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Video Game / Parodius

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Are you sure you're sober when playing this?
Oh, we laugh at this game! Gradius is fine, but this is nicer!
Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy (European release of Parodius Da!)

Parodius is pretty much Gradius on acid. Leave your common sense at the door.

The series proper spans five games:

  • Parodius ~Tako wa Chikyū o Sukū~translation  (1988, for MSX)
  • Parodius Da! ~Shinwa kara Owarai~translation  (1990, for arcade, SNES, PC-Engine, NES, Game Boy) — Released in Europe as Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy.
  • Gokujō Parodius ~Kako no Eikou wo Motomete~translation  (1994, for arcade and Super Famicom) — Released in Europe as Fantastic Journey.
  • Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodiustranslation  (1995, for Super Famicom, PlayStation, Sega Saturn)
  • Sexy Parodius (1996, for arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn)

A Turn-Based Strategy spinoff, Paro Wars, was released in 1997 for the PlayStation. There was also a Parodius Drama CD, and various pachinko and pachi-slot games.

Parodius plays much like the Gradius series, but much Fluffier and Nuttier. Many of the characters are drawn from other Konami games, including the Vic Viper (whose Option is itself playable in Sexy Parodius), Twinbee, Goemon, Pentarou the Penguin,note  Kid Dracula, and Upa the Baby Prince.

Characters original to the series have included:

  • Tako (Octopus), Takosuke, Takohiko & Belial: A family of octopuses.
  • Hikaru & Akane: Torpedo-riding girls in Playboy Bunny outfits.
  • Mambo & Samba: Laser-shooting fish.
  • Michael & Gabriel: Angelic pigs.
  • Mike & Ran: Neutered cats.
  • Sue & Memim: A pair of faeries.
  • Koitsu, Aitsu, Soitsu & Doitsu: Stick men riding paper airplanes.
  • Ivan & Toby: More penguins with Unusual Eyebrows.

The weapons and powerups are largely derived from Gradius, Salamander and Twinbee, but later games have characters equipped with weapons modeled after Konami's lesser-known Shoot Em Ups, such as Thunder Cross, Axelay and XEXEX, and from other shooters such as Darius, R-Type Leo and Truxton II. The enemies are all over the place, but if there are two common themes, it's penguins and moai.

Compare Harmful Park and Boogie Wings, similarly psychedelic, insanity-fueled arcade shumps released in the 90s after then success of Parodius.

No one ever reads this line:

