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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 Arcade Boss 2 "Cruiser Tetran"
Life Force Arcade Boss 1 "Golem"
Life Force Sharp X68000 Stage 1
Life Force Arcade Final Cutscene Part #2

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 (938)

Critic Reviews Commodore 64 Apr 20, 2008 10 out of 10 100
The Video Game Critic NES Mar 24, 2016 A- 91
Computer and Video Games (CVG) NES Feb, 1990 87 out of 100 87
Quebec Gamers NES Feb 04, 2007 8.4 out of 10 84
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) ZX Spectrum Oct, 1988 823 out of 1000 82
Nintendo Life Wii Feb 17, 2009 8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars8 Stars 80
Commodore Disk User Commodore 64 Dec, 1988 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
RetroGame Man NES Feb 17, 2017 7 out of 10 70
Computer and Video Games (CVG) ZX Spectrum Oct, 1990 65 out of 100 65
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 Aug, 1988 6 out of 10 60


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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)

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Contributed to by GTramp (53354), Michael Cassidy (17977), Sciere (424340), Martin Smith (62812), NewRisingSun (958), gamewarrior (5060), Terok Nor (23854) and Servo (55767)