How to Play
Waves of enemies form in front of you. Destroy them to progress. Waves gradually become more difficult, with newer and different enemy types that each have their own attack pattern.
Controller / Arrow Keys - Move the ship in any direction
(O) button / Z key - shoot your main weapon
(X) button / X key - shoot your spread weapon (requires energy)
Defeated enemies will occasionally drop items. It's highly recommended that you grab these.
Collect Hearts to replenish health.
Collect Batteries to charge your Spread Weapon and Deflector Shield.
Collecting Hearts at full health or Batteries at full power awards bonus points.
The more Batteries you collect, the more energy your ship will have. This gives you a better Deflector Shield and a stronger Spread Weapon. Using your Spread Weapon grants you a second of invulnerability but also depletes your energy (and so reduces the power of the Deflector Shield). You are on your own to figure out the right balance of how much offensive and defensive power you want!
Enemies have several forms of attack. All can shoot. Some shots are aimless, some will go straight for you. Other shots will simply be fired in all directions!
Enemies will also randomly do a second attack, which varies even more than the types of shots they have. Some enemies simply fly downward, some fly at angles, some will target your ship and fly directly at you! Others will simply spin or bounce around. Any enemy that leaves the screen without being destroyed will return to its place in the original formation it first arrived in. You must destroy every enemy to progress!
This is a typical shooter / Cherry Bomb knockoff. You encounter waves of enemies, you destroy them, you move on. I'm not that creative or that good of a programmer, but I still tried to make this version of the game "my" version. I kept running into token limits with PICO-8 as I added more and more functionality, and would end up just removing the troublesome code since I couldn't figure out how to do some of the things I wanted.
Graphics were hand-drawn by me, with influence from other games (such as Galaga).
I tried to style and color the various elements (such as items and enemies) to make it easier to quickly distinguish between them. Background stars aren't too bright, health is red, energy is blue, enemy shots are green. I made sure that the enemies' bullets were bright and easy to see. Enemy bullets (green) should be easy to tell apart from item drops such as Hearts (red) or Batteries (blue).
I tried to make the game play a bit differently from Cherry Bomb and other clones, and to reduce the difficulty so that it may be easier for a wider audience to complete.
Play-testing was done with fake08 on an RG35XX. I had friends and family play-test to try and understand ways to improve their experience.
Most sound-effects are original, but the music is not.
Title: Gradius, Stage 1 music
Game start: Xevious Intro Fanfare
Wave start: Gradius Insert Coin
Boss Music: drum beat taken from Cherry Bomb
Game Over: Yoshi's Safari
You Win: Gradius 3 Title Screen
Special thanks to Lazy Devs Academy on YouTube.
Denote (MIDI to PICO-8)
* token optimization
* removed unused code
* improved star background updates
* tweaked sprite colors
* "good enough" release