Nemesis 2

aka: Gradius 2
Moby ID: 19553
MSX Specs

Description official description

In the year 6664 Dr. Venom, the director of the Space Science Agency, was exiled to the planet Sard for his involvement in a failed rebellion and illegal scientific activities. One year later, he joined forces with the Bacterion invaders, escaped Sard, and took control of the space surrounding the planet Gradius. In 6666, the local government sends Colonel James Burton on the newest hyperspace fighter known as Metalion. The goal is clear: stop Dr. Venom and the Bacterion army before they conquer the planet.

Nemesis 2 (Gradius 2 in Japan) is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up. The gameplay is for the most part similar to that of Gradius. The player-controlled ship can alternate between three main weapons: Missile, Double, and Laser. Extra weapons such as various types of lasers, napalm missiles, reflex ring, and back beam can be collected as power-ups and equipped. In addition, special power-ups can be acquired, their effects ranging from slowing down enemies to turning the Metalion into an invincible drill-like machine for a brief amount of time. Boss battles are followed by optional mini-stages, which grant the player new weapons if completed successfully.


  • グラディウス2 - Japanese spelling
  • 宇宙巡航机II - Chinese spelling (simplified)

Groups +



Credits (MSX version)

23 People (18 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Game Design
Programming Director
Main Programmer
Art Director
Sound Director
Manual Director
Special Thanks to
  • Room 1001
  • Room 1005
  • Room 1007
[ full credits ]



Average score: 76% (based on 2 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 12 ratings with 1 reviews)

Execution is everything

The Good
For such a primitive-looking shooter, the graphics are decent. I can forgive the single-color enemies that appear often, given the hardware limitations of the system at the time. The backgrounds have a nice amount of detail, gradient shadows, and even some animation, such as pods rising out of the ground, giant flames spewing red-hot stones and cilia on the floor and ceiling of the living planet, wiggling back and forth. In addition, the game runs with several objects on the screen at a time, and although it does cause some slowdown, it's impressive to see running at all.

The level design in this game is actually pretty creative. My personal favorites are the Ancient Planet, the Living Planet and the Fortress Planet. They allow the player to change the environment by shooting away at certain structures, allowing for easier ways of progressing. It was so cool to see the ship shoot away at the columns, allowing the platforms they support to fall down, opening up a passageway to the next part of the level.

Another aspect that I find very interesting and unique is the obtainable weapons. You start off with the standard loadout, but if you kill the bosses within a short enough time limit (30 seconds) you can enter their core before they blow up and take a powerup or two from within them. These are usually just upgrades to weapons you already have, but some of them are entirely new weapons, however they're not quite as good as the upgrades.

And on top of all of this, the soundtrack to this game is very good! It's not quite as pounding or epic as I think it could have been, but the instrumentation, rhythms and melodies all flow very well into one another. It also helps that the Konami SCC chip is one of my personal favorite retro sound chips, creating a crunchy, yet still audibly pleasing sound with every song.

The Bad
Despite the nice graphics, this game suffers when it comes to smoothness of movement. The background scrolling is EXTREMELY choppy, almost to the point of hurting my eyes. Plus, this can make for a few cheap deaths if you're trying to avoid enemy fire near the front wall. You could be fine one second, but then the wall just APPEARS close enough to kill you.

There are also multiple places enemies appear that can't be shot without certain weapons, but they can still shoot at you! And it's made even harder if you respawn near them. You NEED the powerups to progress more in this game than in any Gradius installment!

The level design might be creative, but even this can lead to cheap deaths if you don't have enough items. You can be trapped in a corridor, surrounded by bullets or respawn in a place where you can die in less than a second! There's also the concept of getting new weapons, which wasn't executed well. You have only one shot to get this weapon while a bunch of enemies home in on and shoot at you. If you die, you are transported to the next stage and the item is forever lost.

But the one thing that grinds my gears the most is that if you continue, you don't go back to the beginning of the stage like in the Gradius installments. If you pass a checkpoint, you're STUCK there until you either pass the level or shut off the system. In the Gradius series, continuing puts you back at the beginning of the stage, usually in a dogfight, allowing you to get your powerups back. In this game, they throw you into a situation where you can't get powered up as quickly, leaving you vulnerable to dying again.

The Bottom Line
It is definitely an old shooter, and one that could have aged well if it was given better hardware. As is however, it is simply a curiosity of the MSX library. It has some very interesting ideas that it brings to the shooter genre, but it doesn't execute them well. It is a game I wish more people could experience, but in this unpolished form, it becomes difficult to recommend. Luckily, there is a port of it on the Sharp X68000 known as Nemesis '90 Kai. This fixes the scrolling issues and makes the graphics less distracting. I'd say that version is your best bet.

MSX · by spoonybard13 (8) · 2014


Gradius 2 is a bilingual rom cartridge. As Konami is an international company with worldwide sales and roots in Japan, they needed to produce two versions of their programs: one for the Japanese market and an English version for the rest of the world. For some games Konami decided not to produce two different cartridges for different language versions of a rom game, but put both language versions on one cartridge. This was a possible because the MSX computer BIOS rom contains a region code. Using that code as identifier, the game shows either the English or Japanese version.

This can easily checked when using an MSX emulator. Run that emulator with Japanese or English system roms and the Japanese or English version of the game will automatically run.


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 19553
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by koffiepad.

Wii, Wii U added by Michael Cassidy.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, robMSX.

Game added October 18, 2005. Last modified January 27, 2024.