Reputed to be one of Treasure’s best games and one of the most ambitious shmups of all time, Gradius V is the stuff of legend. Expensive and difficult to track down on its native PS2, thanks to the PS3’s online store it is finally within easy reach for PS3 owners. And at a cheap price too! Having sunk my teeth into it at long last, I’m happy to say that in my opinion this game’s glowing reputation is justified.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Gradius V is the way it shakes up the conventions of the traditional 2D shooter genre. When I wrote about Shienryu on PS1 in my most recent shmup review, I concluded that it was competent in all areas but inspired in none. Gradius V is similarly competent, retaining the tried and true gameplay mechanics of the Gradius series, but this fifth entry is also incredibly inspired, adding puzzle elements into a genre that is generally much more taxing on your thumbs than your brain. Continue reading
“Stuff your Combo Burger. I need a Combo Review” – these exact words are being said right now as you read this at a fast food outlet near you (I almost want to call the fast food places “vending machines” they’re so heavily mechanised). The Combo Review will not quench your physical hunger though, only your whetted gaming appetite. Yes, I’m using a nerdy metaphor for what is in simple terms a double review. That is to say I will attempt right here and now to review two games at the same time. I might choose to do so for sequels, or mayhaps because both games are in the same or related genre.
In this case the comparison stems from each of these game’s reliance on story over gameplay, as opposed to the more conventional Other Way Round. First up, I’ll talk a bit about Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, a 2005 PS2 game by Quantic Dream, who went on to make Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Second on the menu, we’ve got Shadow of Memories/Shadow of Destiny, a 2001 PS2 release by Konami. The game was directed and written by Junko Kawano, who has been heavily involved in the acclaimed Suikoden series from its inception. Let the battle begin. Ding ding! Continue reading