Gradius (Vs.): Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Vs. Gradius was developed by Konami and then licensed to Nintendo in 1986. Nintendo released Vs. Gradius for its Vs. System line of arcade machines. The Nintendo Vs. System catered to gamers that engaged head-to-head competitive game play. As an added bonus, the Vs. System also came as a kit that could modify an existing game into a new title.

Vs. Gradius is actually based on the Nintendo Entertainment System port of the original Gradius arcade game. The main difference between Gradius and Vs. Gradius is that the second version offered never-ending game play. The original Gradius comes to an end after the seventh stage is won. Vs. Gradius supports one and two person game play.


Game Play Overview

The Vic Viper is a stealthy fighter jet, and it can move across the screen in eight different directions. This fighter jet lacks a lot of power at the start of each new game, but players can quickly seek out power-ups that can be used to customize their ships. Speed, damage, weaponry and even mystery power-ups can be combined to strengthen the Vic Viper, enabling players to battle opponents on an even playing field.

Enemy hatches produce large numbers of foes that appear on the screen all at once. Called Kanimu, Dagumu and Gaomu, these hatches can be wiped by bombarding them with sustained attacks with the laser and main weapon. The eight types of air based enemies in Vs. Gradius include; Beans, Rugal, Fose, Fans, Zubs, Uska, Rugal Mkll and Garun. Smaller enemies usually attack in greater numbers while larger opponents typically have more powerful weapons.

Several bosses, including Moai, Tentacle, Mother and Child, Iron Maiden and Big Core must be defeated at multiple points in Vs. Gradius. Destroying bosses yield large point bonuses. Players do battle with each of these major bosses at least once each in the game.

Enemies like Ducker, Uros, Amoeba, Dee-01, Jumper and Rush are generally based on the land, but they are known for periodically attacking in the air. Collecting the Double, Speed-up, Option, Mystery, Laser and Missile power-ups make it easier for pilots of Vic Viper to avoid crashing into enemies as well as destroy them.

Special Features

Vs. Gradius features a few different bonus stages, a stage warp option and an extra life bonus. From levels one through four, players get an additional point bonus, regardless of their performance. Your reflexes must be fast, but if you move the Vic Viper in the right direction, you can earn an extra life every level, from stages one through four, and then again on the sixth level. If you do not collect an extra life, you will have 5,000 extra points added to your score.

The warp ahead feature allows players to get move to a higher level stage, skipping over other levels in the interim. Players can only locate the warp ahead feature on levels one through four.

Crash capsules look very similar to standard power-ups, but they are bright blue in color while power-ups are red. Although you won’t run into them all the time, crash capsules are used to wipe all enemies present.


Vic Viper – The main character in Vs. Gradius is a military fighter jet that is used to attack enemies. The Vic Viper is very aerodynamic and it even becomes customizable early on in the game.

Power-Ups – There are six kinds of power-ups in Vs. Gradius. After picking up any power-up capsule, players can decide which type of power-up they want equipped to the Vic Viper fighter jet.

Bosses – One of five enemy bosses will appear at the end of every level in Vs. Gradius. Some bosses will stand still and attack from their fixed positions, while other pursue and engage players.

Enemies – During active points during game play, fourteen standard enemy varieties will be trying to bring down the Vic Viper.

Crash Capsules – Bright blue capsules will appear on the screen at certain points in Vs. Gradius, giving players an easy escape from an onslaught of foes.

How to Play Vs. Gradius

Vs. Gradius have seven distinct stages. At the beginning of all stages, the Vic Viper can be maneuvered in the air without much though being given to changes in the terrain. Enemies will only attack from the air, and this is also a good time to pick up as much power-ups as you can before the real attack begins.

Once the terrain starts to become more varied, you will have to move the Vic Viper away from danger. Both plateaus and land attackers can decimate the Vic Viper.

Level 1
The game will begin with the Vic Viper flying slowly across a black screen, void of any opponents. Modestly sized groups of air enemies will soon swoop in. Shoot every enemy that you can, and begin using power-ups to modify your ship. Speed, laser and double power-ups are extremely valuable at the beginning of the game.

There will be several hatches on level one that will produce high numbers of angry opposing forces. You should try to bring down the hatcheries first, but don’t forget to also shoot enemies that pose an immediate threat. After the hatches have been cleared, you will come upon the dramatic first boss fight.

The first boss you will take on in Vs. Gradius is the Big Core. This boss stands up well against basic weapons, but it also attacks using a basic pattern. After the Big Core has completed its simplistic attack, you can shoot it down with everything that the Vic Viper has.

Level 2
Players can feel somewhat safe flying the Vic Viper through level two as there will be no attacked waged from the terrain. After you destroy a large group of enemies in the air, the Vic Viper will be used to shoot and fly around space rocks. This part of the game will force you to a very fast and accurate shooter. The boss fight on this level will also be with the Big Core.

Level 3
The next stage is almost a carbon copy of level two. You will face flying enemies, then more space rocks, and finally, the Big Core will make a third appearance. During these two stages, you should attempt to fly through the space rock field slowly and aim for your enemies carefully. Try to make it through level three without wasting your extra lives.

Level 4
After flying through space uninterrupted for awhile, you may be surprised to see what’s in store on level four. Hatches and ground enemies will return in droves. Flying enemies will be less forgiving, and the hatches will launch very well timed attacks. The only way to survive level four is to shoot down the hatches as quickly as you can.

Level four is a long stage, but it is divided into haves. Once you see an erupting volcano, you should begin anticipating a large-scale boss fight. First, multiple Iron Maidens will enter the screen and attack. After they are killed, another Big Core will follow.

Level 5
Level five comes in at a slow pace that lasts for a long time. You will be able to choose your power-ups more selectively in between attacks. As the board comes to a close, Tentacle bosses will emerge. The tentacles have to be destroyed bit by bit, starting with the arms and ending with the main body. An oversized Tentacle boss is the main boss on this level.

Level 6
Hatches and Amoebas will keep players busy on this level. As you will be given little downtime between attacks from hatches and Amoebas, you should focus on powering-up the Vic Viper while capsules are still plentiful. There should be a bunch of Rugal hatches toward the latter portion of the stage. Eliminate all hatches and keep flying forward.

Amoebas contain large concentrations of capsules, so if you are careful, all the power-ups on the Vic Viper should be maxed out. A few Dee-01s are the last enemy group to appear on level six.

Level 7
If you have powered-up the Vic Viper well, you can enter the base of the Bacterion army and shoot every enemy that comes at you. Instead of having a wide open screen to fly within, your route will be highly constricted. Upon reaching four neatly arranged hatches, you will settle somewhere in the middle. Move out of the way of flying enemies and bullets while you shoot the hatches until they explode.

A lightening current and a wall containing tentacles are the next major threat to appear. After this, you will meet the final box, which looks like a large mechanical brain. This fight shouldn’t be challenging, especially if you have the Vic Viper all powered-up.

Beyond Level 7
Players will continue to go through stages one through seven in Vs. Gradius if they beat the game. The difficulty level will not change, and you will also have opportunities to gain more extra lives.

Hints and Tips
- Enemies that appear below the Vic Viper have an advantage, because they can shoot while avoiding being retaliated against. Use the Double power-up to send off shots in two directions.

- Power-up your ship often, but hold off on maxing any single feature out.


We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.

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