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The Gradius games, first introduced in 1985, make up a series of scrolling shooter video games published by Konami for a variety of portable, console and arcade platforms. In many games in the series, the player controls a ship known as the Vic Viper. In other games of the series, ships the player controls include the Lord British Space Destroyer, Metalion, Sabel Tiger, Thrasher, Vixen, Alpinia, Super Cobra, Jade Knight, and the Falchion β. There are Yu-Gi-Oh! cards named Lord British Space Fighter, Jade Knight, Gradius, Gradius' Option, Victory Viper XX03, and Falcon β.


Recurring gameplay elements

There are several gameplay elements that are common to almost all the Gradius games. These include, but are not limited to:

Power meter

One of the defining characteristics of the Gradius series is the use of a "power meter." The power meter is powered by a power-up item, whose purpose, when collected, is to move a highlight to the next power-up on the power meter. When a power-up that the player wants becomes highlighted, they may activate it, also causing the highlight to reset.

For example, when the player collects a power-up item for the first time, the first power-up (usually a speed increase) becomes highlighted.

The player may now activate this power-up to increase their speed, in which case the meter will revert to its original unhighlighted state. If, however, the player does not activate the power-up, and collects another power-up item, the highlight moves to the next item; in the original game this was a missile.

The player may now activate this to receive a missile weapon, again causing the bar to revert to its unhighlighted state, or choose to hold out for the next item, a double gun. Traditionally, the power-ups with greater effects are placed toward the end of the bar, so that the player must do more work to obtain them, although in some titles like Gradius III a harmful power-up exists at the end which will restore the default (weak) weapon configuration.

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