News Article

USA WiiWare Update: Gradius Rebirth

Posted by Damien McFerran

It’s been a long time coming but Konami has finally gotten around to releasing Gradius ReBirth on the North American WiiWare service; somewhat ironic when you consider we only just reported on the availability of the soundtrack in Japan!

A poignant love-letter to fans of the long-running series, ReBirth is less a revolution and more an evolution; those of you expecting a game with the same grandeur of Gradius V will be disappointed, but if you’re a long-time fan of the franchise and love spotting subtle references to past glories then this is an essential download. You can check out our impressions of the Japanese version here.

Continuing the retro theme, over at Virtual Console Reviews you can find news of today’s release – the Master System title Alex Kidd and the Lost Stars.

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User Comments (69)

KnucklesSonic8

#1

KnucklesSonic8 said:

YES! Alex Kidd FTW! I predicted correctly!
There's a good chance I'll be getting both games... after work that is. :P

I'm not a huge fan of the Gradius series but I plan to get Gradius II soon (was to be my first game) but there's a good chance I'll get this unless a review highlights things that turn me off. Looks like this may be my first Gradius game instead! :)

Sean_Aaron

#2

Sean_Aaron said:

I have definitely enjoyed this on the Japanese Wii (second WiiWare game I purchased on the system after deciding that it would be preferred just because of space issues on my PAL Wii) and it plays great using the wiimote on its side.

I'm a bit surprised about the widescreen comment in the first impressions post; I haven't noticed any distortion to the the image and I've only played it widescreen...

calculon

#4

calculon said:

Sorry you guys got such as sucky week on the VC. As for Gradius Rebirth: I'd rather buy it than R-Type Dimensions on XBLA where the '3D' mode just looks awkward and wrong in so many ways.

Jockolantern

#5

Jockolantern said:

Excellent WiiWare release, at least. Been looking forward to playing Rebirth for some time; can't wait to download it!

7th_lutz

#6

7th_lutz said:

I've been looking forward to Gradius Rebirth for a while. I doubt that I will be downloading it this week though.

I have been playing Shining Wisdom and I want to beat first it before downloading Gradius Rebirth.

Popyman

#9

Popyman said:

Cool, I know a lot of people here have wanted this for a LONG time. Glad it's here.

I've never played this series though...

thewiirocks

#10

thewiirocks said:

Whoo hoo! The next Alex Kidd installment is out! ... Wait... I don't care about monkey boy. Why are we all excited again?

**Checks summary**

Omigosh! **faints** :P

Ricardo91

#11

Ricardo91 said:

FINALLY! I thought we'd never see this game on our shores! Kinda funny it came out this week, after having said last week that it'll probably never come out here. :P

Djungelurban

#12

Djungelurban said:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! Me want! Give it to me! Please Konami, bring to us in Europe ASAP. Pretty please?

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#13

Philip_J_Reed said:

Hey, my comment was deleted!

Oh well, I can summarize it here:
"blah blah blah I want Bit Trip blah blah when can I have Bit Trip? blah blah hurry up Bit Trip."

CorbsAdmin

#16

Corbs said:

Hey, my comment was deleted!

You're lucky that's all that was deleted. We're trying to keep a family atmosphere here toilet breath! :P

axelay80

#18

axelay80 said:

Finally! I thought they'd never release this in the U.S. I've only gotten past the first two stages but I like it; the graphics are definitely retro, but there are some cool effects that could definitely not be done on the NES.

Plus you can actually level other abilities besides speed, like missiles and lasers, and save your score attack replays. Well done, Konami.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#19

Philip_J_Reed said:

@Corbie:
"You're lucky that's all that was deleted."

Yeah...I apologize. I sometimes forget that I have a different concept of "offensive language" than most people. I'll try not to let it happen again.

EJD

#20

EJD said:

If we don't get Gradius Rebirth this week, Nintendo will have to astound us somehow.

anthonyb

#21

anthonyb said:

Watch- Europe will get Bubble Bobble Plus or something. Which would piss me off, hehe. I'll probably pass on Gradius for the moment- seeing as I just downloaded Life Force recently.

