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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 Commodore 64 A bullet just barely misses your ship!
Gradius Commodore 64 The second level
Gradius Commodore 64 Starting a new game
Gradius Commodore 64 Title screen

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

Computer Gamer Jun, 1987 94 out of 100 94
Commodore User Mar, 1987 9 out of 10 90
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Sep, 1990 89 out of 100 89
64'er May, 1987 13 out of 15 87
Happy Computer 1987 86 out of 100 86
Zzap! May, 1987 80 out of 100 80
Commodore Force Aug, 1993 78 out of 100 78
Retro Archives Nov 14, 2018 11.5 out of 20 58


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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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Quapil (4825) added Gradius (Commodore 64) on May 02, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Corn Popper (69354), CrankyStorming (3010), 666gonzo666 (61781), Kam1Kaz3NL77 (110567), is_that_rain_or_tears (656), Oyn (2701), Sciere (520925), Kabushi (211730), Martin Smith (66869), Terok Nor (27027), Servo (57398) and 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60756)