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First Impressions: Gradius Rebirth

Posted by Robert Bazin

Gradius Rebirth is out now in Japan and the guys at Konami have done a good job bringing the classic series back for another outing, this time on WiiWare.

ReBirth isn’t an all new game, more of a remix of past Gradius titles, all presented in a lovely retro style. The first thing that hits you is the charming 16-bit graphics and sound, which are very much like what you would expect from a SNES game, with some sprite scaling and rotation and even some slowdown to help you get through some of the more challenging areas.

The Gradius games are notorious for their difficulty, but thankfully Rebirth isn’t as brutal as the older games and we think it ranks as one of the easiest in the series. That being said, it’s still not a walk in the park. Newcomers will find Rebirth tough, but with a bit of practice, anyone can finish it. Difficulty levels can be set from very easy to very hard, so everyone is likely to find a level that suits them.

Rebirth has two modes of play. The first is the standard game which gives you unlimited credits to finish or practice the stages you have unlocked. The second mode is ‘Score Attack’. Here you are given a single credit to get a far as you can in the game, and when you’re done, you can save your scores to local and Wi-Fi leader boards. The Japanese version we're playing only lists the top 30 scores in each difficulty, so you need to be pretty good to get your name on there.

To help you get though the game, the Vic Viper initially has 3 weapon layouts to choose from, with more that can be unlocked. The weapons are what you would normally expect in a Gradius game. Lasers, Ripple lasers, double shot and multiples among others, with very little new on offer. It’s a good idea to experiment with different weapons if you’re getting stuck on a particular section.

You can use the Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Classic Controller or a Gamecube controller to pilot the Vic Viper, but not with a friend because Rebirth is unfortunately 1-player only.

Gradius veterans may find it a bit on the easy side, and the lack of a widescreen option is disappointing, but the classic Gradius gameplay still shines through. Overall Rebirth is a fine game and it’s shaping up to be another solid entry to the WiiWare line-up.

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User Comments (36)

DazzaAdmin

#1

Dazza said:

Thanks for those thoughts Robbo! We hope you will consider becoming our regular Japanese correspondent! :-p

Iggy

#2

Iggy said:

Ill Defentally be picking this up ive been wanting to pick up a gradius game on the vc ill just get this instead:p

RadioShadow

#5

RadioShadow said:

I was debating about downloading this but it looks promising from the review and in it's 16 Bit Glory, how can you go wrong?

DazzaAdmin

#6

Dazza said:

@TokiToku - No I am the same Dazza from VC Reviews! :-p

@x.SuperMario.x - Well not quite yet, but we'll try and preview Japanese games when they are big ones like this. None of the regular staffers have invested in a Japanese Wii yet!

Ziondood

#7

Ziondood said:

Robert Bazin I Love your Gunstar Heroes Icon =DDDD
One of my favorite games ever =DDD

that would have been cool if it was co-op =DDD
any ideas for a us release yett?

DamoAdmin

#8

Damo said:

Excellent impressions, Robbo. I'm really looking forward to this!

Ricardo91

#9

Ricardo91 said:

@finalkingdom. It does have co-op. Or at least, the original does anyway. Do you perhaps have it confused with it's sequel, Gunstar super heroes?

and yes, cool icon. I thought about getting a Gunstar avatar myself. Downloaded it off virtual console and it is friggin' sweet!

Anyway, this game sounds great so far! Will this Robert guy ever do any reviews?

Ziondood

#10

Ziondood said:

@Mr. Cheez i was talking about Gradius ReBirth having co-op =D

and yea i downloaded it off the vc too and me and my friends play it all the time =DDD i wish they would make a sequal for wiiware or ds =DDD
id perfer wiiware though so itd be easier to play co-op =D

danik

#13

danik said:

not really interested in this but i think it will do well all the same.

Rawk_Hawk

#15

Rawk_Hawk said:

Any chance we could get some impressions of Alien Crush R when it hits Japan?(if its not already)

CanisWolfred

#16

CanisWolfred said:

I can't wait for this one, I love the Gradius games, and since it's easier, I might actually be able to get past the first stage.

