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Gradius II Stage 2a.png
  • After clearing the pre-stage, which is largely similar to the first pre-stage, you will arrive at the entrance to an alien space ship which you must fly through. This stage scrolls vertically up and down, but not continuously like the previous stage. It is limited to two screens in height. The design and feel of the stage is inspired by the Alien series of movies, and the stage is often referred to as the Giger stage, in honor of H. R. Giger, the visual effects artist behind Alien.
  • The major feature of this stage is the thick webbing that is present throughout ship. It is so thick that it takes multiple shots from your weapons to cut a path through it. The amount of firepower and the number of Options you have makes all the difference in this stage. If you have many Options and Lasers, not only can you blaze a path through the webbing, but you'll be able to move around fairly well. If you have no Options, or no Lasers, you will be much more constrained to pick one particular path and dedicate yourself to it until the webbing subsides and space opens up.
Gradius II Stage 2b.png
  • In addition to all of the webbing, you will find several standard stage elements, such as cannons that are posted both on top and below the platforms throughout the stage. Along with the cannons are several hatches which release squadrons of enemies until they are destroyed or scroll off the screen. Many free-flying enemies move throughout the alien ship, and they are not at all hindered by the webbing, so they can get very close to you when you are unable to shoot through the webbing to their location.
  • It doesn't matter too much which path you take, as long as you commit yourself to it and don't try to change paths until the webbing clears up enough to allow that. As usual, several of the enemies and the cannons will be the red variety that leave power-up capsules behind when they are destroyed. Consider gathering these capsules very carefully; don't allow them to lure you to a dangerous location, or when you might potentially crash into the terrain or the webbing. Make sure the surrounding area is clear before you collect them.
Gradius II Stage 2c.png
  • Eventually the webbing will stop appearing, and you will be forced to choose between an upper path and a lower path. Both paths are essentially the same, and feature a new enemy to contend with. Giant tentacles, similar in appearance and behavior to those found in Salamander will spawn from invulnerable hatches. The tentacles are invulnerable as well, so you cannot clear them away. However, they don't like sticking around when there's a lot of firepower.
  • It's possible to force the tentacles shrink back into their hatches by hitting them with enough firepower. They will never completely disappear, but they can be rendered harmless by pelting them while hide in the hatches. Use this technique to create a zone of safe passage though the first and second sections where the tentacles reside. All the while, watch out for the bullets fired by the cannons parked among the tentacles. Take the lower ones out with Missiles if possible.
Gradius II Stage 2d.png
  • After you survive the tentacles, you will reach an open area. However, at this point, the ceiling of the upper level will start to lower, closing off the upper level entirely and forcing you down through the lower level. At this point, it's a good idea to stay down near the bottom anyway, since there is a new enemy that you'll want to deal with as quickly as possible so as not to become overwhelmed by them.
  • These new enemies are the rather quick aliens which spawn from egg-like hatches on the floor and the ceilings. These aliens resemble the ones found in Contra. Once spawned, they flood the screen and dart back and forth rather quickly, almost unpredictably. When they appear, keep as much distance from them as you can and destroy them as quickly as possible. Destroy the egg hatches that they come from quickly too so you deal with as few of them as possible. Once you clear the last of them away, it's a short trip to the boss of the stage.

Boss: Big Eye[edit]

Gradius II Boss 2.png

When you reach the end of the stage, you will be greeted by two gigantic tentacles. These tentacles can't reach beyond the middle of the screen, but they flail back and forth, and shoot little particles throughout the room. These particles can be destroyed with your own weapons. Eventually, the object that the tentacles are guarding reveals itself to be a gigantic eye. The only time this boss is vulnerable to attack is when the eye lid is open. You must shoot it as frequently as possible (assuming that the tentacles aren't getting in the way of your shots) before the eye ejects a giant boulder that it sends straight in your direction. The boulder cannot be destroyed by your weapons so you have no choice but to avoid it. Once the boulder has passed, reposition yourself so that you are prepared to do maximum damage to the eye when the lids open again. All the way, continue firing your weapons to avoid the dangers of the particles released by the tentacles.