Top 100 NES Review: #44 – Gradius (1986)

Prepare to Die.

A Game Nietzsche would be proud to play.

NES Gradius Title ScreenSydlexia’s Ranking: #44/100
Rating: StarStar

Few things can suck away your spirit to live like an opaque Nihilistic quote or a game designed to steal your pocket change. If I had to choose between reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra or playing Gradius for a day,  I’m not sure which I would choose.

Gradius is more worthy as a portal through time than a game. It harkens back to a day where video games were enjoyed in the public sphere, not in the private seclusion of your own home. These big boxes the size of caskets were tucked away in every nook and cranny and were only momentary diversions while waiting for a pizza or friend. They were not meant to be prolonged and protracted affairs.

This arcade game ported to the NES is no different. Death comes early and often, an obvious ploy to guzzle more quarters. The difficulty ramps to obscene heights. What’s scary is how quickly the dial gets turned up: getting through stage 1 is somewhat of an achievement. As your ship explodes from an array of stray laser fire that dots the screen in a potpourri of projectiles, you will be asking yourself….

…does anything matter?

Continue reading “Top 100 NES Review: #44 – Gradius (1986)”

Top 100 SNES Review: #67 – Knights of the Round (1991)

Life Should Come With Difficulty Settings.

A quick change in the options menu makes the difference.

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 8.19.42 PM

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #67/100
Developer: Capcom
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Life can be harsh. This current clinical rotation I’m at is pretty hard for me: I’m treating patients I’m not used to with a very strict clinical instructor while working lots of hours. When Friday night rolls around, I don’t want to have to deal with “Very Hard” or “Normal.” I just want to have some mindless fun, an easy excursion for the mind, body and soul.

Thankfully, Knights of the Round makes that a real possibility. Grabbing an extra controller, a friend, and setting difficulty the to “Easy” was the perfect way to start my weekend.

Continue reading “Top 100 SNES Review: #67 – Knights of the Round (1991)”

Top 100 SNES Game: #52 – Gradius III (1991)

Anxiety Attack With a Large Coffee.

How much stimulus can the human mind handle? Exactly enough to juggle and dodge 1300 sprites of doom. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 3.52.45 PM
A Gradius III and Double Dragon cross over?

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #52/100
Developer: Konami
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

One theory for general anxiety disorder is that it’s due to some lowering of neuron-firing threshold. The entire nervous system is more excitable, and it takes very little stimulus to get widespread action potentials promulgating through your central nervous system.

If you don’t have this problem, Gradius III will surely give it to you: one-hit death, complicated bosses, tricky navigation, a hundred projectiles. While some might view beating the game as an accomplishment, I believe getting through it without increased cortisol levels more of a feat.

Continue reading “Top 100 SNES Game: #52 – Gradius III (1991)”