E3: Gradius V

May 14, 2003 11:45 PM PST

It was just a few months ago that screenshots of Gradius V for PS2 hit the public. Along with those screens came the big news: Konami looked to Treasure for this sequel. The response from the gaming community (at least, those few who cared enough to respond to such a revelation) was mixed, to say the least. A surprising number of people decried the pictures as significantly doctored fakes. Many saw it as the best thing since sliced bread. I was a bit conservative; not only did I decide not to pass judgement, I completely forgot about the game until I saw it on the show floor today.

It has been far too long since I had my ass handed to me in a shooter. I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

The demo on the show floor offered a collection of four ships for you to have fun with. Standard Gradius stuff...speed up, missiles, shot upgrades, lasers, options, shields...we've seen this before. Three minutes into the game, however, when I found myself slipping between pixel-sized openings between asteroids and shooting expanding balls of magma...oh yeah, this isn't QUITE Gradius. It was HECTIC and EXACTING in a way that wasn't what I remembered from I through IV...

And it had two player simultaneous play.

And it had these options you could pick up again right after you die. Yep: immediate respawn.

And it had this first boss that was basically a circle of gun emplacements and laser cannons that you fight inside while it rotates. Can anyone guess the boss design influence?

And options that you could shift and move and aim via the R buttons. I hadn't had so much fun with options since Gradius III for SNES and Round options paired with E. Laser.

Check out the screens and bask in the pure shooting goodness.

Vincent Diamante



(0:14 - 2.24 MB)

The First Boss

(0:50 - 7.62 MB)


(0:22 - 3.35 MB)

More Asteroids

(0:36 - 5.57 MB)