Moai are probably the most prevalent of the Gradius traditions, with it's only notable abscences being in Gradius V, Gradius: The Interstellar Assault and Nemesis 2. Moai statues are based on the real life Moai guardian statues found on Easter Island.
The Moai usually stand up or lie flat on the ground, which consists of floating platforms. The Moai always fire Ion Rings, and the rings can be destroyed, but the Moai will simply create more until destroyed. Moai have a moderate amount of health, and can only be killed by shooting them in the mouth. In most Gradius games after II, the Moai will turn red, become more aggressive, and be able to fire many more rings, in addition to being able to stand up and turn around.
- Normal Moai: The normal, unaggressive Moai, who only fire energy rings and don't turn around. First appeared in Gradius.
- Angry Moai: The harder version of the Normal Moai, the Red Moai fire energy rings at a faster pace, and can turn around and stand up. First appeared in Gradius II, returning in Gradius III SNES.
- Mechanical Moai: Appearing only in Nemesis 3, mechanical moai are similar to red moai, but are harder to destroy. A second type of Mech Moai lays flat on the ceiling or floor and fires an expanding laser similar to the Up / Down lasers.
- Laser Moai: Blue Moai that not only fire ring AND turn around, but they also fire a huge beam, which still fires as they're crumbling. Only appeared in Gradius Gaiden.
- Moai Я: Regenerating Blue Moai who act like normal Moai, except they regenerate. Only appeared in Gradius IV.
- Angry Moai Я: Just what the name says, these are Regenerating Red Moai. Only appeared in Gradius Galaxies.
Cameos in other Konami titles
- The Moai is the Gradius icon in Cosmic Wars.
- Moai is also a playable character in Wai Wai World. His special abilities were the ability to break certain types of bricks as well as shoot energy rings.
- Also, Moai appeared as a Yu-Gi-Oh! Card along with Gradius, Big Core, etc.
- Alongside the Brain Golem, a Moai also appears as a boss in the 1993 fighting game Monster Maulers. In this incarnation, it has an entire upper-body made of stone.
- Moai appears as a playable character in the fighting crossover game DreamMix TV World Fighters.
- A throwable Moai statue is an unlockable weapon in Busou Shinki Battle Rondo. In addition, a set of Mini Moai options can be unlocked that followup attacks with a barrage of ion rings.
- The Moai appear in Salamander anime Vol.1 as a statue, also a Moai appear in Vol.2 alike the game that they were enemies the Moai was build by the ancestors to defend Gradius.
- A Moai statue appears in certain Castlevania games as a very rare and valuable item.
- A Moai statue makes a cameo appearance in the fighting game Skullgirls, as a super-combo form of the character Double. The game is distributed by Konami, and features work by Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane.
- The Sandlot-developed, Konami published Playstation 2 game Remote Control Dandy SF features the M.O.I., an enormous flying battleship with numerous Moai turrets.
- A Moai appears as an unlockable head type for players in Pro Evolution Soccer 2013.
- Moai appear in the Zoradius minigame in Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner.