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Gradius II
Box artwork for Gradius II.
Release date(s)
NES icon.png
Wii Virtual Console icon.png
Wii Virtual Console
System(s)Famicom, Wii Virtual Console
TwitchGradius II Channel
YouTube GamingGradius II Channel
This guide is for the Famicom conversion. For the arcade game upon which it is based, see Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou.
For the MSX title, see Gradius 2.

Gradius II (グラディウスIIGradius II?) is the Famicom conversion of the original arcade shooter known as Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou. While the subtitle is present on many home conversions, it was specifically omitted for this one. It was developed and published by Konami in Japan near the end of 1988. The conversion was developed in cooperation with the arcade development staff. Due to the limitations of the hardware, the Famicom conversion omits some stages from the arcade and rearranges others. Some of the background music differs from stage to stage as well. All that being said, the conversion is considered quite remarkable, and pushes the Famicom hardware's capabilities to the max. This conversion was made available on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan, alongside the more arcade faithful conversion for the PC Engine.

Summary of changes[edit]

  • It is noteworthy that as the last Famicom conversion in the series, Gradius II finally allows players to activate four Options just like in the arcade. (Gradius allowed two, and the Japanese version of Life Force allowed for three Options, shared between both players.)
  • It is also the only Famicom conversion of a Gradius game to feature the vocal announcements of activated power-ups. They are simplified and the same for all four power type arrangements, but they are present. The vocalization of Gofer is also accomplished through combinations of these words.
  • The Spread Bomb ability does not actually produce missiles like the other Missile abilities do. Rather, a small circle indicated the position of the bomb, and the explosion it produces is much more effective at eliminating enemies than in the arcade game.
  • Both Laser abilities produce the Cyclone Laser effect, which is generated by rapidly drawing different chunks of the laser on every frame. Both the Laser and the Ripple can be selected twice, once to activate it, and a second time to improve its effectiveness.
  • You can no longer choose between the Shields and the Force Field. Only the Force Field is available. As a result, it is capable of sustaining five hits before depleting, as opposed to three in the arcade version.
  • After you have activated four Options, you may choose the Option command again to activate the Option Rotation behavior. For a limited period of time, all four Options will rotate around the Vic Viper before returning to the traditional snake-follow pattern, at which time Option will reappear on the power meter and can be activated again. This feature imitates the time limited Rotating Barrier power-up which originated in Gradius 2 for the MSX.
  • The Option Hunter does not appear in this version.
  • The hit box which surrounds the Vic Viper is a bit larger in this version, making it more vulnerable to attacks.
  • Bosses can never be defeated by waiting long enough until they self-destruct.
  • After completing the final stage and returning to the first stage, the difficulty increases, but it will not increase again on subsequent completions.
  • Similar to Life Force, each player is represented by slightly different colors. Player 1 uses Vic Viper's coloration of a blue ship with red options, while Player 2 uses the Lord British coloration; red with blue options. The reuse of this sprite from Life Force cosmetically alters the Vic Viper from a single thruster engine to a pair of engines.
  • Some predetermined enemies will not appear if the screen is already occupied by too many other enemies.

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