Join our Discord to chat with fellow friendly gamers and our knowledgeable contributors!


User Reviews

An average, but still enjoyable and fun space shooter. Bregalad (972) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work and the game plays. 4.1
Graphics The visual quality of the game 4.1
Personal Slant A personal rating of the game, regardless of other attributes 3.9
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 4.0
Overall User Score (44 votes) 4.0

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
Joystick (German) (Apr, 1989)
Vielleicht ist es etwas schwer zu spielen, aber es macht Spaß. Die Grafiken sind ansprechend gemacht und holen so ziemlich das Letzte aus der Nes raus. Auch zum Sound kann man sagen, daß er gut, wenn nicht sogar super gelungen ist. Es bleibt nur zu hoffen, daß dieses Modul schnellstmöglich auf den deutschen Markt kommen wird, denn es könnte ein Hit werden und wieder ein paar Pluspunkte für Nintendo auf dem hart-umkämpften Konsolenmarkt einheimsen.
Salamander is magnificent in so many ways. The game's cartridge and its transparent shell casing (sorry, this delightful treat only applies to the Famicom release) makes you realize that you are about to experience something special.
100 (Aug 09, 2012)
I truly don’t know what else to say about this game, except that anyone who considers themselves a fan of retro gaming should play it right now. Life Force might not be a perfect game, and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of Konami’s crowning achievements on the NES.
Top Secret (Jan, 1994)
Gra ta - to strzelanka w pełnym znaczeniu tego słowa, oparta na klasycznych zasadach. Jej ubarwienie stanowią dobre efekty dźwiękowe i oczywiście świetna, "nowoczesna" grafika.
Joystick (French) (Apr, 1990)
Voila un jeu d'arcade tout simplement parfait: y a rien à jeter! C'est tellement facile de descendre les softs nuls que, devant tant de qualité, je reste sans voix! Les graphismes sont beaux et pleins de jolies couleurs, les niveaux passent d'un scrolling horizontal à un scrolling vertical, les monstres et pièges sont bien dosés et last but not least, la possibilité de jouer à deux est très attrayante: si on peut et doit s'aider mutuellement, c'est chacun pour soi en ce qui concerne le ramassage des nacelles perdues en route par les vaisseaux ennemis abattus.
The Video Game Critic (Mar 24, 2016)
The game also supports two-player simultaneous action, and while its a nice feature, the ships can be hard to tell apart and the slowdown is pronounced. Life Force is claustrophobic at times and often infuriating, yet madly addictive all the same.
Zero (May, 1990)
Who cares if Life Force has taken so long to arrive? It is spectacular; it ranks amongst the elite of Nintendo games. And wouldn't look out of place on a pedestal next to Super Mario Bros. [...] The graphics and gameplay are excellent.
Retro Game Age (Feb 15, 2012)
Small faults aside Life Force is one of the top shooters for the NES, especially the US considering we did not receive some of the more visually incredible ones like Recca and Crisis Zone. It’s a bit short and hard but is infinitely replayable curiously. The graphics and sound were a huge leap over Gradius and even slowdown is at a bare minimum. Sequel or spinoff, it doesn’t matter in the end as Life Force remains just as playable 20 years later.
NES Times (Feb 07, 2010)
Those minor flaws aside, Life Force still excels as one of the top shooters on the NES. Everything about this game is first class and having a friend as your wingman to zap the baddies is a blast plus this is a gem you'll keep coming back to despite its high difficulty and shortness. It may not be a true Gradius sequel but this game does the franchise proud in spades. Definitely highly recommended.
There's nothing to beat a good bit of gratuitous violence. Graphically Life Force is excellent. The chunky sprites are very colourful and shift round the screen almost faster than the eye can follow. For the first few games many lives will be lost sussing out the countless traps that exist for the unwary. Once the attack patterns have been learnt, however, all hall can be let loose. The wide range of weaponry is very welcome, but it is a tad annoying to have to collect so many power up orbs to access them. Oh well, I suppose it shows that I need some more practice, so if you will excuse me...
Life Force is a brilliant conversion of the Salamander coin-op, with loads of things on-screen almost all the time, and no drop in speed. The blasting action is on par with the original, almost to the point of attempting to ram a couple of ten pees into your machine when you die. Shoot 'em up fans shouldn't miss it.
Mean Machines (Oct, 1990)
Salamander may be getting on a bit now, but it still ranks pretty highly as one of the better shoot 'em ups. So I was extremely pleased to see that Life Force retains almost all of the major ingredients that made its arcade parent so enjoyable. The graphics and sound are as close as one could hope for, and the playability is just about right - not too easy, nor over-impossible. Some of the later levels are a bit complex, but practice makes perfect, as they say. If you're a fan of the coin-op, or just love a good blast, don't miss it.
Tilt (Jun, 1990)
