Gradius is an arcade side scrolling shooter by Konami. Many gamers either love or hate this game and the sequels/spin-offs in the series. Graphically, Gradius was impressive back in the day, there were very few side scrolling shooters that could compare to it. This was never more evident than the bosses that were waiting at the end of each level.
The version by Opcode Games is unique in the sense that Gradius was not released on the ColecoVision so there is no comparison. That leaves comparing to against the arcade original and the Nintendo Entertainment System release. The Opcode Games version is graphically impressive and makes you wonder what Konami could have done with official software back in the day.
Scrolling shooters are going through a bit of a resurgence of with gamers thanks to the popularity of mobile devices and their low barrier to entry. There was a period in the late 80’s and early 90’s where scrolling shooters (overhead and side scrolling) were all the rage. The Turbo Grax-16’s North American library was nearly nothing but these types of games.
Konami has done well with the fans as far as keeping the Gradius series alive and with new entries. 2008 was the last “scrolling shooter” release in the Gradius line. Hopefully Konami sees the value in the name and at least revives it on mobile devices. Even if they don’t, fans have proven they will keep the name and product alive through ports to older platforms such as the ColecoVision.
Since Gradius is using the Super Game Module it should be able to compete rather well with the arcade original. While the NES version had many liberties taken to make it work on the 8-Bit console. Opcode Games are not under many of these limitations thanks to the Super Game Module add-on.