were never popular among U.S. console players, hence why Konami didn't localize most of their stuff here (hence why there was never a Gradius II on the NES or an NTSC-U/C version of Gradius Gaiden), whereas Europe at least got some of the TwinBee and Parodius games released..


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