MayhemStaff

#23

Mayhem said:

Oh wow... today?! Now that's a pleasant surprise... guess I'll be firing up the Wii and perhaps downloading later then :)

CorbsAdmin

#25

Corbs said:

I am reviewing Gradius Rebirth. It is a shooter, after all. :D

thewiirocks

#26

thewiirocks said:

@ Corbie - Lots of games are shooters, yet you don't review those. This one happens to be a shmup. Something for which I understand you have a lot of experience. ;)

Let's hope it has online scoreboards in the US version. Then we can revive the competition we started over Star Soldier R. :P

JNoodles

#28

JNoodles said:

Well yeah, hey there everyone, I'm back! (I doubt anyone will remember me, but I was around since the birth of VC-Reviews...)

Huh, well I totally need to go to the store and get some Wii Points now. SEVERAL games are beckoning for me to download them!

Ricardo91

#30

Ricardo91 said:

@Corbie. Wha's your view on the game so far? I've heard you say before that Gradius isn't exactly your favorite shoot-em-up series. :P

CorbsAdmin

#31

Corbs said:

The Gradius series is one of the few shooter series I'm not a huge fan of. I've always found them a bit sluggish and lacking intensity. So far this one is pretty good. It's not anything flashy, but it's very reminiscent of the classic arcade Gradius titles from the late 80's.

thewiirocks

#32

thewiirocks said:

Methinks you doth complain too much. As shortened words go, shmup really isn't that bad. But I can refer to the games as "Shoot'em Ups" if it would make you feel better. It just doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely as "shmup".

ShhhhmmmuuuuP.

See how nice that sounds? Music to my ears. :P

I can't disagree with you on the issues with Gradius. I played Gradius III on the SNES back in the day, but it didn't particularly capture the imagination of myself or my siblings. We had WAY more fun with Darius Twin. I think those games helped promote a bit of personal snobbery where I believed that side-scrolling shmups... err... Shoot'em Ups were more fun than their vertical brethren.

Cheezy

#33

Cheezy said:

YES! Kinda sucks though I already got a new game today and I'm pretty busy with that.

CorbsAdmin

#34

Corbs said:

I guess because they were called "shooters" back when we hung out in the arcades playing R-Type and Darius when they had just been released in arcades back when I was in high school, the name just stuck. Most magazines back then called them shooters and in truth I don't mind the shmup name that much but it reminds me too much of shmuck. :P

thewiirocks

#36

thewiirocks said:

Corbie sez... they were called "shooters" back when we hung out in the arcades

That's fair enough. The term "Shoot'em Up" was a retcon of sorts. But that was only because the Shooter genre got so incredibly large that it was getting hard to clearly communicate what was meant by "shooter". When FPSes came along, everything went straight to heck.

(A pet peeve of mine is how the younger generation has started generically referring to FPSes as "shooters". While technically correct, it;s so ambiguous that it drives me up a wall!)

CorbsAdmin

#37

Corbs said:

I agree. I don't like it when people refer to FPS titles as "shooters" - it drives me crazy. But then again they probably think it's crazy that I call shoot 'em ups "shooters" as well, so I guess it's all fair. At least now I don't have to go to arcades anymore, so I don't have to stand around arguing with people over what is and is not a shooter. :P

anthonyb

#38

anthonyb said:

Wow! That link Corbie- what is that?? Sure it just looks like an arcade.

Come to think of it- how sweet would it be to mod your Wii in such a way as to play all your vc games on a true arcade? Hm.

Objection

#39

Objection said:

Dang, I only have 700 points. I wish that SameGame had come out this week; I need something new. What's the best game (VC or WW) that's 700 points or less? Exclude DYC.

SmaMan

#40

SmaMan said:

I know your pain Objection_Blaster. I have 800 and I'm wondering if I should go buy 2000 more for this or just settle for something in my price range... maybe I should wait for the review?

KnucklesSonic8

#41

KnucklesSonic8 said:

I could get this right now if I wanted to but I wanna hear that someone else got it first and has a good impression of it. :)

I got a good feeling about this one and it's very likely I'll be getting it. Finally, another game after SSR!

