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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 3 "Intruder"
Life Force MSX Selection screen
Life Force NES You often need to make your own path by shooting through organic structures.
Life Force MSX Kill the stage boss!

Promo Images

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

Alternate Titles

  • "沙羅曼蛇" -- Japanese / Chinese (simplified) spelling
  • "Salamander (Life Force)" -- Brazilian CCE's Top Game title
  • "Salamander" -- European 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 (968)

Critic Reviews

Joystick (French) NES Apr, 1990 95 out of 100 95
The Video Game Critic NES Mar 24, 2016 A- 91
Mean Machines NES Oct, 1990 86 out of 100 86
Defunct Games NES Feb 07, 2013 B+ 83
Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library NES 2016 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) NES May, 1990 740 out of 1000 74
RetroGame Man NES Feb 17, 2017 7 out of 10 70
The Games Machine (UK) Commodore 64 Oct, 1988 66 out of 100 66
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


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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 (60937), Michael Cassidy (20959), Sciere (519019), Martin Smith (66869), NewRisingSun (970), gamewarrior (5084), Terok Nor (27024) and Servo (57398)