Best graphic configuration settings for Gradius V on PCSX2

Gradius V is a gorgeous looking game. The development team at Treasure outdid themselves revamping the style of the series into a modern looking experience. Past games in the series were more inclined to a darker “this is pitch black space” kind of style for most of the game, and this game is a little brighter and more colorful on that aspect. Either way, when playing the game on an emulator it can feel a little outdated if we don’t have the best graphic configuration settings, and the hardware to support that, so let’s get right into that.

This is going to be rather straightforward, because there’s not too much we can do in terms of settings, but if you don’t really know what you’re messing with when configuring an emulator, this guide might help you get a much better experience on the game than leaving everything on the default configuration.

This is how the game looks on PCSX2 1.4.0 with the default emulator configuration for the Video Plugin with the Direct3D11 (Hardware) renderer at a 640×447 resolution. It’s not like, horrible, but it could look a little sharper when blown up to full screen state:

Gradius V on the default graphic settings for PCSX2
Gradius V on the default graphic settings for PCSX2

First, this is the hardware configuration that this is being tested on. It’s somewhat high-end, because we want to achieve at least 60 fps easily:

  • CPU: Core i7-8700K @ 3.70 GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Monitor resolution: 3440×1440

So, with that hardware, the best looking configuration that I’ve managed to get, is this one:

Gradius V on the best graphic settings for PCSX2
Gradius V on the best graphic settings for PCSX2

To achieve this, just go to the Config – Video (GS) – Plugin Settings… menu:

And choose these settings:

You basically only have to change the Internal resolution to 8x Native, and the Antisotropic Filtering to 16x, and that will make the textures to be a lot sharper, and the 3D models much better defined. Make sure you are rendering with your GPU to get the most frames per second possible.

So that’s it! If you have a better recommendation for configuration of this game, let us know in the comments, feedback is always welcome. Oh and remember… YOU NEED SOME PRACTICE!

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How to play Gradius III for SNES without slowdown issues

Gradius III for SNES can now be played without slowdowns

Gradius III for SNES is an awesome game, but its critics always had the same thing to say about it: it has some serious slowdown issues. It has never really been a problem for most fans, I personally find them great because they make the game a lot easier. But there’s no denying that this was not the original design meant by its developers, because it’s caused by hardware limitations and not intentional CPU throttling, and it would be nice to see how different the game would have been without these issues.

Well, Vitor Vilela, a friendly hacker from Brazil, has managed to patch the game in order to make use of the Super Accelerator 1 (SA1) chip and stop these slowdowns from happening, given that this chip is about four times faster than the normal SNES CPU (10.74 MHz vs 3.58 MHz). This is the same chip that Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars uses, for example.

Here’s a useful comparison of the original version vs the hacked fixed version of Gradius III:

Gradius III original vs SA-1 enhanced version

How to play this version of the game?

It’s very easy, actually, if you already have a ROM copy of the game available (you’ll have to find that yourself, though).

First you have to go to this link and download the TUSH utility to make sure the game is not headered (don’t worry too much about what this means). Run it and find your Gradius 3 ROM file. If it says the ROM is headered, just click OK and then click on the Remove Header button.

Now you need to download the patch from Vitor’s repository (the patch.bps file), here.

Next, download the beat utility from this link, run it and click on the Apply Patch button. It will first ask you for the patch.bps file, then for the Gradius 3.smc ROM file and finally for a place to save your newly patched file.

You’re done! This part was a classic slowdown scene right here, going on smooth as silk now:

Gradius III first stage with no more slowdown on the big dragon scene
Gradius III first stage with no more slowdown on the big dragon scene

Now enjoy your ROM file with Snes9x or get it inside your SNES Mini and play the new Gradius III experience. A heed of warning, though, it’s a lot harder on the parts that used to have a slowdown! It was a nice handicap, actually…