Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou (NES) artwork

Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou (NES) review


"There are certain games for which one must wonder the usefulness of a review. Gradius II is one such game. Being an average-at-best Japan-only release from 1989, it is highly unlikely that any casual gamer will read this review and decide "Hey, I really want to play that game!" Conversely, if you're a big fan of the other Gradius games (or shooters in general), chances are very good that you've already played Gradius II. If you're not, then the odds are high that you won't be reading this. Gradi..."



There are certain games for which one must wonder the usefulness of a review. Gradius II is one such game. Being an average-at-best Japan-only release from 1989, it is highly unlikely that any casual gamer will read this review and decide "Hey, I really want to play that game!" Conversely, if you're a big fan of the other Gradius games (or shooters in general), chances are very good that you've already played Gradius II. If you're not, then the odds are high that you won't be reading this. Gradius II thus falls into an uncanny valley: if you know about it, you've played it, but if you don't know about it...you don't know about it.

Gradius II is in no way exceptional. This a straight-up horizontal scrolling shooter with absolutely no surprises throughout the entire half hour of gameplay it offers. To be fair, almost every aspect of the game is improved from the original Gradius; level design, while totally run-of-the-mill, is considerably more varied than in its predecessor. Sure, you'll still get plenty of stale, boring segments in the empty vacuum of space, but this time around you'll at least get to go through areas straight out of the Big Book of Shooter Cliches: fire level, technological level, "organic" level, etc. Each level now has its own unique boss battle, and so forgettable are they that I cannot specifically remember a single one off the top of my head. Aesthetics have also received an upgrade, but still retain the same Gradius flavor throughout; that is to say, you'll see boring, generic shooter visuals coupled with the same cheery music straight off the techno/rock treadmill as seen in every other Gradius game. And of course, no Gradius game would be complete without the inclusion of the Option bar, which consititutes the biggest gameplay change for this sequel: instead of merely having one variety of bar with which to trek through the game, Gradius II takes non-conformist philosophy to heart by giving you four. Instead of having just the standard laser beam, you can opt for the slightly different ripple laser this time around. O, Option bar, what wonders you bestow upon me.

Now would normally be the time in the review where I would detail just what this enigmatic "Option bar" system entails; however, I must once again bring up the nature of this sort of review and evaluate whether or not it would be worthwhile. Suffice it to say, if you liked the Option system in the other Gradius games, you'll like it here, because it works in exactly the same way. If you're scratching your head in bewilderment as to the nature of this gameplay mechanic, feel free to check out the million other reviews and walkthroughs that likely devote a paragraph or two describing just how it works, making sure to throw in a glowing comment on how it gives choice to the player (a feature not often seen in scrolling shooters), lends a pseudo-RPG atmosphere to the games, and just how gloriously innovative it all is (despite it being featured nearly identically in all 200 Gradius games.)

The main flaw of Gradius II is the same one that's wormed its way into every game in the series. You can spend the entire game giving copious amounts of upgrades to your ship, bringing it from a put-putting tugboat to a mach-speed cruiser, beefing up your initial peashooter weapon to a quadruple laser beam-toting powerhouse, outfitting your ship with shields and missiles...but as soon as a single projectile clips your wing, it's all gone. Just like that. Your ship is thrown back into the fray more crippled than a 110-year-old blind man with a walker; without any speed or weapons upgrades, it is impossible to keep up with the endless deluge of enemies, bullets, and bullet-spewing enemies careening towards your ship. The game gives you three lives, but it's unclear why: as soon as you die once, the title screen is 30 seconds away at best.

I don't think I'm allowed to simply say "if you liked the other games in the series, play this; if not, don't play it" and be done with a review, but it in this case I can't think of much better to say. Konami does the same thing, after all, releasing Gradius after Gradius with minimal differences between each game, always appealing to the same incredibly small segment of the market, and inevitably selling like crap each time. So therefore, if you're a hardcore shooter fan, you've probably already played Gradius II. And if you're not, you're not reading this review to begin with. And even if you somehow defy the laws of physics and don't fall into either of those two categories, the game is mediocre anyway and does not come recommended. There are many better shooters out there; if you're reading this, you probably know some yourself.

Rating: 5/10

phediuk's avatar
Community review by phediuk (July 01, 2006)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by phediuk
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3) artwork
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3)

Originally, “interactive movies” described games like Dragon’s Lair: literal movies where you pressed a button at the right time to keep watching the movie. In the late 90s, the concept of an “interactive movie” morphed into a hybrid consisting of segregated “movie” and “game” parts. You play for a minute, watch a real...
Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) artwork
Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)

Playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog is a lot like revisiting your old elementary school: you know your way around, and you’ve got some good memories, but the place just isn’t as big as you remember it. Sonic 1 feels like a footnote in platformer history—it’s so slight that it’s hard to comprehend why it was such a ...
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PlayStation 2) artwork
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PlayStation 2)

Metal Gear Solid 2 is the point of the series where it it’s not just a game anymore. It was here that Hideo Kojima was convinced he was making History’s Next Great Epic. This was to be the Homer’s Odyssey of the video game era. The half hour codec conversations were to leave the viewer in a state of trance, conv...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.