Review by quadruplesword
"Life Force - what a 2D shooter should be"
One thing I must admit before starting this review - I could not complete this game without the help of the Konami code; it's just that hard. But that's certainly not a bad thing, in fact, the difficulty is one of the things that I really liked about this game. It takes me back to the early decades of gaming when games required many tries before you could get all the way to the end, unlike nowadays, when games can be completed in one or two quick sessions. But anyway, on with the review.
While not the best the NES has to offer, the graphics are nice and pleasing to the eye. The game doesn't slow down much and the levels are nicely detailed. Not much to say, really, graphics are decent, but any good gamer should know not to judge games based on their visuals.
All that needs to be said is, the music is awesome. Each sound track is very catchy and nice to listen to while you're blasting away at whatever gets in your way. My favorite is definitely the sound track for stage 5 - best sound track for a 2D shooter ever. Heck, all of this game's tunes are awesome. Like another game reviewer said before, "music can make or break a game", and he's right. This game's music definitely makes it.
Life Force is that of your typical 2D shooter - you shoot down enemies, collect power ups, get better weapons, and shoot down more enemies. At the end of each stage is a boss. I was a little disappointed with the bosses, seeing as how they are relatively easy to defeat once you learn their attack pattern. But other than that, game play is smooth, lots of fun, and quite challenging. What I found interesting is the power up system. Unlike most other 2D shooters that I've played, where power ups have little icons on them that tell you what they do when you collect them, Life Force's power ups are pretty interesting. When you shoot down certain enemies, they leave behind an orange-colored power up option. When you pick it up, an icon on your power up bar on the bottom of the screen starts flashing, with a message describing what that power up does. You have the option of pressing the A button to activate the power up and receive its benefits, or collecting another orange power up option to move the selector to another power up. You can keep doing this until you the selector is on the power up you want. Life Force blends a nice mixture of cool power ups, like lasers and "extra guys" (friendly ships that mimic your ship's behavior, including weapons), with fun, challenging levels. But you don't have to go it alone, another player can join the game at any time so you can really mess up those bad guys.
Story / plot
The game's plot is basically, a huge creature from outer-space has devoured the entire planet of Gradius. It's up to you - and a friend - to destroy this giant creature and return Gradius to normal. Like I said before, you can tackle the game either alone or with a friend.
In conclusion, Life Force is a great game, and definitely worth downloading on your Wii virtual console, looking for at garage sales, or hunting down on eBay. It does have some minor things that annoy me, like stage 3's impossible difficulty and the relatively easy difficulty of the boss enemies compared to the rest of the game, but other than that, I have no problems with this game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/09
Game Release: Life Force (US, 08/31/88)
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