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Type Select[edit]

This lets you pick a power meter. There are four selections to choose from:

  • Type A: Speed Up, Missile, Double, Laser, Option
  • Type B: Speed Up, Spread Bomb, Tail Gun, Ripple, Option
  • Type C: Speed Up, 2-Way, Vertical, Cyclone Laser, Option
  • Type D: Speed Up, Photon Torpedo, Free Way, Twin Laser, Option

Now let's look at the weapons:

Speed Up[edit]

This increases the speed of your ship. You can select it five times. However, don't select all Speed Ups or you will be too fast to control your ship safely. Everybody has a speed that they are comfortable with. Don't select a speed higher than what you are comfortable with.


Changed slightly from Gradius. This version of the missile can now have two on-screen at a time. However, it is a little weaker than it was in Gradius. Otherwise, it's the same. (Type A) Also in Edit Mode.

Spread Bomb[edit]

Returning from Gradius II, this is different from the normal missile. The Spread Bomb drops at a arc, and doesn't slide on terrain. It makes up for this by making a large explosion on impact, taking out multiple enemies. The long explosion animation allows it to damage things twice on a direct impact. It helps on bosses and is the most powerful missile. The only drawback is it covers up projectiles with the large explosion graphic, which can get you killed especially on the fire stage. (Type B)


This is the missile from Salamander, and is similar to Gradius II's version. It fires one missile upwards and another downwards, just like Salamander. However, the missiles now drop at an arc similar to the Spread Bomb, and detonate on impact. Can only have one volley on-screen at a time and cannot fire again until both missiles disappear. (Type C)

Photon Torpedo[edit]

Also from Gradius II, this is similar to the normal missile. However, this missile penetrates all small enemies until something hard or indestructible is hit, at which point it stops. (Type D)


Identical to Gradius. It shoots one shot forward, and another 45 degrees upward. Like Gradius, you can't fire again until both shots disappear. It's weaker, but makes it easier to get through some parts. (Type A)

Tail Gun[edit]

The extra shot goes 180 degrees backwards instead. During parts with regenerating tissue, it is useful. (Type B) Also in Edit Mode.


Here, the extra shot goes 90 degrees upward. It does have uses, but not as many as the Tail Gun. (Type C) Also in Edit Mode.

Free Way[edit]

This double is different from the other doubles. The extra shot goes in the direction you're moving in. It's difficult to use, but fires in all directions. (Type D) Also in Edit Mode.


Identical to Gradius. A long laser is shot forward that penetrates enemies. (Type A)


This laser is very similar to Salamander's version. A ring-shaped laser is shot forward. The ring grows as it advances, destroying a lot of enemies. Standing back with all four options vertically could do a lot of damage. However, it is weaker than the Laser. (Type B) Also in Edit Mode.

Cyclone Laser[edit]

This is also Salamander's laser. A longer, swirling laser is shot, and penetrates better than the normal laser. (Type C) Also in Edit Mode.

Twin Laser[edit]

This is a new laser. This fires two short beams forward. Like the Ripple, it is weaker than the normal or Cyclone lasers. (Type D) Also in Edit Mode.


Same as in Gradius. A orange glowing ball known as a option is summoned. This option follows your ship and has all the weapons above. It fires with you, and maxes out at four. It is indestructible (except for the Option Hunter) and can go into areas where you can't go. Also in Edit Mode. Remember, the more options you have, the more aggressive enemies get.


After the power meter is selected, you can select a shield(?). There are three different shields, all of which are in Edit Mode.

Force Field[edit]

The Force Field surrounds your ship, but is there as soon as it's activated. Upgraded from Gradius II, it can now withstand 6 hits instead of 3.


Identical to the Gradius shield. Two shields fly to from the front, and attach to the front of the ship. These shields are strong (14 hits) but only protect the front, so watch your back. The funny thing is, one shield orb can disappear before the other! "laughing"

Free Shield[edit]

Similar to the shield, except you can place up to 8 around the ship.

Edit Mode[edit]

Edit Mode lets you design your own power meter from scratch. Not all weapons from Type Select are here, but there are new weapons exclusive to here.

