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Not to be confused with Gradius II.

Gradius 2, released as Nemesis 2 outside of Japan, is a sequel to the MSX version of Gradius. The game was made before the similarly-titled arcade sequel Gradius II (otherwise known as Vulcan Venture) and branches off into a separate continuity. Nemesis 2 has been remade twice on the X68000. The first is Nemesis '90 Kai, the official remake made by SPS who also did the Gradius conversion for X68000. Nemesis '90 Kai is a big improvement to the original with updated graphics, music, added bosses and stages, and some minor things. The second is Nemesis '94, an unofficial fan remake. This version is more faithful to the original, with only updated graphics and music. Another remake was also featured in the Salamander Portable compilation for the PSP.



Gradius Calendar 6644, the First Planetary War, which broke out with the Bacterian Subspace, is described as "Northern Cross Battle" in Gradius's history. In this fight the damage the Gradius Empire suffered ranged to 65% of the planet as a whole, most of it concentrated in a certain imperial city on the northern hemisphere. But, who could foresee that slight damage to the Southern Hemisphere closed to the darkness would later become a trigger to lead the Gradius empire to crisis?


The Planet Gradius is located at a distance of 280,000 km from its sun and its axis is kept substantially horizontal to the sun. For this reason, the northern hemisphere benefits from the sun the entire year and conversely the southern hemisphere has been closed to darkness. The Gradius Empire, with its planet as its mother star, has a population of about 2 billion people, and colony stars called seven neo-space plants on its vicinity. The Empire's major operations are focused on the northern hemisphere where the sun is shining while little development of the southern hemisphere has been done.

The Wreek was the only ethnic group living in the southern hemisphere of Planet Gradius. Although their lifestyle was primitive, they possessed psychic powers which allowed them to communicate telepathically with other tribes. The psychic power possessed by a Wreek was known as Wreek Power and was known to be usable as an energy source for all kinds of powered equipment and living bodies. This singular power is maintained by a strong and special magnetic ion held in their bodies, thus making them susceptible to a variety of cosmic rays which exist in nature, this being their reason for taking residence in the southern hemisphere, where the incidence of cosmic rays is relatively low. However, the Imperial Government grieved over the Wreek people, refusing recognition.

Attacks on the Gradius star in the "Northern Cross Battle" had little direct effect on the Wreek settlement area, but many Wreek people perished due to the influence of cosmic radiation emitted from the explosion of stray bullets. After this battle, only 12 Wreeks survived. However, the rescue activities of the Imperial Government and its reconstruction efforts never reached the Wreeks, causing four more to die. During this time, the distrust and hatred of the Wreeks' empire rapidly increased.

Among the surviving Wreeks, it was Venom who hated the Empire the most. After a while, he headed to the north of the Imperial Government with four of his friends, and eventually ceased communications. Only three Wreeks remained, and James Burton was among them. James was three years old back then, an orphan who lost his parents to the Northern Cross.

Gradius Calendar 6645, the Gradius Empire Space Agency, which was undertaking research on Wreek power, completed an analysis report on its power and utility value and, based on its significance, reported its early recognition of the Wreeks to the Imperial Government. Based on this report, the government decided on the official recognition of Wreeks and launched the Wreek Protection Policy, followed by a large-scale Wreek survey. However, the Wreeks felt distrust on the Empire and opposed the Empire's protection policy, all Wreeks except James, who was housed in the Space Agency for Wreek power research, and who would soon leave the Imperial Government. James, who aimed to participate in the future Empire Space Air Force, remained in the Space Agency.


Gradius Calendar 6647, the 16th Emperor died. On his place, Lars 17th was appointed the 17th Emperor.

Around this time, an accident happened in the sun which illuminated Planet Gradius. The sunspot disappeared, while the temperature in the center began to rise abnormally. The sunlight gradually became more blue, while its brightness increased. The surface temperature gradually rose, and the climate began to show signs of change. Although response to these changes was sufficiently possible with the technical prowess of Gradius, the problem was that the Gradius Empire's main energy source was extracted from recycled particles contained in the sunlight. Due the the sun's abnormality, extraction of these particles became unstable, causing a big impact on the energy supply.

The Imperial Government rushed to establish the Wreek power application technology as a new energy source. But in order to do so, full cooperation of the Wreeks was required. Such a background hastened the protection policy, causing the Imperial Government to exploit the Wreeks. Although this policy caused an uproar among the Wreeks, it proceeded smoothly.

Gradius Calendar 6653, the National Science and Technology Agency successfully develops a Wreek energy generation system, and thus the first super-spacetime fighter "Vic Viper", equipped with a Wreek power engine, was completed. But before that, inside the Space Agency, the conflict worsened between the Wreek engineers and the Gradians. James Burton, who grieved over the confrontation between them, transferred from the Space Agency to the Department of Defense.


Gradius Calendar 6658, the Second Planetary War ("Dark Goddess Battle") broke out, following the second attack by the Bacterian. In this fight, James Burton was appointed as a pilot of the super spatiotemporal fighter "Vic Viper" equipped with a Wreek power engine, succeeding in repelling the Bacterian Army after a fierce battle.

