Continuing the theme of long-running shoot-'em-up series beginning with the letter G, next up is Gradius Rebirth, a game many people probably don't even realise exists. It's a Wiiware game, and as such probably received a lot less press or push than any other Gradius title.
There may be another reason for this... Gradius Rebirth is pretty much identical to every other Gradius game, bar Treasure's awesome Gradius V.
For me, Gradius V was the rebirth of Gradius. It took the easily identifiable classic elements of the original games, dragged them up-to-date with a superb graphical update, and refined the gameplay elements to make it still difficult, but a bit fairer. I think it's fair to say that Gradius V is a classic.
This is more like Gradius Revisited... it's very much a throwback to the old days of the arcade Gradius, for good and for bad, warts and all. How much you get out of this will depend on how big a fan you are of the original... and how good you are at playing it.
Yes, that really is a screenshot from a game produced in 2009.
It's not a bad game at all, but nothing at all feels new. You feel like you could easily have played it all before. It's all very well having the organic pink bubbly landscape that grows at you... but it would have been nice to do something different with that. Throw the player a curveball or two, chuck in a few surprises.
Gradius Rebirth really doesn't have any surprises. I know that Gradius fans may expect an element of continuity; they may expect to see certain features in every game. But although retro is still cool in the gaming world, it would have been nice if this had a retro feel to it, rather than actually feeling like it was released in 1986. Like I said, it's not a bad game at all, certainly not for 600 Wii points, but the lack of freshness is somewhat disappointing.