The Iron Maiden is a large enemy type, only seen in Sub Boss battles, and is a major recurring Sub-Boss in the Gradius series, originally appearing as the Stage 4 Sub-Boss in Gradius.


Maidens traverse terrain in an attempt to collide with the player - if the player is not in a good position or has not dealt with the other enemies in the area they can quickly become overwhelmed. Whilst present in most ports of Gradius, they were replaced by a Inverted Volcano in the NES version.

Attack pattern

Gradius 3 (SNES) - Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden in Gradius III.

The Iron Maiden is usually joined by two Dagoom Hatches, which spawn a constant stream of enemies until they are dealt with. The Iron Maiden itself follows a preset movement pattern, along the path of the mountain and terrain, before eventually enclosing in on the player, and once they move up the right, they advance at you. It is possible to move around them as they are advancing at you, but if the Iron Maidens are super fast, don't try this.

In Gradius ReBirth the terrain they are normally present in is inverted and they actually emerge from the terrain itself.


The main way to survive this Sub Boss is to first take out the Dagoom Hatches if possible, and then to find a safe spot - and stay there, dodging what-ever bullets come your way as necessary. This safe spot should optimally be able to hit newer Iron Maidens coming into the area, as well as older ones as they get closer. If the safe spot is sound, you will be able to take out the Maidens with little trouble, as they have little health.

In Gradius, it is possible to get to the right and let the Iron Maidens fly past you, but make sure to have the hatches destroyed. Also, stay in the middle. In Gradius ReBirth, hiding in the upper right will work as well.


In Salamander, the Iron Maiden appear as a regular enemy in the final mission. Here they are much smaller than the regular Iron Maiden and have a different pattern, jumping from the walls and shooting.



See also

Ships Vic Viper
Stages VolcanoStonehengeMoaiReverse VolcanoWasteland (PCE) • TentacleCellBase
Sub Bosses VolcanoZub RushMother and ChildIron MaidenTentacleElectronic Cage

Re-Bone (PC Engine) • Tornado (MSX) • Tyran Pace (MSX)

Bosses Big CoreCell NucleusXaerous Brain
Gradius III
Ships Vic Viper
Stages DesertBubble ZoneVolcanic PlanetHigh Speed DimensionMoai ZoneCell PlanetProminence PlanetPlant PlanetCrystal ZoneBoss RushMechanical Base
SNES Exclusive Stages High Speed ZoneFortressCell
Bosses GoliathBubble EyeGodreiBig Core MK IIIDogasVaifTwin Vaif (SNES) • GregolWyvernVulture DragonChoking WeedLizard CoreBeacon (SNES) • TetranCovered CoreBig Core MK IICrystal CoreDeath MK IIDellinger CoreDisruptShadow GearShadow Gear MK II (SNES) • Big CoreGolemBacterion
Gradius ReBirth
Characters James Burton (Vic Viper) • GaudieVenom
Stages Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5
Bosses VolcanoIron MaidenBig Core DuoZub RushCrawler XMoai OrbRe-BoneEnigmaElectronic Cage MK2Xaerous Brain
Sub Bosses / Panic Segments
Traditional / Recurring VolcanoZub RushIron MaidenRe-BoneFortress ValisJumping MoaiDogas
One Shot Mother and ChildTentacleTornadoTyran PaceZigzagAmbSoddSinarCrash Bam
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