Life Force (NES)

Game Profile

This classic shooter, originally ported to the NES in August 1988, is a spin-off of the seminal Gradius series.

Pilot the Vic Viper through six stages of intense action, alternating between horizontally and vertically scrolling environments, and take on wave after wave of enemies. Destroy particular enemies throughout the game (which takes place within the body of an enormous alien) to release power-up capsules and equip your ship with your choice of more powerful weapons, extra speed and shields.

Utilize the power-ups carefully, though, as a fearsome guardian lurks at the end of each stage and won't be easily defeated. You can go it alone or bring along a friend to take on the challenge simultaneously. Do you have what it takes to save your planet?

Game Review

Wii U eShop Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jake Shapiro

Forcefully fun

Konami's 1985 hit Gradius is one of the most influential scrolling shooters of all time, so it was pretty tough to follow up. Rather than make Gradius II right away, the company decided to create a spin-off; Life Force — originally known in Japan as...

Game Review

3DS eShop Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Robert Hughes

A force to be reckoned with

The space shooter is a genre that has somewhat faded into obscurity in recent years, both due to advances in technology rendering their limited scope obsolete and their typically gruelling difficulty proving unpalatable to some gamers. The NES port of...

Game Review

Virtual Console Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Darren Calvert

Use the force!

For those not in the know, Life Force started out life known as Salamander in Japan and was renamed for Western audiences. The Salamander series is a spin off to Konami’s famous Gradius franchise of shooters; the main differences in Salamander are the...

Game Screenshots

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USA VC Update: Life Force

Good news for shoot 'em up fans - Arguably the best shmup on the NES is available today!

Life Force is a spin-off of the Gradius series. You once again control Vic Viper (Or Lord British) as you make your way through numerous stages to beat the aliens again. The main difference between Life Force and the Gradius games is the level layout - Gradius always has horizontal levels, but Life Force has..

Game Trailers

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User Comments (37)



Terra said:

Finally. I didn't think it was coming but in this case, i'm glad to be proven wrong.



The_Fox said:

I'm not a huge shooter fan, and I have serious doubts about the quality of a NES shooter.



blackknight77 said:

@ the Fox
I understand with the NES limitations you may have concerns, but rest assured this game is the real deal. Grab and friend to play it and love it



7th_lutz said:

I've played Nes shooters before. Life Force is one the best on the system and is a great game.

I've played a lot of shooters in mylife time including ones on the Atari 2600.



Link79 said:

This is hands down the best shooter on NES if not of the entire Genre. Excellent music and creepy bosses. That boss tune is already going through my head just thinking about it. I was wondering when it would come to VC. Looks like it's on the way!



Wiiloveit said:

Despite not being too over-enthusiastic with scrolling shooters, I must say that this one looks pretty interesting.



ShoRyuKen said:

I have been waiting for this to come out on the vc. I spent hours & hours playing this game when I was younger. It is FANTASTIC!



WoRMaSTeR said:

More shooters, yippie-kay-ya. We can never have enough of those, there still must be some not released on VC. I just don't understand how people can value a game where the "experience" lasts for 10 minutes and then you are supposed to do it all over again. How many hours you really can get out of this? I would argue around 2 and that is optimistic. And yes I am condemning this without ever playing this so I might be wrong.



Cally said:

I have a question for shooter nuts: is there ever a reason in these games to take your finger off the fire button (except in the case of busting open an item container)?



blackknight77 said:

Yup in life force you have to use your second button to select a weapon when you get enough powerups



Adamant said:

@WoRMaSTeR: Wouldn't that be the case with platformers too? Not to mention sports games, racing games, fighting games, beat'em ups and puzzlers. Damn, not many genres left in your world.



WoRMaSTeR said:

@ 11. Adamant: You are saying that super mario 3 is a ten minute experience or any other platformer for that matter? Sport games and beat'em ups are crap (and repetive) unless you play them with friends granted, racing games of the 8 bit-era are crap, but modern games offer a lot more than any shooter out there. At least in good puzzles the scenario changes, so it is a different experience everytime, but in shooters it is allways the same enemy patterns etc.

I actually bought a shooter on VC (super star soldier) since it was so highly praised and it was the biggest disappointment to me on VC. I've have played games for 20 years now and I find shooters are allways my least played games on any computer or console. So I guess I just wanted to say could we please have something else than shooters, I mean don't we have enough of those allready?



WoRMaSTeR said:

I still hope that this is released since I know there are people that want it. I just don't understand why it is "the top game of the month" for japan. It's kinda like reading about another xbox 360 3rd person shooter, but atleast those are selling. Look at the most downloaded lists, see any shooters? No you don't so I cannot understand why everyone and their mother must release these.



deggs said:

maybe it's just me but i always figured there are shooters and then there are gradius shooters. for me, the gradius series has probably been one of the most consistently awesome series in video game history so i, personally, can't wait for this one...



Betagam7 said:

did this get an EU release orignally? Will buy it if its a hanabi but not getting it if its a PAL version



Betagam7 said:

I bought the S-L-O-W PAL NES gradius and now I regret it as I've a feeling the TG16 version will come out eventually. I wish they'd just give us the option, I'd pay 100 points extra for the 60hz version



lockelocke said:

Having recently played some other entries in the Gradius series, I've been thinking about (and waiting for!) Life Force, and I gotta say, this is hands down the best shooter I played as a five year old NES junkie.



Adam said:

I cut my shooter teeth on Gradius III, renting it so often that my parents would have saved if they had just bought it for me, but this video looks frustratingly hard. Not too fond of shooters in closed spaces either (thank you, Soldner X [PSN], for reminding me). It's annoying to die from hitting walls when the primary game mechanic, shooting, has nothing to do with avoiding ceilings, rocks, and what not. Just feels out of place.

Still, there's a surprising lack for co-op shooters on the VC, so I might have to grab this one despite my misgivings. Ah, Nintendo, you have me in your pocket.



tatemon555 said:

Awesome. I'm finally getting into the shooter genre, and I'll be getting this, since it looks like the only NES shooter coming to VC that may be worthy of 5 stars.



Link79 said:

Yay It's finally out! Now my shooter collection is complete.
I don't think a better shooter will be coming to VC now that this one's out.



Adamant said:

Amazing. Love it. Why didn't you give this 5 stars? Apart from being a tad on the easy side, you don't get much better than this on the NES.



slangman said:

Right looking on youtube it looks like I won't be downloading this after all when it comes to Europe. Why you ask? because we will get the crappy 50hz version which will have unoptimised S-L-O-W-E-R music.



CanisWolfred said:


You can never have enough Shooters!

Now that this game is out, I can finally do NES themed download, alongside Ninja Gaiden II, Tecmo Bowl, and StarTropics!



Shinnok said:

You're absolutely right Mickeymac, you can never have enough shooters. I just wish they'd release Thunderforce III.



pikmin95 said:

This game is too hard with the measly 3 lives, so I just used the 30-live code. You can only last 5 seconds in the lava stage before you get killed continuously by the flame tendrils. 4/5



deeztreezeez said:

I agree it was a great NES shooter...I owned it for many years and beat it a number of times...but I still think it is quite boring to play through. Shooters never looked as good on the NES as they did on later consoles.

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