GRADIUS
Game Cover
Game
グラディウス
©Konami 1986
Release: 1986-04-25 (¥4900)
Cartdridge RC810
Shooter/Horizontal

American Version
country
Released in America as
GRADIUS
( NES-GR-USA )

Europe Version
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Released in Europe as
GRADIUS
( NES-GR-XXX )
Gradius is an horizontal shooter by Konami and conversion of the classic arcade game of the same name originally released in 1985. The planet Gradius is under attack and the Vic Viper space-fighter (called the Warp Rattler in the American version) is the last line of defense against the oncoming alien invasion. The player has to battle waves of enemy ships, odd entities and erupting volcanoes until he eventually reaches and "destroy" the Xaerous Brain. Red enemies and special ship formations occasionally drop capsules when defeated - a power menu at the bottom of the screen shows the currently available power-up and collecting more capsules allows the player to move onto different weapon and ship upgrades. The most basic one speeds up the Vic Viper whereas others equip ground missiles, lasers, options or a force field barrier. Blue capsules also appear from time to time and destroy all the enemies on the screen at once. Most of the seven stages have a small boss battle and a second fight against a large big-core ship. These ships are invincible until their blue center core opens up and turns red. However tiny destructible blocks protect the core's entryway and must all be destroyed in order to hurt them. Interestingly the player can skip a whole stage by destroying a big-core ship fast enough! The game also features a two players alternating mode.
Related
Gradius (Pce-Hu)
Salamander (Fc) Salamander (Pce-Hu)
Gradius II (Fc) Gradius II (Pce-SCDRom²)
Gradius 3 (Sfc)
Non-direct relation : Parodius Da! (Pce-Hu) Parodius Da! (Fc) Wai Wai World (Fc)
Wai Wai World 2(Fc) Moai Kun(Fc)
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Because of obvious technical limitations, the Famicom version shows major differences with the original arcade game. Konami gladly sacrificed some of the game's original features as long as the gameplay was unaffected (which is perfectly fair). First of all the size of the big-core ships has been considerably reduced. Then the Vic Viper can only carry two options at the same time whereas the arcade allowed four. Finally, the stages that could scroll up and down (such as the Stone Hedge and Moai levels) are locked and the "frame-looking" enemy before the final boss was omitted.

See Gradius(Pce-Hu) for more information about the Gradius series.

Gradius Archimedes Gradius Archimedes A special promotional version of the game was also available for the Famicom system. The game was called "Gradius Archimendes Hen" (the "Gradius Archimendes Edition") and released in limited quantities to promote a popular Japanese ramen brand."Archimendes" is the name of the instant noodles sold by the company - It is in fact a pun and the name is made up of "Aruki" (walking), "Men" (noodle) and "desu" (be) - "super instant noodles you can eat on the go". Both the cartridge and the box come with a special triangular sticker applied to them, and each copy is numbered (on the leaflet and inside one of the box's flap). However, and most interestingly, the game is slightly different and the power-capsules were turned into instant ramen bowls. This edition is extremely rare (apparently 4000 units were given away) and consequently quite expensive... please see the Omake section on this page for more images.

Teaser text from the American version:
It's a Duel to the Death With the Evil Bacterions!
You are the last hope of the gentle people of Gradius. You're just lifted off to confront the all-out attack of the amoeboid Bacterions. Your hyper-space fighter is armed with the greatest arsenal i the galaxy. Air-to-surface and double beam laser cannons for incredible firepower. Powerful force fields for protection. Time and space warps for fleeing the dimension. You'll need it all, just to survive. Because at the heart of the Bacterion Empire lies the Xaerons Superfortress - the nerve center of the all-knowing, all seeing Bacterion Bio-Computer. It's a Duel to the Death, While the entire galaxy watches. Waits. And hopes.


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Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Guidebook
Japanese Adventure book
Japanese Adventure book


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Gradius - manual Gradius - Guidebook Gradius - Adventure Book
Gradius Archimendes Gradius - Gradius commercial
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Considering the hardware the game runs on, this Famicom port of Gradius is surprisingly better than what I thought it would be. The color palette had to be reduced, some enemy sprites took a considerable hit in size and you can carry only two options - but overall the game plays really well and the controls are flawless. My only grip with the game are the 'speed-ups'. They feel slightly slower than the arcade game and I often need to activate three of them in order to play - only two feel "right" to me in the original game. Beside this minor and totally subjective problem, Gradius is an incredible game. It is a bit hard to play, but nonetheless, you'll surprise yourself going a little further each time you boot up the game.




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