Tag Archives: Shoot ’em ups

Darius

Reviews
Darius (Arcade) Title Screen
Arcade
1986 (Japan)
ダライアス
The Darius arcade cabinet Darius certainly wasn't the first horizontally scrolling shooter, or probably even the first that comes to mind for most people. It wasn't even the first shooter from developer/publisher Taito. But it was one of the most innovative, and that's mostly because of the arcade hardware involved. Much like Taito's own The Ninja Warriors one year later, Darius was housed in a sprawling setup: Three either 19 or 15 inch monitors (later the 15 inch version would be the only one still in production), a "body-sonic" seat with speakers beneath it to make the player really feel the music, and even a headphone jack (not a common feature on arcade games at this point). Even with modern arcade hardware, it's very rare for a cabinet to be so focused on presenting both a superior audio and visual experience. Continue Reading

Gradius

Reviews
Gradius (Arcade) - Title Screen
Arcade
05/29/1985 (Japan), 1985 (US), 09/1985 (PAL)
グラディウス
Nemesis
Gradius (originally titled "Choujikuu Fighter Gradius") wasn't the first shoot 'em up to grace arcades with its presence, in fact many big names came before it. Space Invaders, Xevious, Galaxian, Ozma Wars, and even western titles like Asteroids and Defender all came first. So why was Gradius significant? Not only did it introduce several "characters" that would reoccur throughout the Konami universe (The very ship that you control called the Vic Viper, Moai heads, etc), but because it fleshed out the details of exactly what the average horizontal shoot 'em up would become: A game about strict power-up management, and pattern observation/memorization, and reaction. This may sound negative, but shoot 'em up fans (myself included) have long since embraced what the genre is, and they really have Gradius to thank for making it that way. Continue Reading

Gradius

Reviews
Famicom/NES
04/25/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US), 11/30/1988 (PAL)
グラディウス
Nearly one year after the original, Gradius finally came home to the Famicom/NES. This home port does as respectable of a job as a Famicom game can of replicating the look and feel of the original. Sure you don't get the Big Core boss rising directly from the ashes of whatever thing came before it, or the full depth of music found in the arcade version, but at least this is a game that looks good and still has the original music scaled down for the Famicom. Continue Reading