  • Affectionate Parody: of Gradius, hence the name.
    • It's Parodius! From Myth To Laughter shamelessly uses a remix of the attract mode music... and some versions outright borrow the entire attract mode, from Gradius II.
    • Sometimes of other properties: the Moai Battleship is most likely a parody of R-Type's infamous huge spaceship from the 3rd level.
    • The entirety of Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius runs with this on other Konami's popular properties at the time.
  • Announcer Chatter: Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius has Tako from early Parodius-games featured as the game's resident narrator, who won't shut up about anything you do. This is a nod to Konami's Live sports game series from that time: International Superstar Soccer and Live Powerful Pro Baseball.
  • Art Shift: In Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius, the stages themed after Xexex and Lethal Enforcers use this.
  • Ass Kicks You: Happens to Takosuke at the end of Sexy Parodius; he tries to escape past Kaori who sits on him.
  • Attack Drone: Well, many of the characters here have options. Although in the last game, you can play as Option itself.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: There's usually an arrow with the word "SHOOT" as an indication for where to shoot to cause damage. Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius has the announcer point it out if you can't get the hint from that.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • In Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius, giant versions of Hikaru and Akane become the level 2 boss. Also, Rika Chichibinita, the giant Vegas dancer, in almost every game save the MSX Parodius and Sexy Parodius. You also fight giant mermaids, eagles, octopodes, pandas, etc.
    • If you snag a Green Bell powerup, your character is temporarily enlarged and made absolutely invincible. Although your weapons are disabled, you can simply fly into everything to inflict very heavy Collision Damage.
  • Back from the Dead: Even though you clearly see him dead in a previous game, Penguinofsky III, the penguin captain, comes back in Sexy Parodius as part of a boss rush.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The treasure box at the end of Fantastic Journey.
    • The final, er, "boss" in Sexy Parodius doesn't get fought.
  • Baku: The Final Boss is a baku named Bug (a Punny Name that works better in Japanese).
  • Battleship Raid: With moais and all.
  • Belly Dancer: Chichibinta Rika (this series's version of the endgame Shadow Dancer robots). You have to fly either between her arms or Between Her Legs to survive.
  • Blush Sticker: Archangel pigs Michael and Gabriel have them.
  • Boss Warning Siren: At one point in Fantastic Journey, the player encounters the Moai Battleship, with its placement randomly determined inbetween two of the regular stages. When the player is about to encounter it after clearing one of the stages, its own music theme plays instead of the chosen player character's theme and the message WARNING flashes on the screen.
  • Bowdlerise: The NES/Famicom version of Parodius Da! censors the burlesque dancer boss, Chichibinta, into a much more modestly-dressed circus ringleader named Miss Mishitarina.
  • Call-Back: The subtitle for the second Parodius game, From Myth To Laughter, is a follow-on from the subtitle of Gradius III, which was From Legend To Myth.
  • Camera Abuse: The ending of It's Parodius!/Parodius: Non-Sense Fantasy.
  • The Can Kicked Him: In Sexy Parodius, the Boss of the Bathhouse stage is a giant penguin with a helmet made from a toilet; he attacks by shooting giant bubbles from it.
  • Comeback Mechanic: You're blazing through the level, sporting a variety of weapons and powerups, and suddenly you make a mistake! You crash into something or are shot down. Since gathering all of those goodies to get back up to speed is a pain, the game takes some pity on you by having your exploding ship release a whole set of Bells upon death —which usually contain at least one Green Bell, a White one, or both, both of which are very destructive and confer either invincibility or the ability to absorb shots. You may also get a mercy Speed Up to help you catch up.
  • Continuity Nod: the second level of Gokujō Parodius (a.k.a. Fantastic Journey) has you going underwater at one point. There you will find the corpses of the Pirate Penguin, his crew, and the remains of the Cat Battleship MK I, who were the first boss and miniboss in Non-Sense Fantasy, respectively.
  • Cool Old Guy: According to Non-Sense Fantasy, Vic Viper is 58 years old, and his upgrades are pretty average compared with the other characters, but he is also the only character that appears from the first Parodius to Sexy Parodius.
  • Cool Shades: The front face of the Moai Battleship likes wearing them.
  • Cute 'em Up: It's Gradius re-skinned to be as cute and silly as possible.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Many of the giant lady bosses are defeated this way, their clothes burned off right before they cover their chests with an arm and fall off the screen.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Fantastic Journey. After several stages of wackyness, you have finally defeated the Octo-Queen. You find the treasure you've been looking for...only to find that there is a sentient classic cartoon bomb that has taken the place of the treasure. Its fuse has already burned to its last moments, and as a result, the dance club base is utterly destroyed by the ensuing explosion. During the credits, enjoy watching your character float amongst the shattered remains of the club you just raided (and you can find it funny somehow, as you can see bras floating around). However, that doesn't stop you from entering the Special Stage.
  • Dynamic Difficulty:
    • Inherited from Gradius. The better you're doing, and the more powerups you have equipped, the less mercy the game will present to you (at least until you're shot down). Then, when you get shot down and lose everything, the game instantly decreases the amounts of foes on-screen and may toss in a few freebies to give you a chance to recover.