La réalisation de ce programme est irréprochable et il est particulièrement difficile de s'arrêter une fois que l'on a commencé à jouer. Life force est le meilleur shoot-them-up à ce jour sur Nintendo.
Quebec Gamers (Feb 04, 2007)
Life Force ou Salamander, la pseudo-suite à Gradius, un est des meilleurs shmups sur NES. Un jeu passablement court mais avec un niveau de difficulté élevé mais pas impossible avec de la pratique.
Defunct Games (Feb 07, 2013)
Technical problems or no, Life Force is one of Konami's best shoot-em-ups. Fans of Gradius will immediately recognize the power-up system and even some of the enemies, and everybody else will enjoy an action game full of creative levels and boss battles. Life Force is so good that it barely matters that it's not a real Gradius sequel.
Video Games (Mar, 1991)
Der Nachfolger zum Weltraumopa „Gradius“ läßt Ballerherzen schneller pochen. Was hier grafisch und spielerisch geboten wird, ist eine Schau.
Power Play (Mar, 1989)
Was für Bilder, was für eine Musikuntermalung - man glaubt auf den ersten Blick einen Spielautomaten vor sich zu haben und kein Nintendo. Die Grafiken sind wirklich unheimlich gut, vor allem der riesige Totenschädel am Ende vom vierten Level hat es in sich. Wenn besonders viele Sprites aul dem Bildschirm sind, wird das Spiel allerdings langsamer. Schade auch, daß Life Force sich nicht so gut spielt, wie es aussieht. Der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist einfach zu hoch, selbst ausgebuffte Baller-Profis werden hier Probleme bekommen. Spätestens im dritten Level ist so viel los, daß die Überlebenschance gegen Null tendiert. Der Vorgänger Gradius sieht zwar nicht so hübsch aus, dafür spielt er sich besser.
Retro Archives (Aug 24, 2020)
Konami a toujours été très à l’aise sur NES, et son adaptation de Salamander est tellement réussie qu’elle est objectivement plus agréable à jouer que sur la borne! Seul ou à deux, on n’aura rien à reprocher à une jouabilité irréprochable ni à une réalisation qui tirait déjà le meilleur de la console en 1987. À posséder pour tous les fans de la machine.
80 (Jul 10, 2017)
Life Force was a great game back then and still remains so now. In light of the fact that we didn’t get Crisis Force and Recca in the US it is one of the absolute best shooters for the NES and is only let down by its short length.
Unfortunately, the very high difficulty will usually result in the player’s ship being next to useless after losing a life (and power-ups), which will result in the player being forced to continue at the start of the level or reset in frustration. This is alleviated somewhat by the two-player simultaneous mode (a rarity for a shooter). Hardcore shooter fans will get the most out of this title, while standard players will have to resort to using the 30 life “Konami code” to stand a chance.
Total! (Germany) (Sep, 1994)
Seinerzeit war ‚Life Force‘ sicherlich ein Megahit, doch für die heutige Zeit sind sechs Level wirklich etwas wenig Spiel fürs Geld. Wer aber auf Ballerspiele steht und das Spiel irgendwo für ein paar Mark in der Grabbelkiste findet, der kann unbesehen zugreifen. Eine Fehlinvestition ist das auf keinen Fall!
Still, I must admit that Konami did a stellar job in designing the levels that ARE in the game. All of them look different and are fun to play through. While the bosses are painfully easy (at least for a powered-up ship), they are quite attractive, as are most of the levels. Back in the day, when I was growing up, I used to play this game religiously and it didn’t take me too long to remember why after reuniting with it. As a NES game, it’s obvious that on an aesthetic level, Lifeforce can’t compete with more recent shooters — but for pure addictive fun, it more than holds its own.
NES Archives (Jul 30, 2006)
This isn't a rare or expensive game so if you like shooters you should definitely grab it. If you think you are the greatest gamer ever get it for the challenge. If you think you might lose your mind over the difficulty well then keep away.
Graphically superb - Life Force now takes up the mantle of best Nintendo shoot 'em up. If you enjoyed Gradius you'll love Life Force. I did.
RetroGame Man (Feb 17, 2017)
In summary, Life Force is an fun but challenging shooter with unique multiplayer options and a cool upgrade system. This difficulty, while at times unfair, can be overcome with either godlike videogame playing or by using the Konami code (my preference) so that you can fully enjoy this fun game.
Retro Game Reviews (Jul 15, 2015)
Life Force isn't as deep as some other NES shooters like Gun Nac (1991) but it's polished and each level is enjoyable to play. The adventure doesn't last long and there are a few problems with slowdown but it never resorts to 'bullet hell' gameplay and has a good power-up mechanic that doesn't punish you too harshly if you lose a life.
Zum Glück gibt‘s auch hier eine Continue-Funktion, sonst wäre ich wohl so manchesmal verzweifelt. Sehr nutzbringend ist der Zwei-Spieler-Modus dieses Ballerspiels, ein wenig störl mich das leichte Ruckeln, was allerdings durch die Vielzahl der bewegten Objekte ausnahmsweise zu entschuldigen ist. So bleibt uns nur die Hoffnung auf eine baldige Version, die auch auf einer europäischen NES-Konsole spielfähig ist.
VideoGame (Mar, 1991)
Ao comando de uma nave espacial, você deve invadir um planeta hostil e destruí-lo.