(SNES / Super Nintendo)

Gradius III (SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Profile

Gradius III is a scrolling arcade shooter game that was originally released for the Super Nintendo in 1991. The game puts you into the roll of Vic Viper, a starfighter that must combat against the Bacterion Empire. You must make your way through ten levels and battle against many evil foes. The Super Nintendo release was different from the original arcade version by offering decreased difficulty, an increase in armaments, and the ability to continue after losing all lives.

Game Review


USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Vic Viper is back to rid the galaxy of evil.

Gradius III was one of the first SNES shooters and to be perfectly honest, it shows. Graphically the game is fairly bland (although the same could be said of the coin op original), the sound is nothing special and when things get hectic there's some...

Game Screenshots

Related News

Music: Here's The Entire Gradius III Soundtrack In NES Style, Just Because

Here's The Entire Gradius III Soundtrack In NES Style, Just Because

The remix you didn't know you needed

Gradius III was one of Konami's first releases for the SNES and took the popular shooter franchise into the 16-bit realm for the first time. As is the case with many Konami games, it featured an excellent soundtrack by Konami Kukeiha Club, the company's in-house music team. In its pure, untouched form it's a...

Game Trailers

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

User Comments (37)



deggs said:

amazing game. I think it was a launch title for the snes (or at least an early title). Konami had some amazing games in the early snes days (this, contra 3, Super Castlevania 4). Honestly, those were some of the best games of all time. They were more fun than anything else around.

The arcade version of Gradius 3 was next-to-impossible which made many love the snes version more. Still, the arcade supposedly had some 3rd person levels that were taken out for the snes version (but it's not like you could make it to those levels without goin through $10 in quarters). Also, some of the levels were modified and the graphics weren't quite as good in this version. That said, I remember this version of the game as being one of the greatest games ever.

There was a Gradius 3 and 4 compilation for the ps2 with the arcade versions and a Gradius comp for the psp with the arcade versions of Gradius 1,2 (not msx), 3, 4, and Gradius Gaiden (it was released only for the Japanese ps1). I really hoped that this would make it over to the PS2 but no such luck.

Still, can't wait for this one



Tobias said:

I loved Gradius - you mention other better shooters on the VC - what do other people recommend I try if I love(d) gradius?




Dazza said:

R-Type on the TG-16 and R-Type 3 are better (not Super R-Type) - the best shooters on the VC are Soldier Blade (the best imho) and Super Star Soldier.



TheNintendoBoy said:

@Tobias, apart from the ones Dazza mentioned, Bio-Hazard Battle is also a fun, challenging 2-player horizontal shooter and it has a unique feel to it. The weapons system is very simple though.



Will said:

I absolutely loved this game. I used to go over to a buddies house and we'd try to get farther and farther through the game. Seemed that we'd get real far without losing and once we did it was impossible to move forward in the game (especially at the diagonal corridor level). I think the weapons system and bosses makes this game a classic and it wasn't too difficult to get through most of the first levels unlike R-Type games. Never was a huge R-Type fan the games seemed way to difficult for a casual shooter fan as myself but Gradius III was right up my alley. The only game that I thought was as addicting would have to be Einheinder. I'd recommend this one to any fan of the genre.



William said:

Well... I've been a gradius fan all my life (for the shooter genre)... I also like Gradius III as well. It's a not-too-shabby game, after all, huh? I'd have rated it a 4-star instead of a 3-star rating, but... due to what you guys have said, that would make sense. Ah well. It's still a great game, anyway!



Mark said:

Not to sound like a douche, but U.N. Squadron can't be taken off my #1 list of flyer games.



Masuyo said:

I have the actual cart. I love it but it has its problems. Some of the custom weapons just arn't useful. It's incredibly easy to die and when you do die it's almost impossible to get back up to a decent amount of power. I love the level design and I enjoyed the NES one just as much. It's decent but not worth the money.

Thunder Spirits next?



Fieron said:

3 level's of difficulty? i believe you have forgotten the ultra hard "arcade" mode



Pablo said:

Does this shooter have true 2Player mode? (And by that I mean 2 players simultaneously)
I think other shooters like R-type only had 2player mode in the sense that one player played after the other.



TheNintendoBoy said:

@Pablo - Nope, it's 2-player alternative. So yeah, you take turns playing.. :/

"Thunder Spirits next?"

You mean the almost butchered version of Thunder Force 3? I'd pass.



daniel said:

3 stars??! are you joking?
this is probably among my top 5 snes games.
in my prime playing ability i could beat the game on hard without dying once.
download gradius iii for vc for great gameplay and great music.



Matthew said:

I agree with daniel, this game deserves more than 3 stars. Gradius 3 for the SNES would be the best in the series if it weren't for V on the PS2. Shooter fans, download this game you won't be disappointed!



