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Big Core MK I

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Big Core MK I
Big Core
Appears In Gradius
Gradius II
Gradius III
Gradius V
Gradius Gaiden
Gradius ReBirth
Nemesis (MSX)
Nemesis 2
Nemesis 3
Solar Assault
Gradius NEO
Gradius NEO Imperial
Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius

Otomedius Gorgeous
Otomedius Excellent
Cosmic Wars
Theme Music Aircraft Carrier (Gradius I, II, III, NEO, NEO Imperial and Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius)
Last Evil (Gradius ReBirth)
Mazed Music (Otomedius Gorgeous)
Shower of Stars (Otomedius Excellent)
Dark Force (Gradius '93)


Big Core MK I is the famous staple boss in the Gradius series. They are usually found in a Gradius game in one form or another as an actual stage boss, in a boss run, or as regular enemies. (In Gradius V, they are very numerous in stage 3 at several parts and in stage 7 at the beginning of the stage.) In Gradius Gaiden, it is in the second stage as one of the boss debris. In Nemesis II (MSX) before boss 4, a fleet of them appear for you to destroy.

Other games have made several variants of the Big Core MK I that have it with extra armaments, different attack patterns, or transformations.

In Gradius NEO Imperial, Big Core MK I is the player's vessel instead of the Vic Viper. Here some additional weapons are available besides the traditional four laser shot.

Attack Patterns

Big Core MK I attacks by shooting four blue lasers at the player while moving up and down. They have only one core (the weakness for most bosses) which is protected by four panels. It is usually easy to destroy.

However in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius, it becomes a little harder to deal with. At first it will attack normally, but it will suddenly turn around and begin attacking you from behind. When it returns to the right side, it will move faster and shoot it's lasers haphazardly and non-sequentially.

In GR3, it has gained two extra lasers and has turned two of its lasers diagonal. The lasers it fires will bounce off walls. After taking enough damage, the core is attacked and merges with the Blind Guardian. Later, on stage 7, the first boss in the boss rush is two normal Big Cores at once, except they can drop glowing mines.

In Otomedius Excellent, the Old Big Core is now on Earth located in the Great Waterfalls in Stage 4 which it happened to Meta-Lium hit the big laser before the Old Big Core awakes. The Core is only shoot in the 5th hit which is only the 2 small cores and the big center core while you shoot.


Big Core MK I appears only in Vol.1 of Salamander OVA when trio was attacked by Tentacle Golems. When it appeared, Gradius forces destroyed it.

Old Big Core

Old Big Core is a giant Big Core MK I that appears in Otomedius Excellent. It's pilot is unknown. It destroyed Meta Lium's Big Core MK I before the battle with the Old Big Core.  When fighting Old Big Core, you go inside the Old Big Core to destroy it, it's barriers are giant destroyable walls and has laser turrets, thus, the inside of Old Big Core may be related to a Gunwall. There are also 2 smaller cores.

Big Core Custom

As mentioned before, the Big Core in Gradius Neo Imperial plays the hero role instead of Force Viper. It's mission is to escape from the Lars Empire, presumably to join the Gradius Union. Unfortunately, it meets a tragic end at the hands of the Force Viper. It is armed with additional weapons along with the four shot laser.

  • Standard Shot - Four shot laser, starts at two with little rapid fire.
  • Straight Missiles - Shoots a stream of up to six medium-sized missiles, starts at four.
  • Laser - Shoots a powerful laser, similar to the Force Viper's Wide Laser from Gradius Neo. Starts out small, but at full power is practically the size of the Big Core.
  • Area Napalm - Switching your control mode to 'Area Napalm mode' sets up a 3X3 grid. Pressing a button on your number pad will bomb the corresponding grid, and any target within that grid will be bombed by a small spread blast. Number of napalm blast can be increased by powerup


Big Core Gallery
Big Core, as it appears in the X68000 port of Gradius.  
Garudius '95's Big Core
Big Core, as it appears in the NES port of Gradius.  
Big Core Nemesis ZX Spectrum.gif
Big Core, as it appears in the ZX Spectrum version of Nemesis.  
Big Core in Salamander.png
Big Core, as it appears in Salamander. It is fought 3 times.  
Big Core Gradius II.gif
Big Core, appears during the Boss Rush Stage in Gradius II. Image from NES port.  
Big Core Nemesis 3.png
Big Core, appears during the Boss Rush Stage in Nemesis 3.  
Big Core Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius.gif
Big Core, appears during the Boss Rush Stage in Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius.  
Big Core in Gradius V.jpg
As it appears in Gradius V. Note the guns on the sides of the ship. These are never used.  
Big Core MK I otomedius.png
Big Core, as it appears in Otomedius.  
Cameo Big Core in Force Gear.png
Big Core's cameo in Tokimeki Memorial's hidden easter egg game, Force Gear.  
Big Core Garudius '95.gif
Big Core, as it appears in the fangame Garudius '95.  
Big Core Shoot The Core.gif
Big Core, as it appears in the fangame, Shoot The Core.  
Big Core in GR3.png
Big Core, as it appears in the fangame, GR3.  
Big Core unused in Otomedius Gorgeous.jpg
Big Cores unused in Otomedius G.  
Big Core Gradius ReBirth.png
Big Cores in Gradius Rebirth.  
Big Core in Yu Gi Oh!.jpg
Big Core, as it appears in Yu-Gi-Oh!.  
Big Core Anime.jpg
Big Core, as it appears in the Salamander anime.  
Old Big Core.png
"Old Big Core", a boss in Otomedius Excellent!.  
Old Big Core.png
"Old Big Core", a boss in Otomedius Excellent!.  
Big Core Gradius Phone.png
Exclusive Big Core Bosses in Gradius Mobile Phone.  


  • Big Core MK I is also a Yu-Gi-Oh! card and appeared in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Episode 71
  • It was also a boss form in Rocket Knight Adventures.
  • It also guest stars in a mini game in Blades of Steel.
  • Big Core MK I also appears in the flash game Hyper Exelympic, based on Triggerheart Exelica.

Gradius Bosses
Sub Bosses VolcanoZub RushMother and ChildIron MaidenTentacle GolemElectronic Cage

Skeleton Wave (PC Engine) • Three Core Crystals (MSX) • Polliwog Rush (Spectrum)

Bosses Big CoreCell NucleusBrain
Core Warships
Big Cores Big Core MK IBig Core Rev. 1.2Big Core MK IIBig Core MK IIIBig Core MK IV
Big Core variants BeaconBlaster Cannon CoreBubble CoreCircle CoreCoreshipCrater CoreCrystal CoreDellinger CoreDesert CoreHeaven's GateJuggler CoreLizard CoreMaster CoreNeo Big CorePerla MeraldaRexion CoreRolling CoreShining CoreSuper Big CoreTerra CoreTriple Core (Life Force)Vanishing CoreViva CoreGenocide Core
Core-style bosses Abandon WarshipBubble EyeCovered CoreCovered Core MK IIDead EndDeath (Gau) • KrakenMayhem WarshipMetal SlaveMisfit WarshipQueensrÿcheRiot WarshipPlate CoreScrap Wall
Pseudo-Cores Death MK II (DeathDouble) • Death MK IIIGraveTriple Core
Tetran variants Covered TetranCrystal Core D-X02Laser TetranTenny Rop

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