The Zub Rush consist of a series of respawning enemies (Zubs) which launch themselves towards the player with reckless abandon. They are one of the most recurring Sub Bosses in the series, originally appearing as the Stage 2 Sub-Boss in Gradius. They usually appear at the start of the Boss Rush stages, as a means of powering up, almost universally accompanied by the theme music: Aircraft Carrier. (Few exceptions include Interstellar Assault, in which they got a new theme music, and games where they are more recurring, such as in Gradius V.)

Zub Rush has a modified version called Zub Rush MK II, which is a more difficult Sub-Boss, but it has not appeared in recently games.

The Zub Rush was also introduced in the Parodius series. But it was only introduced in Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius and Gokujō Parodius!.

Attack Pattern

Depending on the game, either one or two Zubs will spawn at a time. In certain games they automatically target the player, in others they go into a random direction. They will also quite happily spawn on top of the player, requiring very quick reflexes to get out of the way in time. Starting with Gradius II they initially appear as red capsule dropping enemies, before changing halfway through.

In Gradius and Gradius ReBirth, they form a long vertical line two or three times in the entrance to the boss area.

Occasionally they will appear mid-way through a boss rush in smaller groups to give the player more power ups, most notably in Gradius V. The primary means of failure in these battles is for a player to get too greedy for power ups, thus losing concentration, allowing a Zub to spawn on top of them.


If you are fully, or nearly fully powered up, the easiest way to survive this is to stay to the back of the screen and move up and down almost constantly, paying attention if any respawn directly above or below you. If you are trying to recover and are in a boss rush, it's usually a good idea to try and get either a laser or option after you get your first speed up, helping you to destroy as many as possible.


Ships Vic Viper
Stages Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4PC-E Exclusive StageStage 5Stage 6Stage 7
Sub Bosses VolcanoZub RushMother and ChildIron MaidenTentacle GolemElectronic Cage

Skeleton Wave (PC Engine) • Tri Core Crystal (MSX) • Polliwog Rush (Spectrum)

Bosses Big CoreCell NucleusXaerous Brain
Gradius II
Ships Vic Viper
Stages (Arcade) Burning HeatSynthetic LifeCrystal WorldA Way Out of the DifficultyThe Old Stone AgeDeprived Sanctity (PC-E exclusive)Maximum SpeedBoss RushInto Hostile Ship
Stages (NES) Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5Stage 6Stage 7Stage 8
Bosses PhoenixBig EyeGiga (NES) • Crystal CoreDeath MK IIJumping MoaiBig MoaiDesert Core (PC Engine) • Big Core MK IIZub RushBig CoreTetranGauIntruderZelos Force (NES) • Covered CoreDemosCrabGofer
Game Boy Gradius games
Ships Vic ViperCoreship
Nemesis (Game Boy) Bosses VolcanoSuper Big CoreZub RushCrawlerMaru MaruStrikerIron Maiden MK 2RecklessMother Computer Z
Gradius: The Interstellar Assault Bosses Infected StatueCore ReactorVolcano CoreKeeper's Core EXGuardian CoreEscape Ship
Gradius ReBirth
Characters James Burton (Vic Viper) • GaudieVenom
Stages Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5
Bosses VolcanoIron MaidenBig Core DuoZub RushCrawler XMoai OrbSkeleton WaveEnigmaElectronic Cage MK2Xaerous Brain
Sub Bosses / Panic Segements
Traditional / Recurring VolcanoZub RushIron MaidenSkeleton WaveCenter CoreJumping MoaiDogas
One Shot Mother and ChildTentacle GolemIron Maiden MK 2Maru MaruStatue GuardiansAsteroid FieldProminence ZoneBlock CoreTriple CoreRotating Moai