The Legend of Hero Tonma

  • Platform: TurboGrafx 16
  • Wii Points: 600
  • In Real Money: GBP 4.20/6 EUR (approx)

If all the arcade stink of stale fag smoke and adolescent sweat wafting over from the hardcore shooters is making you feel queasy, then maybe this week's non-festival offering will soothe your stomach.

It's a super-cute platformer, firmly in the WonderBoy mould, in which you guide the heroic Tommy to save yet another kidnapped princess. It's devoid of surprises, but the controls feel crisp and the game is generous with the power-ups, meaning you soon amass a fun array of projectiles to magically expel from your personage.

Where it flounders is the respawning bad guys and one-hit-kill gameplay which frustrate more than they thrill. Though you can continue from the last checkpoint easily enough, the game just isn't special enough to earn the dedication you'll need to get past the hump of having to start over, from the middle of a level, with no power-ups. Amusing enough, but not the best example of its genre on the VC.

6/10

Gradius III

  • Platform: SNES
  • Wii Points: 900
  • In Real Money: 6.30 GBP/9 EUR (approx)

And if a cult shooter from Treasure wasn't enough, here comes one of Konami's most famously hardcore horizontal scrollers to make shoot-em-up fans disgrace their trousers with excitement.

This is, of course, the SNES version so its not quite as savage as the arcade original. It uses such spineless options as - scoff! - continues, meaning that some mortal players may actually see past the first level. Other than that, this is another solid addition to the VC shoot-em-up library, and its influence on Irem's parallel R-Type series can clearly be seen.

gradius

The big difference here is the power-up progression. Certain enemies leave bonus pods behind when defeated, but they don't activate as soon as you collect them. The more you pick up, the greater the power-up you can unlock, from a linear selection across the bottom of the screen. Cashing in one bonus pod, for instance, can just speed up your ship. Cashing in more can unlock homing missiles, lasers and all the other weapons of mass destruction you'd expect. On top of this, you can choose the order of the power-ups on the menu bar. So if you like to get missiles as early as possible, you can choose a weapon line-up that favours that weapon class. Alternatively, you can edit the line-ups to create your own custom arsenal.

It's a great idea, if clearly more beneficial for the die-hard shooter who knows the game inside out, but the dose of strategy it injects into the hectic action is enough to make this another essential purchase for shoot-em-up aficionados.

8/10

About the author

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead

Senior Contributor, Eurogamer.net

Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.

More articles by Dan Whitehead

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