CorbsAdmin

#42

Corbs said:

Can someone please tell me why these developers keep putting out these Wii and WiiWare titles that don't fully stretch the width of the screen on widescreen HDTVs?

Ren

#43

Ren said:

So if we were to chart them what would be the final word then?
1. "Shooters" - 2-D spaceship shooting games, side-view OR Top Down
2. "shoot-em' Ups" - guys running around (side or top down) shooting people. (shmups just a bad abreviation)
3. "FPS First person Shooters" - uh, first person shooters or '3-d"
and then
4. "rail-shooters" - people OR spaceships on a set path with only guns controlled.
that seem about right?
I liked Gradius ok back in the day, never really understood why it was so much like Life Force, are they sequals or what? So does this new thing have the old u, u, d, d, l, r, l, r, B, A, start code for thirty guys? Gotta at least do something with it so us old folks can shed a tear for the NES days.

thewiirocks

#44

thewiirocks said:

@Corbie - Laziness. There's absolutely no excuse for a SIDE SCROLLING SHOOTER to not properly fill the screen. But I digress.

I've managed to play the game. (Whoohoo!) Here are my initial impressions:

  • Love the retro look. It's got an old-school arcade charm to it that's pleasant. The reason why I say "arcade" is that the effects go a bit beyond the SNES, yet the game is firmly rooted in the graphical capabilities of the late 80's/early 90's.
  • Speaking of graphics, it's a bit upsetting that Rebirth didn't get more of a makeover. It looks great in the Youtube videos, but that's just because the video is so small. Scaled up to 480p on an HDTV, it looks... retro. Very, very, very retro. And pixellated. Which isn't a bad thing per se, but I don't think it's going to evoke the same sense of nostalgia as MegaMan 9. (Besides, MM9 looked WAY too good for the NES hardware it was supposedly emulating. ;))
  • The sound has that NES-ish feel to it. The music is cleaner and rings clearly, but the attempt to evoke the classic bleeps and bloops of an inferior generation of sound hardware is a mixed blessing at best. I'm not turned off by it, nor am I particularly impressed with it. It's just there and it's noisy.
  • The controls... are the classic Gradius controls. I forgot how bleeping SLOW the Vic Viper was. You can speed it up using power-ups, but the speed boost is not smooth. It becomes easy to misjudge your movement after a few power-ups. --
  • This game is (like many shoot'em ups) HARD. But not in the "OMG, look at all the bullets I'm going to die" hard. More like the "I made a mistake, now all my power-ups are gone, I don't have enough firepower" hard.
  • The confusing weapon selection thingy makes a comeback. If you're like me, figuring out the choice of power-ups BEFORE you play the game is rather confusing. I'm sure you'll figure something out, though.

All in all, I think this is a good game. But I think it could have been a lot better. At the very least, I would have liked to see a bit more modern flair to the graphics. I'm going to take a page from The Book of Corbie and give it a 7/10. I also predict that will be Corbie's score. ;)

lockelocke

#46

lockelocke said:

holy ish! definitely the release i was anticipating the most.
only 1 player tho? frowny face

thewiirocks

#47

thewiirocks said:

@KnucklesSonic8 - Sorry you saw that. I was using two ticks for list marks without realizing that it was the code for making big text. I chopped it back to one tick mark almost immediately after I submitted, and that gave the formating I was looking for. :)

@lockelocke - 1 player is disappointing, but I'm afraid that Gradius was never known for two player action. Nintendo should really release Darius Twin on the VC. I'd love to play it with my boys. :D

@Ren - Your definition of "Shoot'Em Ups" as "guys running around" is flawed. Those are known as "Run and Gun" games. There's quite a bit of argument over whether or not they're a subset of shoot'em ups (i.e. spaceship shooters) or if they are their own sub-genre of shooters. Personally, I think they're in their own sub-genre, but that's just me.

