FAQ by ZKeene

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 05/18/99 | Printable Version

*                       Gradius 3 FAQ Version 1.0                         *
*                 By: Zach Keene (zjkeene@bellsouth.net)                  *
*                       Last Updated: 18 May 1999                         *

   Table of Contents    .       .       .       .       .       .        7      
1) Introduction .       .       .       .       .       .       .       20
2) What's New?  .       .       .       .       .       .       .       52
3) Credits      .       .       .       .       .       .       .       59
4) Legal Crap   .       .       .       .       .       .       .       68
5) Gradius 101  .       .       .       .       .       .       .       83
6) Weapons      .       .       .       .       .       .       .      105
7) Boss Tactics .       .       .       .       .       .       .      265
8) Codes        .       .       .       .       .       .       .      401
9) Bonus Levels .       .       .       .       .       .       .      450
10) Zodiac Chart        .       .       .       .       .       .      528
11) The End     .       .       .       .       .       .       .      566

::: Introduction ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  So, after eight long years, the moment you haven't been waiting for has
finally arrived. A FAQ for Gradius 3 has finally been written! This will
probably end up being a fairly short FAQ, but since this has always been
a favourite game of mine, I felt it deserved a semidecent FAQ. So, what
the heck?
  This FAQ covers the SNES version of Gradius 3. I have no idea how it
differs from the arcade version, if at all. 

  This FAQ was written using the world's most powerful typewriter, that
blue-screened wonder, the MS-DOS Edit. For best results view with a
monospace font (like Courier New), 75 characters a line, 8 characters a
tab. Send any comments, corrections, additions, subtractions, suggestions,
bribes, etc. to zjkeene@bellsouth.net

                Where to get the latest version of this FAQ

                   [This version is always current.]


By Usenet:

  New versions of this FAQ will always be posted to

::: What's New? :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Version 1.0 - (18 May 1999)
        - First version of the FAQ.

::: Credits :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Nintendo Power
        - Where I got originally got the codes. Except the Arcade Mode
          code, which I found out the hard way years before NP ever
          reported it. :P

::: Legal Crap ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  This Gradius III - The Outbreak FAQ is (C) 1999 Zach Keene. As Grand
Poo-bah of Copyrightedness, I grant upon thee the following rights:

1) Thou mayst give this FAQ to whomever you so choose. The key word here is
   "give". If anybody gets paid for this, it darn well better be me. :)

2) Thou mayst put this FAQ up on thine website, so long as it remains
   completely intact. And I do mean completely.

  Gradius III - The Outbreak is TM and (C) 1991 Konami, Inc.

::: Gradius 101 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  Well, if you're not familiar with the Gradius series, here's a quick
rundown of how things work. At the bottom of your screen, there is a
Power-up bar. Each bar is labeled with the kind of upgrade it represents.
For example:

         |Speed-Up|Missile|Double|Laser|Option|   ?   |   !   |

  The first time you pick up a red Power Pod from destroying certain waves
of enemies, or single enemies that are conviently coloured red, the
Speed-Up bar will be highlighted. If you press the Power-up button (default
is A), the highlight will disappear and your ship's speed will increase.
Or, if you pick up another red Power Pod, the highlight will move over one
bar to the right (to Missile, in this example.)
  In short, collect Power Pods until the upgrade you want is highlighted,
then press the Power-Up button. Easy, no?

::: Weapons :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  Gradius III, like a few of its predecessors, allows you to choose your
weapons ahead of time, instead of being stuck with the basics. Unlike
previous Gradius games that allowed this, you can also choose each type of
weapon individually, as opposed to package deals. Let's take a look at the
kinds of weapon selection you have availiable, shall we?

* Type Select *

  This allows you to choose your weapons in a package, instead of choosing
each type of weapon individually. The downside to this is that you only
have two types of shields to choose from, and your bonus weapon (the "!"
on the Power-Up Bar) is always the Mega Crush. Also, your Options are
always of the standard variety.

* Edit Mode *

  This allows you to choose your weapons on an individual basis, allowing
you to try out different combinations of missiles, doubles, and lasers.
It also gives you more choices for Option configurations, Shields, and
bonus weapons.

