In the golden age of video games, taking the piss out of another series was more refreshing than a pint of (insert favourite tipple here).
Space Invaders '95: Attack of the Lunar Loonies, Alex Kidd in Shinobi World and Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-kun are great examples.
Less obvious is Star Parodier on PC Engine CD, as Kaneko made fun of Hudson's Star Soldier series.
However, none have shit on the absurd grandaddy...
Unless stated, all screens from the arcade.
Largely forgotten 1988 MSX original was an experiment, but does include Moai head.
Ha ha ha!
Please strap yourself in for full-on geekery.
I'm so good, you'd think I was in cahoots with Konami.
"I am strong!"
Worst. Statement. Ever.
1988 sequel Gradius II recycled spin-off meat.
Otomedius, (or Gorgeous 360 port) was another spin-off and Excellent sequel came exclusively on Microsoft's last gen machine in 2011.
As for frivolity.
Famicom equivalent wore jacket and striped pants.
Jumping to 1992 Game Boy port.
Gradius III (1989)
Boss from unique bathroom stage in 1992 SNES version is probably another reference.
The painting Bubbles by John Everett Millais was used to advertise Pears soap.
Presenting what's best described as a power-up cushion.
Jagger Froid's brain adopts the novel approach of attacking via roulette system in SNES classic Contra III: The Alien Wars (or whatever the fuck you wanna call it).
If spiked cube is chosen - this happens.
In principle, I'm invincible.
Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius (Super Famicom)
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES)
Ganbare Goemon 2 (Super Famicom)
Here's somebody bound to make an Impact.
Is this theatre?
Noh, surely not.
Pop 'n Twinbee (SNES)
Don't find this funny?
Then cheer up you miserable bastards.
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Same thing, different boss.
Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Sprite is bizarrely taken from the Famicom port, where protagonist was renamed Lee.
Why? Who knows?