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Page 1:
Intro
Characters
Parodius

Page 2:
Gokujou Parodius
Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius
Sexy Parodius

Page 3:
Paro Wars
Bosses Gallery

Back to the Index


by Kurt Kalata - 2004/2005

Video games, in general, take themselves way too seriously. As evolved as they've become since their inception, I'm still surprised that comedy video games are, for all intents and purposes, pretty rare. Maybe the designers are afraid people won't get the jokes. Maybe they think humor comes at the expense of gameplay. But Konami felt differently, and created one of the wackiest game series out there: Parodius.

The title - "parody" + "Gradius" = "Parodius" - is approximately as goofy as it sounds. The usual mechanical spaceships are replaced by bees, cows, a battleship with a cat for a head - and penguins. Lots and lots of penguins. Many situations are based on levels from Gradius (hence the parody part, more on that later.)

Sexy Parodius Artwork

The game plays exactly like Gradius - you pick up capsules that advance your power meter bar, where you can choose whatever upgrades you wish. Also stealing from Konami's other popular shooter, Twinbee, you can shoot clouds and pick up a variety of colored bells, which give you even crazier power-ups, like quadrupling your size or exploding a nuclear bomb. When you die, you're sent back to a checkpoint, so there's a lot of the same memorization.

The graphics are noteworthy for their overt brightness, but it's really the sound design that takes the spotlight. Using the Looney Tunes philosophy that classical music is funny, much of the songs are directly based off of real music, and given a wacky spin. You have to admire any game which includes boss battle themes based off of "The Bumblebee Song" and "The Can Can". It's all gloriously ridiculous.

After the great shooter crash of the early 90s - when the glut of too-similar games caused most people to swear them off - anything different is worth noticing. Parodius merges Japanese wackiness with solid gaming, and turns out with one of the best shooter series out there. Yay Konami! Although the series laid dormant for quite some time, Konami seems to be resurrecting the ideas in the 2.5D arcade shooter Otomedius. Here's hoping for a home port.

A big part of the series are the wacky characters you get to play as, so here's a quick rundown:

Parodius (Super Famicom)

Gokujou Parodius (Arcade)

Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius (Super Famicom)


Characters

Popolon

Popolon is the Greek knight from Konami's overhead MSX shooter Knightmare, and its MSX/Famicom action/adventure sequel Maze of Galious. He's only in the MSX Parodius, as he faded into obscurity shortly thereafter.

Octopus/Takosuke/Takohiko & Belial

Takosuke is a flying octopus that wears Japanese headbands (although in some pictures, he's wearing panties on his head.) Earlier games simply call him "Octopus". Many Japanese males names end with "suke" - i.e. Kensuke, Ryunosuke, etc. Combining this with the word for octopus - "tako" - you get Takosuke. His son Takohiko is also playable in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius, and Takosuke himself appears as an old lecher in Sexy Parodius. His companion is the yellow female octopus Belial. These ocotopi appear in all of the Parodius games.

Pentarou & Hanako

Pentarou is this silly penguin that originated from Konami's Antarctic Adventure and Penguin Adventure games, and later starred in Yume Penguin Monogatari for the Famicom. "Tarou" is a very common boys name oftentimes used in folk tales - so combining it with "penguin" yields "Pentarou". His mate is Hanako, meaning "little flower", which is another common girl's name. Pentarou is in all of the games, except for Sexy.

Vic Viper & Lord British

Vic Viper is from the Gradius series. Lord British appeared as the second ship in Salamander/Life Force, a side-story to Gradius, and ended up being in Gradius Gaiden. They appear here in dwarf form with the regular Gradius 1 arsenal. They appear in all of the Parodius games.

Twinbee & Winbee

Twinbee and his partner Winbee are from the overhead Konami shooter of the same name. Their games are also quite light-hearted, and are good choices if you like the wackiness of Parodius. They're in the original game, Gokujou and Jikkyou Oshaberi.

Goemon & Ebisumaru

Goemon, from the Mystical Ninja series set in ancient Japan, only shows up in the original MSX game and in the Super Famicom version of Gokujyo Parodius. Ebisumaru, his ninja-ish friend, is his second player.

Michael & Gabriel

Michael and Gabriel are badass angelic pigs with a stern look and bandages (??) over their crotches. They also have amazingly cool Japanese voices. They're named after famous Christian saints. They've also got some awesome wave weapons. Originating as bad guys in original Parodius, they became playable in Gokujou and Sexy Parodius.

Hikaru & Akane

Hikaru and Akane are the bunny girls that ride on bullets and are the requisite sex symbols of the series. They're in Gokujou and Sexy Parodius, and are also a boss in Jikkyou Oshaberi.

Mambo & Samba

Mambo and Samba are goofy-looking tropical fish who can shoot lots and lots of lasers. They're in Gokujou and Sexy Parodius.

Koitsu, Aitsu, Soitsu & Doitsu

Funny little stick figure men who ride paper airplanes, talk in a weird scribbly language and increase their firepower by creating duplicates of themselves. Variations of them are in Gokujou, Jikkyou and Sexy Parodius. Their shield is also a condom. Their names are based off of Japanese pronouns (Koitsu: this guy, Soitsu: that guy, Aitsu: that guy over there, Doitsu: which guy?)

Mike & Ran

Mike and Ran are flying cats, and their bullets seem to be yarnballs. They're one of the lamer designs, despite being kinda cute, and only appear in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius. According to the manual, they're friends of Twinbee and Winbee. Nothing more to be said, really.

