Gradius III © 1990 Konami Industry Co., Ltd.
Gradius III is a side-scrolling shooter by Konami and based on the hit arcade game originally released in 1989. The monstrous Bacterion Empire is back in its pursuit of transforming whole planets into hideous and frightful alien worlds. The Vic Viper star fighter returns once again to save planet Gradius and the universe. Gradius III follows the formula set by its predecessors, requiring the player to collect and accumulate pulsating power pods (dropped by orange enemy ships), and to select power-ups from the power meter located at the bottom of the screen. However, this installment is probably the first one to offer an edit mode that allows the player to fully customize the power meter as he wishes. At the beginning of the game, players can choose their favorite power configuration out of a pool of eligible items - they include several different missiles (normal, hawk wind, 2 way back, small spread), doubles (vertical, double, tail gun, back double, lasers (twin, ripple, energy laser, cyclone Laser, options (option, snake Option, formation option, rolling option), shields (shield, force field, rolling shield, reduce) and specials (speed down, remain option, full barrier, Mega Crush). Gradius III features ten levels and several hidden bonus stages.
Cartridge ID: SHVC-G3
Gradius III for Super Famicom was released on December 21, 1990 in Japan for 7800 Yen.
The Gradius III arcade game was originally released in 1989. This port of Gradius III shows significant differences with the original arcade game. The power-ups have been shuffled around and the Super Famicom port even features new and exclusive weapons (such as the Hawk Wind or the Mega Crush), and two extra option configurations (whereas the arcade game had only two on offer). Most of the levels have been edited and some of the enemies have been altered, or omitted. In the first stage, the sand lions were removed. The third stage has lost the large cave/maze section (and is therefore shorter) and the earthquake effect (screen shake) is gone. Then the short 3-D bonus section located right after the third stage was completely removed from the Super Famicom port. The forth Moai stage has lost the large heads flying towards the player, and the mini-boss Dogas was removed. The Moai boss is also different and features two large heads (unlike the arcade game which featured six). Then the sixth 'Cell' stage from the arcade was truncated and moved to the end of the game, so the fifth stage of the Super Famicom port is the 'Fire' level which was too, largely edited. The most noticeable change is the loss of the large three-headed fire Wyvern that awaits the player right before the snake-looking Vulture Dragon boss. The sixth 'Plant' stage is fairly identical, except maybe for the last boss who has lost a couple of tentacles in the conversion. The seventh stage is in reality what is commonly called the 'High Speed Zone' (and which is featured a lot later in the arcade game), and replaces the Crystal stage from the arcade game (which was discarded). This 'extra' stage also introduces an exclusive boss called 'Beacon' not found in the arcade game. The eighth stage is the 'Boss Rush', and many bosses didn't make the cut, such as Lizard Core (from the Crystal stage) and Tetran. Most of the boss rush takes place on the surface of a pink asteroid which was replaced by a much simpler space background in the Super Famicom port. The ninth stage is the Mechanical Base, the small Shadow Dancers does not appear in the Super Famicom port and the battle against the 'Disrupt' sub-boss is overall easier (the arcade game has walls that shoot out of the ground and a lot more enemies on screen). 'Shadow Gear' also looks completely different and has lost four legs. The tenth stage is where the organic 'Cell' stage kicks in - it is overall a lot shorter than the arcade game.
[US] "Gradius III [Model SHVC-G3]"
* Konami code: The traditional Konami code in Gradius III has an surprising twist. If you press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B and A, then the Vic Viper self destructs! The real Konami code for this Super Famicom port is up, up, down, down, L-Shoulder, R-Shoulder, L-Shoulder, R-Shoulder, B and A - this grants you all the power-ups.
* Extra credits: At the title screen, rapidly press X to increase the number of credits.
* Arcade mode: At the option screen, try to hit A sixteen times as fast as possible (it has to be done within one second which is rather difficult, use a turbo controller if you are not quick enough). If done properly, the Arcade option should appear in the difficulty level. Technically, this mode is just a super-hard mode.
* 30 ships: At the title screen, hold Left and press A three times.
Game Programmer: Kazuhisa Hashimoto (K. Hashimoto), Tsukasa Tokuda (T. Tokuda), Y. Matsuhana, H. Takahama
Graphic Designer: Takemasa Miyoshi (T. Miyoshi), H. Morii, Mikayo Suenaga (M. Suenaga)
Sound Editor: Kazuki Muraoka (K. Muraoka), Kazuhiko Uehara (K. Uehara), Harumi Ueko (H. Ueko), Yukie Morimoto (Y. Morimoto)
Visual Design: Kenji Shimoide (K. Shimoide)
Game's description by Laurent Kermel; http://www.videogameden.com