Gain Ground

From Sega Retro


Gain Ground Title.png
Gain Ground
System(s): Sega System 24, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, Super CD-ROM², Virtual Console, Steam
Sega Mega Drive
Sega (Japan, Europe)
Sound driver:
Sega Mega Drive
Genre: Shoot-'em-Up (box)/Action (official master list)

Number of players:
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Master System
CD-ROM² System/Super CD-ROM² System
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade (System 24)
¥? ?
Arcade (System 24)
$? ?
Arcade (System 24)
£? ?

Sega Mega Drive
¥6,000 G-4036
Sega Mega Drive
$? 49056
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
DM ?
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
? ?
Sega Mega Drive
$? ?

Sega Master System
£29.99More...[2]More...[4] 7045
Sega Master System
?F 7045
Sega Master System
DM ? 7045
Sega Master System
?Ptas 7045
Sega Master System
R$? ?

Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
$2.99[14] 34275
€2.49[14] 34275
£1.99[14] 34275
$3.49[14] 34275

Gain Ground (ゲイングランド) is a 1988 arcade game released for the Sega System 24 arcade platform. It is a top-down gun game with strategy elements, in which the player controls one of twenty playable characters who must defeat all the enemies on screen or bring every character that player currently has to the exit. It appears that two different arcade versions exist, one allowing up to 3 players while another supports only 2 players.


Called by developers as a "Algorithm Action Game", Core gameplay of Gain Ground is same in all versions. Players must either eliminate all enemies on the level or evacuate all members from the level by moving them to the "EXIT". (Very time consuming and unnecessary) Every character in the game has strenghts and weaknesses and only by using the right character for the right situation will help players to finish the level. In addition to the enemies on the ground, some enemies are in the higher ground and can only be defeated with a character who posseses a weapon capable of hitting them.

Each character has one regular and one special weapon. Besides that only thing changes between characters is the movement speed. Primary weapon can be fired with button 1 and special weapon can be fired with button 2.

Each character has only one life and single hit is enought to defeat them. When defeated, a small symbol of the character remains in the battlefield. That character can be rescued the same way of recruiting them: taking them to the "EXIT". If the character saving the downed character also killed, previously defeated character will dissappear.

Each "Era" is divided into ten levels. At the final, 10th level, players will face against a boss.

Playable Characters (Arcade, Mega Drive and PC-Engine)


Very fast. Main weapon is a short ranged but very fast firing spear throw. Button 2 lobs the spear towards any direction in a short parabolic arc, allowing player to hit enemies above or those behind the obstacles. Useful for close range combat and rescuing other characters. Avaiable from beginning.


Same as Athra except he can only fire his special weapon northwards in a strafing motion.


Fast. Main weapon is a long ranged, fast firing semi-automatic rifle. Special weapon fires directly northwards while strafing, allowing players to fall back while firing. Avaiable from beginning. Useful as long as there are no enemies in the high ground.


Same as Johnny, except his special weapons can fire both left and right at the same time.


Fast. Main weapon is a medium ranged pistol. Special weapon is a short ranged grenade that can be lobbed over obstactes while strafing. Avaiable from beginning. Useful for close range combat and eliminating enemies in the high ground.


Same as Betty, except she can throw her grenade towards any direction.


Very Fast. Main weapon is a medium ranged longbow. Special weapon is a very long ranged arrow that can hit enemies in the high ground or those behind the obstacles. Most useful character in the game.


Same as Verbal, except he can fire his long range arrow in a strafing motion.


Very Slow. Main weapon is a weak pistol. Special weapon is an extreme range, elevated missile that can be fired any direction and hit enemies on the high ground. Good for eliminating such enemies.

Mud Puppy

Very Slow. Main weapon is a weak pistol. Special weapon is an extreme range, regular missile that can only hit enemies on the same level as you. Great for sniping enemies on the low ground from long range.


Very Slow. Main weapon is a weak pistol. Special weapon fires a cluster missile that will spread northwards and affect a large area. Very useful for crowd control but not recommended for close combat.


Fast. Main weapon is a long range rifle. Special weapon is a three burst submachinegun stafing, which causes same damage but better hitbox.


Same as Kou except he can fire both sides at the same time with his special weapon.


Fast. Main weapon is a medium range pistol. Special weapon is a boomerang strafe that will come back after a while. Great for attacking hard to reach places.


Same as above except she can throw her boomerang towards any direction.


Very Slow. Main weapon is a weak pistol. Special weapon is a very, very short ranged flamethower. Coupled with his slow speed, this makes this M.Bison wannabe the worst character in the game.

Fire Knight

Medium speed. Main weapon is a powerful projectile. Special weapon is a napalm weapon that will remain in place for a while and kill any enemies who touch it. Rarely used.

Glow Knight

Same as above except his special attack is a rolling barrier that will damage any enemies who touch the knight. Useful for close combat.

Water Knight

Same as above except his special attack can freeze enemies about a few seconds. Useful for rescues.


