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When reviewing classic retro titles, you have to judge if this game is still worth playing today. Thankfully, Gradius is a game that has aged much better than most shooters of the era, regardless of the fact that its many sequels have improved the core concept in practically every way you could possibly imagine.
The original Gradius is a great, classic shooter that set the bar high for later games in the genre. This Virtual Console release is an emulation of the NES version, the most popular and notable rendition of the game, and the version responsible for introducing the Konami Code to the world of gaming. This version hasn't been previously re-released anywhere else, so the Wii is a good place to grab it – if you'd like to experience the arcade original instead, though, it can be found in the recent PSP release, Gradius Collection.
It's all perfectly acceptable stuff, and rather ground-breaking in its own way, but you can't ignore the fact that the vastly superior R-Type III is also available for 300 points more. It's also annoying that this isn't even the best version of Gradius - the TurboGrafx-16 also hosted a conversion with better visuals and slicker play. Why we only get this, the most basic version of an otherwise decent game, is one of those mysteries that only the great god Nin-Ten-Doh can answer. Pray to him now, lowly dog, and hope for enlightenment.
Gradius genoss damals vor allem wegen seines ausgefallenen (und mittlerweile ebenfalls oft kopierten) Waffensystems eine hohe Wertschätzung. Heutzutage verwandelt sich diese Zuneigung schonmal schnell in flammenden Hass. Wenn man mal wieder durch eine Unachtsamkeit alle Upgrades verliert, geht's nur noch schleppend voran. Trotzdem ein toller Shooter für geschickte Puristen.