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.
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, spawning enemies that will home in onto the player. 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 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.
- He shows up in later games, such as Gradius V 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.
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 a 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.
- Zero, a boss character from the Kirby series, bears some resemblance to the Zelos Force.
- During a cutscene in Contra ReBirth, it is mentioned that Neo-Salamander used the "Zelos Force" to attack the Earth.
|Gradius II: GOFER no Yabō|
|Stages (arcade)||Artificial Sun • Alien • Crystal • Volcano • Revenge of Moai • High Speed Zone • Boss Rush • Gofer Ship Interior|
|Port-exclusive stages||Volcano - Crystal (NES) • Enemy Base (NES) • Gofer's Lair (NES) • Temple (PC-E)|
|Bosses||Phoenix • Big Eye • Giga (NES) • Crystal Core • Death MK II • Jumping Moai • Big Moai • Desert Core (PC Engine) • Big Core MK II • Zub Rush • Big Core • Golem • Tetran • Gaw • Intruder • Zelos Force (NES) • Covered Core • Demos • Crab • Gofer|
|End bosses and major enemies|
|Major Recurring Foes||Gofer • Bacterian • Dr Venom • Zelos Force (Zeros) • Lars Empire|
|Minor Enemies||Xaerous Brain • O.V.U.M. • Eleos Brain • Mother Computer Z • Guardian Core • Central Server • Genocide Core • Metal Slave • Zelos Barrier • Doom|
|Episodes||Episode 1: Salamander • Episode 2: Paula's Meditation • Episode 3: Gofer's Ambition|
|Characters||Ike Lord British • Dan • Stephanie McBain • Eddie Evans • Doromo • Ministers • Lee McBain • Paula • Gofer|
|Enemies||Rugal • Sharp Cross • Golem • Giga • Zelos Force • Intruder • Tentacle • Big Core MK I • Moai • Xaerous Brain • Fire Dragon • Death Hand • Big Eye • Dee-01 • Phoenix|