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 Post subject: Parodius Portable [JAP/PSP]
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 9:54 am 

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Joined: 07 Jun 2005
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Location: Owermongie, England
Parodius Portable for Playstation Portable (JAP Import review) Contents
1) Game list
2) About Parodius
3) Product review
4) Chances of a western release

1) Game List
Parodius Portable has 5 games in total. When Konami originally announced Parodius Portable for the PSP they announced 4 games plus one special bonus game (just like the Lifeforce/Salamander Portable) which most people assumed would be the original Parodius title for the MSX and they were correct. The nice thing is that they remade the original MSX game and enhanced the graphics and sound for the title for the PSP.

1) Parodius (1988, 2007) MSX Remake *hidden bonus game*
2) Parodius Da! (1990 Coin-op version)
3) Gokujou Parodius: Kakou no Eikou wo Momomete (1994)
4) Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius - forever with me - (PSX ver. 1996)
5) Sexy Parodius (1996)

2) About Parodius (By Kurt Kalata)
This section is taken from Kurt's fantastic Hardcore Gaming 101 article about Parodius which you can find at ... rodius.htm since he can probably explain more about this wacky gaming series much better than I ever could.

Kurt Kalata wrote:
Video games, in general, take themselves way too seriously. As evolved as they've become since their inception, I'm still surprised that comedy video games are, for all intents and purposes, pretty rare. Maybe the designers are afraid people won't get the jokes. Maybe they think humor comes at the expense of gameplay. But Konami felt differently, and created one of the wackiest game series out there: Parodius.

The title - "parody" + "Gradius" = "Parodius" - is approximately as goofy as it sounds. The usual mechanical spaceships are replaced by bees, cows, a battleship with a cat for a head - and penguins. Lots and lots of penguins. Many situations are based on levels from Gradius (hence the parody part.)

The game plays exactly like Gradius - you pick up capsules that advance your power meter bar, where you can choose whatever upgrades you wish. Also stealing from Konami's other popular shooter, Twinbee, you can shoot clouds and pick up a variety of colored bells, which give you even crazier power-ups, like quadrupling your size or exploding a nuclear bomb. When you die, you're sent back to a checkpoint, so there's a lot of the same memorization.

The graphics are noteworthy for their overt brightness, but it's really the sound design that takes the spotlight. Using the Loony Tunes philosophy that classical music is funny, much of the songs are directly based off of real music, and given a wacky spin. You have to admire any game which includes boss battle themes based off of "The Bumblebee Song" and "The Can Can". It's all gloriously ridiculous.

3) Product review
Chances are if you are reading this review on this website then you probably know how each of the Parodius games play and that they are in fact just like Gradius but a lot more wacky. (if you have not played them dammit go to mame and make sure you do!) Saying that I also have to put my preferences aside while review this title as I am a huge fan of the Parodius games and I did voted the original Coin-Op version of Parodius as my favorite shmup off all time on the "best shmups of 2007" thread also found on this message board in the general shmup chat.

I think it's save to say that the Parodius are classic horizontal shmups in there own right and any one who says they like arcade games or shmups in general then they should check them out right away. The game's content is not really the main issue of this review, what is the issue is this collection of 5 retro titles worth the money that Konami are charging roughly $40 for.

Well allow me to put it to you the reader this way. If I were to tell you that there were a collection of well known Shmups that is well suited for you handheld of choice what would your initial reaction be? If it's "Oh I wouldn't mind find out more about this mysterious title" then congratulations, you and Parodius Portable for the PSP were meant to be. As with all of Konami's recent ports of there Horizontal Shmup series on the PSP. Konami actually took to the time to make sure that everything was right before pushing it out the door and you can sense that when you boot up the UMD for the first time. Now I know most of you won't be to fussed by the packaging but I feel I have to mention the fact that Konami did push the boat out a little which is always nice to see. The box art is nice and colourful and the game's manual is all in colour and is nice and bright and clearly layed out and simple to understand I would assume since it's all in Japanese.