  And now, a full listing of the available weapons and their abilites:

* Speed-Up *

  Increases your ship speed. If you use this more than six times, your
ship will reset to its slowest speed.

* Missile *

  2-Way Back: Fires backwards both upwards and downwards. (Edit Mode only.)

  2-Way Missile: Just like the regular missile, but fires an additional
  missile upwards and forwards. (Type Select only.)

  Hawk Wind: Whether this fires upward or downward depends on whether you
  are above or below the vertical center of the screen. Otherwise, it's
  just like a regular missle (Edit Mode only.)

  Missile: Fires forward and downward. It will travel a short distance over
  land, destroying anything it runs into.

  Photon Torpedo: Fires straight down. It will travel a short distance over
  land as well. The difference between this and the other missiles is that
  the Photon Torpedo will not disappear when it hits an enemy, and may
  in fact destroy several. (Type Select only.)

  Small Spread: A cross between a Spread Bomb and a Photon Torpedo. Fires
  two missile straight downward that then act just like the Spread Bomb.
  (Edit Mode only.)

  Spread Bomb: Fires far forward and downward. When it hits something, it
  detonates, and anything else within the explosion is also damaged.
  (Type Select only.)

* Double *

  Back Double: Fires an extra shot backwards at a 45 degree angle upward.

  Double: Fires an extra shot forwards at a 45 degree angle upward.

  Tailgun: Fires an extra shot directly behind you.

  Vertical: Fires an extra shot straight above your ship.

* Laser *

  Cyclone Laser: Thicker than the standard laser, but otherwise identical.

  Energy Laser: The longer you hold down the fire button, the more powerful
  it gets. (Edit Mode only.)

  Laser: The standard Gradius laser. Fires a long beam straight ahead.
  It has the property that anything that flies into the middle of its path
  is unaffected (except for small peon ships.) While this can sometimes
  be useful (say, hitting Earwig Scorpion even when its pinchers are
  closed), it is usually annoying. (Type Select only.)

  Ripple: A la Life Force/Salamander. Fires a blue ring that expands as
  it travels across the screen.

  Twin Laser: Rapid fire dual lasers. Very useful in cutting through the
  barriers in the bonus levels, and do not suffer the passthrough effect
  of the longer lasers.

* Option *

  Formation Option: Creates a drone that will fly in a ">" formation near
  your ship, and mimic your ship's firepower. These options can be spread
  out by highlighting the fifth position on the Power-Up Bar and holding
  down the Power-Up button, after you have activated all four Options.
  (Edit Mode only.)

  Option: Creates a drone that will mimic the movements and firing of your
  ship. These options can be spread out further by increasing the speed of
  your ship with Speed-Ups.

  Rotater Option: Creates a drone that orbits around your ship, and will
  mimic your ship's firepower. These options can be spread out by
  highlighting the fifth position on the Power-Up Bar and holding down
  the Power-Up button, after you have activated all four Options. (Edit
  Mode only.)
  Snake Option: Creates a drone that will more or less mimic the movement
  of your ship, but with an added slithering movement. These drones will
  also mimic the current firepower of your ship. (Edit Mode only.)

* Shields *

  Force Field: Creates a field around your ship that will absorb three
  shots from any direction.

  Reduce: Shrinks your ship. As you get hit, your ship will return to
  normal size. Protects you from two shots. (Edit Mode only.)

  Rolling Shield: Similar to the standard Shield, but the two barriers
  rotate around your ship. (Edit Mode only.)

  Shield: Creates two large barriers that protect the front of your ship.
  While this kind of shield is the strongest, it does not offer the most

* Bonus Weapons *

  Full Barrier: Restores your Shields to maximum power. (Edit Mode only.)

  Mega Crush: Destroys all enemies and shots on-screen. Similar to a
  blue Power Pod. Does not work on bosses, obviously. 

  Remain Option: Converts your extra lives into Options. (Edit Mode only.)

  Speed Down: The opposite of Speed-Up. Lowers your ship's speed by one
  degree. (Edit Mode only.)

