Life Force

aka: Arcade Archives: Life Force, Arcade Archives: Salamander, Life Force Salamander, Lifeforce, Salamander, Salamander, Salamander (Life Force)

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 83% (based on 41 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 98 ratings with 1 reviews)

An average, but still enjoyable and fun space shooter.

The Good
This is a classic and very enjoyable shooter. I usually don't bother too much with shooters games, but I like this one a lot. I can't really say why. The gameplay is simple and enjoyable, especially when you're playing with a friend with the simultaneous 2 players code. The power up system is good and enjoyable (especially when you battle the power ups with your friend), it'll increase your speed, if you collect two you'll be able to use missiles, collect three to have a ripple weapon, four will done a laser weapon, with five, you'll get an "option" (a bowl that'll follow you and shot like a copy of your star ship, but it'll never scratch) and the ultimate power up allow you to be invincible for one hit. If you enable two times missiles, your missiles will go faster, and you can also have up to 3 options at the same time. The graphics are very nice and detailed. Many elements (especially in graphics) are just some improvements of it's prequel Gradius. Boss battles are fun and original.

The Bad
The music is good, not great trough. Just the boss battle theme will seriously decrease the average of the music of this game (it's slow and boring, just like a boss battle theme shouldn't be)

At some places, the power ups are simply too rare.When you scratch, you loose all your power-ups and you'll be weak, so you'll scratch again and this vicious circle will continue again and again until the end of the stage. This will make the game so hard that it'll get next to impossible. The game isn't that hard as long you don't scratch, but the first time you'll scratch you'll lose all your power ups and you'll never be able to bring yourself back to a good situation from this point. If you don't use the 30-lives codes, the game will really be close to be impossible (at least challenge doesn't lack in this game). Fortunately, you (or the other player) can bring back your options with a bit of luck. In Gradius (the prequel to Life force), the ultimate power up allowed you to be invincible for five hits. This time you're invincible for only one hit. At the beginning or right after a crash when you have no "speed up", you'll go so slow that you'll press very strongly on the controller's arrow that you'll harm your inch.

The idea to mix vertical and horizontal levels is fun, however I don't like too much the vertical ones. The missiles goes on the left and on the right of your ship (normally the missiles can only goes BELOW your ship, just like in Gradius). When you shoot with a laser weapon, and move your ship just after that, your laser will also move (it's always just in front of your ship) and this is very scaring if you have no option because you can't fight and dodge at the same time.

There is some graphical glitches at boss battles (sometimes the image of a boss scrolls on the opposite side of the screen). Also, while animation of the game are good, sprites will flickers a lot (because of the NES' 8 sprites per line limitation) Sound effects are just beeps and bleeps, and sometimes they'll make your hears bleed (some of them are still very fun, like the ripple or the laser shots).

The ending is seriously disappointing (just the same as Gradius' ending, then a large "Konami" logo will show up on the screen).

The Bottom Line
Life force is a classic shooter, but it still has some original aspects in it, especially the bosses. It's a very fun and enjoyable game if you play it with a friend. If you haven't played any Gradius game yet, I'd recommend to first play the original Gradius, then this game.

NES · by Bregalad (937) · 2005

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alaka, Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd), Patrick Bregger, Tim Janssen, Wizo, VGManiac101, Alsy, S Olafsson, Hello X), Maner76, Jo ST, SlyDante, Dietmar Uschkoreit, RhYnoECfnW, lights out party, Bozzly, vicrabb, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Terok Nor, A.J. Maciejewski, chirinea.