Missiles are the main secondary weapons found in the Gradius games. In the arcade versions, they are fired by a separate button, but later console releases made them activated by the same button as the regular shot for convenience, though you can still fire them separately in more recent versions. They often drop a missile downwards.


  • Missile: Fires one missile downward that flies along the terrain. Some versions of Gradius allow you to upgrade missiles to a Level 2 shot, causing them to travel faster. Appears in most games.
  • Upper Missile: Fires one missile upward that flies along the terrain. Gradius III Arcade exclusive.
  • Hawk Wind: Depending on the vertical position of the firing craft, shoots a missile up or down. Note that in the MSX port of Salamander as well as Nemesis 3: Eve of Destruction, "Hawk Wind" refers to the missiles ability to climb surfaces instead of stopping at a hill. The Hawkwind appears in in Gradius III SNES, as well as Salamander MSX and Nemesis 3 as the "2Way B.", and Gradius V under the name "Eagle Wind".

Spread Bomb

  • Spread Bomb: Drops bombs frontal arc that explode in a wide blast. Generally the most damaging missile weapon. One of the most common weapons to appear, it appears in most games, and Nemesis 90 kai as the Napalm.
  • S. Spread: Has two versions. In Gradius III arcade, it drops spread bombs backwards. In Gradius III SNES, it drops two small spread bombs straight downward.
  • Napalm Missile: Like a combination of the regular Missile and Spread Bomb, it fires downward and follows the terrain, exploding on contact with a series of blasts. Appears in Nemesis 2 and Nemesis 3. The name is also used in Nemesis 90 Kai, but the weapon there is a regular Spread Bomb.

Photon Torpedo

  • Photon Torpedo: Like a normal missile: fires torpedoes straight down that follow the terrain. The main difference is that it has the piercing capability. This capability varies from game to game, but generally can only pass through weak enemies. Appears in most games, as well as Gradius Galaxies where it could be upgraded to fire both up and down, and Nemesis 3 where it was slowed down but gained more striking power.
  • Guided/Homing Missile: Homes in on the nearest enemy. Appears in Salamander MSX and Nemesis 3.
  • Control Missile: Manually move the missile up or down with the directional buttons. Gradius III Arcade exclusive.

2-Way Missile

  • 2-Way Missile: Fires missiles straight up and down, which disappear on contact. Appears in most games. The version that appears in Salamander (not MSX), Salamander 2, and Gradius Gaiden either follow the terrain, or can be upgraded to do so.
  • 2-Way Back: These 2-way missiles launch behind the ship instead of in front. Appears in Gradius III SNES and Gradius V. The name also appears in Salamander MSX as a Hawk Wind style weapon.
  • Flying Torpedo: Two missiles fly straight forward. In Gradius IV, holding the missile button will make them spread apart vertically before launching forward. (Gradius V & IV)
  • Vertical Mine: Similar to Spread Bombs, these bombs explode on enemy contact or after a short time. The explosion is a thick vertical line. Mines are thrown with the velocity and direction of the ship, and are affected by gravity at all times. (Gradius IV)
  • Arming Ball: Salamander MSX exclusive. Special weapon that only becomes available after a successful Union in a 2 player cooperative game. Orb that is fired in the last direction moved in, and bounces off of surfaces one time. It was not possible to obtain this weapon in the final release.
  • Howk(sic) missile variants: Upgrade available to missile weapons in Salamander MSX and Nemesis 3. Allows missiles to ascend terrain. Name overlaps with Hawk Wind missiles.
  • Psy Com: Homing Missile under a different name. Appears in Solar Assault as the Alpinias missile.
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