Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Retro Review: Life Force

In a remote quadrant of the universe there was hatched a hideous creature. His proud parents, Ma & Pa Deltoid, named their only son Zelos, which in alien lingo means "one mean son of a gun."As Zelos grew into an adult space monster, his appetite turned ravenous, his temper became ruthless, and his
name proved an understatement. It didn't take long for Zelos to leave the nest and go out on his own, devouring everything in sight, including three galaxies, four hundred planets, two trillion life forms and a side order of stars.Then your innocent galaxy appeared on Zelos's menu, and he chowed on an entree of
roast Gradius, with the planet Latis for dessert. Now, the only chance these civilizations have of escaping from his digestive tract lies with
you and your starfighting partner.

In 1988, one year after Konami released Gradius the Vic Viper was once again needed against a new galactic threat, Zelos!
Life Force contained six levels, four from the arcade game and two for the console version. Life Force offered a much different experience from Gradius and could almost be mistaken for a different game altogether. Levels one, three and five scroll horizontally like Gradius but levels two, four and six scroll vertically. Life force has a much more organic feel to the majority of the levels and some of the levels seem very out of place in this "space shooter", most notibly levels 4 and 5! Fying thru intestines, a gold rib cage and the boss is a floating skull that uses it's eyeballs as projectiles or an Egyptian pyramid and battling King Tut in space >O.o<

The power up system from Gradius was retained for the NES port. Power ups available were Speed, missile,ripple laser, option and force.

Another original aspect was cooperative play in Life Force, two players teaming up to destroy Zelos, one piloting the Vic Viper and the other piloting the Lord British!

The following score is based on my memory of the game and is compared to games of that period.