Review by Wolf_Coder

Reviewed: 08/26/07

A fun version of Gradius, but difficult as always

Life Force is one of those arcade games that will empty your pockets of quarters, of course it's a good thing the Nintendo Entertainment System wasn't a coin operated machine! This game is very difficult but you'll want to keep trying over and over despite how frustrating it gets. There are some flaws to the game but overall it is worth playing.

GAMEPLAY (The only score-effecting category):
Life Force is a version of Gradius, meaning you shoot things in a spaceship while collecting generic power-ups. The power-ups increase the little meter near the bottom of the screen and the current power-up you will get when pressing the other button is displayed. The more power-ups you save the better the power-up you can get when the button is pressed. Usually you'll want to collect one power-up and use it to get faster and then use the rest to add missiles, ripples, laser shots, options, and force fields to your ship. Occasionally an enemy will drop a blue power-up which is actually a crush attack which destroys all the enemies on the screen. The gameplay is full of action and there are many obstacles and traps to go with the waves of enemies that come at you.

Of course this game contains some flaws here. Some of the traps aren't obvious and will destroy your ship out of nowhere, like the growing walls in the first level. Also sometimes stuff like rocks seem to pop out of nowhere and the only way to avoid them is to know they are coming. When you play multiple times, then you can dodge the traps, but that makes it annoying and more difficult in the wrong way.

The graphics are drawn nicely, and I like how the rock in the second level looks. The bright blue flickering laser effects adds a nice touch to the game and some of the bosses were designed to move in a cool way that wasn't usually seen in normal Nintendo games. You can easily see the ship and other objects against the background and the color palette was selected with a nice red to purple to blue range to match the whole theme of a large planet eating alien.

The sounds were done nicely for an 8-bit sound system. The explosions when you destroy enemies sounds a little weird. It's this kind of 'weehh' sound, a high pitched blip instead of the usual white noise blast. The other sounds match with the game well. The music is catchy and it will get stuck in your head, just the kind of music that belongs in a video game. It doesn't make you want to turn the sound off but you might get tired of the first stage music since you will probably die often in the game and use all your continues up.

The controls are simple and easy to use, you move with the D-pad, fire with the B button and use A to power up your craft. Select selects the game mode and pause pauses the game. Makes sense, and that's why I have no problems here.

I recommend this game to anyone who likes the Gradius series. For those of you who don't like to play games that require several trials to complete or have a sharp difficulty curve, you might not want to play this game.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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