Gradius [Model RC810]

Nintendo Famicom cart. published 37 years ago by Konami Industry Co., Ltd.

Listed in MAME

Gradius [Model RC810] screenshot

Gradius © 1986 Konami Industry Company, Limited.

Gradius is an horizontal shooter, conversion of the classic arcade game of the same name originally released in 1985. The planet Gradius is under attack and the Vic Viper space-fighter is the last line of defense against the oncoming alien invasion. The player has to battle waves of enemy ships, odd entities and erupting volcanoes until he eventually reaches and destroys the Xaerous Brain. Red enemies and special ship formations occasionally drop capsules when defeated - a power menu at the bottom of the screen shows the currently available power-up and collecting more capsules allows the player to move onto different weapon and ship upgrades. The most basic one speeds up the Vic Viper whereas others equip ground missiles, lasers, options or a force field barrier. Blue capsules also appear from time to time and destroy all the enemies on the screen at once. Most of the seven stages have a small boss battle and a second fight against a large big-core ship. These ships are invincible until their blue center core opens up and turns red. However tiny destructible blocks protect the core's entryway and must all be destroyed in order to hurt them. Interestingly, the player can skip a whole stage by destroying a big-core ship fast enough! The game also features a 2-player alternating mode.

Goodies for Gradius [Model RC810]
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BARCODE: 4988602505788


Gradius for Famicom was released on April 25, 1986 in Japan for 4900 Yen. It sold over 1 million copies, thanks to the popularity of the original.

Because of obvious technical limitations, the Famicom version shows major differences with the original arcade game. Konami gladly sacrificed some of the game's original features as long as the gameplay was unaffected (which is perfectly fair). First of all the size of the big-core ships has been considerably reduced. Then the Vic Viper can only carry two options at the same time whereas the arcade allowed four. Finally, the stages that could scroll up and down (such as the Stone Hedge and Moai levels) are locked and the 'frame-looking' enemy before the final boss was omitted.

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who programmed this Nintendo Famicom port, found the original arcade game too hard, so he inserted the so-called Konami code (see Tips & Tricks section).

Export releases:
[US] "Gradius [Model NES-GR-USA]"
[EU] "Gradius [Model NES-GR-EEC]"

Soundtrack releases:
[JP] Tape "Original Sound of Gradius [Model KHY-1010]" (May 21, 1986)


* Continue:
At the Game Over screen press Down, Up, B, A, B, A, B, A, Start. Note : This can only be used once per game.

* Classic Konami code:
Press Start during the game, then press Up(x2), Down(x2), Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. This code equips you with two Missiles, two options and a force field barrier.

* Secret message:
During the title screen hold B+A, then reset the machine and return in the game (always with B+A) to get the following message : KONAMI ONE, GRADIUS ONE.

* Level skip:
Destroy the ship that appears at the end of each level within five seconds to skip the next level.


Programmed by: Kazuhisa Hashimoto
Music by: Miki Higashino


Nintendo Wii [Virtual Console] japan (dec.2, 2006) [Model FARJ]
Nintendo Wii U [Virtual Console] japan (oct.2, 2013) [Model FATJ]

Nintendo 3DS [Virtual Console] japan (may.8, 2013) [Model TAYJ]


See Goodies section.
Game's ROM.
Game's description by Laurent Kermel; http://www.videogameden.com