Gradius III is the third game in Konami's long-running space shooter series, which also includes Life Force and Nemesis. As with most Gradius titles, you control the highly advanced Vic Viper space fighter against hordes of foes. Weapons can be selected from pre-arranged loadouts or you can create your own custom loadout. The game can be played by a single player, or by two players in alternating turns. The game offers three levels of difficulty.
Despite being a port of the arcade version, the SNES version is not entirely accurate to the original.
Aside from the tweaked difficulty and additional armaments, two entire levels were cut from the arcade: a 3D stage which involved avoiding cave walls from a first-person perspective behind the Vic Viper, and a crystal stage in which you were challenged by crystal blocks blocking off areas like a maze.
The SNES port also has extreme slowdowns on the real console. The same is true for the Wii version which is a ROM of the original SNES game running in an emulator.