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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 MSX Intro screen
Gradius Commodore 64 A bullet just barely misses your ship!
Gradius TurboGrafx-16 Avoid the mountain face
Gradius Amstrad CPC Level 1

Alternate Titles

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

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

This is how to make shoot-em-up games (v1.5) MSX Wertzui (187)

Critic Reviews

Computer Gamer MSX Nov, 1986 19 out of 20 95
All Game Guide Arcade 1998 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 Sep, 1990 89 out of 100 89
Computer and Video Games (CVG) ZX Spectrum Sep, 1990 87 out of 100 87
All Game Guide TurboGrafx-16 1998 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Your Sinclair ZX Spectrum Jun, 1987 8 out of 10 80
Commodore Force Commodore 64 Aug, 1993 78 out of 100 78
The Games Machine (UK) NES Apr, 1989 76 out of 100 76
Nintendo Life Wii Jan 09, 2007 7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars 70 Wii Mar 12, 2007 3 out of 5 60


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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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