Upa & Rupa

Upa and Rupa are heroic babies from Konami's Famicom platformer "Biomiracle! Boku tte Upa". They're in the SFC version of Gokujou, and all versionf of Jikkyou Oshaberi. He also shows up as a playable character in Wai Wai World 2 for the Famicom.

Dracula & Kid D

Kid Dracula is...well, the Son of Dracula, originating from the playful offshoot of the Castlevania series - known as "Boku Dracula-kun" in Japan and Kid Dracula in America. He's only in the Super Famicom Gokujyou Parodius, and hidden in Oshaberi Parodius.

Memin & Sue

Cute little fairy girls that take the place of Hikaru and Akane in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius. They shoot fruit.

Ivan & Toby

Since Pentarou sits around on a typewriter all through Sexy Parodius, the Penguin role is taken up by these commandos. Their name is a pun in the Iwatobi penguins, which are the type with the enormous eyebrows.

Option & Multiple

Usually resolved to do nothing but follow your ship in the Gradius games, the Option gets a mind of its own in Sexy Parodius. Multiple is its partner, which is what they were called in Salamander/Life Force. Its main ability is to morph into versions of Michael, Koitsu, or the ship from Konami's arcade shooter Thunder Cross. Being that turnabout is fair play, Option uses little Vic Vipers as its options.

Shooting Star & Black Viper

The Shooting Star is piloted by Ace, a character from Twinbee Yahho! Its counterpart, the Black Viper, seems to be entirely original and actually has a slightly different weaponry set.


Parodius (パロディウス) - MSX, PSP (1988)

Japanese MSX Cover

The original MSX Parodius is an entirely different game from all of the rest. While three of the playable characters appear in the arcade game - Tako, the Vic Viper and Pentarou - there are two other players: Goemon, of the Mystical Ninja series, and Popolan of Knightmare games. It suffers the same problem as every other shooter for the MSX - choppy scrolling and movement that make the game more difficult than it need be. And due to the limited color palette, it really lacks a lot of the visual panache that really sets Parodius apart from every other shooter. Still, it has all sorts of crazy uniqueness that you won't see anywhere else in the series, so it's still worth playing just for that. A special edition was included on the Parodius Collection for the PSP that fixes up the scrolling to make it smoother.

These are two of the most interesting bosses. The one of the left actually plays rock-paper-scissors with you. The one on the right is a doll with the face of a "Henohenomoheji" - that is, drawn with Japanese letters. It's often used when drawing scarecrows.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Parodius (MSX)

Parodius (MSX)

Parodius (MSX)


Parodius / Parodius Da! Tako ga Chikyuu o Sukuu (パロディウスだ! 神話からお笑いへ) - Arcade, NES, Game Boy, Super Famicom, PC Engine, X68000, PlayStation, Saturn (1992)

Famicom Cover

European NES Cover

Super Famicom Cover

PC Engine Cover

X68000 Cover

Japanese Game Boy Cover

Arriving on the scene after Gradius 3, Parodius Da! was first released in the arcade (it's subtitle means "From Myth to Laughter", a play on Gradius 3's subtitle, "From Legend to Myth".) The full Japanese title is actually "Parodius Da!", which means something like "It's Parodius!", but most of the time is simply referred to as "Parodius". Featuring nine stages, you piloted one of four characters - Pentarou the penguin, Twinbee, the Vic Viper and Octopus (before they named his Takosuke.) You start off flying through a pirate ship level, and head through a circus, a graveyard, a casino and other bits of wacky places. While it's definitely a solid game, the later titles develop on the humor and some of the levels here are a bit on the dull side. This is the version found on the PSP collection.

The Super Famicom port is almost exactly the same as the arcade game. The SFC version has an exclusive level that takes place in a bathhouse. It also adds an omake mode (dubbed Lollipop in the European release) which is a time-attack bonus level.

The PC Engine port, while not quite as faithful as the SFC version - the screen needs to scroll up and down to fit the playing field, and the music is somewhat downgraded - otherwise is quite excellent. There's an additional strange intro in this version, and the Omake bonus level, while having the same concept as the SFC version, is a completely different stage (it's better too - the SFC version is mostly just empty space with enemies, while this one is quite similar to level 3 in the full game.)

For a port to the NES, Parodius stands up remarkably well. The graphics still manage to look pretty good for the system, despite the usual slowdown and flickering. This actually came out in Europe - although the Vegas girl's outfit was changed significantly. The biggest addition is an entirely new level that takes place in a carnival. Out of all of the console exclusive levels, I'd have to say this is probably the best one, especially with the two cool bosses near the end.

Like many Konami games, Parodius also showed up in handheld form for the Gameboy. Although a few stages were cut (there's either total, with a level select that lets you pick up where you want to start), the exclusive stage here is a crystal level vaguely similar to Gradius 2. The end boss is piloted by the brain from Life Force/Salamander, but otherwise it's not a tremendously great level. They also put ages by all of the character on the select screen (Vic Viper sure is old, ain't he?)

There's quite a bit of flicker in here, although it's still playable. And possibly to deal with the blur on the original Gameboy, the speed of your ship is quite slow - you need three Speed Ups before you really can dodge much anything. It was also released in Europe, and rereleased on the Konami Classics 4 compilation pack.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Parodius Da! (Super Famicom)

Parodius Da! (Super Famicom)

Parodius Da! (Super Famicom)

Parodius Da! (PC Engine)

Parodius Da! (Famicom)

Parodius Da! (Famicom)


Comparison Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Characters
Parodius

Page 2:
Gokujou Parodius
Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius
Sexy Parodius

Page 3:
Paro Wars
Bosses Gallery

Back to the Index