After last week’s two dismal releases, Urban Champion and Baseball, Nintendo is bringing three solid titles to the Wii. Konami’s Gradius is out for 500 points. This is the NES version and not the arcade release as seen in Gradius Portable for the PSP. Also this week North America is getting two firsts: Soldier Blade and Dungeon Explorer. Soldier Blade was previously mentioned in Japan’s January line up, but no date was give. We’re going to get a shot at playing it first. Dungeon Explorer comes intact with up to five people playing it at the same time. If I were only getting one release this week, Dungeon Explorer is my pick. It’s a party game and a something that will keep you busy for more than ten minutes. See full descriptions of the three games past the break.

Gradius(R) (NES(R), 1-2 players, 500 Wii Points): Across the galaxy, there exists a distant planet known as Gradius.  Gradius’ peaceful existence has been brought to an end by an intense space invasion by a race known as the Bacterion.  To save the planet, the hyperspace fighter Vic Viper has been deployed to fight the Bacterion invasion.  Players pilot the Vic Viper through seven stages, shooting and dodging through deadly obstacles, while using various power-ups, including missiles, lasers, options and shields.  The Vic Viper’s target is the enemy fortress, Xaerous.  The only way to end the war is to plunge deep through the enemy forces and destroy its very core.

 

Soldier Blade(R) (TurboGrafx16, 1 player, 600 Wii Points): A new shooter in the "Star Soldier" tradition.  Players play as an SIA (Special Interception Airforce) pilot flying the heavy assault fighter "Soldier Blade."  Players face the Zeograd invasion force with weapon attacks that change each time they grab a power-up item.  Players can unleash three different kinds of attack depending on the color of the power-up item.  New features, such as the "Gunbody" option for avoiding enemy attacks and the "Burst Out" system (which has a different effect depending on the power-up level), add a strategic

element that requires players to make snap decisions about which items to grab and when to use special attacks.  Awesome boss battles await players at the end of each operation.  Playing in "CHALLENGE" mode requires players to try to get as many points as they can in a limited amount of time.

 

Dungeon Explorer(TM) (TurboGrafx16, 1-5 players, 600 Wii Points): Dungeon Explorer is a multiplayer action/role-playing game where up to five players can play at the same time.  The story takes place in underground dungeons.  Players can choose from eight different character types: Fighter, Thief, Warlock, Witch, Bishop, Elf, Bard or Knome.  Depending on the character, the types of magic, attack strength and movement will all vary.  To survive, players must know all about their enemies’ weaknesses.  Players also must know about the special attributes of each magic spell and use them to their greatest advantage.  In team-play games, working together is the key to victory.  Any combination of Wii Remotes and Nintendo GameCube controllers can be used in multiplayer games.

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