August 27, 2008 - There's nothing quite like flying a space ship through a pulsing cave made up of undulating meat, teeth, and weird crawling things. The first level of Life Force's shoot-'em-up gameplay resembles something more akin to inner-space combat than outer space, but it's funny how the game alternates between stages packed with strange intestinal meat danglybobs and other weird, random levels featuring tiki heads, traditional space environments, and Egyptian-themed baddies.
Life Force is actually a port of a Japanese game called Salamander - a spinoff of the Gradius series. Two-player mode was awesome, because both ships could team up, fly around, and blast innards simultaneously. It's easily one of the more bizarre side-scrolling shooters on the NES, featuring odd creatures and other organic elements.
Call me strange, but I always thought the first wave of ships looked strangely Danish-like. Mmm…donuts.
For a game that's all over the board in terms of content, Life Force isn't lacking in quality or challenge. It's also one of a handful of games where the Konami Code could be put to great use. You know; Up, Up, Down, Down…yeah whatever. In my case, I had little chance of getting far past the first few levels without it, particularly when the meat-like walls tended to constrict without warning.
Those with the skill to defeat the final snake boss at the end of a grueling series of twitchy shooting levels were treated to one final, game-crushing hurdle. You had to pilot your ship at high speeds through a series of closing gates. With out perfect precision, this was a sure-fire way to blow the last few remaining lives and get sent back to the start.
Life Force is a great shooter packed with tons of meat and weirdness. Set phasers to sauté!
CCC Staff Contributor / Pixel Artist