Nemesis (Konami)

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Disambiguation The title of this article is ambiguous. Nemesis (Disambiguation).
Nemesis (Konami)
Title screen from the game
Game No. 460
Voting 7.64 points, 11 votes
Company Konami
Publisher Konami, The Hit Squad
HVSC-File GAMES/M-R/Nemesis.sid
Release 1986
Genre Shoot'em Up, V-Scrolling
Gamemode 1 to 4 players (Multiplayer)
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystickKeyboard
Media Diskette Datassette
Language Language:english
Information * a.k.a. Gradius (US version)
* a.k.a. Nemesis - The Final Challenge
* a.k.a. Nemesis - Serma Te Desafia Language:spanish

Description[edit | edit source]

The start screen of the US version "Gradius"

General[edit | edit source]

Nemesis or also Nemesis - The Final Challenge is the European title of a space shooter scrolling from left to right. In North America, the game was released under the name Gradius. It was originally only published as an arcade game in 1985 and quickly became an absolute arcade hall hit. Then it was ported to a great number of other systems. Nemesis does next to R-Type and Galaga probably count to the most well-known shoot'em-ups of the 1980s. Developer of the game and manufacturer of the arcade machine was the company Konami, which also made the conversion for the C64 themselve.

There are extra weapons to collect and blue energy points that destroy all enemies on the screen when touched. Also the speed of the own spaceship can be raised by collectable upgrades.

Background[edit | edit source]

*** mission briefing *** mission briefing ***

Commander, you are the last hope for the gentle people of Nemesis, which is also known under the name Gradius! When you read these lines, your ship has already passed the stratosphere. Now it is your mission to take on the hostile ships of a race called Bacterions. You are equipped with a hyper-space fighter with corresponding modifications to fly air-to-ground attacks, to use double beam and laser cannons and build up strong power fields. Be successful and reach the Xaerous Superfortress, the base of the all-knowing Bacterion Bio Computer.
To fail means your and our death.
Good luck Commander!

Well, a space shooter from the arcade machine hall could not offer a wider background story in 1986. :)

Design[edit | edit source]

Graphics[edit | edit source]

Not spectacular, but functional and, considering the year of release, adequately beautiful, the enemy sprites fly around in front of slightly boring backgrounds. In return, there is a great number of different enemies that were all rather well designed. The own ship is rather nicely animated, when the height is changed it turns a bit. The background graphics are kept rather functional and fit the game well. Nemesis is, however, not well suited as a graphics demo.

A space fight full of action...
The heroic pilot in a dangerous situation...
The first end boss honours us with his presence...

Music/FX[edit | edit source]

After a digitalised speech output that announces brutely and dramatically the title and subtitle, you can choose between SFX and music with the key M . In the middle of the level a second music piece starts. For 1986 one can say that the music and FX are technically and concerning the quality not outstanding but okay, the tunes are cheerful but nevertheless fit a shooter game.

Hints[edit | edit source]

Controls[edit | edit source]

General keys[edit | edit source]

Space  - select number of players in the main menu.
SHIFT right  - activate extra.
M  - switch between music and SFX (Gradius only has SFX).
P  - pause.
Q  - abort game.

Joystick controls[edit | edit source]

In all directions - move ship.
Joystick forwards - shoot.

Alternative controls by keyboard[edit | edit source]

Z  left
X  right
;  up
/  Down
Return  fire

Power-Ups[edit | edit source]

  • SPEEDUP: raises the speed up to the fourfold.
  • MISSILE: additionally to the horizontal shot a missile is shot diagonally towards the ground. There are two stages, in the second the fire frequency feels higher.
  • DOUBLE: shoots two grenades, one upwards, one forwards - cannot be combined with LASER.
  • LASER: equips the ship with a laser weapon superior to the normal shots - cannot be combined with DOUBLE.
  • MULTI: activates up to two drones, with weapons the same as the main ship.
  • SHIELD: behind the "?" in the menu is a shield that protects against up to 5 hits, at the 5th hit, the shield disappears so it can make sense to provide for this case by collecting enough power-ups.

