Codex Gamicus

Gradius logo.png

The Gradius series is a series of shoot 'em up games putting players in control of a ship, as it blasts it's way through space. It originally started out in the arcades with the game Gradius, but it was eventually ported to other consoles like the NES. The series continues today on the PlayStation 2 with Gradius V. The series is also known for being a heavy influence in the shmup genre.

Games in the Series[]

Spin-offs of the Gradius series[]


The Parodius series, also made by Konami, is similar to Gradius, but with more cartoony settings. The name is a portmanteau of "parody" and "Gradius". Early games focused mainly on parodying Gradius games, but more recent games have poked fun at other Konami franchises, including Castlevania and Goemon.


Salamander (1986) is 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 kinds. Also, Salamander was one of the first shooters to include simultaneous two player games.

The first player ship is Gradius's own Vic Viper ship, while the second ship is the Lord British space destroyer.

Unlike Gradius, Salamander uses a more conventional weapons systems, with enemies leaving a wide-variety of distinct power-ups. The NES version of Salamander(called Life Force in North America) used the more traditional power-up bar used in the Gradius series.

Salamander 2[]

Salamander 2 (1996) is the follow-up for 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 classic Salamander bosses, such as the Gorem, Teto-Ran II, and CenterCore II.

Gradius cameos in other games[]

Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner[]

One of the mecha seen in the game is called Vic Viper, or V2, and is a transformable mecha whose fighter mode resembles the ship from Gradius. The V2's fighter mode also uses many of the series' signature weapons, such as Options, shields, and ripple lasers.

Hidden in the game is also a single-stage minigame called 'Zoradius', which plays similar to Gradius, but with a view from behind the V2.

Ganbare Goemon (aka. Legend of the Mystical Ninja)[]

At various points in the game, one can find arcades. In some of these, a one-stage version of Gradius (with upgraded sound and graphics) can be played.

Other games to use the selection bar[]

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