Gradius was released in May 1985 in Japan.
First shoot-em-up with serious power-ups.
Designers did a lot of tries before they fixed the design of the ship. They did at least 100 different versions. And among all of them, there was a ship that leaved a light trace behind him when he moves. It was from an evolution of this concept that was born the 'Options system'.
This game is known outside Japan as "Nemesis
[JP] [Tape] Original Sound of Gradius Arcade Version [Model KHY-1016] (May 05, 1987)
[JP] [Tape] Original Sound of Gradius & Salamander [Battle Music Collection] (Nov.21, 1987)
[JP] [CD] Original Sound of Gradius & Salamander [Battle Music Collection] (Nov.21, 1987)
[JP] [CD] Konami Game Music Vol.1 [Model 28XA-85] (June 27, 1986).
[JP] [CD] Original Sound of Gradius [Model BY12-5021] (Nov. 21, 1988).
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 board game (in Japan only) based on this video game (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".
There's an unlockable 3-D remake of the original Gradius arcade game found in "Zone of the Enders - The 2nd Runner". It's called Zoradius (for Zone + Gradius). It can be found in the battle against Vic Viper, or by replaying the fight as an Extra mission, then pausing the game an entering a variation of the Konami Code. In Zoradius, the player uses the Vic Viper in fighter mode, flying through a tunnel and shooting down various non-humanoid enemies from the game to gather powerups to increase the Viper's firepower and shields.