I bought a copy of the first Game Boy Gradius (or Nemesis, as my cart reads) and even got a manual to go with it. It was so much fun to read it'd be a crime to not share the best parts of it, especially the story.
GET IN YOUR BAD STARFIGHTER AND WAIL!
Your worst nightmare's come true. The evil King Nemesis is back, and he has a taste for blood. YOUR blood! As chief of the Interplanetary Police, you thought you put this high dean of destruction away for good. But he's out on bad behavior and wants your hide.
Locked safely in his hideous hideaway, he's dispatched a band of ruthless rapscallions to do his bidding for him. But before you go crying home to mommy, you still have one more change to teach this terrible tyrant that crime doesn't pay.
That chance: the Proteus 911, the most technologically sophisticated flying machine of death ever invented. Strap on your seat belt and power-up with speed burners, lasers, missiles, force fields and duel devices of destruction. That start blasting these galactic gunmen and their cosmic crime lord.
And if by chance you have more lives than a cat, there's a very good chance your picture will end up on a box of alien cereal, and you'll be crowned the new mayor of Moronica.
(Image of the game screen: "Proteus 911", "Power-Up Indicator", "Alien" (the standard Gradius boss) and "Your Soaring to Victory Scoreboard")
KEY TO POWER-UP CAPSULES
Laser (L) - Laser lets you blast your way right through things. (That'll show the King!)
Option (O) - This equips you with an extra Destruction Device that has power equal to the Proteus 911. (Only two Destruction Devices per ship, please!)
FIVE SLAM-BANG STAGES TO START FROM
Pyramids of Pyromania
Lair of the Planetary Pirates
Den of Doom and Gloom
Sacrificial Sarcophagus of Saturn
I especially liked "Mayor of Moronica" and "Soaring to Victory Scoreboard".