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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 NES Japan Title screen
Gradius NES The orange "options" provide more firepower
Gradius NES Collect powerups to get better weapons
Gradius NES Starting a new game

Promo Images

Gradius Screenshot
Gradius Screenshot
Gradius Screenshot
Gradius Screenshot

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

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Critic Reviews

The Video Game Critic Apr 09, 2000 A- 91
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Nov, 1987 9 out of 10 90
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) May, 1989 874 out of 1000 87
1UP! May 16, 2006 87 out of 100 87
Power Play Mar, 1989 85 out of 100 85
Video Games Mar, 1991 84 out of 100 84
Retro Game Age Feb 06, 2012 7 out of 10 70
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Dec, 1988 8.4 out of 12 70 Mar, 2012 B- 67
Defunct Games Sep 20, 2009 C 50


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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

Related Web Sites

Servo (57406) added Gradius (NES) on Sep 28, 2002
Other platforms contributed by Quapil (4826), Corn Popper (69396), CrankyStorming (3011), 666gonzo666 (61597), is_that_rain_or_tears (658), Oyn (2701), Sciere (506647), Kabushi (208364), Martin Smith (66812), Terok Nor (26592) and 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60792)