Any fan of NES shooters is undoubtedly familiar with Life Force. As the sequel to Gradius we all thought the game was excellent, building on what we loved about Gradius and more. However what nearly all of us were not aware of is that Life Force was actually a loose port of Salamander, an entirely different series from Konami. Salamander would see many ports and sadly the excellent PC Engine versi...[Read More]

Pop’n Twinbee

The Twinbee style of shooters never really appealed to me, although I must admit that my disdain comes from playing Stinger on the NES. After spending the better part of two hours going to and from the department store to buy a new game only to be greeted by…..that I’m pretty sure soured me on the series’ mechanics. Turns out all I needed was to play the right games. Detana Twinbee really changed ...[Read More]

Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius

I really love examining the later games released during any console generation. Once the technology has matured and tool chains have been mastered its nothing short of miraculous what is pulled from aging hardware. Look at Vectorman and the Adventures of Batman & Robin for Genesis. Or Seiken Densetsu 3 and Donkey Kong Country 2 for SNES. Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius can count itself among that cr...[Read More]

Gokujō Parodius

By 1994 the American arcade was dominated by countless fighting games, light gun shooters and some truly awesome 3d racing games.  This left the once popular shooter clearly on the outs, which sucked as that was about the point when some of the most unique games in the genre would hit the market.  Fans were left hoping for home ports as these games stayed in Japan, with Gokujo Parodius being one o...[Read More]

Parodius – Non Sense Fantasy

The Gradius style power-up system is one of the most versatile and creative in the history of the shooter genre, so good in fact that many games have cribbed it.  Konami themselves have used a variation of it in a variety of spin offs, most notably Salamander and Twin Bee.  2 obviously wasn’t enough so they created a third that parodies the serious tone of Gradius, Parodius (clever play on words t...[Read More]

Gradius II

I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t Life Force Gradius 2”?  And the answer is no.  While the two series share similarities Life Force is actually a part of the Salamander series.  The real Gradius II never saw a release in the US in the arcade or on consoles.  As to why I sure as hell don’t know; Gradius was released in that early period in the NES’s life where there really wasn’t much available a...[Read More]


In creating the Gradius series Konami made one of the most durable and beloved shooter franchises in console history.  With its unique power-up system countless other games have been “inspired” by Gradius with some degree of success.  The Gradius formula is so well defined in fact that a separate series created as a parody of Gradius named Parodius has spawned its own line of sequels.  One splinte...[Read More]

Life Force

After the success of Gradius a sequel was bound to appear.  You don’t create such an awesome power-up system just to use it one game, no sir.  While Gradius 2 did eventually appear for the majority of us in North America we mistakenly assumed Life Force was that sequel.  However despite the similarities it was from a different series. Life Force was released for America in 1987.  A port of the arc...[Read More]

Gradius III

The early days of the SNES saw many arcade ports, most of which were somewhat designed to show off the power of the new console.  Gradius III was one of those early games that managed to do just that while also falling flat on its face.  Despite that it still manages to be a good game with some major and minor differences from the arcade to make it worth a look for fans of the series. Gradius III ...[Read More]


In the grand sea of shooters the Gradius series stands near the top due to its many distinguishing characteristics.  Whether it’s the innovative power up system, the Vic Viper, or just the curious fascination with Moai statues, even if you’ve never played a game in the series you’ve heard of it.  Despite a number of spinoffs, the grand daddy of them all, Gradius, remains the originator. Gradius wa...[Read More]

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