Characters: Gradius

There are characters in Gradius Series. However, few of them are enough information to be included in this page.


James Burton

The hero of Gradius 1, Nemesis 2, Gradius Rebirth. He is a Wreekian, just like Dr. Venom. After defeating Venom in Nemesis 2, James becomes Emperor Lars 18th. He passes away in year 6718, but that doesn't stop Dr. Venom from going to the past and kidnapping a three-year old James. Thank goodness David Burton, a descendant of James, saved the boy from Venom.

David Burton

The hero of Nemesis 3. A descendant of the late James Burton, David repels Bacterian forces and discovers the Bacterians going back in time to change history. David saves a three-year old James Burton from the Bacterians and frees the Bacterian controlled planets.

Eddie Evans

One of the protagonists of the Salamander OVA series. He gets manipulated by Paula, a Bacterian disguised as a human, into destroying the Bacterian repellent: the Moai Statue. Eddie redeems himself by sacrificing himself(by flying into the mouth dragon named Salamander) to save Gradius.


One of the Protagonists of the Salamander OVA series. In the second Salamander OVA, she had to destroy her own father (who was kidnapped and turned into a Cyber Brain by the Bacterians). In the third, she gets kidnapped by the Bacterians and almost got become a cyber brain just like her father, but gets saved in time by Dan and Lord British.

Lord British

One of the Protagonists of the game Salamander and the Salamander OVA series. He is the ruler of planet Latis. His personality isn't very detailed in the games, but in the OVA series, he's a Jerkass.

Bacterians/Bacterions/The Bacterian/Bacterian Empire/Bacterion Empire/etc.

The main villains of Gradius who come from the Star cluster of Bacterion. This page is just going to cover the important ones.
"I was born from the greediness of mankind. While men exist, so will I!"


Bacterion, the god of destruction. The creator of the entire Bacterion Empire, Bacterion always tries to invade Gradius, home of the Vic Viper, the ship that always defeats him.

  • Big Bad
  • Brain in a Jar: Sometimes.
  • Evolved into a Planet: In Gradius 3. Or maybe he have always been this way.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Evil Is Visceral
  • Hive Mind
  • Recurring Character
  • The Emperor
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Bacterion or Bacterian?
  • The Virus: Bacterion's strategy of conquering planets; Bacterion multiplies, then Bacterion use pyschic controlling beings called Cyber Brains (for example,Venom and Gofer), or Bacterion uses his psychic powers to control those the duplicate cells and make them into fighter ships and monsters, called Bacterians. Combined with the intelligence of the Cyber Brains (or Bacterion), the Bacterians conquer planets into transform into whatever they like. If the Cyber Brains or Bacterion get blown up, at least the pieces would grow into more Cyber Brains, making the Bacterion Empire stronger.

"I am the strongest!"


The Big Bad of Gradius II and IV.

Zelos Force

This Bacterian is a red gigantic eye created as a Living Weapon by the forces of Bacterion to transform planet Latis, a neighboring planet, into Bacterian territory.


A female Bacterian who is the Big Bad of the Salamander OVA series.

Life Force/Zelos(Not to be confused with the other Zelos)

A Planet Eater that eats planets. Usually, you have to destroy him from the inside.
  • Big Bad: Of the game Life Force.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Evil Is Visceral
  • Genius Loci: Or so it seems to be at the ending of NES Life Force.
  • Planet Eater
  • Covers Always Lie: ...maybe. One would assume Zelos, based on the description, to be the flaming dragon depicted on the cover of the game, whose mouth is the size of a few planets in front of it. However, the same cover first originated with the arcade Salamander, the plot of which did not involve a planet eater.

Big Core Series

A series of large Bacterian Warships that mostly serve as the bosses of the Gradius Series. So far, there are Big Cores MK I, II, III, IV, and many variants.

Other Characters

Dr. Venom

The Big Bad of Nemesis 2, 3, Gradius ReBirth and V. He constantly tries to destroy Gradius for using his people, who became an endangered species thanks to a future version of Venom and Gofer, only for their ESP powers.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Latisian prophecy in Salamander MSX states that a devil with green skin and five eyes will cause two catastrophes. Guess who's the devil.
  • The Dragon
  • Eldritch Abomination: Venom was partly one in Nemesis 2 and 3 due to being transformed by the Bacterians, but he became a full Eldritch Abomination in Gradius V.
  • Dragon Ascendant
  • Evil Is Visceral: In Gradius V.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Once the Director General of the Space Science Agency and, at least according to the events of Gradius ReBirth, was the head creator of the Vic Viper. But after the events of the prequel ReBirth, he left the agency and joined the Bacterions to attack the planet Gradius.
  • Human Alien: Started off this way. After an accidental exposure to radiation, he gained a much more alien appearance. Even later after this, he defected to the Bacterions and his physiology was altered, giving him the three extra eyes mentioned in Salamander and a more muscular build. Even later after this, he became nothing but a giant Brain in a Jar.
  • Recurring Character
  • Was Once a Man: Venom became a cyborg in Nemesis II but was still a Wreek. Now all that left of him is a Bacterian Hive Mind. According to the Gradius II bible, he once appeared just as human as the Burtons, but his appearance was caused by accidental exposure to some form of radiation.


"I'm going to scare you like you've NEVER been scared before!" .
"I'll scare you like you've never been scared before!"

The Big Bad of Salamander 2. He was the most recent leader of the Salamander force, an elite Bacterian army that was previously led by Zelos Force and Venom. He only appeared in Salamander 2.

O.V.U.M (Original Visions of Ultimate Monster)

O.V.U.M, the main villain of Gradius Gaiden. He transforms into several entities from the Salamander Army before exploding.

"I hope you can entertain me."