Gradius Collection

Gradius Collection R1 Cover

Vic Viper sets out on yet another journey to save the galaxy. For better or for worse, this time the journey is more of a repeat performance. In this PSP compilation, you can take on any of the legendary ship’s first 5 games: Gradius, Gradius II, Gradius III, Gradius IV, and Gradius Gaiden.

All of these games are classics in their own right. In their days, these games all drove shooter fans nuts with their insane difficulty. Gradius III was particularly ruthless. About the only saving grace the player had was the slowdown caused by the massive amount of action happening on-screen at once. The PSP version has the option to emulate the originals perfectly or enhanced slightly. This mainly just takes away some of the slowdown.

Each game is emulated perfectly, but the PSP screen’s lower refresh rate can sometimes cause blurring problems with the multitude of bullets and enemies on screen. One can frequently misjudge one’s movement due to this seemingly minor issue.

The music within each of these games has been kept in tact, but some of it sounds a little repetitive. Sound effects are also just as they originally were – standard fare for a game of this type.

The gameplay is where these games really shine. Their difficulty is transferred in a rather strange way. Many people find the d-pad too unresponsive due to the stock unit’s lack of diagonals, and the analog is just annoying and uncomfortable. The only real remedy here is to mod the PSP like you might do for a fighting game. Once you do that, it’s a much better experience. In all fairness, I can’t count this against the game as it’s a hardware issue, but I think it’s worth mentioning.

Other web publications have given this game a fairly low score, but due to its great replay factor, I just can’t see why they would give it such average scores. I’ve been playing the game for a little over a month now and I get so hooked on the game. I will play until I get so frustrated that I want to rip my PSP in half. About an hour later, I’ll find myself trying to beat my record from earlier. This is classic gaming at its finest.

It would have been nice if they included Gradius V, but perhaps that game is too new of a property. Even without it, any SHMUP fan should give this game a try. For a measly $29.99 list price, you can’t go wrong.

-Originally Posted by Bloodspoor