SHMUP Master Presents: Gradius 2 - An Introduction to a classic we never got in the West. Followed by a 4 way simultaneous 1cc run featuring Brasel the Gamer, The Bug Doctor and Nefarious Wes.
Gradius 2 is of course, the sequel to the mighty Gradius, the SHMUP that arguably kick-started the entire genre. Sadly, upon it's initial launch in the arcades in 1988, it never left Japan. The game was however ported to the Famicom (and MSX) the same year, and the PC-Engine CD-ROM in 1992, but these ports never saw the light of day outside of Japan. Eventually, both versions were released to the West but not until nearly two decades later in 2006 and 2007 on the Gradius Collection (PSP) and Wii Virtual Console respectively.
Overall, Gradius 2 is a bonafide classic. Every version of the game has something unique to offer. From the arcades smooth graphics and sounds, to the PC-Engines extra stage. But the version that really stands out is the Famicom port (it also features a unique stage). Mainly because it is just so technically impressive for a game on an 8-bit system. The soundtrack in particular is one of the best you will ever hear on the NES/Famicom. The soundtrack on this port is also arguably the best of the bunch as well and features many completely unique tunes. Combine that with a multitude of boss fights, hordes of enemies on screen at once, space dragons, solar flares, not to mention a speed zone and epic boss rush, and you've got yourself a SHMUP like no other on Nintendo's 8-bit hardware.
I've wanted to cover the Famicom/NES version of Gradius 2 since I first found out about it several years ago. It's similarities to Life Force/Salamander were striking, but they are really quite different as well. I truly feel like this game, especially the NES/Famicom port is an under appreciated gem. Certainly worthy of the SHMUP Master treatment.
If you recall my first Gradius video, then you will remember that it was a side by side 1cc featuring 2 simultaneous runs. Well, since Gradius 2 was such a quantum leap forward in comparison to the original, I wanted to up the ante accordingly for my video as well. For Gradius 2, I recruited 3 friends to help me 1cc this game. I then combined all of our footage and synced it up so you can watch and compare all 4 runs in real time. We all also recorded commentary together while watching the footage. I also animated every boss in the game, created custom overlays for each stage, and added an intro and outro discussion section at the beginning and end of the run.
My solo run will be available in the near future. So keep an eye on the channel!
*All SHMUP Master footage was captured on an original NES Model 2 console (modded for RGB Output) through a Framemeister using RGB at 60fps.
*Brasel the Gamer and Bug Doctors footage was captured on original NES model 1 consoles using RCA cables.
*Nefarious Wes captured footage using a Retron 5 through HDMI.
*All 4 of us used original Gradius 2 Famicom cartridges. Myself, Bud Doctor and Brasel the Gamer used the Hyperkin Famicom adapter which allowed us to use the Gradius 2 cartridge on the North American NES console.