Many cores are shot on Retronauts Episode 114

A leisurely cruise through Gradius.

Did you know that today marks the 20th anniversary of the original release of Gradius Gaiden, also known as the finest classic Gradius game ever conceived by Konami? Isn't it an incredible coincidence that on this august day, the Retronauts podcast should happen to publish an entire episode dedicated to the Gradius series? Seems almost like one of those things that is a little too convenient to have happened by accident. And yet... it did in fact happen completely by accident. Last week we talked about Secret of Mana shortly before Square Enix announced a complete remake of that game, and this week we just happen to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest shooters of all time. The stars seem to be lining up for our little classic gaming podcast! Just imagine what we could accomplish if we started trying to do this sort of thing deliberately?

We praise Gradius Gaiden extensively on this episode... but on top of that, of course, we also talk about the rest of the Gradius franchise. Both good and bad. And yeah, there's some bad to be found for sure.

This episode follows on from my recent retrospectives on Gradius for NES and Gradius III for Super NES, and hopefully helps you better understand those games' place in history.

As with Friday's Micro, we're joined by Kurt Kalata and Rob Russo of Hardcore Gaming 101 for this episode — though fortunately, this recording happened under more ideal circumstances. If you don't mind the slightly plosive quality of our Ps (we didn't have room in our travel kit for pop filters) and the occasional rumble of high-performance racers (they were doing laps in the hotel parking lot right ourside our window), this sounds like a studio episode despite being recorded on the road. Of course, the HG101 crew was essential for this episode, because they've written a book on Gradius and its offshoots. You can't ask for a more expert opinion than that!

We cover a whole heck of a lot of ground in this episode. You can rest assured that a How Can I Play It? feature will be showing up later this week to put you in touch with as many of these classics as possible.

MP3, 57.5 MB | 1:59:54

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Episode description: Kurt Kalata and Rob Russo join us from Hardcore Gaming 101 to delve into the history of Konami's legendary Gradius series. From its prequel (Scramble) to its most recent spinoff (Otomedius), we blast our way through the span of the entire series!