* Zach's Recommendation *

  My favourite weapon configuration is this: go into Edit Mode, and then
choose Hawk Wind, any Double you want, Twin Laser, Formation Option,
Reduce, and Full Barrier.
  The Formation options and Hawk Winds work very well together, since if
you have all four options and park in the middle of the screen, you will
have missiles hitting both the top and the bottom of the screen. Also, the
ability of the Formation Options to spread out across the screen allows
you to damage a lot of enemies at once.
  The Reduce may be the weakest shield in terms of how many hits it can
take, but do not underestimate the power of shrinkage to help you avoid
being hit in the first place. The small size allows you to more easily
pull off some tight squeezes, including flying right between the twin
lasers of some of the Level 8 bosses.
  Finally, the Twin Lasers are powerful enough without suffering from the
odd effects of the longer lasers or the slow firing of the Energy Lasers.
Also, they cut through the energy barriers of the bonus levels the best
of any weapon, so if you plan on going through them, the Twin Laser is
the way to go.
  All of this is IMO, of course, so your mileage may vary.

::: Boss Tactics ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  These tactics were written for the Normal difficulty. I don't recall any
major surprises at higher difficulties (but it's been a very long time
since I last played a serious game in Arcade mode), beyond the bosses being
harder to kill, faster, firing more bullets, etc.

* Level 1 - Earwig Scorpion *

  Not a difficult boss at all. Aim for the blue-green eye when its pinchers
are open. Dodge the splitting shots it fires and beware of the little
doohickeys that come out from the sand. If you want to really be bad, try
to get _inside_ its pinchers and take it out from there.

* Level 2 - Bubble Eye *

  When it first appears, Bubble Eye will slowly march towards the left side
of the screen. If you're playing on anything higher than Normal, you might
had better get out of its way. During the battle, bubbles will constantly
break off of Bubble Eye, but they pose little threat; just destroy them.
Your mission is to blast a tunnel through Bubble Eye so you can then take
a few shots at the eye directly. Once you get that tunnel made, feel free
to fly right down its "throat", if you will, to eliminate it more quickly.

* Level 3 - QB2B *

  QB2B starts off by firing two lasers that will trap you (well, I guess
could avoid them, but then you wouldn't be able to do any damage), then
fire crisscrossing lasers that bounce between the two larger beams.
Position yourself where the bouncing lasers will miss you, then dodge the
smaller volleys of lasers that QB2B will fire at you. QB2B will then
repeat this pattern ad infinitum. Your job is to take out the small orange
shields protecting the blue cores, then blast the cores themselves.
  After you take out the two front blue cores, QB2B's attacking ability
will be somewhat limited, but it will still attempt the same patterns.
Take out the new orange shields that appear, then take out the blue core
in the back.

* Level 4 - Mega Monolith *

  Your opponents are two large Moai heads that just sit there while you
blast them. Your main threats are from the mini-Moais that they spit out,
and from the falling destructable rocks that come tumbling down as you
blast away. Either way, nothing particularly difficult here.

* Level 5 - Two-Headed Scorch Serpent *

  Not difficult at all. Just let it wrap around you, and you can blast off
both of its heads with ease. Try to position your options so that they
can hit the Serpent's heads even if your ship can't. Be careful when you
finally destroy it, as the pieces can still hurt your ship.

* Level 6 - Bulbous *

  It might not hurt to have three speed-ups before you meet Bulbous, but
you'll definately need two. Hang out in the top left corner, and when
Bulbous begins its vaccum, hold back and dodge the bullets that its arms
are shooting at you. Lather, rinse, repeat, but be careful. The third time
Bulbous does the vaccum thing, it'll have positioned itself much closer to
you, so you have a lot less room for error.

* Level 7 - Beacon *

  Hit the deck! Beacon approaches from the left side, so stay low to get
around it. This guy is a typical Gradius boss; hover on the right side of
screen while Our Hero blasts at blue cores. Just look out for the laser
volleys and blue balls it flings your way while you take out its five
blue cores. Easier done than said, really.