Level overview[edit | edit source]

  • Level 1 - Volcano - This was once a green and peaceful satellite. But since the attack of Xaeros it was rebuilt into an infernal basis of the attacking aliens.
  • Level 2 - Stonehenge - This artificial asteroid belt was created as a galactic space base.
  • Level 3 - Moai - The Moai are strange heads that remind of the sculptures on the Easter Islands on Earth. They were created by an unknown race aeons ago after the image of the creators of the galaxy. The Xaerous have rebuilt them as the bases for their ion cannons.
  • Level 4 - Inverted Volcano - Similar as level 1, a planetoid base, but everything is upside down here.
  • Level 5 - Tentacle - Gigantic living tentacle-like antennae fly through space. When they notice other life forms, they shoot deadly poison pills.
  • Level 6 - Cell - Huge amoebae-like organisms from the unknown vastness of space inhabit this level. They are rather primitive, but have a distinct will to survive and therefore chase mercilessly all intruders into their habitat.
  • Level 7 & Level 8 - Base - The big showdown... The main fortress lies inside the nerve centre of the Bacterion Galaxy and is controlled by a bio computer.

Solution[edit | edit source]

If you stay at this position and keep on firing like hell, you will easily survive the volcano erruption.

As the enemies and movement patterns hardly change, a bit of practice will help to memorise the levels.


  • Volcano erruption: In stage 2 of level 1, two volcanoes errupt for the first time. Here it is more important to survive, than to shoot lumps of lava. For this you pick out a position at the upper rim of the screen between score and highscore display (in Gradius the displays are positioned differently, you need to be closer to the highscore display). There you can stay relatively safe and you'd best fire as hell with as much weapon equipment as possible until the erruption is over (the Missile upgrade is very helpful here, drones - if available - can be placed for protection of the ship). Beware, in the later level "Inverted Volcano" other mountains errupt already before the end of the level; the scrolling does also not stop there, so it is a bit more difficult to manoeuvre through it safely.
  • Bosses: At the end of Level 1-5 you have to deal with an end boss whose core is protected by 4 shields. At first you need to destroy the shields and then attack the core, which is destroyed after only a few shots. Note: If you are a coward or badly equipped, you can also bore the boss to death; if you only swerve all the time and do not land a hit, the hostile ship explodes.
  • Power-Ups: Each level offers at the beginning some enemy formations that you should eliminate as completely as possible to collect as many power-ups as possible. It is of course a matter of taste which one you prefer, but two Speed upgrades, Missile, Laser, two Multi upgrades and Shield are already the optimum. Even in level 1 you can well do without the (Laser-incompatible) Double, which - if at all - really makes only sense in Inverted Volcano; in all other surroundings, Laser must be preferred.
  • Smart-Bombs: What looks like blue power-ups are Smart-Bombs, that destroy all enemies that are on the screen, but not their shots! The allocation of power-ups vs. Smart-Bombs follows a pattern whose counter is not set back after the Game Over.

Cheats[edit | edit source]

  • Before the start of the game with RUN you can enter the following for 255 lives:
POKE 5868,255
SYS 5768
  • In the Nemesis version: In the title screen (display "ONE PLAYER GAME") you press the Space  key twice (display "THREE PLAYER"). If you keep the left Shift  key pressed when pressing the Space  key for the third time, a sign "C" in the upper left corner shows that you are in the cheat mode. Presumably, this is a debugging mode for test purposes which - whether wanted or not - was published and which makes the player invulnerable by switching off all collisions. In Gradius the rest of this cheat routine can be seen, but the most important part was overwritten, so that the cheat cannot be executed.

