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In a distant part of the universe, an alien creature called Zelos was born. As he grew so did his appetite, and soon he began devouring galaxies, planets, and stars by the hundreds. Now your planet has appeared in Zelos' path, and it is up to you and a partner to fly into battle to save your world.

Life Force is an action-packed shooter where there are six levels which alternate between side and vertical scrolling, each of them ending with a powerful guardian. Throughout the game, destroying certain enemies will release power ups which can be used to equip your ship with more powerful weapons, extra speed, and shields. Gameplay is for one player or two players simultaneously.


Life Force NES Dragon boss in a horizontal-scrolling level
Life Force Arcade Stage 1 "Multiplying Cells" a.k.a. "Bionic Germ"
Life Force NES Close to the end, yet still so far...
Life Force Commodore 64 Blasting through a solid wall

Promo Images

Life Force Screenshot
Life Force Screenshot
Life Force Screenshot
Life Force Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "沙羅曼蛇" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "沙羅曼蛇" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Salamander (Life Force)" -- Brazilian CCE's Top Game title
  • "Salamander" -- Japanese Arcade/MSX title
  • "Life Force Salamander" -- European NES title
  • "Lifeforce" -- NES title screen
  • "Arcade Archives: Life Force" -- PS4 title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

An average, but still enjoyable and fun space shooter. NES Bregalad (963)

Critic Reviews

The Video Game Critic NES Apr 26, 2000 A 100
Joystick (French) NES Apr, 1990 95 out of 100 95
Zzap! Commodore 64 Sep, 1988 94 out of 100 94
Zero NES May, 1990 91 out of 100 91
NES Times NES Feb 07, 2010 9 out of 10 90
The Games Machine (UK) NES May, 1990 88 out of 100 88
Power Play NES Mar, 1989 81 out of 100 81
NES Archives NES Jul 30, 2006 B 75
RetroGame Man NES Feb 17, 2017 7 out of 10 70
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Amstrad CPC Oct, 1990 65 out of 100 65


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1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Salamander appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


There was an Anime based on Life Force. It was called Salamander, made in 1988, and only released in Japan and the U.K. Sadly, all three episodes are out of print in both countries.


  • ACE
    • October 1988 (issue #13) - Included in the Top-100 list of 1987/1988 (editorial staff selection)
  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #90 “Readers' Top 100”
  • Commodore Format
    • July 1993 (Issue 34) - Modern Classics: Shoot-'em-ups (Check 'em out)

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by GTramp (56895), Michael Cassidy (20576), Sciere (479736), Martin Smith (66801), NewRisingSun (964), gamewarrior (5115), Terok Nor (26109) and Servo (57404)