The Gradius Series, first introduced in 1985, is a series of horizontally scrolling shooting video games published by Konami for a variety of portable, console and arcade platforms. In many games in the series the player controls a ship known as the Vic Viper.
The Gradius SeriesEdit
Gradius is first game of the Gradius series and was released in 1985. It introduced many of the themes and terms in the Gradius series such as the Moai Heads, Options/Multiples, and the famous phrase "Shoot the Core!".
Gradius II is the second game in the series and was released in 1988. Gradius II is the sequel to Gradius in terms of chronology. The game was never released in North America in any form, until recently with its inclusion in the PlayStation Portable title Gradius Collection.
Gradius III was released in Japan in 1989, with a US SNES port in 1991. The difficulty and major boss tactics were toned down on the SNES port of the game to make it easier. The original arcade version is available for PlayStation 2 bundled with Gradius IV (Gradius III and IV), although the port has some slight differences from the original.
Gradius IV was released 1998 in Japanese arcades as Gradius IV Fukkatsu (Fukkatsu being Japanese for "revival", since it was the first arcade Gradius game in nearly 10 years following 1989's Gradius III). IV lacked the Weapon Edit function of its predecessor, but it had a bigger array of weaponry than the original Gradius games. Weapons exclusive to this game included the Vertical Mine missile (which detonates in a vertical line shortly after deployment) and the Armor Piercing laser (a shorter, more powerful laser). Released on the PS2 as a compilation pack together with the arcade version of Gradius III ("Gradius III & IV").
Gradius V was released in September 2004 for the PlayStation 2. Graphics are rendered in full 3D, although gameplay is still mostly 2D; some areas change the position and perspective of the camera to emphasize the 3D environment. Treasure Co. Ltd were primarily responsible for Gradius V development. In Japanese first press limited edition, the game included a book indicating inner design, the background, and the roadmap of Vic Viper series (i.e. Vic Viper is the name of a ship series, rather than a single ship), and pre-ordered North American copies included a DVD detailing the history of the series (including Scramble) and replays of Gradius V.
Gradius Gaiden was released in 1998. It was the first Gradius produced exclusively for a home console. This is also the only Gradius game (other than GOFER no Yabou Episode II on the MSX) where players can select which ship they wish to use. Gradius Gaiden includes the Lord British Space Destroyer from Salamander and two (relative) newcomers -- the Jade Knight and the Falchion β (a variation of the ship from the Famicom Disk System game Falsion). It was originally released for the PlayStation console in Japan, and reached US shores when ported in 2006 as part of Gradius Collection for the PlayStation Portable.
Gradius Galaxies was released in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance. It was the first Gradius to be created by a development team other than Konami's own internal teams (by Mobile 21 Studios, to be exact). It is known as Gradius Advance in Europe, and as Gradius Generation in Japan. The Japanese version, being the last to be released, has a number of exclusive challenge modes added that the other versions did not, and includes an additional invisible 5000 point bonus in one of the levels.
Gradius ReBirth released in 2008 for WiiWare. It acts as a classic revival to the series by giving the environment a 2-d appearance and Arcade-type music.
Gradius Arc In March 2010, a Japanese trademark database update revealed a filing for this name, submitted by Konami. The "Arc" portion of the name coincided with a pre-release name of the PlayStation Move. This was only coincidence, however, as Gradius Arc —Ginyoku no Densetsu— (Gradius Arc —Legend of the Silvery Wings—) was revealed on September 30, 2010, to be a tactical RPG for cell phones.
The Salamander/Life Force offshootEdit
Salamander which was retooled and renamed Life Force (1986): Set in the same universe as Gradius. The game is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Most prominently, the game switches between horizontal and vertical stages, one of the first games of its kind. Also, Salamander was one of the first shoot'em ups to include cooperative gameplay.
Salamander 2 (1996):The follow-up to Salamander. Had several interesting features, such as the Option Shot, the ability to launch the Options as homing projectiles. After firing, an Option would revert to a smaller, less powerful unit called an Option Seed, which revolves around the ship firing the default shot. Weaponry includes Twin Laser, Ripple Laser, and standard Laser. Like its predecessor, Salamander 2 uses a power-up system, rather than the Life Meter. Upon acquiring a second power-up of the same type, your weapons are twice as powerful for a short duration (~10 seconds). The game features variations of previous Salamander bosses, such as the Golem and Tetran.
The MSX Nemesis seriesEdit
Nemesis 2 is the second game in the spinoff to the Nemesis spinoff series for the MSX computer, and was released in 1987. Unlike Nemesis (MSX) before it, this game is different from the Gradius II. Gradius 2 has been remade 2 times by Konami, both on the X68000. The first is Nemesis '90 Kai which is a big improvement to the original with updated graphics, music, added bosses and stages, and some minor things. The second is Nemesis '94 which is more faithful to the original with only updated graphics and music.
Nemesis 3: The Eve of DestructionEdit
Nemesis 3, also known as Gofer no Yabō Episode II is the third and final Nemesis game developed and published by Konami exclusively for the MSX platform, and was released in 1988. It was released as Nemesis 3: The Eve of Destruction in Europe and as Salamander II in Korea. It is the second game of the series to be released for the MSX only after Gradius 2.
The Nemesis Portables/Interstellar Assault offshootEdit
Nemesis was released in 1990. The first Gradius for a portable system, in this case Nintendo's Game Boy. The name Nemesis was kept for the game's worldwide release. It combined elements from Gradius and Gradius 2 (the MSX versions), as well as some all-new features.
Gradius: The Interstellar AssaultEdit
Gradius: The Interstellar Assault was released in 1991 and is a exclusive for the Game Boy. It was released as Nemesis II in Japan and as Nemesis II: Return of the Hero in Europe.
Gradius NEO Edit
Gradius NEO was released in 2004 for mobile phones, it features another storyline, like 2000 years after the last Nemesis.
Gradius NEO Imperial Edit
Gradius NEO Imperial was released in 2004 for mobile phones, and was released on NTT DoCoMo's FOMA 900i line of phones in Japan.In contrast to other Gradius games, players control the opposing force in form of a Big Core. However, since the Big Core you take control in this game is a betrayer ship escaping from Lars Empire, which was the enemy in Gradius NEO, you won't fight against the Gradius Union.
Solar Assault the Rail Shooter Offshoot Edit
Solar Assault Edit
Solar Assault is an 1997 arcade Rail Shooters in the lines of Star Fox or Panzer Dragoon, with Gradius settings. As usual, Vic Viper makes an appearance here. This game was very obscure and was never ported to any console system and was only in the Arcades in Japan.
Entertainment Offshoot Edit
Picadilly Gradius Edit
Picadilly Gradius Only released in Japan, rather than a video game this spin off game is a token gambling game with a Gradius theme.
Gradius the Slot Edit
Gradius the Slot A pachislot game released in Japan in July 2011. It was developed by KPE division of Konami. Soundtrack for the game was released in September 2011.
Spin-offs Series Edit
Otomedius game is another parody of Gradius which was released in 2007. The game features magical-anime girl versions of Vic Viper and Lord British. Otomedius spoofs Gradius, but in a mecha musume-style approach. The name is a portmanteau of "otome" (a Japanese word meaning "maiden") and "Gradius".
GR3 is a fan game created in the style of the Nemesis series and created using Java. In between every stage, the player can buy weapon upgrades using E powerups gathered during the stage. There are different versions of the game ending with GR3 Death, a much more difficult version.