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

Promo Images

Gradius Screenshot
Gradius Screenshot
Gradius Screenshot
Gradius Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "宇宙巡航机" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Nemesis" -- European Arcade & Computer title
  • "Arcade Archives: Gradius" -- PS4 / Switch title
  • "アーケードアーカイブス グラディウス" -- Japanese PS4 / Switch spelling
  • "グラディウス" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for this game.

Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Nov, 1987 9 out of 10 90
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Apr, 1989 87 out of 100 87
Video Games Mar, 1991 84 out of 100 84
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
The Games Machine (UK) Apr, 1989 76 out of 100 76
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Dec, 1988 8.4 out of 12 70
Retro Game Age Feb 06, 2012 7 out of 10 70 Mar, 2012 B- 67
Defunct Games Sep 20, 2009 C 50


Topic # Posts Last Post
PC Engine credits 6 Freeman (65660)
Apr 10, 2019


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.

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.

Game Art Beyond

In 2018, Nemesis was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Nemesis was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on the original arcade game artwork) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI, along with a new C64 SID interpretation of the Level 1 theme (incl. Start of Stage prelude).

Konami Code

The NES version was the first game to use the famous Konami Code.

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 (57355) added Gradius (NES) on Sep 28, 2002
Other platforms contributed by Quapil (5475), Corn Popper (68963), CrankyStorming (3002), 666gonzo666 (65684), Kam1Kaz3NL77 (439981), is_that_rain_or_tears (664), Oyn (2701), Sciere (771367), Kabushi (257508), Martin Smith (78222), Terok Nor (32083) and 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60599)
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