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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 Watch out for giant stone heads!
Gradius NES Starting a new game
Gradius NES The orange "options" provide more firepower
Gradius NES An end of level boss

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

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User Reviews

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Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Nov, 1987 9 out of 10 90
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) May, 1989 874 out of 1000 87
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Apr, 1989 87 out of 100 87
1UP! May 16, 2006 87 out of 100 87
Power Play Mar, 1989 85 out of 100 85
Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library 2016 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Quebec Gamers Mar 07, 2007 7.9 out of 10 79 Dec 13, 2011 7 out of 10 70
Retro Game Age Feb 06, 2012 7 out of 10 70 Mar, 2012 B- 67


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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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Servo (57406) added Gradius (NES) on Sep 28, 2002
Other platforms contributed by Quapil (4834), Corn Popper (69779), CrankyStorming (3011), 666gonzo666 (60688), is_that_rain_or_tears (658), Oyn (2702), Sciere (488615), Kabushi (191349), Martin Smith (66787), Terok Nor (26189) and 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60835)