Amber said:

I figured I'd comment just to put up a differing opinion. What shooters you like is definitely a matter of taste. I love Gradius 3 and hate R-Type 3.

I also found R-Type 3 easier than Gradius 3...up to a point. Then it got stupid, unfairly hard with trial and error death traps. Ugh. I bought R-Type 3 due to its high rating, played it a few times, then deleted it off my system. Gradius 3, however, I thought was utterly sublime to play.



deggs said:

3 stars?

this is still prob one of my all-time fav snes games and prob one of the most fun games of all time...



tovare said:

Is there a high-score list in this game, I really miss it in R-Type III.



tovare said:

Wow, couldn't resist getting this one. It does have a high-score table ! I noticed some severe slowdown in some cases which is unfortunate because I sometimes end up activating too many speedups. Despite the slowdowns the game is very enjoyable.

__Alessandro Sojack


Alessandro Sojack said:

Bah -- Gradius 3 easier than R-Type*? That's madness Somehow, an unspedup Vic Viper is even SLOWER than the R90, and R-Type at least had the courtesy to drop some of those powerup ships near where you'd restart on dying.

Oh, in any case, this game is still rather excellent, even if I'm terrible at it. Slowdown, though? That sounds strange. The PS2 port never had any -- that was based off the arcade version though, so maybe it's an SNES thing?

* R-Type 3 is a different story. I know people complain that R-Type involves too much pattern memorization and what not, but it's no more than you have in Gradius. Excepty R-Type 3, which took the entire thing to some extremely idiotic point around level 3 where it was like, "WHOOPS HERE'S THE FLOOR!" and by that point you're dead. Sloppy level design -- you can die too easily through no fault of your own. I much prefered the more open, Gradius-esque levels of R-Type Final, Darius Gaiden, and Einhänder.



bsg said:

gradius 3 is a great game, but the SNES version's slowdown is unforgivable



Eric said:

Best - Game - Ever - Period. By the name of Gradius 3. I give it eight stars. Out of a possible zero. Wha who?! Where's he coming from? Yeah it's a good game.



Nigel said:

I've just started getting into shooters, and I've downloaded 8 of them, and yes, there's some slowdown on this one, but who cares? The level designs are great and it's as much fun as a game can get! I'm a little surprised by this rating, usually I agree with the reviews. Not this time! 5 stars.



Marvel_Maniac said:

This is definetly at least a 4.

Damo actually says "the sound is nothing special " in his review.

Are you kidding me?

This game actually stands out to me due to its sound. There is some of the best music in any game for the SNES in Gradius III. I was trying to resist downloading it, but I simply could not hold out any longer. Bought it today, and I'm just loving it.

Oh and as far as slow down is concerned, yes, it happens, but it doesn't ruin anything. It sort of feels like a Matrix-esque dynamic, where there is so much going on at once, that you get a chance to respond to all the mayhem.

There is just something about Gradius...



TRON said:

This is a technically good schmup, but I found it feeling kind of generic and without personality. I really commend the power up system in this series though, it really lets you create a shooter that fits your play style without having to avoid picking up "certain" power ups.

I would recommend this to schmup fans seeking a new challenge, but only after you've played Gates of Thunder.



Matmax14 said:

i like this game but think its to easy...when you played it 3 times youknow what are the best power ups and youonly have to use shieldagain and again-.-



CanisWolfred said:

This is my favorite of the series, I love how it lets you choose which weapons you want to use. I don't play many shooters though, but Gradius III certainly made me a fan of the genre. I already have it on the PSP collection though, and the slowdown would just be annoying, even if it does have co-op.



Tweek said:

3 stars? are you Joking, Damien? This game has really good music for the time, and you didn't even mention that you can customize your ship! This game is worth at least a 4.



Marvel_Maniac said:

Matmax, "i like this game but think its to easy"

Have you tried boosting the difficulty in the options list? I've never found this to be easy on difficult.



Corbs said:

I just wasn't terribly impressed with Gradius III. Rampant slowdown and streaky difficulty made the game feel very thrown-together at times.



The_Fox said:

I'm not a huge shooter fan, so it takes something special to win me over. It's clear that this is a slightly better than average shooter, but the technical problems knock it to below average.



lockelocke said:

Having been hooked on Lifeforce as a kid, I was instantly won over by this game. If you love the Gradius thing, you'll enjoy it, no doubt.



Goomba said:

I remember this was the first game I bought on SNES. It has great stereo sound and music. I found myself going back to it many times.



Goomba said:

This version is one of my all-time favorite games. It definitely has that special "magic" to it. The music is excellent in stereo and the colors are bright. It is a very playable home version of an arcade game. I don't think I miss the crystal level from the arcade very much

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...