* Level 8 - Unnamed Boss #1 *

  It hovers on the right side of the screen, stopping to launch a spread
of bullets your way. You can only damage it when it stops to fire.
Eventually, you'll blow its front off. After that, when it stops, it fires
a large laser that you do not want to be in front of. However, you'll be
able to damage it at any time.

* Level 8 - Monarch *

  Again, get low, because Monarch approaches from the left. Avoid the
fireballs that its arm shoots, as well as the lasers that fire from near
the blue core area. From time to time Monarch goes on a laser shooting
frenzy; if you've got a full Reduce shield going, you can easily hide at
the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, head for whichever side of the screen
will give you the most room to dodge. Beyond that, it's just the same ol'
shield and blue core business.

* Level 8 - Ice Ice *

  You got a problem? Yo, I'll solve it: Stay to the extreme top or bottom
of the screen, and when Ice Ice opens up, swoop in to do some damage, then
swoop out before the lasers start coming at you. When you run out of room,
quickly change to the other (vertical) side of the screen and use more or
less the same tactics.

* Level 8 - Unnamed Boss #2 *

  This spherical boss launches a number of slow moving bullets at you that
fill up the screen. They're pretty easy to avoid, and otherwise this boss
is no different than any other Gradius boss you've fought so far.

* Level 8 - Grim *
  Finally, the last boss of Level 8! No doubt about it, you're going to
have to dodge all those lasers, and oftentimes your only choice is to go
between them instead of around them, unless you've got a good number of
Speed-Ups on you. Then, after a few shots, you better move quickly, because
Grim is going to curl up and charge at you. Reduce becomes _really_ nice
during this battle, which is why I recommended it before. If you have
Formation Options, extend them to get a few good licks in while Grim is
recovering from the charge.

* Level 9 - Weapons Array *

  You've got 6 lasers, 4 enemy generators, and 3 blue cores to deal with,
so just park in front of whatever and dodge whatever until you blow up

* Level 9 - Shadow Dancer *

  Keep low as the first Dancer comes in from the left, get underneath its
legs, then get to its left side and blast and its midsection. Try to
destroy it before the second one comes in from the right. When one reaches
the far left side of the screen, keep just below the vertical center of the
screen to avoid being smacked by its leg.

* Level 10 - Bacterion *

  In true Gradius fashion, the final boss is a joke. If you manage to get
hit by the slow moving blobs that Bacterion will fire at you every century,
you might want to give up Gradius and take up Tic-Tac-Toe. :) Seriously,
Bacterion doesn't do much, and can't take much either. You should not have
any problems with it at any difficulty level.

::: Codes :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  If this game is lacking anything, it sure ain't codes!

* 30 Lives *

  At the title screen, hold Left and push A, A, A.

* Extra Credits *

  At the title screen, press X repeatedly. If you have a rapid fire
controller, you can increase your credits up to about 9.

* Arcade Mode *

  At the options screen, press A 16 times in one second. I wholeheartedly
recommend using a rapid fire controller for this. If done correctly, you
will be able to select "Arcade" for the difficulty.
  Even without a rapid-fire controller, it is much easier to access Arcade
mode than it is to beat it. (And what you get for beating Arcade Mode
really isn't worth the trouble, IMO; one of the most bizarre examples of
Janglish I've ever seen...)

* Arcade Mode Demo *

  Hold A at the title screen until the demo begins. Now THAT'S how you play
Gradius 3! :)

* Random Weapon Select *

  At the Edit Mode weapon selection screen, push X, Y, X, Y, X, Y. Your
weapons will be chosen at random.

* Self-Destruct *

  Just pause and enter the Konami Code at any point during the game.
(That's Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start, in case
you are somehow unaware of the Konami Code.)

* Full Power-Up *

  A slight variation of the Konami Code will allow you to fully power-up
your ship with a Speed-Up, Shields, four Options, and Missiles. Pause the
game and push Up, Up, Down, Down, L, R, L, R, B, A, Start. Use of this code
is limited, however. For every level you complete, you will be allowed one
more use of this code.

