Codex Gamicus

Gradius III is a Shmup game, part of the Gradius series, that came out in 1989. Fully titled Gradius III: Densetsu kara Shinwa e ("Gradius III: From Legend to Myth") in Japan, it was originally released as an arcade game, and later ported to other platforms. It is known to exist on the following platforms: Nintendo Super Famicom, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sony PlayStation 2 (packaged with Gradius IV).


You control a spaceship with which you use to fly through space and several different types of terrain, blasting at spaceships, aliens, organisms, and armaments. You collect power-up pods that you can use to activate power-ups such as speed, bombs, double-shots, lasers, options, and shields. At the end of the level there is a boss creature that you must defeat to continue on to the next level.


The SNES/SFC version is not a very accurate port; levels, enemies, and weapons were altered. For example, two entire stages were cut from the Super Nintendo version: a 3D stage where you had to avoid hitting cave walls, and a crystal stage in which you had to move the Vic Viper through a changing stage, with crystal blocks blocking off areas like a maze. Also, the order of stages was changed. The final stage in the SNES version was based on an early stage in the arcade version. The original arcade version's ending had you defeating the main boss in a mechanical setting, then going through the speed-up zone to escape the enemy base. The difficulty and major boss tactics were toned down to make it easier. In a sense, it's almost a remix of the arcade game. The original arcade version is available for PlayStation 2 bundled with Gradius IV. This game introduced the "edit mode" option of selecting weapons.

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