| paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Shooter_Horiz; loc=NA] |
|References added: 103, 104|
"Gradius Galaxies has elements from Gradius III & IV"
A very high-quality horizontal shooter on the GBA, but its graphical style seems to lend itself more toward play on a GameBoy Player rather than on an actual GBA: the ships and bullets are so tiny on the small screen that I, at least, have trouble spotting them.
The movement speed is surprisingly sensitive. Generally for a Gradius I need two speed boosts before I feel comfortable, but if I try this in Galaxies I bite it as soon as a narrow spot comes along--and Galaxies has a lot of those. They're pretty creative, for the most part, including such things as shatterable ice-block mazes and tunnels through giant revolving asteroids, but I sure can't take them with much speed, so for the rest of the game I'm going a little slower than I would like. Ah well.
Galaxies deals with the age-old Gradius unforgiving death curse by a generous waypoint system that generally allows you to restart within a few screen lengths of the spot where you died. It isn't ideal but it's sure better than having to start the level over again. You can only keep one power level from before your death, of course, so you're back to being slow and having just a pea-shooter of a weapon, but things could be worse (like the unforgiving old Gradius I & II in the Deluxe Pack--see entry 104).
Galaxies has a stage continue system rather like Gradius III, a welcome return, but relatively few weapon customization options, along the lines of the more conservative Gradius IV (see entry 103 for III & IV). It also sports some impressive graphical touches reminiscent of the firey sun levels of those earlier games. And of course it has the somewhat tedious powerup system of all the Gradius series.
So overall it feels very much like a Gradius game, which is good or bad depending on whether you like Gradius or not. I'm kind of middlin' on it, but it's nice to see such production values in a GBA title. Due to the miniature sprites, though, this is one GBA game that I think I'll be much more comfortable playing on the GB Player.