They have all of the weapons as the fighter and can usually max out at 4, resulting in quadruple the additional firepower. In addition, they are invincible so enemies cannot attack them save for one, the Option Hunter. Many Options have additional special properties that only add to their effectiveness. Of special note is Salamander 2, where Options can be sacrificed for a powerful homing attack. These are all of the Option types in any Gradius related game.
The option (called Multiple in the american and european version and Shadow Option in Nemesis 3.) follows the movements of the fighter exactly. They are in every Gradius game. Acutally Options in the first Gradius.
Function similarly to Option, but depending on the game have a different effect: in Salamander and LifeForce they remain near the ship, Otomedius, Otomedius Gorgeous and Otomedius Excellent these have a slight delay in your movements, Gradius Galaxies is behave the same way as an Option.
Rolling Option Edit
Makes the Options orbit the fighter. Like the Formation Options, they lose some fluidity in movement. They have more concentrated fire but do not cover as wide an area. However, they extend a little in front and behind which can set up good attack positions. In the NES version of Gradius II, regular Options can become Rotating Options for a short time by spending additional energy in the Option slot after getting four of them.
Formation Option Edit
Creates a formation of Options, two above and two below the fighter. While they lose the ability to have concentrated fire and fluidity, they allow move area coverage. They come from the Thunder Cross games.
Snake Option Edit
Follows your movements but has a tail-like attribute to them. They will swing in the opposite direction when the fighter stops moving. They are hard to use, but effective control can lead to impressive attack positions.
Funshin Option Edit
This option gathers to your main fighter's position when you stop the movement, making it less useful than normal option.
Option Seed Edit
This is a smaller Option that orbits the fighter and automatically shoots small shots. Getting another Option Seed created a new Option.
Freeze Option Edit
They act like standard Options until the function is active, then they hold their positions relative to the ship. If used effectively, they can be used in impressive attack positions and destroy major targets with ease.
Direction Option Edit
They act like standard Options but they can be aimed to shoot in any direction with the price of the fighter being unable to move. Used effectively, they can be very destructive.
Spacing Option Edit
These options are similar to the Formation Option, in that they remain in predetermined positions, but the Option Button can be used to increase/decrease the area between the Options. Good for adjusting between wide and concentrated attacks.
Rotate Option Edit
They are like a cross between Option and Rolling Option, as pressing the option button these orbit around the ship.
Center Option Edit
This can perhaps be seen as a combination of Formation and Rotation Options. The Options are static like Formation, but are Up, Down, Left, and Right of the fighter. The laser can be aimed in any direction and pulses are shot.
Forward Option Edit
Options are locked tightly in front of ship like a shield, the options fire one massive laser beam.
Wind Option Edit
Esthetically are equal to Wide Option, but unlike these, the Wind Option, they can not change the direction of your shot.
In-Line Option Edit
Options are locked widely above and below ship, similar to the Formation Option.
Advance Option Edit
Wide Option/Riding Core Edit
Search Option/Bee-Unit Edit
The Search Option seeks to destroy its target, or until you exit the shooting range. In Otomedius Excellent there is another version called Bee-Unit, esthetically only change to resemble TwinBee, WinBee and GwinBee
Lock Option/Flint Edit
Similar to Freeze Option, but you can have up to only three options. The "Flint" is a replacement in Otomedius Excellent, only change esthetically.
Variable Option Edit
Armed Guard Option Edit
These act like standard Options, but have a protective armor that blocks bullets. These add additional defense to the fighter but dissipate with more hits, weakness is determined by color.