Triggered by this battle, the Wreek power gained a lot of attention and development competition involving private research methods intensified. Under this intensification of development competition, the first Wreek Director General of the Space Agency was appointed. He was none other than Venom, who had disappeared silently after the "Northern Cross War".

Under the direction of Director General Venom, "Hyper Drive System II" for dramatically improving energy efficiency was developed, and a psychic/Wreek power propulsion device applying this system to the Wreek power engine was put into practical use. The Ministry of Defense decided to make full use of this propulsion device to the next super spatio-temporal fighter aircraft, and the Space Technology Agency launched the development of the state-of-the-art ultra spacetime fighter "Metalion".

Under such circumstances, the Imperial Government began to have secret allegations against Venom's appointment as Director General of the Space Agency, and conducted a investigation around Venom. At the same time, the conflict between the Wreeks and the Gradians inside the Space Agency was quietly but definitely worsening. Eventually, it devolved into a full conflict between the Space Agency and the Imperial government, and on Gradius Calendar 6664, a coup by the Space Science and Technology Agency finally broke out.


Gradius Calendar 6664, a coup d'etat with 10 people, including Dr. Venom, Director General of the Space Science Agency, was suppressed by emergency invocation of the Gradius Army of Emperor Lars 17th. Dr. Venom and the others were arrested and the coup ended in failure. After a military trial, Venom and the others were exiled to Planet Sard. However, the turmoil caused by the coup continued, and on year 6665, Emperor Lars was assassinated by a bullet shot by an agitator, while political parties become confused from the struggle for successors to the imperial government, worsening the situation.

Meanwhile, Venom et al. 10 escaped from the Planet Sard thanks to the intervention of a third party, and went missing.

Gradius Calendar 6665, amidst all the confusion caused by the political situation, the development of the super spatiotemporal fighter "Metalion" was completed ever since Venom was the director of the Imperial Space Science Agency. "Metalion" demonstrated excellent performance with repeated test flights, but the instability of the "Hyper Drive System II" energy amplification system was pointed out. As a result of the investigation, the report brought to the Department of Defense was that Venom's integration with the "bio-computer system" which Venom took with himself outside the planet was indispensable.

Gradius Calendar 6666, Planet Gradius's communications with the seven neo-space plant planets ceased all at once. This was the so-called "Silent Nightmare Incident". According to the Imperial Government investigation, it was actually an invasion by someone. In the second half of the same year, signs of aggression came to Gradius's main star, and the situation rapidly became tense. The invader was Venom, resurrected at the hands of Bacterian.

Venom escaped to Planet Sin thanks to the Bacterian after being exiled to Planet Sard by Emperor Lars. Bacterian aimed at invading Planet Gradius by using Venom's ambitions. The Bacterian applied a massive cyborg surgery on Venom to maximize his Wreek's supernatural power. The newborn Venom, with its base on Planet Sin, invaded the seven neo-space plants one after another, and now he's stretching his hands to the Gradius main star.

The Gradius Empire Government decided to launch the newly developed space fighter "Metalion". However, piloting the "Metalion" with the instability on its energy amplification system was risky. The mission was to defeat the Venom fleet while attempting to link with Venom's "bio-computer system". As the pilot for such an important and difficult mission, the Imperial Government leaders nominated James Burton, the former pilot of "Vic Viper" and a Wreek just like Venom.

The countdown reverberates at the start control base. Explosive sound! Along with the earth's rumbling, "Metalion" flies out.

The fight for the fate of Planet Gradius begins now.


Nemesis 2, at its roots, is just like every game in the series (aka travel through a stage, get powerups, destroy a boss at the end). However, there are some new things thrown in to make things interesting.

The main catcher is the ability to add additional weapons to your arsenal. This is done by destroying a boss and flying into its core. Once that happens, you must fight in a mini-stage and reach the end. Depending on how fast you destroy the boss will determine how many weapons you get (2 for 15 seconds, 1 for 16–30 seconds, none if beyond 30 seconds except for the X68000 version). Also, there are secret stages that can be accessed, allowing the boss to be skipped and the possibility to get many points and extra lives.

The other major change is that there are 15 stages to go through. More accurately stated, you have to repeat the stages in reverse order although they're shorter. Instead of the classic Vic Viper here you pilot a new ship named Metalion.


As stated earlier, there are many weapons that can be added to Metalion's arsenal. At the start, there are the traditional weapons (Missile, Double, Laser). The Missile and Laser can be powered up for added power. Just like Nemesis, the Metalion can only acquire two Options (except in Nemesis '90 Kai where Metalion can equip four). Listed below are the extra weapons available in order of collection. Note: selecting Double will cancel some of these extra weapons, meaning you'll have to get powerups to get them back.

