Gradius Gaiden

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GGaiden logo.gif

Gradius Gaiden
GGaiden title screen.png

Title screen

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Director: Teisaku Seki
Music: Akira Sōji
Norikazu Miura
Yasuaki Matsumoto
Kyōban Suzuki
Program: Kei Chigasaki
Ryō Sonoba
Takayuki Kobayashi
Yukihiro Yamazaki
Art: Teisaku Seki
Kazue Seki
Jun Asami
Release date: PS1: August 28, 1997
PSP: February 9, 2006
Previous game: Sexy Parodius
Next game: Gradius IV

Gradius Gaiden (JP: グラディウス外伝 "Gradiusu Gaiden") is a horizontal scrolling shoot em' up developed and published by Konami in the year 1997. It is a side-story to the mainline Gradius.

The game introduced a unique ship selection, gauge arranging, new shields and weapon types, and a simultaneous multiplayer mode.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview


Gradius Gaiden is a 3 button game with 9 stages. Finishing all of them will start the 2nd loop.

  • A button: Equips the slot highlighted in the Power Meter.
  • B button: Fires the player's main weapon.
  • C button: Fires the player's missiles.

Power Meter

GGaiden power meter.png

Instead of words, Gradius Gaiden uses letters for each upgrade. Collecting Power Capsules highlights one slot going from left to right. Grabbing a Power Capsule when the last slot is highlighted makes it go back to the Speed Up. Dying with a Power Capsule not utilized highlights the Speed Up slot regardless of where it originally was.

Each slot does the following:

Slot Effect
Speed Up
Increases the player's speed. Can be equipped up to 5 times.
Adds a ground-based projectile.
Adds a secondary shot giving more coverage. Equipping Double can replace Laser in case the player was using it.
Upgrades the main shot. Higher damaging than both the regular shot and Double. Equipping Laser can replace Double in case the player was using it.
Adds an orange orb that mimics the player's movement and weapons. Can be equipped up to 4 times.
Activates a shield that grants protection against bullets and enemies.


Instead of weapon setups, Gaiden has a set of 4 characters to choose from. Each weapon has an additional level of power that can be equipped.

Vic Viper
GGaiden vic viper.png
  • Missile: Fired downwards and travels across the ground. At level 2, they can pierce through enemies.
  • Normal Double: Secondary shot fired at a 45° angle. At level 2, it adds a tailgun shot.
  • Normal Laser: Thin beam that can pierce through enemies. At level 2, the length of the laser increases.
Lord British
GGaiden lord british.png
  • 2-Way: Two missiles fired up and down. At level 2, they can travel through the ground.
  • Ripple: Becomes wider as it travels across the screen, cannot pierce through enemies. At level 2, the width of the laser increases.
  • Disruptor: Pulsating beam. Has higher speed, but lower damage. At level 2, the laser's upper and lower coverage increases.
Jade Knight
GGaiden jade knight.png
  • Spread Bomb: Explodes upon impact dealing heavy damage. At level 2, the bomb splits into two missiles.
  • Round: Concentric laser with 360° coverage. At level 2, the diameter of the laser increases.
  • Pulse Laser: A set of two thin small lasers. At level 2, it turns into a set of three lasers.
Falchion β
GGaiden falchion β.png
  • Rolling Missile: Two missiles fired downwards and travel across the ground. At level 2, the travel length increases.
  • Auto-Aim: Secondary homing missile fired at a 90° angle. At level 2, it fires at a 180° angle.
  • Gravity Bullet: Fires explosive shells that suck enemies in. At level 2, the radius of the laser increases.


GGaiden shield.png

  • Grants frontal protection against bullets, can withstand 12 hits.

GGaiden forcefield.png

  • Grants protection from all sides against bullets, can withstand 3 hits.

GGaiden guard.png

  • Grants upper and lower protection against bullets, can withstand 3 hits. Also grants invulnerability to surfaces.

GGaiden limit.png

  • Grants complete invincibility for 3 seconds.

Guage Edit

GGaiden gauge edit.png

Gauge Edit allows players to rearrange the Power Meter upgrade order in whatever way they feel like.

Power Capsules

GGaiden power capsule.png Red Power Capsule
Appears upon defeating enemy formations and orange colored enemies. Advances the Power Meter by one slot.
GGaiden blue power capsule.png Blue Power Capsule
Appears after 12 Red Power Capsules. Clears the screen from small enemies and bullets. Does not advance the Power Meter.

Extra Lives

On default settings, the player obtains an extra life at 20,000 and then at every 150,000.


Gradius Gaiden loops infinitely. Upon a completion of a loop, the game goes back to stage 1.


For general tips, walkthroughs and boss descriptions, see: Gradius Gaiden/Strategy

Development History