Parodius is one of the most widely ported Konami shmups; the original Parodius appeared on everything from the MSX to the Super Nintendo, each port being slightly different. Not counting these, there are four in the series:

Parodius
Sexy Parodius (Parodius 2)
Gossip Parodius (Parodius 3)
Parodius 4

All but P4 are available on the Super Famicom, the Japanese SNES. The first Parodius also made an English appearance in the United Kingdom. P4 is on the Sony Playstation, along with Parowars, which is a strategy game featuring Parodius characters.

Hunting down a good SNES emulator such as ZSNES and the Parodius games is highly recommended if you like shmups; finding the original cartridgess and a converter even more so.

Aside from making fun of Gradius and other Konami games, Parodius has its own "traditions". Frex:

- In every game, there is a stage with a showgirl. You cannot kill her, but must pass through her legs. In the second game, the showgirl is two screens in height; in Parodius 3, she is part of a feudal-era Japan stage and turned into a geisha.

- Penguins figure very heavily into every game, as do whacked interpretations of Gradius "boss" characters.

The first Parodius offered the following "ships": the Vic Viper from Gradius, the boxing glove equipped Twinbee from Pop'n Twinbee, a blue penguin that shoots bullets from its beak (named Pentaru), and a dark pink octopus (Takosuke). Later permutations allowed you to play as a stickman riding a paper airplane (Koitsu), a flying pig (Micheal), a show girl (Hikaru), a pink penguin (Hanako, a girl, naturally), the baby hero from Biomiracle Bokutte Upa, Goeman from the Mystical Ninja series, and so on. All of them have different weapon upgrades, though they all start out with a single bullet-type weapon and their first upgrade is always "speed up!". Gameplay combines the weapon system from Gradius with the bell system from Pop'n Twinbee (see that node for more).

The music in Parodius falls into two distinct catergories: humorous remixes of Gradius songs, and hyperactive versions of classical music, jazz standards, etc. The Gradius remixes usually figure in during the prefaces to the levels, during which you travel through a star field and try to grab as many power ups as possible by shooting the conviently offered enemies. Then the background color will shift, and suddenly you're no longer in space; the The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy or The Stars and Stripes Forever is blaring in high pitched, synthesized glory and there are crying penguins to kill!

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