Konami put out some fantastic games on Game Boy based on their hit Famicom and Arcade series…Kid Dracula, Castlevania Belmont’s Revenge and Operation C are among my favourites.
I thought I’d seen all there was to see there but I hadn’t realised that Konami also made a couple of Nemesis titles on the system, so I picked up Nemesis 2, known as Gradius: The Interstellar Assault outside of Japan and Europe.
I wish I’d known about this game sooner because it’s amazing! As you’d expect from the series it nails the tight and varied level design and great boss battles. That’s all good but its biggest feat is in how it manages to avoid feeling derivative compared to those other games.
This is most potent in how it weaves together cinematics in between stages. You begin the game escaping a huge enemy ship’s fire, swooping in and out of meteors faster than your eyes can keep up with the action…and then once you’re in the clear you’re straight in the first stage, set in an ancient ruins. Then after the first boss you’re captured by enemy ships and chucked inside the core of a huge battleship, with becomes the setting for stage 2, before turning the tables once again and destroying that ship from the outside.
And so on…the way the game links its stages together in such a seamless way is really impressive and it feels the most cinematic Gradius has been outside of Gradius V, which arrived almost 15 years later.
Just thought I’d flag this one up in case it hasn’t been on anyone else’s radar. Btw - is X on Game Boy worth playing? I have the DSiWare sequel but never finished it.