Now on to the actual game itself and the initial game menu is easy to navigate even though they are in Japanese but the game's option menu's are mostly in english. The only game I had slight trouble with was Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius since it's initially an console game with slightly more options for the additional extra's that Konami made for the original release. Saying that with a little trial and error (or you could just look at GAMEFAQ's for a translation!) and in no time you'll be navigating the menu's like a pro! (OK steady on now!...) Minor nuisances aside once you do get in to the main game option menu you will find a whole wealth of options that allow you to tinker with the game's settings to your hearts contempt. Interestingly enough Konami have introduced new features in to the arcade classic's like being able to change the size of your ship's hit box from normal to small or change the "ramp of difficulty" from normal to slow so that the game does not become to hard to quickly and so on. You also get the choice of if you want the original graphics and soundtrack as well in most games which is nice specially for the remake of MSX so you can see the difference between the two versions.

The game's themselves are ported over quite nicely. I've not noticed any emulation errors in any of the titles which is always nice to see considering that the collection spans over three different gaming platforms (Arcade, PSX and MSX) plus you can tell Konami took there time on this one as I mentioned before thanks to all the neat little extra's they added like being able to listen to the game's music when ever you want and so on and making sure that the option menu's were simple and easy to understand so that the player could just jump straight in and play. Also further more the game's also have multiple screen modes as well so you can play the game in it's native resolution for stretch it to fill the screen which still looks great thanks to the shape of the PSP's screen. The controls are well suited to the PSP as well thanks to the fact that these are horizontal shoot-em-up's meaning that you don't have to hold your PSP at a funny angle to play the games properly. The game can be controlled by either d-pad or analogue stick (the stick is what I use normally) and because the game itself gives you the option to change the controls there is no possible way you could have any problems with the controls other than the analogue stick can give some people thumb cramp if used for to long but that's beside the point.

The game's like I mentioned before in this review are just like the Gradius games but in my opinion Konami have managed to out do themselves and improve on the formula. Now this is not just because they included lashing of humor and colour in to the Gradius mix but because even though this is a blatant repackaging of the original Gradius series most people see the game as an outstanding series in it's own right and some of the titles in the collection dare I say it even surpass the games (Sexy & Forever with me being most noticeable) from the series source material itself thank to the producers including new and original idea's in to the mix. For example in some of the levels in Sey Parodius you are requested to complete missions like collect so many coins for example. Not many arcade based Shmups even today, have included mission based gameplay but Konami did with Sexy Parodius thus making it unique and a wonderful experience to play compared to a lot of rank and file shmups being released at the time.

Now it's time to wrap this review up and incase you have not already of gotten the message I would strongly suggest picking this title up if you are a fan of Horizontal shooter's although it has to be said if you are just looking for one shmup collection on the PSP then you might be better of with a local version of the Gradius Collection on PSP as it's in English and is half the price of this collection. But if you are looking for a new horizontal shmup collection of which the games have not been re-released to death for the PSP to play then Parodius Portable is the way to go! [9/10]

4) Chances of a western release
Unfortunately Parodius Portable will probably never get released over here in the west due to a few reasons. The first of all would be that the game would have to be translated in to English. Now some of the Parodius titles that is not a problem because some of the arcade ports are in English since they were released here in the UK. But some like the original MSX title and Forever With Me would take a lot of translating thus it might be to much effort for Konami.

Then there is reason two and three which are both linked when you come to think of it. Konami never release a lot of the Parodius games in the US mainly because they felt that the Americans simply would not "get it". Strangely enough though it was released over here in Europe thanks to the like of the English and them having a similar sort of bizarre humor that the Japanese have. (see Monty Python for more details!) This is the reason why some Parodius titles came to Europe and not the US.

The last reason is a simple one, the Gradius Collection! It officially bombed (no pun intended!) in the states and to a lesser extent europe thus Konami are probably going to see that as a sign of "we don't want your hori shmups here you slags! "which is a shame because over in Japan they release a ton of great collections for the PSP are are of
equal quality as the Parodius and Gradius collections.

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