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The people of Gradius are in trouble. The ameoboid Bacterions have launched an all out attack against the planet, and it's up to you to fly into battle and save them. Along the way you'll be able to power up your ship with hyper speed, force fields, lasers, missiles, double beam cannons and more to help you battle.

Gradius is a side-scrolling shooter. Shooting certain enemies will leave a power up pod behind which can be collected to add more power to your ship. Each level features a wide variety of enemies trying to stop you, with a large boss at the end. Gameplay is for one player or two players alternating.


Gradius TurboGrafx-16 An early wave
Gradius Sharp X1 Aha, so you're the Brain behind it all!
Gradius Arcade Maze
Gradius Arcade Stage 5 "Tentacle"

Alternate Titles

  • "宇宙巡航机" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "Nemesis" -- Game Boy / European Arcade & Computer title
  • "グラディウス" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

a fun action game that got rave reviews at the time Game Boy Gothicgene (83)
This is how to make shoot-em-up games (v1.5) MSX Wertzui (156)

The Press Says

Computer and Video Games (CVG) TurboGrafx-16 Feb, 1992 92 out of 100 92
The Video Game Critic NES Apr 09, 2000 A- 91
Commodore User Commodore 64 Mar, 1987 9 out of 10 90
Power Play NES Mar, 1989 85 out of 100 85
Video Games Game Boy Sep, 1991 83 out of 100 83
VideoGame Game Boy Jul, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Your Sinclair ZX Spectrum Jun, 1987 8 out of 10 80
Quebec Gamers NES Mar 07, 2007 7.9 out of 10 79 Wii Mar 12, 2007 3 out of 5 60
Tilt ZX Spectrum Jul, 1987 8 out of 20 40


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1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Gradius appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Arcade version

The coin-op arcade version of this game was such a success, rumor has it that it caused a coin shortage in Japan.

Konami Code

The NES version was the first game to use the famous Konami Code.

BBC Micro conversion

A & B Computing reported in 1987 about a BBC Micro port that was developed, but never finished. The programmer was later revealed to be Kenton Price.

NES version

In the arcade game, players could carry up to four options. Due to technical limits of the NES, here they can only have two.

X68000 supplement

Gradius was bundled with the X68000 computer in Japan, which enforces its status as a "killer app".


  • Power Play
    • 1987 - #3 Best C64 Game '87
    • Issue 01/1990 - Best Nintendo Game in 1989
Information also contributed by Игги Друге, Dracula Marth and Maw

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