#44: Gradius

Released In: 1986
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

      The planet Gradius is being attacked by the evil Bacterions! Take control of the Warp Rattler spaceship and fly through the galaxy, grabbing power-ups and blasting the holy hell out of giant Bacterion amoeboids as your race towards their living superfortress, Xaerous. Destroy its brain and win!

Syd Lexia: Gradius rules. Not only is it one of the most influential space shooters of all-time and the first NES game released by Konami in North America, it's also the game that first gave us the Konami code. Suck on that.

DarkMaze: Gradius was one of the handful of cases where I owned the second in the series but never the first. I seem to recall buying a cheap copy of Life Force (aka Salamander) for my NES back when stores were slowly replacing the system and its games with SNES stuff. Playing the original Gradius, I still prefer the sequel, but the first is unquestionably an excellent game.

Honestly, I only have tiny gripes about Gradius. One is that no matter how many power-ups you get, you lose them all when you die. Now, losing all your power-ups at death is totally standard. But I'm notoriously bad at space shooters, so anything that gives me a little bit of an edge is more than welcome. And in Life Force you can actually retain the little "option" pod thingies when you die, provided you can catch them before they scroll away. No such luck in its precursor, though, and that meant that I'd die a whole lot more often.

Also, as with so many Konami games, the music is simply fantastic.

BACK                              NEXT

53: Dragon Warrior IV

52: Super C

51: Faxanadu

50: Adventure Island

49. Blades of Steel

48: Mega Man 5

47: Mega Man 4

46: Kirby's Adventure

45: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

44: Gradius

43: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

42: Little Nemo: The Dream Master

41: Pirates!

40: Dragon Warrior

39: Blaster Master

38: A Boy And His Blob: Trouble On Blobolonia

37: Willow

36: Paperboy

35: Kid Icarus

34: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

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