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What happens when you combine sex and a shmup? You get Sexy Parodius, the fifth game in the Parodius series of games which were only released in Japan. The games are parodies of the Gradius series. Developed and published by Konami, Sexy Parodius was released as an arcade game in March, 1996. It was released for the PlayStation and Saturn in November of that same year and it was released for PlayStation Portable in January, 2007. Jeremy bought a copy for the Saturn complete-in-box for around seventy dollars and that’s the version we played for this review. Since it is a Japanese game, we used an Action Replay to play it and, no, we did not cheat.
There is some kind of plot in Sexy Parodius and there are what I’ll call cut scenes in between stages that explain what’s going on. You can kind of make out what’s happening just by watching them. We did look up a plot summary. A character named Takosuke runs some kind of agency that helps clients and hired a penguin named Pentaro as his assistant. He also hired workers to solve the problems and these workers are the playable characters. That’s pretty much it.
Sexy Parodius supports up to two players, there’s eight difficulty modes, and each player has their own set of lives. You can change the amount of lives, if you want your power ups to roulette, and if you want your power ups auto selected, semi auto selected, or if you want to select them manually. The game is a side-scrolling shmup. There’s multiple characters to choose from which fly their own ships and have their own weapons. The only character or ship we are familiar with is Vic Viper but there’s a decent roster of silly characters and you should check them all out to see which one you like best. When you get hit, you die, lose any powerups you’ve acquired, and release a bunch of bells. If you lose all your lives, you can continue but your score will reset.
Certain defeated enemies will drop powerup capsules and bells. When you acquire a red powerup capsule, one of your powerups is highlighted in your powerup bar. The next red capsule you collect highlights the next powerup. If you have your powerup option set to manual, you can select the highlighted powerup whenever you want. Blue powerup capsules clear the screen of weak enemies. Bells are like temporary powerups. The blue bells are like screen clearing bombs. Yellow bells grant you points and the value increases if you collect them in succession. The green bells make you large and invincible for a brief time which is extremely helpful. A red bell grants you the Kiku Beam which is a vertical beam that can block enemies and projectiles. Purple bells turn all weak enemies into powerup capsules and white bells summon Alex who can die after losing all his HP. Alex is like a side kick that will collect items and kill enemies. When playing with a buddy, if both characters are near each other, some kind of super shot begins to fire.
The game does have multiple endings and the ending you see will depend on your path through the missions or stages. Several missions include what I’ll call objectives to complete. If you complete the objective, the mission will be considered successful. If you fail to complete the objective, you’ll fail the mission. You’ll have to kill a specific amount of enemies, collect a certain amount of coins, and in one mission, shoot the clothes off women. Whether you succeed or fail, you’ll still progress but the outcome determines what your next mission or stage will be. If you manage to succeed in all missions, you’ll see the good ending and get to play through a special stage. The stages do vary in theme and each stage contains unique enemies and hazards. You’ll have to avoid walls, there are maze-like areas, waterfalls can push you downwards, and in one stage, you can destroy columns to cause platforms to drop.
Enemies will come flying at you, they’ll fire projectiles, some walk along the ground, and some are attached to surfaces. You’ll be attacked from all directions but to be honest, this is not a very difficult game. Not as difficult as Gradius, at least. Even after ramping the difficulty all the way up, it’s not super challenging. We did die often but not every five seconds. There is a boss at the end of every stage and they all have attack patters which are easy to memorize. You can shoot one boss in the balls to stop him from attacking. Some bosses let out a sexual moan when they take damage. Like everything else in this game, the bosses range from oddly sexual to silly.
Sexy Parodius is a sexy looking game. It’s filled with plenty of color, details, and excellent parallax scrolling backgrounds. You’ll fly past women in bathtubs, you can see what appears to be a naked woman in the background of one stage, and the sprites are well designed and very well animated. The soundtrack is full of catchy tunes, many of which will probably sound familiar. That’s because the songs are arrangements of various existing songs like Can-Can, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Vampire Killer from Castlevania, Symphony No. 5, and several others. Most of the sound effects are typical with a dash of sexy moans and groans thrown in. On the technical side, the game ran great. We encountered no issues.
We definitely had fun with Sexy Parodius. But the real question is it actually sexy? Sure, why not. It’s like sex but without the physical effort. Yeah, not really. It’s not porn but it’s got boobs. If anything, it’s weird. It’s a weird game, no doubt. The sexy comical stuff gives it a ton of charm but if you were strip all that out, it’s still a solid shmup. It’s a good game, gameplay wise. It’s a bit on the short side but the multiple paths and endings do give the game some replay value. It’s also a very accessible shmup and not brutally difficult even on the highest difficulty.
We would absolutely recommend Sexy Parodius to fans of shmups and fun. It’s weird as hell but it’s also silly and ridiculous. If you’re a fan of the Gradius series, you really should check this out. Although, if you’re looking for a challenge, you may be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a fun and somewhat odd shmup, Sexy Parodius may be just what you’re looking for. Ultimately, Sexy Parodius is the sexiest shmup we’ve ever played.