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
7.64 points at 11 votes (rank 211).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 7 8th June 2016 - 6 out of 10 points - 20099 downs (Nemesis)
8th June 2016 - 7 out of 10 points - 12216 downs (Gradius)
Lemon64 8 8th June 2016 - 7,6 out of 10 points - 73 votes (Nemesis)
8th June 2016 - 7,5 out of 10 points - 27 votes (Gradius)
Ready64 8 8th June 2016 - 7,45 out of 10 points - 11 votes (Nemesis)
8th June 2016 - 8,25 out of 10 points - 4 votes (Gradius) 7 8th June 2016 - 7,5 out of 10 points - 7162 downs (Nemesis)
8th June 2016 - 7 out of 10 points - 4623 downs (Gradius)
The Legacy 8 8th June 2016 - "very good" - 17 votes
Kultboy 9 8th June 2016 - 8,58 out of 10 points - 26 votes
Happy Computer 9 Special No.17 - 86%
Games special April 1987 - 86%
Commodore Force 8 Issue March 1993 - 80% - p.20
Issue August 1993 - 78% - p.17
Computer & Videogames 9 Issue March 1987 - 9 out of 10 points - p.14
Issue September 1990 - 89% - p.61
Commodore User 9 Issue March 1987 - 9 out of 10 points - p.18
Your Commodore 8 Isse July 1987 - 8 out of 10 points - p.84
Issue September 1990 - 87% - p.46
Zzap!64 8 Issue May 1987 - 80% - p.90

Reviews[edit | edit source]

The arcade version (MAME screenshot)

Boris Schneider in the Happy Computer special no.17: - Great! "I say this in clarity: Nemesis is the best action programme that I have played until now. It is better than Uridium and better than Delta and better than Tempest. Why is that? Hard to say. I only know that Nemesis has completely tied me to the screen, as no game has done before. The three named games above are slightly superior to Nemesis concerning graphics and sound. But, Nemesis just plays better. This game is simply more fun than the other three. If you know the arcade machine Nemesis you will not be disappointed by the conversion. Almost all elements of the arcade machine were taken into account. Due to reasons of available memory space they only had to leave out details. There is only one argument that can be brought up against Nemesis: It is already rather difficult right at the beginning and only slowly raises the difficulty grade. If you have made the first level, you will be able to cope well in the later levels. If you are not a joystick expert yet: Do not despair, keep on trying."

Shmendric: "Well, I wonder if the Komani agent has invited the two Happy Computer editors to a small geisha ceremony? I find this a bit too euphorically conveyed. Next to the sound and graphics, also the controls and the flow of the game lag behind the original. As a C64 follower one could forgive this in the 80s, the brave box simply was not as fast as the arcade machine. Without question, Nemesis probably still belongs to the best spaceship shooters on the C64. Despite my weakness for this system, I prefer playing this game with MAME."

Jodigi: "An exciting space shooter that already fascinated me at that time although I found the arcade version more interesting."

Robotron2084: "A really shabby converison which could only reasonably enthuse me at that time because I was not old enough to be able to play the original in the local game hall. The game Delta, which was released almost at the same time and although it is an obvious clone with slight changes, does not only technically wipe the floor with this loveless port of the arcade classic. 5/10."

TheRyk: "I used to remember Nemesis as one of the best shooters with weapons upgrade system on the C64. Having played it over and over again and having dived into the game code, I'm not so enthusiastic anymore. Certainly the C64 version is inferior to the Arcade original. Still I like Nemesis better than many other games that have been mentioned here. C64 Nemesis is a playable and interesting shoot em up with average difficulty level, tricky at the beginning and maybe too easy once you've practiced enough; better than the other way round, though, e.g. the collision control is rather generous which is far better than unfair situations. Some aspects in the code and keeping the Easter egg gfx bugs without Easter egg action hint at a rushed, somewhat premature release. Bottom line: no big hit back then, but a little evergreen today that belongs into every collection. 7 points."

