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Gradius III

Genre

Scrolling shooter

Console

SNES

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SNES

Gradius III

Gradius III [a] is a 1989 scrolling shooter video game developed and published by Konami, originally released for the arcades in Japan and other parts of Asia on December 11, 1989. It is the third game in the Gradius series. The game was ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan in 1990 and North America in 1991, and served as a launch title for the system in North America. The arcade version would never see the light of day in the West until it was included alongside Gradius IV in a two-in-one compilation (Gradius III & IV) for the PlayStation 2 and in the Gradius Collection for the PlayStation Portable.

Gameplay

The player pilots the Vic Viper starfighter to battle the onslaughts of the Bacterion Empire. There are a total of ten levels in the game, with stage 4 being something of a bonus level; here, the player controls the Vic Viper in a third-person perspective and must avoid colliding with walls. Though the level is completely devoid of any enemies, free floating power-ups are scattered throughout. There are also two hidden levels that are based on the early sections of Gradius and Salamander. The game contains the familiar weapons, level layouts, and enemies that have become trademarks of the series.

Like the Japanese versions of previous games in the series, Gradius III does not include a continuation feature; if the player loses their lives, the game will be over. The Japanese version of the game contains a ‘beginner mode’ that allows the player to venture through the first three levels at a much easier difficulty. At the end of the third level, the game will bid the player to try the game again at the normal difficulty (‘technical mode’), which can loop endlessly. The Asian (non-Japanese) arcade release lacks the beginner mode and retrospective introduction sequence, but reduces the difficulty overall.

In addition to new pre-defined weapon schemes, Gradius III introduces the “Edit Mode”; players can mix and match missile, double, laser, shield and “special” (“!”) power-ups into their own custom combination. Some of the weapons available in pre-defined schemes can not be used in custom schemes, and vice versa.

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