    • Often how long you last without dying has a permanent effect on difficulty as well. If you die on the second stage, the game decides that you must be a bad player, and will cap the difficulty fairly low afterwards. You first death on stage 4? The difficulty will climb back up to where it was before afterwards.
  • Eagleland (Flavor 1): Eagle Sabu, a bald eagle dressed as Uncle Sam, serves as a boss in Non-Sense Fantasy.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Intentional due to its ridiculous premise.
  • Expy:
    • The angelic pig Michael has the Wave Laser from Darius 's Silver Hawk note , and Hikaru uses weapons from the Thunder Cross ship. And Ran is R9 Leo. Mambo's Screw Laser resembles that of Anti-Air Laser from RType-series, and also has Search Laser from Xexex.
    • Kid Dracula uses the artillery of the ship from Axelay, another Konami shooter. Upa rains down thunder with loadout from Raiden, while Rupa expertises on the weapons seen in Truxton II.
    • Also, Tako/Octopus has the Salamander configuration, while Pentarou has the Gradius III configuration... heck, almost everybody is probably this in some way or another.
  • Excuse Plot: Most of these games really have no plot to speak of; Sexy Parodius has a weak one, with Takosuke organizing an agency with the characters in the previous games to handle troubles for clients, all of which involve fighting goofy mooks and bosses; does it really matter?
  • Face–Heel Turn: Takosuke in Sexy Parodius does one of these just before the last level in an attempt to escape with all the money you earned in-game. He doesn't get far.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: Parodied (of course) in Non-Sense Fantasy. After having destroyed the Bacterian base, our hero flies at the camera and... smashes the screen! See for yourself!
  • Funny Background Event: Many levels are full of things happening in the background, most of them related to penguins.
  • Giant Woman : The Parodius series loves this trope. There's Chichibinta Rika, who appears in most of the games, the giant mermaid Eliza from Gokujō Parodius, Honey from Parodius Da!, "Enormous Hikaru and Akane" from Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius...
    • Sexy Parodius has no less than four. There's Medusa, Tanuko the Tanuki (whenever it transforms into its female form), Yuko, and the infamous final boss Kaori.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: One serves as the end boss of one of two possible third levels in Sexy Parodius. Of course, given that level pays homage to Castlevania, and who made both, this is a given.
  • Groin Attack: The tanuki boss's secondary weakness in Sexy Parodius; fitting since being a tanuki, he has a ridiculously large nutsack. Seriously, just try and resist doing it to him while he's meditating. I dare you. I double dare you, motherfucker.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Chichibinta Rika is a mid-boss, but still fits. Much like the Shadow Dancer, you can't defeat her; you can only avoid her attempts to crush you.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: Just like in Gradius, too many Speed Ups can make it even harder to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The 16-Bit Block, a Unique Enemy that only shows up near the end of Gokujō Parodius. It's completely impossible to destroy in the few seconds that it appears on screen; it has 65536 HP, and any attack it takes only deals Scratch Damage. The regular enemies it's a Giant Mook of also qualify, save for the one in each set that has only 16 HP instead of 256.
  • Jiggle Physics: Eliza, the giant mermaid; her breasts bounce a lot during boss battles involving her.
  • Karakasa: Parodius Da! has a Mini-Boss that consists of a group of karakasa looping around the screen (parodying Iron Maiden from Gradius III) after it starts to rain in a haunted level.
  • Leitmotif: Most of the ships have their own themes. Additionally, some bosses have theirs too (Hot Lips is always fought to the Can Can).
  • Level Ate: most games have a cake- or candy-themed level.
  • Marshmallow Hell: An actual attack of a boss in Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius. Mind you, the fact that the "chest" consists of two missiles makes it considerably deadlier.
  • Meaningful Name: The game is a parody of Gradius. Hence the portmanteau title, Parodius.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Most certainly intentional. One of the later levels in Non-Sense Fantasy is an icy underwater stage... swarming with tropical-looking fish.
  • Ms. Fanservice: There's Eliza, the bikini-top wearing giant mermaid, there's Chichibinta Rika the giant showgirl, Yuko, a giant woman wearing only a blue sheet, a boss in the Sexy Parodius Boss Rush, and Kaori, a Final Boss who's similar to Yuko. Plus the girls in the cutscenes (one of them shows Hikaru and Akane shampooing each other).
  • Mood Whiplash: The ending of Fantastic Journey. See Downer Ending above to see why.
  • Moon Rabbit: Moon bunny stage!
  • Multiple Endings: Should you fail to beat the last level in Sexy Parodius before the timer runs out, you'll get a bad ending.
  • Nintendo Hard: Just because the games look cute does not mean they are easy.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: As stated below, one of the bosses attacks you with it.
  • Oddball in the Series: Paro Wars, the last game in the series, is a turn-based military strategy game.
  • Opera Gloves: Hikaru and Akane wear them.
  • Orgasmic Combat: The giant medusa Boss in Sexy Parodius is obviously enjoying the battle a little too much.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: A recurring boss in the series is Chichibinta Rika, a giant woman in a Vegas showgirl uniform which parodies the Shadow Dancer.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: A boss is a large mermaid who has attacks like a siren song (which appears as lyrics you can shoot) and making a giant wave with her tail.
  • Playboy Bunnies: Hikaru and Akane.
  • Poison Mushroom: The "!?"/"OH!" powerup, which takes away all your powerups. It mainly exists to turn powerup roulette into Nightmare Fuel.