  • Up Laser: Shoots a wide beam above Metalion. It's more effective than Double and works with the Laser.
  • Down Laser: Shoots a wide beam below Metalion. This weapon replaces both the Up Laser and Missiles, so it is not as good as the Up Laser.
  • Napalm Missile: Makes a powerful explosion when it hits an enemy. It is different from Spread Bomb in later series, since it can still travel along the ground. However, Napalm Missile in Nemesis `90 Kai works like the Spread Bomb for some reason.
  • Reflex Ring: This weapon replaces Double. It shoots a shot that travels a certain distance then returns to you, like a boomerang. (Can reequip the Up Laser)
  • Extend Laser: This adds a third level to the Laser, making it very powerful. Note: The Nemesis Kai '90 version resembles the Laser, but with various colors.
  • Back Beam: aka Tail Gun. Unlike the Double, you lose only the Laser, not the Up Laser.
  • Fire Blaster: Another "upgrade" to the Double, this weapon shoots a short range but very powerful blast of fire. Think flamethrower. (Can reequip the Up Laser) Note: You cannot destroy most of the enemies with this due to a glitch, making this weapon quite useless. The glitch is fixed on Nemesis '90 Kai, and you can turn the glitch on or off in Salamander Portable.


In addition to the extra weapons, there are special powerups that grant the Metalion extra abilities for a limited time. They are:

  • Vector Laser: Shoot a very powerful and wide but slow wall-like laser. Note: The Nemesis '90 Kai version fires a wave projectile.
  • E. Slow: Slows down everything, making it easier to dodge bullets and enemies.
  • Option Warrior: Makes the options rotate around the ship.
  • Rotary Drill: The Metalion spins around like a drill and destroys anything it hit. It is invincible during this time.


The bosses are very different compared to the original Gradius and Salamander. The traditional Big Core is seen, in mass, during stage 4 right before the boss.

Stage Name Boss Music
1, 13 Colossus Planet Riot Warship Killer Coast Land
2, 12 Plant Planet Misfit Warship A Planet of Plants
3, 11 Ancient Planet Misfit Warship Red Diamond
4, 10 Floating Continents Big Core MK I
Mayhem Warship
Dancing Venus
5, 9 Planet of Fire Mayhem Warship Blazed Up
6, 8 Living Planet Doom Frontier Disputes
7 Fortress Planet Sinar
Abaddon Warship
Don't Leave Me Alone
14 Venom Mothership Venom Moonspin



In stage 6 of all the Nemesis 2 games, there is a secret stage shortly after getting the Rotary Drill. It is near the bottom of the screen, found going through the ground.

If you put in Q-Bert into slot 2, you can access these cheats:

  • F1 L A R S 1 8 T H Enter F1 - All Weapons (Konami Code)
  • F1 N E M E S I S Enter F1 - Skip Level
  • F1 M E T A L I O N Enter F1 - Invincible

If you put in Penguin Adventure into slot 2, you play as Penta.

If you put in The Maze of Galious into slot 2, when you die you won't lose your weapons.

Other versions

Beta ver.

Main article: Nemesis 2 (beta)

A beta version of the game was leaked onto the internet, which features several differences to the retail version of the game.

Nemesis '90 Kai

Main article: Nemesis '90 Kai

This Sharp X68000 port is essentially an enhanced remake of Nemesis 2 with graphical quality on par with Gradius III. It includes two new stages exclusive to this version of the game and four new bosses (two of which replace the rematches fought in the MSX version).


Characters James Burton (Metalion) • David Burton (Vixen) • GaudieVenomVenom's AidesLars 17thWreek
Nemesis 2 stages Colossus PlanetPlant PlanetAncient PlanetFloating ContinentsPlanet of FireLiving PlanetSinAsteroid BeltWater PlanetVenom Mothership
Nemesis 3 stages SunPlantGravityPast-BossMoaiHellSandCellFactoryGofer Ship
Nemesis 2 bosses SoddRiot WarshipMisfit WarshipBig Core X10Mayhem WarshipDoomSinarAbaddon WarshipVenom
Nemesis '90 Kai exclusive bosses Lizard CoreLaser CoreBig Core MK II KaiBeta Core
Nemesis 3 bosses Geezer ButlerHans NaughtyTetranAbaddon WarshipMisfit WarshipBig CoreArmored SaintLynyrd SkynyrdTriumph KicksKiller DwarfCrab WarlockQueensrÿcheGofer
Gradius video games
Gradius series GradiusGradius IIGradius IIIGradius GaidenGradius IV: FukkatsuGradius GalaxiesGradius VGradius ReBirthGradius: The Interstellar AssaultGradius NEOGradius NEO Imperial
Spin-offs Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3Nemesis (Game Boy)Cosmic WarsSolar Assault
Parody games ParodiusParodius Da!Gokujō Parodius!Jikkyō Oshaberi ParodiusSexy ParodiusParo WarsOtomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius Excellent
Other games ScrambleThunder CrossThunder Cross IISpace ManbowForce Gear
Pachislot Gradius: The SlotCR Parodius Da! EXGokuraku Parodius!
Cancelled Vic ViperGradius ArcSalamander HD Remaster