Life Force


Genre: Shooter

Developer: Konami

Total time played: 1.5 hours

Short review: One of the best side scrolling shooters on the NES.  The game is full of fast paced action and giant boss battles.  The difficulty is intense and would be impossible (for me at least) to complete without the life saving 30 man Konami code.

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Another Konami classic.  I rented this game constantly as a kid and have very vivid memories of playing it with my brother while staying the night at my Aunt’s house.  I never realized as a child that the 30 man Konami code that was widely known to work on Contra also worked on this game.  Me and my brother took turns playing the game and eventually got to the fire level but could never advance past it.  As an adult, I couldn’t beat the first stage without the 30 man code.

The music in this game is very memorable full of high energy that fits perfectly with the onscreen action.  The game has a wide variety of powerups that make your ship faster and your weapons stronger.  The issue is that once you die you lose the powerup and go back to the stock weapon.  I could never upgrade my guns enough without dying so this feature added to my frustration. The best part of the game is definitely the boss battles.  Each boss is gigantic and appears as the background of the stage fades away.  The technical reason for this is the NES wasn’t powerful enough to render both a background and the massive bosses at the same time.  The bosses are what kept me trying to get farther as a kid, I couldn’t wait to see what was next.  My favorite is the stage one boss, aka the cyclops brain with arms.

After getting several game overs (even with the 30 man code) I finally beat the game.  The final boss was kind of a let down and after beating the final boss you still have to quickly maneuver through a very tight space that killed me more than once.  The ending of the game is as bad as the game is good.  One short screen of the alien planet exploding followed by the Konami logo.  No text, no story, no “the end”, no congratulations, just the same logo that appears when you turn on the game.


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