Gradius +2DMFGH - Mayday present classic Konami bullet hell SHMUP on the C64

You may have played this sidescrolling shoot-em-up under the game's alternative title: "Nemesis". It was a fairly faithful conversion of Japanese coinop: "Gradius". Mayday have cracked and trained the version featuring its original title. This release features a new title screen, high score saver, new documentation and cheats disabling collisions and infinite lives. Essential if like me, you could never beat mission 1.  Fans of the game may also be interested to know the excellent NES version will be included in the forthcoming Nintendo Mini NES.

This conversion was notoriously more difficult than any of the other 8bit ports at the time (Check out this wonderful comparison video). But in general it was a decent port, and one of the best shooters of the time. Later side scrolling shooters improved the game's formula, but many would borrow features first introduced by this game. Such as the now famous upgrade system, where players would be forced with the choice of upgrading immediately, or try to collect more powerups for a better weapon. This comes at a cost however, as dying would frustratingly remove all of your hard fought upgrades. Enemy spawn rates, speed and their deadly accuracy ensures that this will happen a lot.

Gameplay wise, the game stands up well today, the scrolling is smooth and framerates remain consistent no matter how busy the screen gets with bullets and enemy sprites. Although there is some noticeable sprite flickering, but it doesn't distract too much. Collision detection is the best amongst the 8bit computer ports and the controls are responsive. The original coders deserve a lot of credit for fitting the game's entire 8 missions onto a single load. While not the best shooter on the C64, it's certainly not the worst either. And this is the definitive version to get if you fancy a blast from the past.

Posted by hayesmaker
twitter: @hayes_maker

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