Parodius (known in-game as Parodius: Tako wa Chikyuu o Sukuu, the sub-title loosely translated to "The Octopus Saves the Earth") is a comedic side-scrolling shoot-'em-up developed and published by Konami for the MSX exclusively in Japan on April 28, 1988.
As the title is a portmanteau of the word "parody" and Konami's shoot-'em-up series Gradius, Parodius spoofs the series with comical enemies (such as penguins) and environments (such as one made up of cakes). It also features use of classical music pieces for the soundtrack, the "Bell Power" system from the TwinBee series, and a new
While the Gradius series' Vic Viper is playable, the game's main protagonist is Tako, an octopus (with attire similar to a Japanese street vendor) who programs dreams. Other playable characters include Penguin from Antarctic Adventure (and its sequel), Goemon (from the Ganbare Goemon series), and Popolon (from the Knightmare series).
The game later received multiple sequels throughout the '90s, including some arcade and international releases. The game itself received a digital re-release in Japan as a Virtual Console title for the Wii (on January 12, 2010) and Wii U (on December 25, 2013). It was also included in some compilations (including the Konami Antiques MSX Collection series and Parodius Portable).
It features the same power-up system as the mainline Gradius games, where players collect capsules and use a dedicated button to choose that power-up based on the seven-step Power Meter.
One new addition is the "roulette capsule", a special version of the normal capsule that activates the Power Meter as a rotating roulette wheel (which is stopped and activated using the Power-Up button). This can be disabled in the options.
- Hayau nande! ("Why so fast!") - "Speed-Up" power-up. Increased movement speed. Can be further upgraded six times for faster speed (although this can make the player character unwieldy).
- Missile! - "Missile" power-up. Adds a missile shot in a downwards arc, which follows the ground until it hits a wall, open space, or an enemy. Can be upgraded for faster shots.
- Uwatsuki double? ("Superscript double?") - "Double" power-up. Adds an additional weapon shot 45-degrees upward. Replaces the "Laser" power-up.
- Oi hi mo anshin ("Safe on many days") - "Laser" power-up. Changes the weapon shot to a longer laser beam. Replaces the "Double" power-up. Can be upgraded for longer beams.
- Bunshin no jutsuya! ("Art of Altercation!") - "Option" power-up. Adds a invincible helper that follows the same path as the player character, firing the same weaponry. Can be further upgraded to add an additional helper.
- Nan~ ya sore! ("What~ That!") - Removes all power-ups. While it's considered a "power-down", it's useful if too many Speed-Up power-ups are taken.
- Barrier! - "Barrier" power-up. Adds a front-facing shield that blocks shots from the front. Destroyed after eight hits.
One new addition is the Bell Power system from the TwinBee series, where some enemies drop bells that can be changed by shooting it and can be collected to gain a temporary power-up:
- Yellow - Clears the screen of enemies.
- White - Gain the ability to warp between the left and right parts of the playfield.
- Light Green - Gain the ability to warp between the top and bottom parts of the playfield.
- Light Blue - Stops the movement of all enemies and enemy bullets.
- Purple - Fires a more powerful horizontal attack.
- Blue - Become invincible against most enemies and enemy bullets.
- Green - Fires an upwards laser.
- Red - Fires a laser that gradually expands.