Robbo

#17

Robbo said:

@Objection_Blaster - ReBirth has 5 stages in all. It's a bit shorter than previous games. When you clear the game you get access to loop 2 which is the same game but harder. Enemies fire many more bullets at you! It costs 1000 points in Japan.

@Tony - Alien Crush R is out now in Japan. If I download it I will put some of my impressions up.

Virus

#20

Virus said:

Once again I will be happy for those that enjoy this game, but I shall secretly hope for this game's failure...

Kafei2006

#21

Kafei2006 said:

I downloaded it yesterday as well. And it's good but too short. Doesn't take much room in the Wii's memory either, only 172 blocks. Compared to other games like Toki Tori which weighs nearly 300 blocks, i think this game was a bit rushed to be released before megaman 9 does, and definetly could have had more levels. Or maybe they're planning for other pay per play downloadable content which i think would be a shame for this kind of game.

Kafei2006

#22

Kafei2006 said:

I would also add that the game doesn't quite looks and sounds like the SNES entry, but rather like the arcade entries of the time like the arcade version of gradius 3 (on the graphic side of things as well as the sound department. The voices are nearly exactly the same as in AC Gradius 3, And the detail level is not quite that of SNES Gradius 3, it looks better than that. And it's for the best IMO.

Link79

#23

Link79 said:

Oh come on. Only five levels? First Star soldier R with one freakin level and now Gradius rebirth with 5? Surely Wii ware can handle more than these tiny little half assed games we keep getting. If Gradius 3 on SNES had 7 or more levels why didn't they make this longer? I can't think of hardly any shooters on VC that are that short. Aren't Wii ware games supposed to be more advanced? I'll probably get it anyway but I'm kinda bummed about this.

calculon

#24

calculon said:

I'm in two mind about this game (well, actually I'm not because I won't buy it)

Yes, it's short but it could be a good introduction to shooters for those who never really had a chance to play the genre - especially because it looks quite easy judging by the video footage.

Sadly, it'll sell rather than games like Air Zonk and Star Parodier which are longer, look better and all-in-all are nicer (and cheaper) introductions to the genre.

Ian_Daemon

#25

Ian_Daemon said:

Off Topic: Star Parodier is freakin' sweet.

On Topic: I'm a fan of shooters, but mainly vertical shooters. I'm not sure why. Does Gradius ReBirth have the ability to switch the screen orientation? I'm guessing it doesn't because (1) then it wouldn't be like the 16-bit version and (2) it would have been mentioned above.

Wiiloveit

#27

Wiiloveit said:

@lockelocke: it's still not a lot, though.

This does look better than SSR, but until more levels turn up and multiplayer is included, I'll pass.

One more thing: can you start from a level you previously played, or do you always have to start at level one (which is what I dislike most about MaBoShi) ?

WiiBoy

#28

WiiBoy said:

They should release a shooter with 20 levels
... and Wii Remote Pointer control
... and cool 3D graphics
... and Cooperative Multiplayer for up to 4 players
THAT would be cool!
But so, I think I will pass this title :( Maybe next time...

Wiiloveit

#29

Wiiloveit said:

I'm guessing that was a Plattchen reference. They just keep coming, don't they WiiBoy?

DazzaAdmin

#30

Dazza said:

I am starting to like WiiBoy, he is less subtle than Luc Bernard which I didn't think was possible :-p

Rawk_Hawk

#32

Rawk_Hawk said:

@ Radio Shadow
Look at this way. Star Soldier R had 2 levels at 800 points. Thats 400 Wii points a level. Gradius R has 5 levels at 1000 points. So you get each level at 200 points.

IF they charge 500 points for the game I think Konami would just lets us hit the start button on the intro screen and thats it.

lockelocke

#33

lockelocke said:

@Tony
LOL, true, true.
I think judging the value of a game by the number of levels it has fails to really get across how much playtime the game can dish out. I mean, SSR is by far my most played WiiWare title, more than DYC, easy, and I'm nearing lvl 100. With Gradius ReBirth featuring a score attack mode AND unlockable weapon sets, I think the price is more than reasonable, compared to a lot of the 1000 point titles available.

Cheezy

#35

Cheezy said:

Nice. I just wish it had a little more levels and a 2 player mode. But I'm still buying this, no doubt!

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