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The Intruder (イントルーダ Intorūda?) is a recurring boss in the Gradius series. It is a dragon-like space monster with a long and serpentine-like body which is completely engulfed in flames. It moves around by slithering through space, often tracing circular or undulating patterns.

The creature has become one of the most iconic and recognizable assets of the series, including its various spinoffs and diverse related media, and has made numerous cameo appearances in other Konami games, either as a guest enemy or as a special attack that can be used by the player (generally a very powerful one).

It is often considered to be the "Salamander" itself and appears prominently in artworks and/or its special attack is explicitly named as such in some games.


The Intruder is a fiery dragon-like creature which has made several appearances in the series and set the tradition of fire elemental creatures appearing as bosses, such as Phoenix and Volleone. It is also one of the few bosses in the series to get its own theme music, a piece called "Fire Dragon" which plays during its reappearance in the Gradius II's boss rush stage.

In the Japanese version of Life Force, the Intruder, like the stage it's in, has been recolored blue.

Attack patterns

The Intruder will attempt to wrap himself around the player, occasionally breathing fire. In the original game, the Intruder's movements are fairly jerky and stiff, owing to limited programming of the era, but later games refined the programming to give it more fluid snakelike movement. In some games, the Intruder can physically crush the player with its body. Since it has relatively low health, however, this is somewhat unlikely.

In the NES version of Life Force, only its head ever appears. Here he has a very simplistic attack pattern, which consists of breathing fire in the player's general area. It moves its neck up and down to try and match the player's vertical position. Although its fireballs are quite large, the Intruder's health is very low and it will usually go down without being much of an issue.

It reappears in Gradius II, where it gains the ability of splitting into three at low health. This naturally greatly increases the difficulty of the boss, each head needing to be eliminated on their own.

Finally, in Gradius Gaiden, O.V.U.M. uses the image of the Intruder as a scare tactic against the player.


The Intruder appears in the first episode of the Salamander anime series. Its appearance is constantly teased throughout the episode, as it's shown freely moving around the Salamander planet and activating the Sharp Cross traps on its narrow tunnels. It finally makes a proper appearance at the end of the episode, protecting the Zelos Force and serving as the final enemy the heroes face. It proves to be a very strong foe, being impervious to all weapons, so Eddie Evans pulls a heroic sacrifice to destroy it from the inside.

Similar lifeforms

  • There are smaller fire dragons that reside in other stars, suggesting several stages in the life cycle of this creature. These range from the smaller, weaker Fire Dragons that reside in small scale suns, to the multi-headed Vulture Dragon.
  • Similar looking creatures are used as living weapons in the Core Warship Deltatry, perhaps even being the same species. These particular dragons turn on their master upon his defeat, suggesting cruel treatment.



  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, a spell called "Salamander" summons an Intruder-like dragon that circles around its target, dealing massive fire damage.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, there's a monster similar to the Intruder called Solar Flare Dragon.
  • In Axelay, the Intruder makes a cameo appearance in the Stage 5 (the lava stage) of the game.
  • In Gaiapolis, a 1993 arcade fantasy action role-playing game also by Konami, the player can summon an Intruder-like fire dragon for an ultimate attack.
  • In Ninja Cop, an Intruder-styled dragon makes an appearance as a summoned entity in a boss fight.
  • In Lightning Fighters, an Intruder-like special attack, called "Dragon Laser" can be used by the spaceship.
  • In Gradius Gaiden, a boss, the Deltatry, which is based on the Trigon fighter, uses an attack which summons Intruder-like dragons.
  • In Vandal Hearts, a spell called "Salamander" summons an Intruder-like dragon that turns in circles around the targets, dealing extensive damages. The spell also reappears in the second opus.

See also

Characters and ships Vic ViperLord British (Lord British)• Saber Tiger and Thrasher (Iggy Rock and Zowie Scott) • Van Landroth FrehleyLars XVIIISuper CobraGalaxyPurple EmperorRed Devil
Salamander stages Bionic GermMeteorite SpaceBurning ChaosVolcano AreaSalamander Planetoid
Salamander (MSX) stages Top Flight Speed to LatisConduct to Space Station ZotSet the Crush Blow System - Planet EioneusSet the Crush Blow System - Planet LaviniaSet the Crush Blow System - Planet KierkeWrath of VenomCrush Salamander
Life Force-only stages Organic Speed ZoneTemple Zone
Salamander 2 stages Sub-life SpaceProminence FortressBio HazardHuge BattleshipAsteroidDoom Fortress
Salamander bosses GolemTetranIntruderFortress ValisDeathBig Core X3Jumping MoaiZelos Force
Port exclusive bosses ZylomGawGigaTutankhamonDead EndEnigmaTrue VenomMetal SlaveZelos Barrier
Salamander 2 bosses BiterHydraAbadonTenny RopPlate CoreCerberusDoom
Gradius II: GOFER no Yabō
Ships Vic Viper
Stages (arcade) Artificial SunAlienCrystalVolcanoRevenge of MoaiHigh Speed MazeBoss RushGofer Ship Interior
Port-exclusive stages Gradius II NES Stage 2 (NES) • Volcano - Crystal (NES) • Enemy Base (NES) • Gofer's Lair (NES) • Temple (PC-E)
Bosses PhoenixBig EyeGiga (NES) • Crystal CoreDeath MK IIJumping MoaiBig MoaiDesert Core (PC Engine) • Big Core MK IIZub RushBig CoreGolemTetranGawIntruderZelos Force (NES) • Covered CoreDemosCrabGofer
Solar Assault
Ships Vic ViperLord BritishAlpinia
Stages The River StyxFierce BlazeCurseAbyssal ForestSpeed DemonSolar Assault
Bosses Big Core MK IIntruderTutankhamonDinosaurBig Core MK IICrab
Organic bosses
Space entities NucleusIntruderPhoenix (Geezer Butler)GoliathBubble EyeWyvernVulture DragonBlizzard CrawlerYorogaton ChimeraGilladorVolleoneDoomLynyrd SkynyrdTriumph KicksGawGigaKiller Dwarf
Body horror AbadonGolemZylomBig EyeGregolMad SkinBrachion EyeBiterBerialHuge HeartCrawler (X) • Infected Statue
Plantlife Choking WeedStinger KidHunter FangGiga's RoseDendrodiumHans Naughty
Salamander (OVA)
Episodes Episode 1: SalamanderEpisode 2: Paula's MeditationEpisode 3: Gofer's Ambition
Characters Ike Lord BritishDanStephanie McBainEddie EvansDoromoMinistersLee McBainPaulaGofer
Enemies RugalSharp CrossGolemGigaZelos ForceIntruderTentacleBig Core MK IMoaiXaerous BrainFire DragonDeath HandBig EyeDee-01PhoenixAmoebaNucleus