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Original versions: Bugs and peculiarities[edit | edit source]

These alleged graphic bugs were built in intentionally. In the NES version they mark the Easter Eggs; If you pass the corresponding position with the ship, you get a 5.000 points bonus or a bonus life. On the C64, these spots simply look strange, but they have no function.
  • In the original of Nemesis the SID registers are not effectively initialized after losing a life, which has the consequence that the music stays partially mute, especially the second tune, which was fixed in the Mayday version, see below.
  • Gradius can be identified with the code as a Nemesis reduced by the game music and with several other changes in the raster timing due to NTSC operativeness, but it only runs on the new NTSC video standard, only the Mayday! version made it possible to be played on old NTSC or PAL systems, see below.
  • After some studies it was found out that the graphic bugs in levels 1 ("broken" mountain and 2 (single, strange-looking pink shooting-ball-obstacle in a field of normally looking objects) are based on the so-called "Stage Bonuses" of the NES version.[1] These Easter Eggs do not work on the C64. Either these spots were accidentally also converted or there was a plan to realise actions for these graphical abnormalities, but then dumped again (maybe due to missing RAM or raster time or out of time pressure).
  • The The Hit Squad version of Nemesis is a budget re-release of the Konami game, surprisingly, the Ocean loader can be heard when loading the tape. Then a decrunching follows, which looks like a cheap freeze created by a cartridge.

Crack versionen (selection)[edit | edit source]

  • Nemesis "+4" version by Pugsy (see also Gamebase link below)
pro Trainer: Version with diversified and sensible trainer options, especially, that you can choose the weapons that you would like to have in the upgrade menu with the key CBM .
neutral Extras: Multicolor title screen is in the main file, HiRes title screen as extra file, manual as extra file on the tape image, highscores are not saved
contra Bugs: Sound bug not fixed
contra Video standards: works only on PAL systems
Summary: Version with sophisticated trainer options, recommendable to be played on PAL for mere SFX players that do not need any other extras.
  • Nemesis "+2DMFGH 101%" version by Mayday! (see also section Links)
pro Extras: highscore saver, possibility to activate upgrades per SPACE  key instead of Right Shift , possibility to set music as default, speech samples come directly after RUN, improved HiRes title screen, original manual.
pro Bugs: sound bug fixed.
neutral Trainer: trainer options are a bit basic, "only" unlimited lives and invulnerability are offered.
neutral Video standards: Runs also on NTSC systems, but not 100% exact, the highscore display flickers a bit.
Summary: If you can live with the offered trainer options and value the extras, then this is the first choice for PAL gamers.
  • Gradius "+6 NTSC/PAL" version by Wanderer (see also Gamebase link below)
pro Trainer: Diversified trainer options, e.g. by "Start with all Weapons" you can play the game with the in the original impossible combination of Double and Laser.
neutral Extras: SPOILER alarm: You can watch the (not very spectacular) end screen before the start of the game, highscores are not saved, a slightly quirky interactive crack intro (you need to find the "Exit" with joystick or keyboard), disk image contains further files as a title screen and manuals.
contra Video standards: allegedly adapted to PAL, but glitches heavily, not even the in the original missing adaption to the "old" NTSC standard was made.
Summary: Recommendable to very fastidious/lazy gamers to train on a new NTSC standard.
  • Gradius "+2DMFGH" version by Mayday! (see also section Links)
pro Extras: Highscore saver, possibility to activate upgrades per SPACE  key instead of Right Shift , possibility to set music as default, speech samples come directly after RUN, improved HiRes title screen, manual.
pro Video standards: runs on old and new NTSC and PAL.
neutral Trainer: trainer options are a bit basic, "only" unlimited lives and invulnerability are offered.
Summary: If you like to do without the speech samples or the ingame music, this version is the first choice, especially for NTSC systems.

Video[edit | edit source]

Part I of a longplay by DerSchmu, alias Reinhard Klinksiek...

...and here is part II.

Cover[edit | edit source]


The cover of Nemesis.

The cover of Gradius.

Cassette[edit | edit source]

The game cassette from the publisher Hit Squad.

[edit | edit source]

An advertisement from Great Britain.
Another advertisement in English.
An advertisement from Spain.

Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of PAT
  1. PAT - 528.500 (12.07.2016)
  2. Robotron2084 - 510.700 (09.06.2016)
  3. TheRyk - 398.600 - 6 (24.07.2016)
  4. Colt Seavers - 33.100 (08.06.2016)
  5. Shmendric - 10.800 (08.06.2016)

#2 Robotron2084 #3 TheRyk
#2 Robotron2084 #3 TheRyk

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Gradius_(video_game)


References[edit | edit source]