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Gradius Wiki

Zelos Force (ゼロスフォース Zerosu Fōsu?) is a recurring antagonist in the Gradius series.


Zelos Force is a boss that occasionally appears in the Gradius series. It first appeared in Salamander as the core of the Salamander Planetoid. It always appears as a giant red eyeball and was also created by the Bacterians as a planet-modifying system to change planet Latis into an organic fortress for them. Since it is an organic weapon and also a living creature, some Zelos Forces are seen in different situations they normally would be in, such as manipulating a core unit, transforming into another creature, or living in wild.

Attack patterns

While originally appearing as a non-combatant final boss, in a few games Zelos gained additional attacks:

  • Salamander: Zelos's only method of harming the player in this game is to collide with them, as he approaches from behind. He will then be held in place by four stabilizers which must be destroyed in order to eliminate Zelos. Upon his defeat, the screen will lurch forward quickly and the base will attempt to shut the player in.
  • Salamander (PC Engine): In this game, Zelos not only approaches from behind, but he also shoots red lightning and his core has to be hit in order for him to be destroyed. Lightning bolts, however, can remove Options/Multiples when struck.
  • Salamander (MSX): In this game, Zelos is a free floating entity and will move around the screen. Option Eaters will appear frequently on the screen, attempting to remove the ship's Options. If the player manages to stick an Option inside Zelos, he will be defeated very quickly. Upon his defeat, Zelos will summon Metal Slave, a very powerful Core warship.
  • Life Force (NES): Zelos is now protected by Salamander, a snake creature, which wraps itself around him, firing an occasional fireball. This snake must be defeated before taking on Zelos. It's possible to move around Zelos, but doing so will warp the player back to an earlier point in the game. Upon his defeat, the screen will lurch forward quickly and the base will attempt to shut the player in.
  • Gradius II (NES): Appearing in the Boss Rush stage, Zelos will now cause the screen to flash with lightning (although this is only for aesthetic purposes). His real attack is to create several orbs that will attempt to home toward the player; these can be destroyed.
  • Gradius IV: Upon defeat of Berial, Zelos will appear and grow to massive proportions. He will attempt to destroy the player with a circle volley of lasers. After two volleys, he will automatically self-destruct.
  • Gradius Gaiden: Zelos will first appear piloting Grave. Later in the game, O.V.U.M. will use Zelos's image as a scare tactic.
  • Gradius V: Zelos Force appears as a basic enemy. They can expand their size to massive proportions and there are many of them. They scream when killed, just like the original.
  • Otomedius/Otomedius Gorgeous: Appear as a boss in the Versus Mode of the games, known as Zelos Force Fortune; It is consistued of 12 Zelos Forces.


The Zelos Force appears in the first episode of the Salamander anime series. It serves as the core of the Salamander, which the heroes attempt to destroy. Much like in the original game, it never attacks, although it is protected by an exceptionally strong version of the Intruder.



  • In Salamander (MSX), Venom is reincarnated inside Zelos and leads the Salamander Attack Force.
  • In the PC Engine port of Salamander, Zelos has a covering on his core that opens and closes constantly. This suggests that Zelos is a living mechanical core.
  • Zelos makes a cameo appearance as the final boss in Contra ReBirth, retaining an overall similar appearance, although at a much reduced size. During a cutscene, it is mentioned that Neo-Salamander used it to attack the Earth.
  • Zero and Dark Mind's second form, final bosses from the Kirby series, bears some resemblance to the Zelos Force.
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
End bosses and major enemies
Major Recurring Foes GoferBacterianDr VenomZelos Force (Zeros)Lars Empire
Minor Enemies Xaerous BrainO.V.U.M.Eleos BrainMother Computer ZGuardian CoreCentral ServerGenocide CoreMetal SlaveZelos BarrierDoom
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