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Released: 1990

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: Konami

Developer: Konami

Submitted by: Ben Lister

“Gradius is fine, but this is nicer”

This opening statement, followed by the trademark Parodius octopus-with-underpants-on-head, sets the tone for a game with a sense of humour. Those familiar with Gradius will be right at home here, as the level structure and power-up system are carried over intact. This game even features a final boss who is completely inert, and puts up no fight whatsoever, just like Gradius! The player can choose from one of four characters, Vic Viper, Pentarou (who doesn’t want to play as a flying penguin?!!?), Octopus (pants fetish anyone?) or Twinbee which is actually Winbee, but who’s picking faults? Each come with a different weapon set.
So, once the games gets going, the player is bombarded with all sorts of silliness, including little penguins that fall flat on their faces as they chase you, and aubergine firing volcanoes. The Moai are even in on the action! In a level slightly reminiscent of the third stage in R-Type, the player is tasked with slowly destroying a large battleship while dodging a continuous barrage of weapons fire and thrusters that spew dangerous space plasma! Except this battleship is called ‘Captain Kebab’. Apparently. That makes me chuckle every time!
Typical of a Konami game, the graphics are just beautiful, really taking advantage of the SNES’ graphical prowess and dripping with character. The sound is great, with tunes from classical composers assailing the player’s ears as in other installments in the Parodius series.
If you like great shooting action with tonnes of personality and more than a little bonkers humour, you won’t go far wrong with this gem of a game!

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