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If you're relatively new to gaming, chances are you've never had the pleasure of jamming a one-man spaceship through an endless ocean of alien monstrosities. Back in the day, the shooter genre could define a system. R-Type, Viewpoint, Gaiares - each exploded a mass of laser-blasting baddies on the screen at once, all in an attempt to stop your one-man mission to save the universe.
But they all owe allegiance to Gradius, the king of scrolling shooters. Its customizable battleship, the Vic Viper, gives you complete control of your armament. Before you head out on your mission, you choose a bar of sci-fi weapons - the further right you move along that bar, the better the weapon is. To reach those cutting-edge goodies, you gotta constantly blow up enemies and grab power-up icons that give you access to lasers, force fields and floating, shooting helper blobs called "options."
It may sound kinda complicated, but as a shooter, this is as simple as gaming can get. The screen moves right, always. You move the ship around, bang on the fire button and dodge dragons made out of fire, dogs comprised of sand and a million other bullet-spitting things. You either keep up, maxing-out the Vic Viper, or you die. Fast.
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