Boss battles in the Gradius series, are found at the end of a stage, these large enemies are far stronger than the opponents the player has faced up to that point. These boss fights often involve targeting specific portions of the enemy, or eliminating multiple limbs or parts.
Often these boss battles are pre-empted by short Sub Boss battles. The Gradius series has a multitude of Boss Types, which are outlined below:
- "Destroy the Core!"
One of the most popular types of enemies, these are typically large warship bosses with one or more energy cores housed within, usually (if not always) guarded by a series of small walls or forcefields the player must break through before they can attack the cores themselves.
Some bosses have the ability to regenerate these forcefields. When the core has sustained enough hits, it usually changes color from blue to red, indicating that it is in critical condition and its destruction is imminent. Upon the destruction of a core, a piece of the boss may be put out of commission, seeing that it is no longer powered by a core, or if all of the cores are destroyed, the entire boss is defeated.
- "Crush it's head!"
Large space dwelling creatures often serve as the end bosses to elemental theme stages, such as Ice or Fire levels.
- "Shoot enemy eye!!"
Often made up out of various bits of human anatomy, these creatures live, feed, and are part of the larger space entities in the series, such as the Salamander's many defenses, or what-ever Huge Heart resides in.
Sometimes these lifeforms will infect smaller lifeforms.
- "Shoot the center!!"
By far the most advanced plant lifeform fought thus far has been the Giga Rose, which had the ability to evolve mid-fight.
- Shoot enemy mouth!!"
The living statues from Easter Island grow to incredible size, and these larger ones act as the end bosses to most Moai levels in the series.
Since these creatures are stationary, their main method of attack is to create smaller Moai which chase the player, although the later games in the series give them more abilities, such as being able to cause earthquakes, spawn fully grown Moai, or even distort their surroundings.
- "Take out the defenses, and shoot the Core!"
Gunwalls are stationary bosses, which usually attack by firing laser turrets, and creating duckers, an ability this series of boss gained in their second appearance. The later Gun Walls can also distort their surroundings, and some of the more organic ones have control over smaller core craft.
They normally form as part of the defense in the final stages, but will sometimes appear earlier in the game. They are normally Mid-Level, or Sub Bosses, very few of them are fought at the end. Not all Gunwalls act alike, and some, such as Enigma and Crystal Gust manage to be unique bosses in their own right.
Walkers / Mechs
- "Watch out!"
Often referred to as "the final enemy", these large mechanical defenses are usually indestructible and are nearly always accompanied by Ducker robots - this is usually your final obstacle before tackling the final boss. It should be noted, that the Arcade Walkers are far more likely to be Indestructible than the Console Walkers, with the console versions becoming regular end of stage bosses.
- "Danger! Danger! Danger! Danger!"