In addition to the systems listed below, Gradius II was available for many systems as part of compilations. This includes the Gradius Deluxe Pack which was sold for the Sony PlayStation, the Sega Saturn, and Windows 95, and Gradius Collection which was exclusively available for the PSP.
The conversion of the arcade game to the significantly weaker Famicom hardware was an incredible challenge, and this port is considered extremely well done, pushing the limits of what the Famicom was capable of. It is the third and final title in the series to appear on the system, including Gradius and Life Force. While as faithful to the arcade version as the hardware would allow, several changes were made to the game as a compromise for material that couldn't be reproduced. This includes the rearrangement, and in some cases, combinations of the arcade stages. For more information about this port, please see the dedicated Famicom Gradius II guide on this site.
Considered one of the best home conversions of the arcade game ever made, it is this version, and not the arcade original, which is often offered for download on platforms like Virtual Consoles and PlayStation Network. While this system supports the display of 16-bit graphics, it still contains an 8-bit process, so the success of this conversion was another astounding achievement. On top of being remarkably faithful to the original arcade content, it adds to the formula an introductory movie and an exclusive new stage. Some simple parallax scrolling was implemented, but many backgrounds were simplified. The background music was recorded directly from the arcade and stored on the CD in regular audio format. Tracks were recorded with multiple loops so that there would be no interruption in the playback throughout the stage. The voice track was not taken from the arcade and was newly recorded.
The Sharp X68000 rose to popularity thanks to the inclusion of an incredibly arcade accurate conversion of the original Gradius. Along with a similarly accurate conversion of Salamander, it was a foregone conclusion that Gradius II would be released for this system. Contained on two floppy disks, the entire contents of the game was loaded into memory for a play experience free from the interruption of load times. The arcade game utilized two processors that were nearly identical to the one found in the Sharp X68000, so the conversion was relatively easy. Despite only having one instance of the processor, the game handles well. The resolution has been reduced from the arcade, but other than that, it is visually identical. Many aspects of the arcade experience have been retained, including the memory check screen at boot up. You can even switch to the overseas edition of the game, which causes the title screen to display "Vulcan Venture" instead, and allows the player to continue when the game is over. Multiple MIDI enhancers were supported.