Gradius IV: Revival (1999)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Gradius IV: Revival is a 1999 arcade shooter that is the fourth installment in the Gradius series. It features enhanced graphics, a modified weapon system, and an online ranking system, providing a mix of classic and contemporary gameplay elements.


Gradius IV: Revival is a classic arcade shooter that stands as the fourth entry in the beloved Gradius series. Released in 1999, it brought significant graphical enhancements and gameplay modifications, solidifying its place in the pantheon of retro gaming.


Gradius IV: Revival, known as Gradius IV: Fukkatsu in Japan, is the fourth arcade installment in the Gradius series of scrolling shooter video games produced by Konami. Released on February 4, 1999, it was preceded by Gradius III, released in 1989. The game brings a considerable graphical upgrade, particularly with the use of colored lighting.

The story of Gradius IV: Revival is set in a distant memory where the doomsday planet Bacterian has long been forgotten and Planet Gradius is enjoying a time of restored peace and prosperity. However, their worst nightmare is about to become reality… again. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a massive attack force appears, overwhelming the Gradius Defense Forces. Just when things are looking hopeless, a lone fighter screams across the sky. The battle for freedom is joined once more.

The core gameplay of Gradius IV remains relatively unchanged from its predecessors. However, several changes were made on the weapons system in the transition from Gradius III. First of all, the edit mode has been completely eliminated, as are the “Snake Option” (s.option), the “Reduce” shield type, and the seventh powerup category. The seventh powerup category was the one that was labeled “!” and would produce detrimental results, such as reducing the speed or eliminating the weapons of the ship.

In this game, there are a total of six configurations, the first four of which are migrated from Gradius II. The two new configurations are as follows:

Configuration 5: The missile mode is a vertical mine that is released above and below the ship. After a short delay, the mines explode, yielding a large explosion. The double mode is the standard 45-degree angle split. The laser mode is a thin armor-piercing round that can penetrate multiple enemies.
Configuration 6: The missile mode is the flying torpedo, which produces two missiles that fly forward in front of the ship. The double mode is the tailgun, seen in other configurations. The laser is the twin laser seen in Gradius III.
Starting a tradition that is continued in Gradius V, this game introduced an online-ranking system. After a player’s game was over, a password was presented. This password, which was hashed scoring information, could be uploaded to a Konami website.


The primary character in Gradius IV is the Vic Viper, the player’s spacecraft, equipped with various weapons and power-ups. While the game does not delve deeply into character development, the Vic Viper is an iconic symbol of the Gradius series.


Gradius IV features side-scrolling shooter gameplay, where players navigate the Vic Viper through various levels, dodging obstacles and enemies while collecting power-ups. The game’s weapon system allows for different strategies, although the removal of the edit mode from Gradius III limits customization options.


Gradius IV: Revival is a solid entry in the Gradius series, offering the classic shooter gameplay that fans love, albeit with some changes. Its graphical upgrades and online ranking system add a modern touch, while maintaining the nostalgic feel of the franchise.

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