  • Portmanteau: Parodius = Parody + Gradius
    • Takosuke and Takohiko's name are a portmanteau of the word "tako" (octopus in Japanese) and common endings for Japanese names.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack
    • Most of the background music is based on classical and folk music.
    • Everything else is a remix of Gradius 's soundtracks, such as "Dark Force" (Gradius III 's boss theme) and "Aircraft Carrier" (Gradius I 's boss theme, used for boss rushes) music.
    • And some are from other Konami properties, like the remixes of Castlevania music (mainly from Kid Dracula) and even Brilliant2u DanceDanceRevolution that replaced That's the Way I Like It in the PSP collection.
  • Recurring Boss: If a boss has appeared in the series, chances are that it will show up again in another game. Mind you, not all bosses return ever game. Some are forgotten and not seen again until Konami wakes the hell up and goes back to see what else they made. The Cat Battleship has seen the most appearances, having appeared from Non-Sense Fantasy all the way to Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius!, and that's not even getting into some of the other bosses.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Neutered cats? Bunny girls flying on torpedoes? Using a condom as a shield (for the stick figures on airplanes)? And that's even before getting into the contents of Sexy Parodius.
    • The most blatant example of the trope may be the flashing Moai's from Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius, complete with pixellated genitalia...
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The song that was used originally in the first stage of Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius — "That's the Way (I Like It)", by KC & The Sunshine Band — was changed in the PSP version to the song "Brilliant2U" by Naoki Maeda, presumably to avoid copyright issues, since it's an American song. This happened to other tracks in the collection as well. Prior to it, the PlayStation and Sega Saturn release of Sexy Parodius replaced a arrangement of "El Bimbo" with "Symphony No. 40". The same thing was also done for "In the Mood" and "Mambo No. 5" in Gokujou Parodius, along in Sexy Parodius during Otohime boss battle, "Mayim Mayim" is replaced with "Korobeiniki".
  • Rule of Funny: The games make more sense if you just answer every Fridge Logic question with this trope.
  • Sapient Ship: Vic Viper and Lord British seem to be sapient beings, rather than mere ships with pilots in them. Of course, this being Parodius, this is played up for comedy.
  • School Setting Simulation: One of the stages in Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius is set in a parody of Tokimeki Memorial. Notably, this also is the only stage which, on most versions, has an optional vocal theme.
  • Self-Parody: To Gradius.
  • Shout-Out: Even past the exported characters and Shoot 'Em Up homages. Starting with the third game, many levels have been based on other Konami properties, including but not limited to Tokimeki Memorial, Ganbare Goemon, Lethal Enforcers, Taisen Puzzle Dama, Castlevania, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, and Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu.
  • Spiritual Successor: Otomedius seems to be this, what with two of the Parodius bosses appearing in Otomedius Gorgeous (Eliza the Mermaid and Yoshiko, Empress of Easter Island respectively). Parodius seems to live on through pachinko and pachislot games, however.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Dozens of anime(Fairy Tail being one of the most infamous) and YouTube videos use the "wow" sound effect from Parodius Da!, usually when emphasizing a fanservice scene.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Sue and Memim are these for Hikaru and Akane in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius.
  • Taking You with Me: Decoration Core MK II, or also known as Lips (Stage 5 boss) in Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius tries to do this after defeating it. If you know this is coming, you won't have trouble avoiding it. Of course, one must be careful of suicide bullets too...
  • Talking Poo: You can see a living poo come out of a toilet if you destroy an specific Moai head in the second stage of Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius. It's dressed in a way reminiscent of a certain magical girl show.
  • True Final Boss: The Mecha Penguin, fought at the end of the Special Stage in Fantastic Journey.
  • Updated Re-release: A compilation of most of the games (except the Spin-Off Paro Wars) was released for the PSP in 2006. It contained a remake of the MSX original, the PSX version of Jikkyō Oshaberi, and the arcade versions of rest. Due to copyrights involving some of the songs, Konami replaced a few of the tracks with replacement music. There is also a Japan-only compilation of the second and third games, released as Gokujō Parodius DA!!
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: The White Bell temporary powerup equips you with a megaphone, temporarily replacing your weapons. It spits out various nonsense phrases such as "SHAVING IS BORING" that do heavy damage and absorb standard bullets.
    • The mermaid boss in the second stage of Fantastic Journey attacks with laughter.
  • We Help the Helpless: The plot in Sexy Parodius revolves around Takosuke opening an agency to help people in whatever problem they have. In the end, however, Takosuke isn't exactly intent on staying faithful to that.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: After fighting them in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius, Hikaru and Akane return to being playable characters in Sexy Parodius.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Normally, bosses have a pop-up telling you where to shoot. In Sexy Parodius, if you try shooting the tanuki boss in the groin, it tells you NOT to shoot there, since it's the wrong type of weak spot...
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The final boss in most games is this. This is given since this is a parody of Gradius, after all.