Gradius III - Konami

Gradius III

1989, Konami, Arcade

Reviewed by popawell (Philip Seeley)

Gradius 3, known to be an easy starter on the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo). The arcade version is similar, but it has more levels and it is the first gradius game to have a 3d level. The familiar power-up system is here from the previous titles (collect the glowing orb to light up a weapon on the bar), except you get a weapon editor and a ! slot for mega crush (type select only), option sacrifice, normal p shot, and speed down (this one might differ from version to version).

This arcade game is not for anyone who has a bad temper, because you will die and will start the game over many times, I guarantee it. Even on the first level, you are bombarded by enemies. Level 2 is an absolute nightmare. You are very lucky to make it to level 3 and if you really lucky you will make it to level 4, the annoying Moai Statues from Easter Island. There is an easy mode (in the select screen, pick the one on the right for easy) but you are only able to play the first three levels. I give the game play an 8 out of 10.

The graphics are awesome for a game this old. You can even make out the intake vents on the mechanical bosses. Backgrounds are simple so seeing bullets is no problem (good thing, otherwise you wouldn't make it through the many "bullet storms" in the game). Konami really did a good job with the graphics. I give the graphics a 9 out of 10.

Now see for yourself what the Bacteroids have in store for you!


Already many enemies are attacking, including this huge dragon that blew me up 1 second after I took this pic. Occasionaly you will see two dragons pop up here. There is a dragon that pops up later in the level that is supported by one of those sand lions. Unless you have a upper missile, this lion has a high chance of pinning you under the dragon. Bam!! Your dead.

Ohh a giant sand bug, I need a bigger can of laser. Pretty easy to dispatch, just avoid the sand balls and you should be fine. The threads made by the spiders are harmless also.



Bubbles, how much harm can they do? Apparently lots. Those bubbles may seem harmless, but you touch one and you're shrapnel. About here is when you notice the hit count on round objects is square. The big bubbles can kill you almost a half a inch of screen space away due to this. So if you think you can squeeze in a very narrow gap, think again. Some areas of the level will almost fill completely with bubbles. If you die once, you are put right in the middle of this bubble storm and you will die again.

MORE BUBBLES? WHEN WILL IT END!!! This boss is a nuisance, not only that his hit area is the same as the bubbles in the level, but he shoots out little bubbles that move at a very fast rate. If you have no options, just pray and hope a bubble doesn't hit you before you destroy the eye.



This area is a maze. Many of the land bases don't have any ships in them. A ways up from this picture you will be attacked by a bunch of those bouncing shrapnel dispensers. The whole screen will fill with bullets. Good Luck!

I have 2 words for you: GOOD LORD!!!. This guy will trap you in his big beams he shoots on the cannons on his sides and then ricochet very fast lasers off them. Then when you blow the 2 front cores he will shoot pulses of laser that are even harder to dodge!



The first 3D gradius game! You fly through corridors at high speed and collect power ups that are lying around. Pretty easy.

The statues of easter island strike again! Very hard level. Big moai are dropping normal sized moai onto the land. Like always they shoot donuts at you (Homer Simpson would have a field day here).

Now the moai are on rotating drums, this is the easiest part of the level. Destroy all the moai fases to clear a drum.



Looks like a moai wanted to feel special. Pretty easy to dispatch, just shoot the mouth and dodge the mini rotating moai (resemblance to the Pharaoh from salamander?)

Here is the hard part. You must either kill the base moai or last 2 minutes from the mini moai. The mini moai have a very nasty surprise this time. If you shoot them or they get close to the aura from your shield, they will inflate like balloons and explode. The blast can kill you.



NO THIS IS NOT THE LAST LEVEL!! This level has a very good resemblance to the organic level in the nes version of life force. Just you have the pink blobs that spawn hands that shoot at you.

The Big Brain. I came all this way through this level and I run into a pushover boss? Nothing exciting, just shoot the eye, dodge the bullets, and move when the claws come out (he will protect his eye and stop for 2 or 3 seconds before he shoots his claws at you)



Now THIS is why Gradius 3 should be called a maniac shmup. Didn't get too far here. Those fireballs will explode and release 3 smaller pieces if you shoot them. Unlike The SNES version, the smallest rocks can not be obliterated.

Overall this game is great. For all of you maniac shmupers out there, this one is for you! The game plays well in Mame 32 and Mame 32 plus, I used these to get the snapshots. Much easier when you're able to pause and take a snapshot rather that do it at the arcade with a camera. The game was never released in the arcades in america but you can buy it in Gradius 3 and 4 for the PS2. The last place I saw this game was in Toys R Us if anybody is interested. Overall I give this game a 8 out of 10.

This review was made by popawell a user in the forum if anybody wants to tell me what they think about this review.


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