Same as above except his special attack is a whirlwind that can bounce after hitting obstacles or enemies. His survival depends on bit of a luck.

Playable Characters (Master System version)

Master System version uses symbols instead of small figurines to depict downed characters in the battlefield.

Spear Fighters

Same as Athra. Very fast but terrible range. Special weapon can hit elevated enemies. Avaiable from start. Depicted with a spear symbol.

Rifle Infantry

Same as Professor. Fast and good range. Special weapon is great for enemies trying to envelope you from both sides. Avaiable from start. Depicted with a rifle symbol.


Same as Honey. Fast but short range. Grenades are quite powerful despite short range. Avaiable from start. Depicted with a potato masher grenade.


Same as Verbal. Fast and very long range. Can shoot arrows towards any direction. Most useful character in the game. Depicted with an arrow.


New characters for Master System version. Main weapon is fast shuriken throw with good range. Special weapon is a trap that will cause heavy damage to those who touch it. Depicted with a shuriken.

Boomerang Throwers

Same as Valkyrie. Fast and decent primary weapon. Decpited, of course, with a boomerang.


Same as General. Still somewhat useless but if you can reach enemy, they can drain enemy health very quickly. Rarest character. Appears only once. Depicted with a fire symbol.

Water Wizards

Same as the dude himself except their special attacks can freeze enemies for about 10 seconds. Depicted with a fountain symbol.

Missile Launchers

Same as Lobby. Very slow, weak primary weapon and can hit elevated enemies with a extreme range missile. Depicted with a single missile.

Cluster Missile Launchers

Same as Cyber. Very slow, weak primary weapon with powerful spread missile that can wreak havoc upon battlefield. Hits only enemies on the level ground. Depicted with a pointy missile.


Gain Ground was ported to the Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive in 1990 and 1991 respectively. Mega Drive version got exclusive 4th round called "Present Age". In meanwhile Master System version recieved it's own exclusive last round "The Final Era". The game was also brought to the PC Engine Super CD-ROM² in the form of Gain Ground SX. Both The Master System and Mega Drive versions allow up to 2 players cooperative gameplay; the PC Engine Super CD-ROM² version is 1 player only.

Arcade, Mega Drive and PC-Engine versions are more or less the same game, except PC-Engine version has re-arranged Redbook audio.

Master System version differs significantly from the regular versions, with different characters portraits, slightly different character abilities (some characters are removed and some abilities are combined) and somewhat different level designs. Original versions has more western style character art while Master System version's art is closer to Anime style. Another interesting feature of the Master System version is that Player 1 uses male characters while Player 2 uses female characters. Besides the different portraits, there are no differences between male and female characters.

More recently the Mega Drive version was brought to the Wii's Virtual Console service, and the game was re-made for the Sega Ages 2500 series in Japan. It was also included in Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection.

Production credits

System 24 version

  • Directed by: Mac Austin, Yang Watt
  • Graphic Design By: Sea-Gup, Max Nelson, KAO
  • Programmed by: Mina & Mana, Bee3, Kuriboh!!
  • Music by: Q-Chan, Dolphin
  • Industrial Design By: RKO
  • And Special Thanks To: Eiro, Doydoy
  • Presented by: ©Sega 1988
Source: In-game credits (JP)

Source: Interview [16]

Mega Drive version

Source: In-game credits [17]

Master System version

Source: In-game credits [18]

Super CD-ROM² version

  • Executive Producer: S.Ishihara
  • Producer: T.Tabeta
  • Director: S.Miyazaki, Max.Inde, K.Saitou
  • Programmer: K.Kuge
  • Support: Masas
  • Sound Composer: T's Music
  • Graphic designer: Mat.Kakisisu, Yax.Takahara, Nama.Ninnin, Momo, Fill In Cafe, Max.Inde
  • Special Thanks: H.Nakamura, Toruneko, S.Miyazaki, J.M.Kim, Sony.Kim, H.Mesuda, Y.Komatsuda, T.Kuwahara
©1992 NEC Avenue / Bits Laboratory
Source: In-game credits [19]

Digital manuals

Magazine articles

Main article: Gain Ground/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Main article: Gain Ground/Promotional material.

Physical scans

System 24 version

System 24, JP

Mega Drive version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
70 More...[20]
74 More...[21]
49 More...[22]
49 More...[23]
70 №1991-02, p41
66 More...[24]
65 More...[25]
75 №5, p92
77 №9, p20
43 More...[26]
65 More...[27]
92 More...[28]
91 More...[29]
71 More...[3]
60 More...[30]
89 More...[31]
88 №18, p65
61 More...[32]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
18 reviews

Mega Drive, US
GainGround MD US Box.jpg
GainGround MD US Cart.jpg
Gain Ground MD US Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, EU
GainGround MD EU Box.jpg
GainGround MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
Gain Ground MD JP Box.jpg
GainGround MD JP CartTop.jpg
GainGround MD JP Cart.jpg
GainGround MD jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, AU

