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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:

Core Warships

Big Core Gradius NES
"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.

Space Entities

"Crush it's head!"
Grad2PheonixNES

Large space dwelling creatures often serve as the end bosses to elemental theme stages, such as Ice or Fire levels.

These creatures usually have specific weakpoints, such as the head or mouth. There are various sub-types, such as fire based animals, or even creatures that mimick the core warships.

Body Horror

"Shoot enemy eye!!"
NESGolem

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.

Plant Life

"Shoot the center!!"
MSXHansNaughty

These sentient plants have evolved to form complex defenses. Their usual weakspot is either the eye or mouth, and often have vines that can protect them.

By far the most advanced plant lifeform fought thus far has been the Giga Rose, which had the ability to evolve mid-fight.

Moai

Shoot enemy mouth!!"
NESJumpingMoai

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.

Some Moai have even learnt to move, although this usually requires mechanical assistance.


Gun Walls

"Take out the defenses, and shoot the Core!"
Demos Gradius II NES

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!"
Crab Gradius II NES

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.

Despite the name, not all of these robots actually walk, such as notably in their first appearance and the later designs.

End Bosses

"Danger! Danger! Danger! Danger!"
NESZelos

These are the enemy leaders, be they computers, giant eyeballs, or disembodied brains.
They are usually defenceless, or incredibly weak, which is a in-joke in the series.

Of course, there are always those that like to buck this trend. These are few and far between in the series.

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