Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Gradius (c) 05/1985 Konami.

A superb and demanding shoot'em up that shares - along with Irem's "R-Type" - the destinction of being a true innovator of its genre and, again like R-Type, completely revolutionized the humble shoot-em-up. Gradius' eye-catching graphics guaranteed gamer interest but it was the game's genius 'weapon upgrade' system that really made the difference. Never before could players actually CHOSE how to upgrade their ship. Destroying waves of enemies would often see the player reward with an 'orb' that could be picked up. The player could collect up to six orbs and could effectively 'buy' an upgrade from the six displayed at the bottom of the play area (speed-up, bombs, double, laser, multiple - which are orbs that follow the player's movements and add greater firepower - and a mystery sixth upgrade that is marked with an '?'). Game difficulty increases depending on how many power-ups the player has, so it is sometimes advantageous to NOT power-up your ship too much.


Game ID : GX400

Main CPU : 68000 (@ 9.216 Mhz), Z80 (@ 3.579545 Mhz)

Sound Chips : (2x) AY8910 (@ 1.789772 Mhz), K005289 (@ 1.789772 Mhz), VLM5030 (@ 3.579545 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 256 x 224 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.61 Hz

Palette colors : 2048

Players : 2

Control : 8-way joystick

Buttons : 3


This game is known in Europe as "Nemesis".

First shoot-em-up with serious power-ups.

Alfa Records released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Konami Game Music Vol.1 - 28XA-85) on 27/06/1986.

Apollon Music released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Original Sound of Gradius - KHY1016) on 05/05/1987.

Interesting note : Several Konami arcade games ("Gradius", "Parodius Da! - Shinwa kara Owarai e", "Salamander", etc...) have the default high score set at 57300. '573' refers to Go-Na-Mi kana letters, a play of word for 'Konami'.

Bandai released a boardgame (in Japan only) based on this videogame (same name) in 1986 : The board is split into 8 sections, each with its own rules. The things that remain the same are that each uses a square-grid for movement, and you can power up your ship by getting the capsules.

The first level of Gradius is available as a mini-game in the Nintendo Super NES game "Legend of the Mystical Ninja".

In the Nintendo NES hockey game Blades of Steel, one of the intermission screens is a playable sequence which recreates the fight against the first Gradius boss.

The popular trading card game 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' has drawn inspiration for some of its cards from the game, which are Gradius, Cyclon Laser, Gradius' Option, Victory Viper XX03, and Power Capsule. Other cards include enemies and boss characters such as Solar Flare Dragon,The Statue of Easter Island, Moai Interceptor Cannons, B.E.S. Covered Core, Big Core, B.E.S. Tetran, and B.E.S. Crystal Core, as well as the spell card Boss Rush.

Konami's music simulation game "Pop'n Music" features the song 'Gradius Full-Speed' which is a mix of the music in the first level of Gradius. This song is also featured in "beatmania IIDX".


1. Gradius (1985)

2. Salamander (1986)

3. Gradius 2 (1987, MSX)

4. Gradius II - Gofer no Yabou (1988)

5. Nemesis 3 - The Eve of Destruction (1988, MSX)

6. Gradius III - Densetsu Kara Shinwa-e (1989)

7. Nemesis '90 Kai (1993, Sharp X68000)

8. Salamander 2 (1996)

9. Solar Assault - Gradius (1997)

10. Solar Assault - Revised (1997)

11. Gradius Gaiden (1997, Sony PlayStation)

12. Gradius IV - Fukkatsu (1999)

13. Gradius Generation (2001, Nintendo Game Boy Advance)

14. Gradius V (2004, Sony PlayStation 2)


Music by : Miki Higashino


* Consoles :

Nintendo Famicom (1986)

Nintendo Game Boy (1990)

NEC PC-Engine (1991)

Sega Saturn (1996, "Gradius Deluxe Pack")

Sony PlayStation (1996, "Gradius Deluxe Pack")

Sony PSP (2006, "Gradius Collection")

* Computers :

MSX (1986)

Sharp X1 (1986)

Sharp X68000 (1987)

Commodore C64 (1987)

NEC PC 8801

PC [MS Windows] ("Gradius Deluxe Pack")

* Others :

LCD handheld game (1989) by Konami.