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Ducker 2

Unmanned, all-terrain, artillery units. These two-legged mechanoids are a common enemy type seen in Konami's Gradius/Nemesis/Life Force/Salamander/Parodius video game shoot-em-ups (aka, Shmups).


  • The general Ducker design is similar to the Star Wars AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) and may have been inspired by it. The "two-legged tank mech" has appeared, numerous times, in various incarnations, in a broad assortment of media.

  • The Duckers (Ducker 1 model) first appeared in the original 1985 Konami Gradius arcade video game.

  • The names Gradius and Nemesis are interchangeable--which name gets used depends on (1) the region/market the game is released in and (2) the whims of Konami's executives.

Ducker 2 is the second incarnation of the "Ducker" series of unmanned, all-terrain, artillery machines. Ducker models are popular and produced on numerous worlds throughout the cosmos, usually for military or law enforcement purposes, although they also see limited usage in industrial and commercial capacities. They are powered by nuclear fusion drives, which, under normal operating conditions, can last for upwards of 75 Earth years.

In Nemesis, the pilot of the Proteus 911 (aka, Vic Viper/Warp Rattler) will have to contend with many enemies, both organic and mechanical, including Ducker 2s, during the mission to neutralize the intergalactic villain, King Nemesis.


  • Artillery Cannon

  • These machines use a large, somewhat-archaic, cannon that fires spherical, explosive shells that detonate on impact. Fully loaded, a Ducker 2 can carry ninety rounds of ammunition. That said, a Ducker 2's body contains an internal matter converter that, given time, can transform almost any substance into additional shells. The machine simply picks up a handful of anything from its' immediate environment, with one of its' feet, deposits the stuff into the appropriate receptacle on the underside of its' body, and the converter goes to work with the raw material, rearranging the atoms into the various components that comprise the shells (casing, explosive, and propellant), and then assembling them. So long as a Ducker 2 can find matter nearby (which generally isn't a problem unless they're stationed out in deep space), it has, for all practical purposes, infinite ammunition. This weapon works best at short and medium ranges--its' accuracy decreases significantly at longer distances. The explosive power of these shells is enough to destroy most small, unshielded starcraft with one direct hit.

  • All Terrain Maneuverability/Iron Grip

  • A Ducker 2's "feet" are modeled after the human hand; each is equipped with four fingers and an opposable thumb. This design allows them to (1) negotiate even the roughest of terrain, (2) brace for the recoil from their cannon blasts, and (3) manipulate objects with great dexterity. Magnetic field inducers, built into the palms of these hands, can exert a strong attractive/repulsive force, further cementing this grasp (it is this magnetic attraction alone that allows them to maneuver over completely smooth surfaces such as starship hulls). A Ducker 2's grip is so strong that they can even scale walls, angled as steeply as 90 degrees, and walk upside down on ceilings. Attempts to forcefully dislodge them usually results in the structural failure of the substance they're holding onto, rather than damage to the machine itself [i.e., in one case, a Ducker 2 had to be yanked off the side of a volcano (where it had shutdown after suffering severe damage from a recent eruption) by an industrial frigate. After a titanic tug on the crippled artillery piece, the Ducker 2 came free--with two, ten-ton boulders, from the mountain side, still clutched in its' grasp].

  • Hazardous Environment Tolerance

  • Because they are unmanned and completely sealed against the external environment, Ducker 2s can operate in, and survive, all sorts of inhospitable conditions including the vacuum of space, deep underwater, temperature extremes, etc.

  • Inexpensive

  • While the Ducker 2 has a number of shortcomings, they are cheap and easily produced. Many of their weaknesses can be negated by deploying them in great numbers and/or in conjunction with other types of warcraft.


  • Lightly Armored

  • Ducker 2s are designed for mobility, specifically the traversing of terrains not negotiable by traditional ground-based artillery units. Heavy armor would inhibit this function, decreasing their speed and adding too much mass/weight for them to operate effectively on walls/ceilings. A single direct hit will usually pierce the hull of a Ducker 2 and destroy it.

  • Slow Rate of Fire/Projectile Velocity

  • The spherical shells that Ducker 2s fire out of their cannon barrels travel at a very slow velocity; their speed is such that most spacecraft can easily outmaneuver them. Compounding this, the cannon has a relatively low rate of fire (approximately 15 rounds per minute, under optimal conditions). That said, in larger numbers, fired from multiple sources, these shots can clog the immediate air space, considerably decreasing the chances of an enemy escaping the barrage unscathed. (It should be noted that the speed/rate of fire for Gradius enemies is often dependent on the game's difficulty level--on higher difficulty settings, a Ducker 2's projectiles will travel faster and it will be able to fire them more frequently).

  • Limited Targeting Capacity

  • A Ducker 2's simple offensive programs do not compensate for changes in a target's movement. A Ducker 2 fires at the exact spot the enemy currently occupies in its' cross hairs; no allowance is made for the subject's velocity/acceleration or heading. In other words, Ducker 2s are very good at hitting stationary targets, but terrible at striking moving ones, unless they can catch one in a crossfire in conjunction with other friendly units.

Newsprint, tissue paper, cardboard, white paper, white glue, hot glue, wire twist ties, and acrylic paint.

(*The dimensions for this model can vary, depending on how the joints are positioned. The numbers given are for the figure in a 'neutral' standing pose.)
8.2 cm/3.2 in. x 7.7 cm/3.0 in. (highest point x widest point)

Thirty-two points total: Fingers (10), foot flaps (2), ankles (2), knees (4), hips (4), waist (2), and antennae (8).

Five days; construction ran from 3/5/08-3/13/08, with no work performed on the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 11th.

Ducker 2 photo collage

Mid-Construction Photos

Ducker 2 construction process photos

For comparison purposes, below are three images of Ducker 2. The first picture depicts the original, gray-scale sprite from the Nemesis Game Boy game. The second image is the colored version, which can be found on the first Konami Game Boy Collection compilation cartridge (four Konami Game Boy games on one cart, all with color added--these weren't released in North America, just Japan and Europe). The final photo, on the bottom, is the artwork from the Nemesis Game Boy instruction manual.

Ducker 2 black & white game sprite       Ducker 2 color game sprite.       Ducker 2 instruction manual artwork

(In no particular order of importance.)

  •   Nintendo Game Boy Nemesis cartridge and instruction manual.

  •   Wikipedia Gradius and Gradius enemies articles.

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