::: Bonus Levels ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  Hidden throughout the game are entrances to bonus levels. These levels
contain few enemies (if any at all), but have tons of 1-Ups, bonus points,
and power-ups. They also contain destructable barriers that some weapons
deal with better than others (think the second level of the original
Gradius here.) As an added bonus, going through the bonus level allows you
to skip the boss of whatever regular level you were before. This is almost
a necessity if you're trying to get through Arcade Mode, but can be nice
  To get to these levels, you need to fulfill certain requirements before
flying your ship into the entrance to the secret level.
  If you die in a bonus level, you will return to the normal level from
whence you came, and you will be unable to return to the bonus level.

* Level 2 *

Power-ups: 23
1-Ups: 3
Bonus Points: 39
Permanent Points: 1

  Towards the end of the level, look for holes in the bubbly ceiling and
ground where fighters encased in bubbles emerge. Fly your ship into the
hole at the bottom, but take care not to run into a bubble-fighter as
you do.

* Level 3 *

Power-ups: 16
1-Ups: 3
Bonus Points: 14
Permanent Points: 6

  Destroy all the land-based targets in the level (cannons and so forth.)
Then, after the downward slope area (just after the live volcanoes; right
when the music changes), a piece of the ceiling will fall on you, with
three more cannons. Take them out, then fly where the slab used to be. If
all goes well, you'll warp to the second secret level.

* Level 4 *

Power-ups: 20
1-Ups: 3
Bonus Points: 48
Permanent Points: 2

  Make sure you have nothing highlighted on your power-up bar (if
necessary, grab enough power-ups to get around to Speed Up and use that.)
Then, continue through the level until the Moai heads turn orange.
Somewhere among the second vertical column of Moai heads is one lying
on the "floor" (relatively speaking) between two other Moai heads, that
will eventually stand up and face to the right. Fly in right behind it.

* Level 5 *

  The entrance to this bonus level is the ceiling to the right of the
mountain in the ceiling that is right before the narrow corridor. To get
in, however, the hundreds digit of your score must be 3, 5, or 7.
  This level is full of dead ends, so be careful. (It's also impossible to
get all the bonuses in one shot, which makes them difficult to count. So,
I didn't even bother. :)

* Level 7 *

Power-ups: 10
1-Ups: 1
Bonus Points: 37
Permanent Points: 3

  As you go through the level, take the path that requires as little
movement away from the vertical center of the screen as possible. At the
end of the loooong downward slope torwards the end, fly into the ">"
wall formation just to the right of the ground cannons. I died before I
could finish the bonus count, so the above figures are incorrect. 

::: Zodiac Chart ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  Well, just for the fun of it... You'll notice that when you enter your
initals at the high score screen, you can also enter your gender and
zodiac sign. So, in case you do not know your sign, or do not recognize the
symbols, here's a handy-dandy reference chart. (If you don't know your
gender, or do not recognize those symbols, I'm afraid I will be unable to
help. I apologise for any inconvience this may cause. :)

  Symbol map:

Aries                                                       Pisces
     Taurus                                            Aquarius
          Gemini                                  Capricorn
               Cancer                        Sagittarius
                    Leo                 Scorpio
                         Virgo     Libra

|           Birthdate:              |                Sign:                |
| January 20 - February 19          | Aquarius                            |
| February 20 - March 20            | Pisces                              |
| March 21 - April 19               | Aries                               |
| April 20 - May 20                 | Taurus                              |
| May 21 - June 20                  | Gemini                              |
| June 21 - July 22                 | Cancer                              |
| July 23 - August 22               | Leo                                 |
| August 23 - September 22          | Virgo                               |
| September 23 - October 22         | Libra                               |
| October 23 - November 21          | Scorpio                             |
| November 22 - December 21         | Sagittarius                         |
| December 22 - January 19          | Capricorn                           |

::: The End :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  Well, for once I can't think of anything stupid to put here, so I won't.
Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my upcoming G.Darius FAQ!

Zach Keene
18 May 1999
 Author of many FAQs: MK2, FF1, Einh„nder, CSOTN, AGVS, and the G3 FAQ
     Shooter fans: Visit the new alt.games.video.shooters today!