Hands-On With The Girl Ships Of Otomedius Excellent

Konami offered a single level's worth of its next great titillating side-scrolling shoot 'em up, Otomedius Excellent, at this year's Tokyo Game Show. Being a fan of Gradius-style gameplay and cleavage, we had to go hands on.

Otomedius Excellent is the third entry in Konami's moe perversion of the Gradius and Parodius series, featuring even more girls-as-spaceships fighting enemy girls-as-spaceships. The gameplay is very much Gradius Lite, a simpler, easier, less bullet hell-filled shooting action. It's colorful, cute and dripping with fan service.

The opening level of Otomedius Excellent is almost depressingly simple. Standard Gradius formation ships enter the screen from the right. Some enemies drop power ups, letting the player upgrade his ship-girl, adding faster ship movement, missiles, lasers and options. If you've ever played a Gradius game, you're familiar with the weapon upgrade options offered by this version of Otomedius.

What you might not be familiar with is Otomedius Excellent's extended power-up options. Players can level up the power of their missiles, double shot bullets and lasers, similar in style to how previous Gradius series games let players level up their speed and option count. A level two laser shot is incredibly powerful, making scrap of bad guys quickly.

Otomedius Excellent's first level is all blue skies and blue waters, cute mechanical ships flying at the player, but not too many bullets. As the boss approaches, the Vic Viper inspired gal-ship, Aoba Anoa, rises into the clouds to battle Neko Sancho and here Mirrored Core ship.

Neko Sancho is pirate girl dressed in a bikini that shows copious underboob. I guess that's appropriate attire for commanding a standardized Gradius core ship. The boss battle was simple and familiar. Blast through a series of mirrors that guard the ship's central core, then shoot the core. The Mirrored Core's volley of bullets was not impressive, but it did toss out two Options that fired at Aoba a few times. The boss battle lasts no longer than 15 seconds when lightly powered up.

Otomedius Excellent looks like more of the same cute shoot 'em up action the spin-off series is known for, a focus that feels more on busty character design and welcoming visuals than hardcore Gradius-style gameplay. Konami is releasing Otomedius Excellent in Japan in 2010. Konami of America has plans to publish the game in the U.S., but has not provided a release date.

If this trailer, which is very arguably not safe for work, is something you enjoy, you're probably going to dig Otomedius Excellent.