Is Gradius III (SNES) Still Worth Playing Today?

No, Gradius III is not worth playing in the present day. Being originally an arcade game, Gradius III inherently carries its brutal difficulty to nickel and dime player, which can discourage both newcomers and those seeking nostalgic experiences. Also, there are performance issues that plagues the SNES version. While there are subsets of gamers, (e.g., speedrunners, arcade enthusiasts, etc., etc.) who adore these types of games, anyone asking this question suggests that they may not be among this group.

Is it necessary to play Gradius I and II before Gradius III?

No, the Gradius games are horizontal shooters hence there are no essential overarching narratives that players may miss. While Gradius III still maintains its admittedly gorgeous visual appeal even today, the first two titles do not. Additionally, the core gameplay improved from each title that going back to the first two games is not a recommended experience due to their datedness.

Are there Gradius III sequels?

Yes, there are sequels to Gradius III. The Gradius series has 16 games in total, including spin-offs, home conversions and compilations. The direct sequel to Gradius III is Gradius IV, which was released in 1999 for the arcades and later ported to the PlayStation 2 as part of a two-in-one compilation with Gradius III. The latest game in the series is Gradius ReBirth, which was released in 2008 for the WiiWare service.

Has Gradius III been released on modern platforms (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC)?

Yes, Gradius III has seen a release on modern platforms but only on the Nintendo Switch. It is part of the Arcade Archives by Hamster. Arcade Archives re-release of arcade games include difficulty settings, screen filters, and worldwide high score board. Gradius I and II, as well as the VS. Gradius also got released under this program.

Are there remakes or remasters? If not, is there a chance?

There is no chance that the Gradius games will receive a remake. Even if such will happen, be it a remake or remaster, Konami is incapable of releasing decent modern ports of even their best-selling classic games. Everyone should have a look at Konami’s treatment of the Silent Hill HD Collection and Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 for reference. Gradius as a franchise is not at the same level as the aforementioned.

While there are no official remakes or remasters of Gradius III and the possibility of such is null, there are some unofficial fan-made projects that attempt to recreate or enhance the game. For example, there is a project called Gradius III SA-1 Edition, which is a hack of the Super Nintendo version of the game that improves the performance and reduces the slowdown issues that plagued the original port.

Games Similar to Gradius III Released During Its Time

Below are three games that were released around the same time as Gradius III, sharing similar genres and core gameplay mechanics. Exploring these titles can provide insights into the gaming landscape of that era and how they influenced each other.

  1. Salamander: This is a spin-off of the Gradius series that features both horizontal and vertical scrolling stages. It was released in 1986 for the arcades and later ported to various home systems.
  2.  R-Type: This is another influential side-scrolling shooter game that features a unique mechanic of attaching a pod to the player’s ship that can be used as a shield or a weapon. It was released in 1987 for the arcades and later ported to various home systems.
  3. Darius: This is a side-scrolling shooter game that features branching paths and giant robotic fish enemies. It was released in 1986 for the arcades and later ported to various home systems.

Modern Games Similar to Gradius III

Below are the latest games which share the same genre as Gradius III.

Terra Flame

Terra Flame is a horizontal shoot-’em-up game inspired by the 90’s. The game features:

  • A system that allows you to switch between three types of weapons in real time.
  • An arcade mode and a caravan mode with online ranking support.
  • Pixel art graphics and chiptune music that evoke the 90’s nostalgia.
  • A science-fiction story about a special operations unit called PHOENIX that tries to stop a runaway defense system in the universe.

The game was developed and published by TERARIN GAMES, a Japanese indie game studio that specializes in shmup games. The game was released on November 17, 2022. It has received positive reviews from the Steam community.

The Void Rains Upon Her Heart

The Void Rains Upon Her Heart is a game that combines elements of boss rush, bullet-hell, and rogue-lite genres. The game tells the story of an alien girl who is trapped in a cave and surrounded by bizarre monsters. She cannot fight those creatures, but she can befriend them with the power of love. Every monster will react in its own violent way, but even the most powerful can be swayed by this ultimate power.

The game features:

  • 98 boss battles with different patterns and behaviors.
  • Over 300 unique gifts to find that can power up the girl’s heart and change her appearance.
  • 4 characters to play as, each with their own abilities and backstory.
  • 4 game modes to choose from, including a story mode, an arcade mode, a caravan mode, and a cardiac event recorder mode.
  • Over 600 achievements to achieve, most of them unlock more content.
  • Pixel art graphics and chiptune music that evoke the 90’s nostalgia.

The game was developed and published by Veyeral Games, an indie game studio that is passionate about shmup games. The game was released on February 14, 2018. It has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from the Steam community.

Razion EX

Razion EX is a 16 bit CGI style horizontal shooting game originally made for arcades, and was ported to thje Nintendo Switch on June 17, 2021. The score system is based on growing gold cubes and using the beam to freeze the cubes. It has 3 game modes (NOVICE/NORMAL/MANIAC).

  • The game features 8 stages, each with its own unique boss battle.
  • There are 4 different ships to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
  • The game features a variety of power-ups that can be collected to improve the player’s ship.
  • The game has a scoring system that rewards players for collecting gold cubes and defeating enemies.
  • Razion EX also features a two-player cooperative mode.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *