(Super Nintendo)

Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy (Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Darren Calvert

Oh, we laugh at this game! Gradius is fine but this is nicer!

A fiendish giant octopus by the name of Zeo and his intergalactic mutant penguin mates are up to no good, wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of the Parodius Zone. Thankfully, help is at hand as Vic Viper, Pentarou the penguin, Twinbee and a gun-toting octopus have come to save the day.

As a parody of Konami’s famous Gradius series, this horizontally scrolling “cute-em-up” shows no restraint in the wackiness department, featuring ludicrous villains such as a sumo-wrestling pig and a screen-filling giantess Vegas dancer blocking your path and forcing you to take a voyeuristic journey between her legs to continue on your quest. There is even an amusing Moai-faced battleship that vaguely resembles the huge spaceship from the third level of R-Type. In a nutshell, this game is as mad as a bucket of spiders.

Those who are used to shooting the core in the Gradius series will feel right at home here, and will notice many borrowed situations from the game. Along the way, you pick up capsules to fill up your power meter and utilise the usual speed-up, missile and laser options to improve your ability to take out the bad guys. To mix things up, the coloured bells from the Twinbee series make an appearance and offer even crazier power-ups such as a megaphone which spouts out bizarre phrases such as “TOASTER OVERHEATED!”, “SHAVING IS BORING!” and perhaps the most bizarre “GOT A STINKFOOT!” to confound your enemies.

Trying to convey in words how much fun playing Parodius is no easy task. If you strip away all the wonderful Japanesey nonsense this could be any other shoot-em-up, but the combination of bizarre characters and imaginative locales makes this a real joy to play. Hardened fans of the genre will still find a challenge here, too; it's not been dumbed down so that you can breeze through this in one sitting without the use of continues.

Much like the patience-testing Gradius series, however, don’t expect this game to be a walk in the park. It’s a bit easier for sure, but you’ll still need to keep your wits about you. As always, memorising the enemy’s movement patterns is the key to success. Checkpoints are available to help you out if you lose a life, but it can be tough when you have gone from riches to rags in the power-up department.

Graphically, Parodius does not disappoint, featuring lots of large moving sprites, detailed backgrounds and an abundance of colour everywhere that you look. Earlier Super Nintendo releases such as Gradius III suffered from a nasty case of slowdown when onscreen action got too hectic, but thankfully this is not the case here. Only on very rare occasions will you notice any hint of lag.

The music deserves a special mention; it’s downright bonkers! The developers give familiar tunes a cutesy remix and you’ll even hear ‘The Can Can’ song at times if you pay attention. The upbeat, circus style soundtrack is a perfect match for the over-the-top visuals and adds nicely to the wackiness of the game.

This port of Parodius is a very faithful conversion of the arcade original; no compromises were made in the audiovisual department. It even manages to sneak in an exclusive new level set in a traditional Japanese bathhouse. As an additional bonus, the developers also added a time attack mode oddly named ‘Lollipop’ which adds a bit more value to the package. It’s just a shame that Parodius was deemed too weird and deviant for a North American audience, as it never saw a release outside of Japan and Europe.

Conclusion

If you’re after a shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then this is the game for you. The Super Nintendo wasn’t home to that many games of this genre, but this was easily a game that spoilt Mega Drive owners would have been jealous of in its day. If you deem the Gradius series of games a bit too testing, then you will most likely find Parodius a lot easier to master due to a much gentler difficulty curve. We can only hope to see a Virtual Console release in the fullness of time. Until then, you owe it to yourself to track down the cart and take yourself on a non-sense fantasy trip.

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User Comments (27)

CorbsAdmin

#1

Corbs said:

I love the Parodius series and this is still one of the best. It's just a shame this series has never been given a decent chance in North America. Great review Daz! :)

edhe

#3

edhe said:

It's only a matter of time before these games are ported to the Japanese Wii Virtual console (Da!, Gukojyo and Jikkyou) - I'm just surprised they aren't already available.

I have a real passion for the music of Parodius, and have many tracks on my iPod.

WaLzgiStaff

#6

WaLzgi said:

Too bad it never got released in the states. Great review Dazza

DamoAdmin

#11

Damo said:

I have very fond memories of this, shocked it didn't come out in the US. Awesome review Daz!

Golgo

#13

Golgo said:

Sound fantastic, great review Dazza! But what are the chances of a VC release I wonder given ongoing VC drought?

Ah well, there's always Star Parodier...

edhe

#14

edhe said:

I think it's absence in North America may have had something to do with that mid-level boss - An eagle in a stars 'n' stripes Uncle Sam hat.

WanderFan91

#16

WanderFan91 said:

That Vegas dancer has very revealing clothing, judging from the screenshots I've seen (I can't imagine how she'd animate). I wonder if that's the reason Parodius! has not been released in NA?

the_shpydar

#17

the_shpydar said:

I'd imagine it never got a US release due simply to the old 80s/90s rule of "It's too weird and Japanese-y; it'll never sell".

edhe

#19

edhe said:

With the NES version of Parodius, the Vegas dancer (Chichibinta Rika) was dressed (IIRC) reather modestly in spangly tuxedo coat and tails, trousers and hat. No skin visible, not even cleavage.

Also, there was a level boss (It must have been on the fairground level, which didn't appear on the SNES version) - a duck-like thing sitting on a toilet called "Krappa".

This was a pun on Thomas Crapper - the man who was involved with the popularisation of the toilet and the Japanese mythical beast - the Kappa. Even though it was about 13 years ago, I definitely recall he sat on a toilet, and it makes so much sense that a goblin with a duckbill, a dent in the top of its head which sat on a toilet should be called Krappa...

But I can't remember where I got the name from. It could have come from the instruction manual, but even Google cannot find any reference to Krappa (Wikipedia is half there calling him "Robot Duck Toy"), but i'm beggining to think I dreamt it. (or someone implanted it into my mind)

Then again (regarding it not being released in NA), Konami - as a NES developer were restricted to 5 releases a year by Nintendo's insane QC policies and formed a secondary publishing house to release an extra 5. Europe's house was Palcom (who published Parodius), while North America's house was called Ultra Games. I figure they may have gauged that the game wouldn't sell well enough and didn't want to take a risk and lose that precious release slot. Europe may have had fewer of Palcom's (Konami, remember) games for them to worry about taking a risk with their games.

Seriously though. can anyone who owned the NES version remember a duckbilled boss - sitting on a toilet called "Krappa"?

JamieOStaff

#20

JamieO said:

SNES Parodius never made it to the US! I never knew that! That is as nuts as a tiny Octopus barging into a 100ft tall blonde's bedroom to blast her with ripple lasers, as she's trying to have a kip (with the hectic, stress inducing Gradius music playing in the background)!

I've loved Parodius since its review graced the cover of issue 23 of 'Mean Machines' magazine. Whenever I think of cute-'em-ups I don't think of Twinbee, I always think of Parodius. I love the music, too. A fun-packed shooter & a great review, @Dazza.

DrakeStaff

#21

Drake said:

@edhe: I have a complete (EU) copy right here and the manual actually calls him Crapper!

WanderFan91

#25

WanderFan91 said:

The review said it had four characters (not that I don't believe it, as I noticed it in Shiryu's gameplay footage), but the screenshots only show Vic Viper.

Ristar42

#26

Ristar42 said:

Sexy Parodius and Gokujyo Parodius are such great games, I have the Saturn versions.

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