Gradius is one of the longest-running franchises in gaming, and it all got its' start with this NES adaptation of a popular arcade entry. Though it is showing some wear, Gradius still offers some solid shooting action.

The game is notable for its' unique powerup system. Unlike most shooters, the powerups don't help you out right away. To get the best weapons, you have to save them up; you can also put on multiple powerups at the same time.

This makes for some very cool firepower you can obtain, but it's also Gradius' biggest flaw. Even with the "Konami code", this is still a tough hop. When you die -- which, believe me, will probably happen often -- you go back to square one, which makes some sections later in the game damn near impossible.

Gradius is also sorely missing a two-player simultaneous mode, and the NES' dreaded slowdown and flickering get annoying after a while. But at the end of the day, if you're craving some hardcore shooting action, you could do a whole lot worse than downloading this game.

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