Gradius II is an horizontal shooter by Konami and conversion of their hit arcade game originally release in 1988. The Bacterion Empire has risen from its own ashes and is once more spreading doom and destruction throughout the universe. Led by the evil Gofer, the alien invasion now hits full swing and must be immediately stopped. The Vic Viper is back in service and ready to take on the upcoming threat. Gradius II retains the power-meter originally used in Gradius - the player collects power-pods left behind by orange enemies and moves onto the next available power-up from the meter. Upgrades range from Speed Up, Missiles, Double Shots, Multiples, Lasers and Shield. Unlike Gradius, this sequel offers four different power-meter configurations (available at the beginning of the game) which feature new weapons to choose from, such as the Tail Gun, Spread Bombs, Photo Torpedoes, Ripple Lasers and so forth. It also adds its own twist to the power system though, and some weapons can be activated twice for additional power - for instance, Missiles and Doubles can receive one upgrade each and Multiples can rotate around the Vic Viper for a short amount of time. Gradius II consists of seven stages and features an alternating two-player mode.
Game ID: RC832
Gradius II for Famicom was released on December 16, 1988 in Japan for 5900 Yen.
As expected with Konami, this Famicom port of Gradius II has some surprises in store. The weapons system features a couple of extras not found in the original arcade game - some weapons can be further enhanced by selecting them twice (Multiples rotate around the Vic Viper for a short amount of Gradius II - G?ga time when at full power). The original two rotating-shields have been removed though and the Famicom port only features the Force Field. Music tracks have also be moved around. Most interestingly, Konami has edited and changed some of the levels, read on. The first stage has an exclusive second phase reminiscent of the fire level from Salamander and the giant burning suns have green space-stations floating around them. Additionally, an exclusive robot-skull boss called G?ga awaits the player at the end of the second stage. The third (Crystal World) and forth levels (Volcano) have been swapped around, and Death MK II (boss from the Volcano stage) was omitted entirely from the Famicom port. Although the Crystal World was blue in the arcade game, it is now purple in this version. In the fifth Moai stage, the mini-boss is a single jumping Moai head (whereas the arcade game had four). Finally, the Boss Rush stage is also slightly different and Konami added a Zeros Force sphere from Salamander.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Sound test/debug screen: On the title screen, hold A and B and press start to access the sound/music test screen (picture on the right).
Konami code: The Konami code, as expected, works in Gradius II. If you enter the Konami code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B and A) on the title/menu screen, the game rewards you with 30 ships!