Blast from the Past: Life Force (NES)

Retro Review


I don’t really play that many arcade shooters anymore but I’m glad that when I choose to, that they’re usually classics. Such is the truth of this week’s Blast from the Past: Life Force. It’s sad to think that Konami created treasures throughout the past 30 years. The sad bit obviously being the controversy that they went through over the recent years. It is usually this controversy that’ll turn away new gamer from great titles such as Life Force.

Life Force has the player taking control of a spacecraft that in all honesty looks like a fighter jet. Players travel through space majority of the time however some levels appear to be the inside of an alien life form which at first I suspected to be planets where players will have to dodge planetary wildlife and the planet itself such as collapsing pathways. It is in the later levels that I realized that the organisms/enemies have taken on the form of alien anti-bodies and the space that we’re travelling through actually resembles the inside of an entity/being. It is unfortunately quite confusing but don’t let that trouble you too much as this action-packed shooter leaves no time for thinking.

Enemies everywhere

Players can also pick up power-ups which change the form and direction of your own projectiles making it easier to disperse enemies and take on bosses. However tread lightly and do not take comfort in this as the enemies can be just as ruthless and players will have to be prepared to dodge projectiles that seem to come from every direction including missiles, boulders and often enemy ships themselves. The levels are also well designed allowing players to move through vertical space as well as horizontal space depending on the stage. The stages are also not only littered with enemies and projectiles but also structural traps that have to be avoided such as walls closing in on the ship in certain areas or bursts of solar flares shooting halfway across the screen in blazing glory.

The music is absolutely superb and if at all possible I’d love to purchase the game’s soundtrack.

The ship is well animated in its movements and the controls are super responsive. Just as well they should be as you’ll find yourself needing to strafe right or left and even up and down at a moment’s notice! The music is absolutely superb and if at all possible I’d love to purchase the game’s soundtrack. I can only imagine how it sounded in an actual arcade store. Although Life Force, also known as Life Force: Salamander, is a spin-off from another popular shooter (Gradius) it really stands well on its own. It is sad to think that I never had a chance or opportunity to play this title in my younger days BUT joyous to think that I have now finally had a chance to play this classic¬† Blast from the Past. Life Force is definitely a must for all shooter, retro and arcade fans out there. A fast-paced action-packed shooter not to be missed. And best of all, the game can be played as a 2 player couch co-op.


  • Responsive controls
  • Superb soundtrack
  • Well animated
  • Two player co-op


  • I'm still a little confused about the setting of the game


Blast your way through alien enemies large and small in this week's Blast from the Past: Life Force


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