Gradius Gaiden (lit. "Gradius Side Story") is a horizontal scrolling shooter video game produced by Konami and released in Japan on August 28, 1997. It is the first Gradius-named title to incorporate 3D graphics. The soundtrack for the game was composed by Norikazu Miura (credited as Nories Miura).
The core gameplay of Gradius Gaiden remains relatively unchanged. However, two new ships are made available whose weapon configurations are new to the series. Moreover, several changes were made on the weapons system. The chargeable E. Laser, the Reduce size shield, option types, are all items that have been removed in the transition from Gradius III to this title. However, the player can select from several ships, each with a unique weapon configuration. In a slight carryover from Salamander 2, Missile, Double and Laser weapons can be additionally powered up one level. These power-ups are permanent until the player is destroyed, even if he switches between the Double and Laser powerups. There are two new types of shield. One is called 'Guard', which attaches to the top and bottom of the craft and renders the player immune to physical obstacle collisions. The other is called 'Limit' and gives complete invulnerability and lasts for three seconds. The player can re-arrange the power-ups on the power-up gauge before gameplay begins as well as change the default arrangement on the Options menu. The option whether to use a male or female announcer is also on the Options menu.
The difficulty level can also be adjusted from 'easiest' up to 'hardest', for a total of seven difficulty levels. On the easier difficulties, the more troublesome boss attacks are removed and the number of enemies on-screen is reduced.
A level select option (which allows you to start on any stage you've been to, as well as the loop the stage is in) and free play mode (which gives you unlimited credits) can be unlocked by beating the game on normal mode without using any continues and by accumulating at least 10 hours of game time, respectively.
The setting is between Gradius III: From Legend to Myth and Gradius IV: Resurrection.
During the " Third Bacterian War ", the planet Gradius defeated the Bacterians, and peace returned to Gradius. After two hundred years passed, Gradius prospered, but the nightmare returned after the disappearance of a science vessel which went to a nebula known as "The Evil Range". Shortly after, the colony planets of Gradius were attacked by some unknown force that destroyed 99% of the Gradius Army. The Gradius Army Headquarters decided to launch a desperation attack on the "Dark Nebula", which was the source of the invaders. Four Hyper Space Fighters launched from the mothership with orders to stop them.
Jade Knight: Eponymously, every weapon this ship has is tinted green, including the options.Its missile, the spread bomb is a carry-over from Gradius II. This ship has two different kinds of lasers available: round and pulse.
The round laser, the most unusual weapon presented in this game, fires concentric rings of laser origination. The pulse laser is a two or three pronged burst laser, similar to the twin laser in previous titles.
Falchion Beta: This ship's weapons are variations on well known themes.
The Falchion has two way missile called a rolling missile, which tumbles to the ground where it splits and shoots both left and right.
It also has a three-way limited range shot called Auto-Aiming, that fires a second shot within the angles of 0 to 180.
Its laser weapon is the gravity bullet, which is a newcomer to the Gradius Series but is present in several earlier Parodius titles. It is based on the Spread Gun that is yielded by Pentarou in Parodius Da! －Shinwa kara Owarai e－ and every title afterward.
Also, it has been speculated that the ship is not new at all, but an upgrade of the Falsion from the 1987 Konami game of the same name.
Gradius Gaiden never initially saw availability outside of Japan (in which it was released three times, initial release, Playstation The Best and PS One Books) until the release of the PlayStation Portable compilation, Gradius Collection, in 2006 for North America and PAL regions. For the PSP version, cooperative multiplayer (in which both players play at the same time, as in the Parodius and Salamander Series) was removed and suffers from lag at certain parts.
- Stage 1: Beyond the White Storm
- Stage 2: Requiem for Revengers
- Stage 3: Into the Crystal Cage
- Stage 4: Ruins of Silence
- Stage 5: Organic Fortress
- Stage 6: Green Inferno
- Stage 7: On the Event Horizon
- Stage 8: Formidable Guardians
- Stage 9: Fate...
- Stage 1: Blizzard Crawler
- Stage 2: Grave; Nobil
- Stage 3: Shining Core
- Stage 4: Moai Dimension
- Stage 5: Mad Skin
- Stage 6: Stinger Kid, Hunter Fang, Giga's Rose
- Stage 7: Kraken
- Stage 8: Zub Rush, Laser Tetran, DeathDouble and Parasite Core, Triple Core, Deltatry, Juggler Core, Neo Big Core, Heaven's Gate (loop 2+)
- Stage 9: Boost Core, Demos FX, Heavy Ducker, Sol, The Original Visions of Ultimate Monster O.V.U.M. Intruder, Zelos Force, Brain Golem
|Ships||Vic Viper • Lord British • Jade Knight • Falchion β|
|Stages||Beyond the White Storm • Requiem for Revengers • Into the Crystal Cage • Ruins of Silence • Organic Fortress • Green Inferno • On the Event Horizon • Formidable Guardians • Fate...|
|Bosses||Blizzard Crawler • Grave • Nobil • Shining Core • Moai Dimension • Mad Skin • Stinger Kid • Hunter Fang • Giga's Rose • Kraken • Laser Tetran • DeathDouble • Parasite Core • Triple Core • Deltatry • Juggler Core • Neo Big Core • Heaven's Gate • Boost Core • Gunner Wall • Heavy Ducker • Sol • O.V.U.M.|
|Gradius Video Games|
|Gradius series||Gradius • Gradius II • Gradius III • Gradius Gaiden • Gradius IV • Gradius Galaxies • Gradius V • Gradius ReBirth • Gradius: The Interstellar Assault • Gradius NEO • Gradius NEO Imperial • Gradius Arc|
|Spin-offs||Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2 • Nemesis (MSX) • Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3 • Nemesis (Game Boy) • Cosmic Wars • Solar Assault|
|Parody games||Parodius • Parodius Da! • Gokujō Parodius! • Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius • Sexy Parodius • Paro Wars • Otomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius X: Excellent!|
|TwinBee||TwinBee • Stinger • TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaō • TwinBee Da!! • Detana!! TwinBee • Pop n' Twinbee • TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure • TwinBee Yahoo! • TwinBee Taisen Puzzle Dama • TwinBee RPG • TwinBee Dungeon • Pastel Jan|
|Other games||Scramble • Flak Attack • A-JAX • Falsion • Thunder Cross • Thunder Cross II • Space Manbow • Quarth • Trigon • Crisis Force • Xexex|