Gradius V is a Japanese-developed shoot 'em up video game published by Konami for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console in 2004 as part of the Gradius video game series. The game was released in Japan in July 2004, in North America in September 2004, and in PAL regions in October 2004. On April 14, 2015, Konami announced on a Twitch live stream that Gradius V has been made available in the PSN store. The game was largely developed under contract by the Treasure team -- who are responsible for Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga -- under supervision of Konami's internal development studio, KCET.

The game is set predominantly in outer space, where players assume control of a fictional spaceship called the Vic Viper through a continuously scrolling background depicting the territories of Bacterian; an evil empire which serves as the player's enemy.

General mechanics

Gradius V Demo Intro

Gradius V Intro Screen (From Demo)

Gradius V features structural and mechanical design similar to that of its predecessors; progression is linear and players control a spaceship called Vic Viper over the course of eight levels which alternate between horizontal and vertical scrolling on a two-dimensional plane. Each individual level comprises a number of sequences of enemy formations with bosses occasionally appearing mid-level as well as at the end of the level - whom must be defeated in order to reach the next area. However, when the bosses are defeated, they explode very wild. Points are awarded for every successful kill and tallies up when the game ends on an in-game scoreboard where the player has the option of inputting personal details to distinguish their results.

Combat in Gradius V is influenced by the use of a "power meter; a horizontal panel situated at the bottom of the screen comprised of several boxes, representing each ship upgrade possible. The power meter is used in conjunction with power-up items given by destroyed enemy ships; the effect of these items are to advance the currently selected box in the power meter. When the desired upgrade becomes highlighted, the player can obtain it by pressing the upgrade button, returning the power meter to its initial state in which no upgrade is highlighted. By repeating this process over and over again, the Vic Viper grows stronger and stronger over the course of play. The exact lay-out of the power meter differs depending on the configuration that was selected at the beginning of the game.

Multiple control

Gradius V screen01

In this screenshot, the player is confronted by several enemies and uses a central mechanic called "Multiple control" to reposition the ship's weapons.

Multiples (also known as Options) are pulsating globes that trail behind the Vic Viper, mimicking both its motion and fire. Since Multiples cannot be harmed and can pass through any object without harm, clever use of several Multiples can allow the player's fire at places that are impossible to reach with just the Vic Viper.

New for Gradius V is the addition of a second attribute for Multiples. By pressing the 'Multiple control' button, the player can manipulate the formation or firing angle, depending on the type selected at the beginning of the game. Otherwise, the Multiples will trail behind the player's ship in a tail like fashion.

Up to four Multiples can be obtained. In two-player co-op games, there is still a maximum of four between both players. In another new feature of this installment, if the 'Revival Start' option is off, then any Multiples a player had are left behind when the player is killed, giving him or her (or the other player in co-op) an opportunity to grab them with his or her revived ship.


Gradius V is set in an interstellar setting against the backdrop of a conflict between the human-inhabited planet Gradius and a self-regenerating entity called Bacterian; which in each iteration assembles a massive space armada in an effort to conquer the dominion.

The story opens in the year 8010 when a military space station orbiting planet Gradius is subdued by Bacterion forces. As part of a counter-offensive, Vic Viper of the Gradius army engages the assailants in space. With the help of a future-version of himself, the pilot of Vic Viper fights hordes of Bacterion forces, ultimately obliterating the Bacterion core.

Note: Also, another spacecraft was sent to help the Vic Viper; it may be the Alpinia.


Gradius V was officially announced on January 16, 2003, and is a result of the combined efforts of the now defunct Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo and Treasure, a development studio founded by former employees of Konami. Gradius V marks their first joint project since Treasure's departure from Konami in 1992.

In the 2006 French documentary film Japon: Histoire Du Shooting Game produced by CanalSat's GameOne channel, senior producer Osamu Kasai explained that because of limited resources, the development duties had to be outsourced. Their choice of potential collaborators would be decided by experience with modern shoot 'em ups and a shared understanding of design practices prevalent at Konami, Kasai concluded that "Treasure was the best choice".

Gradius V took many shapes and forms during the course of development and the designers proceeded to change aspects of recurring gameplay elements to distinguish the new game from previous efforts. In an interview with producer Yasushi Takano on the promotional DVD Gradius Breakdown, Takano said that he felt the traditional Gradius formula had become stagnant and expressed a desire for a new direction to remain relevant. He also admitted that some of their early work was not as impressive as it would later become and the game was subsequently delayed and made frequent appearances at trade fairs, including the Electronic Entertainment Expo, prior to its release. Plans were also made to produce a counterpart for video arcades alongside the console version, but it was later canceled because of time constraints.


On April 9, 2004, Konami announced that a DVD entitled OPTIONS was being offered to pre-ordering customers in Japan, containing interviews with the development staff, art galleries and a collection of "super play" videos demonstrating the inner workings of the game's levels. Adding further incentive for customers to purchase the upcoming product, Konami later revealed the availability of The History of Vic Viper ;a book indicating inner design, the background, and the roadmap of the Vic Viper ships which was included with all versions of the original Japanese pressing of the game. An additional DVD with expanded content titled Gradius V Official DVD The Perfect was also released in Japan to be ordered separately or with the game from Konami's online retail store, Konamistyle.

For the North American release of the game, Konami produced a DVD called Gradius Breakdown as a pre-order bonus.


  • Stage 1: Satellite Orbital Sky
  • Stage 2: Battleship Side A and Boss Rush Pt. 1
  • Stage 3: City Underground Stratum
  • Stage 4: Bacterion Cell Hub
  • Stage 5: Asteroid Advance Base
  • Stage 6: Bacterion Multiplication Factory and Boss Rush Pt. 2
  • Stage 7: Bacterion Fortress Hub (High Speed Zone, Part 1; Impregnable Zone, Part 2; Elephant Gear and to exit, Part 3 and final)
  • Stage 8: Battleship Side B (The Final Stage)


Gradius V
Ships Vic Viper T-301
Stages Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5Stage 6Stage 7Stage 8
Bosses Big Core Rev. 1.2Venom (Lower) • Death MK IIITetranBig Core MK IIBig Core MK IVGround SpiderHuge HeartBlaster Cannon CoreRolling CoreCircle CoreBig Core MK IIICovered Core MK IIBeaconKeeper's CoreElephant GearVenom (Upper)
Gradius Video Games
Gradius series GradiusGradius IIGradius IIIGradius GaidenGradius IVGradius GalaxiesGradius VGradius ReBirthGradius: The Interstellar AssaultGradius NEOGradius NEO ImperialGradius Arc
Spin-offs Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2Nemesis (MSX)Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3Nemesis (Game Boy)Cosmic WarsSolar Assault
Parody games ParodiusParodius Da!Gokujō Parodius!Jikkyō Oshaberi ParodiusSexy ParodiusParo WarsOtomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius X: Excellent!
TwinBee TwinBeeStingerTwinBee 3: Poko Poko DaimaōTwinBee Da!!Detana!! TwinBeePop n' TwinbeeTwinBee: Rainbow Bell AdventureTwinBee Yahoo!TwinBee Taisen Puzzle DamaTwinBee RPGTwinBee DungeonPastel Jan
Other games ScrambleFlak AttackA-JAXFalsionThunder CrossThunder Cross IISpace ManbowQuarthTrigonCrisis ForceXexex

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