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Life Force

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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 Stage 4 "Underground Volcano"
Life Force Commodore 64 The walls grow outward in this passageway
Life Force NES Golem, the guardian of level one
Life Force Arcade Stage 1 "Multiplying Cells" a.k.a. "Bionic Germ"

Alternate Titles

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

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

An average, but still enjoyable and fun space shooter. NES Bregalad (917)

The Press Says

Joystick (French) NES Apr, 1990 95 out of 100 95
Commodore Force Commodore 64 Aug, 1993 91 out of 100 91
Mean Machines NES Oct, 1990 86 out of 100 86
Power Play NES Mar, 1989 81 out of 100 81
NES Archives NES Jul 30, 2006 B 75
Power Play Commodore 64 Oct, 1988 72 out of 100 72
Computer and Video Games (CVG) ZX Spectrum Oct, 1990 65 out of 100 65
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Amstrad CPC Oct, 1990 65 out of 100 65
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Dec, 1988 52 out of 100 52
HonestGamers TurboGrafx-16 Feb 02, 2013 5 out of 10 50


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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”

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Contributed to by GTramp (38053), Michael Cassidy (9013), Martin Smith (63136), NewRisingSun (855), gamewarrior (5065), Terok Nor (19022) and Servo (55823)