Edit: I forgot to add - There is no autofire in Rebirth! That's just plain shameful. This isn't the days of the NES when everyone had a pad with a turbo switch. Nor is this an arcade where the buttons are designed to be smashed with repeated, full hand strokes. This is a home gamepad and my thumb is getting TIRED!!! :P

KnucklesSonic8

#48

KnucklesSonic8 said:

@thewiirocks: No worries. It was a bit of a shocker and I assumed it was a mistake but it didn't really bother me beyond that. I know others here have a short attention span and a quick mouth so that's why I said that. XD

You try Leaderboards yet?

thewiirocks

#49

thewiirocks said:

You try Leaderboards yet?

Not yet. I want to finish playing first. One upside is that you have unlimited continues. :D

CorbsAdmin

#50

Corbs said:

No real shooter fan would ever use a continue. Pure blashpemy. :P

thewiirocks

#51

thewiirocks said:

Pff. Says you. Some of us happen to suck at shooters, no matter how much we love them to death. :P

As an aside, I swear this "Dr. Venom" pulled the Vic Viper's powerplant from an Oldsmobile Cutluss. Her acceleration curve is... shall we say... gutless?

CorbsAdmin

#53

Corbs said:

I said that in sarcasm due to the rampant belief that a shooter fan absolutely cannot use a continue. This stems from many discussions I've taken part in on shooter forums over the years. I myself try not to use them, but when all else fails, I'll continue, cheat, or anything else I have to do to win. :P

Bahamut_ZERO

#55

Bahamut_ZERO said:

No AutoFire!!!

Oh noes! My thumbs are slow from playing large amounts of RPGs and holding down the R Trigger on Halo Combat Evolved.

I must train!

begins to do thumb-ups

@Corbie: Well, of course you dont use continues. You would go broke on your own arcade machines :P

CorbsAdmin

#57

Corbs said:

You can even set the rapid fire to the "B" button on the Wii Remote and pull the Wii Remote cover up over the button to hold it down for you. Talk about lazy. :P

Alright, time to write this baby up.

KnucklesSonic8

#59

KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Bahamut: So true. XD

I wanna get this like now but at the same time, I don't have many points left! I mean, I have enough to get it and other games but I'm trying to save for upcoming WiiWare & VC Games.

Rabspat

#60

Rabspat said:

For some reason, my high score won't upload to the leaderboards. : ( I would be in second place on the Very Easy Mode leaderboard, too. D:

CorbsAdmin

#62

Corbs said:

@ Rabspat - One of mine didn't register either at one point. It only happened that one time.

Rabspat

#63

Rabspat said:

@ Corbie - Ugh, for a novice like me, that was haaaaard to do. Damn, now I have to do it again.

KnucklesSonic8

#64

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Can't wait to read Corbie's review. He's the perfect guy to review this game. Or maybe he isn't. I call bias! XD j/k

I recently decided to get Gradius II when I get more points. I'm wondering, now, if GII is a better choice or if this is (for someone who's never played a Gradius game). Whaddya think Corbie?

thewiirocks

#65

thewiirocks said:

@KnucklesSonic8 - I don't know if I count or not, but I'd go with Rebirth unless you REALLY want to save 500 points. The games are fairly similar, but Rebirth has better graphics and an online scoreboard. If you still can't stomach it, the next best option is Gradius III. A very nice version of Gradius for the SNES.

BTW, I finally tried Ranked mode. It's Corbie's dream mode! (j/k!) You've got three lives and no continues. When you're done, your score is tallied and saved. Otherwise it's exactly the same as the main mode.

SRPirate

#66

SRPirate said:

Looks pretty good, have to wait for the review though to make a final decision.
@KS8-BTW, have you recievied my MKWII and Tetris friend code numbers? I sent them a couple of weeks ago....

Ren

#67

Ren said:

No continues eh? So then technically if you 'somehow' were to begin with 30 guys then you're not really continuing, right? So thats why the 30 guy thing existed and not an "extra-continues" code. It all makes sense now.
ok, I agree, I've heard the "run-n-gun" thing before, too. Reminds me somehow of that bad old nes game rush-n-attack. That was when I felt like games would never get any more realistic looking than that. Whoa, did I say that.

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