Mega Drive, FR

Master System version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
58 More...[33]
32 More...[34]
32 More...[35]
76 №29, p87
60 №13, p119
62 More...[36]
62 More...[37]
61 More...[38]
35 More...[39]
71 More...[29]
70 More...[40]
60 More...[41]
81 More...[31]
76 More...[42]
Sega Master System
Based on
15 reviews

Master System, EU
Gain Ground SMS EU Box.jpg
GainGround SMS EU Cart.jpg
GainGround SMS EU Manual.pdf
Master System, AU

GainGround SMS AU Cart.jpg
Master System, BR
GainGround SMS BR cover.jpg
GainGround SMS BR Cart.jpg

Super CD-ROM² version

Super CD-ROM², JP
GainGroundSX SuperCDROM2 JP Box Back.jpgGainGroundSX SuperCDROM2 JP Box Front.jpg
Gain Ground SX PCE SCD-ROM2 JP Disc.png
Gain Ground SX PCE SCD-ROM2 JP Manual.pdf

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 83e7b8ae
MD5 fa43881a792fadf1ab737294fff1bcc3
SHA-1 3cc501086f794ac663aad14d5c5a75b648041151
512kB 1990-12 Cartridge (US/EU)
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 aee20a64
MD5 250033f6c91fbb7714782cd66fcece82
SHA-1 148d166d594535c6526cb450c461cfb003b59f93
512kB 1990-12 Cartridge (EU)
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 8641a2ab
MD5 3b0ad9167e152ed3719ae0d45e50db6a
SHA-1 a5017e44b5f470e0499f4a9b494385c567632864
512kB 1990-12 Cartridge (JP)
Sega Master System
CRC32 3EC5E627
MD5 7D54230748FA41BB62B6F08E5DCEDE08
SHA-1 62C0CA61AD8F679F90F253AB6BBFFD0C7737A8C0
256kB Cartridge (EU)

External links


  1. Mega Drive Fan, "June 1992" (JP; 1992-05-08), page 75
  2. 2.0 2.1 Raze, "June 1991" (UK; 1991-04-25), page 35
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sega Power, "August 1991" (UK; 1991-07-04), page 12
  4. Computer & Video Games, "February 1991" (UK; 1991-01-16), page 80
  5. Mean Machines, "January 1991" (UK; 1991-01-03), page 41
  6. Supergame, "Setembro 1991" (BR; 1991-09-xx), page 36
  7. 7.0 7.1 (archived: 2010-11-22 23:50)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 (archived: 2017-07-05 11:19)
  11. (archived: 2018-03-05 23:11)
  12. (archived: 2007-02-02 02:36)
  13. (archived: 2012-04-03 02:02)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 (archived: 2013-05-22 19:18)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 (archived: 2017-05-22 06:27)
  20. Beep! MegaDrive, "January 1991" (JP; 1990-12-08), page 32 (34)
  21. Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 83 (85)
  22. Computer & Video Games, "March 1991" (UK; 1991-02-16), page 72
  23. Computer + Video Giochi, "Aprile 1991" (IT; xxxx-xx-xx), page 88
  24. Hobby Consolas, "Octubre 1991" (ES; 1991-xx-xx), page 81 (73)
  25. Joystick, "Novembre 1990" (FR; 1990-xx-xx), page 131
  26. MegaTech, "Xmas 1991" (UK; 1991-12-06), page 78
  27. Player One, "Juin 1991" (FR; 1991-xx-xx), page 32
  28. Raze, "May 1991" (UK; 1991-03-28), page 64
  29. 29.0 29.1 Raze, "June 1991" (UK; 1991-04-25), page 34/35 (34)
  30. Sega Power, "October 1991" (UK; 1991-09-05), page 53
  31. 31.0 31.1 Sega Pro, "Christmas 1991" (UK; 1991-12-12), page 18
  32. Video Games, "2/91" (DE; 1991-06-07), page 88 (84)
  33. Aktueller Software Markt, "November 1990" (DE; 1990-10-26), page 142 (144)
  34. Computer & Video Games, "March 1991" (UK; 1991-02-16), page 78
  35. Computer + Video Giochi, "Aprile 1991" (IT; xxxx-xx-xx), page 94
  36. Mean Machines, "January 1991" (UK; 1991-01-03), page 40/41 (40)
  37. Mean Machines Sega, "October 1992" (UK; 1992-xx-xx), page 133
  38. Player One, "Décembre 1990" (FR; 1990-xx-xx), page 56
  39. Power Play, "33: 12/90" (DE; 1990-11-16), page 164
  40. Sega Power, "March 1991" (UK; 1991-xx-xx), page 42/43 (42)
  41. Sega Power, "October 1991" (UK; 1991-09-05), page 56
  42. Zzap!, "Marzo 1991" (IT; 1991-xx-xx), page 26/27 (26)
NEC Retro has more information related to Gain Ground SX.

Gain Ground
Gain Ground Title.png

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