Here's a list of the weapons from Type Select:

  • Normal Missile
  • Vertical
  • Tail Gun
  • Free Way
  • Twin Laser
  • Ripple
  • Cyclone Laser
  • Option
  • Force Field
  • Shield
  • Free Shield

Now here are the new weapons:

Control Missile[edit]

This lets you control where you want the missile to go. You can move it up, down, or forward, but not backwards. If you don't move it, it goes forward. If you change your mind while controlling, just move the missile in the other direction. You can't control the missile while it's on terrain. Unlike other missiles, only one is allowed on-screen at a time.

Upper Missile[edit]

Same as the normal missile, only this one goes upward.

Small Spread[edit]

This Spread Bomb goes backwards, and creates a slightly smaller explosion.

Spread Gun[edit]

This new double can be powered up in two stages.

  • Level 1: Fires one shot above and below the normal shot area.
  • Level 2: A forward shot is added for three shots.

Energy Laser[edit]

This fires energy bursts. Holding down the fire button makes it charge up, which can act as a shield at times. Charged shots are extremely powerful, and are the best weapons for killing bosses (the first boss can be defeated in two shots).

Snake Option[edit]

This new option type slides in the opposite direction of your ship when you stop. It is difficult to use, but good control can lead to a great attack pattern.


This shrinks your ship in two steps. Provides no actual shielding so if you get hit in either step, you die. Reduces your ship's hitbox as it relates to enemies and their projectiles, but makes no change to your obstacle-oriented hitbox, so be careful around walls.

New power-up type[edit]

There is a new power-up type on the power-up bar. It is an exclamation point [!].

Here are the types of weapons for it:

Mega Crash[edit]

Acts like a crash capsule from other Gradius games, clearing the screen of weak enemies and bullets. Most importantly of all, it can destroy option hunters after they steal options and return the options to you. (Type Select only)


Returns Double or Laser types equipped back to normal shots. (Edit Mode only)

Speed Down[edit]

The opposite of Speed Up. (Edit Mode only)

Remain Option[edit]

If you need Options, activate this to turn your extra lives into Options. Up to four lives can be used. (Edit Mode only)

SNES Extra Weapons[edit]

In the SNES version, weapons were exchanged, added, or replaced. The differences are shown below.

Type Select Differences[edit]

Most of the weapons are still the same. However, the types that the Spread Bomb and 2-Way were in are reversed( Now the Spread is type C and 2-Way is type B.) and Free Way was replaced by Back Double(see below). Free Shield is gone.

New Edit Mode Weapons[edit]

Hawk Wind[edit]

Replaces Control Missile. Depending on what side you are on, that is what side the missile takes.

2Way Back[edit]

Replaces Upper Missile. Same as 2-Way, except it goes backwards.

Back Double[edit]

Replaces Free Way. The extra shot goes 45 degrees backwards. In Edit Mode, Double replaces Spread Gun.

Formation Option[edit]

One of the two new Option types. If you have all Options, the formation will look like a >.

Rotate Option[edit]

Another new Option type. The Options rotate around your ship.

Rotate Shield[edit]

Replaces Free Shield. Only appears in Edit Mode. Like the Option version, the two shields spin around the ship. The Reduce now lets you take 2 hits before growing to your normal size.

Full Barrier[edit]

Replaces Normal. This returns your shields to maximum health. Mega Crash is now in Edit Mode.

PS2/PSP Extra Edit[edit]

In the PS2 (Gradius III and IV) and PSP (Gradius Collection) an Extra Edit mode is unlocked after beating the game. This has all the weapons in the game, with SNES weapons unlockable after beating the game WITH Extra Edit.

Here are the weapons in Extra Edit:

  • Missile
  • Spread Bomb
  • 2-Way Missile
  • Photon Torpedo
  • Control Missile
  • Upper Missile
  • Small Spread
  • Double
  • Tail Gun
  • Vertical
  • Free Way
  • Spread Gun
  • Laser
  • Ripple
  • Cyclone Laser
  • Twin Laser
  • Energy Laser
  • Option
  • Snake Option
  • Formation Option(unlockable)
  • Rotate Option(unlockable)
  • Force Field
  • Shield
  • Free Shield
  • Reduce
  • Rotate Shield(unlockable)
  • Reduce II(unlockable)
  • Mega Crush
  • Normal
  • Speed Down
  • Remain Option