This game was probably one of my favorite space shooters growing up.
I believe I was introduced to it by my cousin Jamie who’s 10 years older than me, so it was a bit of a turn from the Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda that I cut my teeth on back in 1988 when Nintendo first became a fixture in my young, eight year-old heart! But I loved all of the different power-ups and the Konami code made it a little easier to stumble through a good portion of the game even when you were just starting to learn the controls…
Some thirty years later, it’s still definitely a challenge … or maybe my reflexes just aren’t what they used to be … as I picked up the controller today at random and only got as far as level 3, which I always hated because the fire blasts were next to impossible to avoid! It was also hard for me to really enjoy the power-ups because it felt like I was constantly losing them 15 seconds after I’d gotten them to the point where eventually I just spent them all on speed boosters instead of even trying for the lasers and options like I normally would.
But I do kind of like how, similar to Contra, Konami alternated the perspective between horizontal and vertical scrolling and it adds a fun bit of variety to the game despite only having six levels total. Frankly, it’s quick gameplay is another bonus because today when I sat down to play, I really only had about 10 minutes while I was waiting for something else, so I was able to get in a quick game of Life Force … and make it to level 3 before dying … in a nice, short amount of time!
Playing this game makes me want to hunt down the other games in the Gradius series because I honestly never played any of them except for this one growing up, even though I did gawk at the screenshots of Gradius III in Nintendo Power. If all of the games followed the same basic structure as Life Force did, they should be a lot of fun. 🙂