Review by 2001mark

Reviewed: 10/15/18

My fav NES shooter

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- Immediately, I feel like Life Force is borderline 16-bit calibre gaming. This game nears the SNES capabilities as near as any NES title, & without slowdown actually improves the SNES experience. Some of the graphics & level design here are simply incredible for 8-bit, most of all the leaping fire(?) streams midway through the game. Those look really awesome & add extra eye candy to the entire experience.
- Truly an upgrade from Gradius, without making Gradius obsolete. LF feels like Contra in space, 1 or 2 player fun. Even its story & level design remind me of the Contra universe - flying in & around living alien beings & structures.
- With the life cheat code, LF has an ideal degree of difficulty. Unlike Contra which can become a walk in the park with 30 lives, LF still feels a legit challenge. I for one have yet to defeat the game, just getting to the final stage. Most of my deaths come from those fire streams I mentioned earlier, I've yet to apply a proper strategy. The game does feel relentless, without feeling stupid hard. That's actually an exceptional trait barely any other NES game can match.
- The music & sound effects are outstanding, esp for NES. This game could've just about been a SNES title without too many changes & gotten away with it.

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- For me, without the cheat code, LF would be impossible. I know that Contra can become brutally tough without its life cheat code, yet LF is easily more unrelenting than Contra, probably because the moving screen rather than traversing your own pace.
- Some spots of the game can feel next to impossible for novice gamers, like me. I've yet to defeat the game even with the cheat code. It takes a toll on your thumbs playing this game shooting & maneuvering the levels. That's probably not a true negative, yet its relentlessness does make me shy from frequent replays. I want to be in the right mood both mentally & physically for LF.

My personal experience with Life Force...
This was an NES title I only discovered because nostalgia gaming sites/youtube showed me the way. I'd played my share of Gradius & Galaga, yet as a kid never got into the genre much beyond those basics. NES Classic I immediately hack added LF. I think it could safely be a top 10 NES game for most ppl. The shooter genre for me isn't my fav, & so it's nearer middle of the pack.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Life Force (US, 08/31/88)

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