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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 Amstrad CPC The second level scrolls vertically
Life Force Sharp X68000 Title screen
Life Force Arcade Stage 6 "Fortress Area"
Life Force Commodore 64 Avoid giant flames!

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

Quebec Gamers NES Feb 04, 2007 8.4 out of 10 84
Commodore Disk User Commodore 64 Dec, 1988 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Total! (Germany) NES Sep, 1994 2 out of 6 80
NES Archives NES Jul 30, 2006 B 75
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) NES May, 1990 740 out of 1000 74
Power Play Commodore 64 Oct, 1988 72 out of 100 72
Video Chums PlayStation 4 Mar 30, 2016 7.2 out of 10 72
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) NES Apr, 1989 8.4 out of 12 70
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Dec, 1988 52 out of 100 52
Commodore Computing International Commodore 64 Oct, 1988 75 out of 100 25


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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 (50061), Michael Cassidy (17480), Sciere (385382), Martin Smith (62904), NewRisingSun (958), gamewarrior (5060), Terok Nor (23110) and Servo (55746)