Life Force

a game by Konami

Platform: NESNES

Genres: Flying, Shooting Games

  • Manufacturer: Komami
  • Machine: NES

We were inundated with hints from all over on how to get 30 free ships in Life Force as soon as we printed our request for tips. A tip of our hat and $10 goes to Aaron Field and Brook Francisco (both of San Francisco, California) who first informed us that the "weapons" hint listed above for Gradius will also work to give 30 free lives in Life Force.

We also received a letter from Johnny Young from Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, that included locations of two free lives in the first level of Life Force. In the photo at the top left, destroying the blob in the webbing leaves you with a power-up icon. Running over this icon gives you a free ship!

Similarly, cutting through the last red block just above the bottom edge of the screen (see photo at bottom right) will also reveal a free ship icon. We're sending some bucks your way, Johnny. Thanks!

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Konami

Life Force Downloads

NES Life Force download
  • Manufacturer: Andy Eddy and Lee Pappas
  • Theme: Strategy

In the February issue of forced VG&CE, we gave you maps and tips for making it through Levels 1 and 2 of Life Force by Konami. This +month we cover Levels 3 through 6 so you can complete this tough contest.

Don't just sit there and watch!

Before we get started with tips on Level 3, there's one hint we wanted to pass on to those engaged in team play:

The worst thing that can happen is one player losing all his lives and being forced to sit back to watch the other player finish their game. Konami has programmed a solution though it isn't documented. If the player whose lives are gone hits both the "A" and "B" buttons simultaneously, a trade will take place: one life will be taken from the surviving player and given to the idle player. This allows both combatants to keep active until all ships are destroyed.

The heat of battle - Level 3

Level 3, which has your ship(s) scrolling from left to right, begins the same way the first two levels did: with an opportunity to boost your options, which were likely taken down to zero by the Intruder at the end of Level 2. If you are unfamiliar with what we are talking about here, refer to Part One of the "Life Force Strategy Guide" in the February, 1989 issue of VG&CE. The power pods come when you blast away squadrons of Phoenix, similar to the saucers at the start of Level 1. Be careful, though, as the weaving pattern of these flaming birds can cause one to slip through your bullets and strike your ship.

After you get past the first six sets of birds, you'll see why this is called the "Prominence Stage". The top and bottom of the screen is lined with solar activity so don't stray too high or low, or you'll crash and burn. This flaring surface also serves to hide the appearance of beings flying out from the edges towards you.

This level is also sprinkled with single Phoenix: some get bigger as you shoot them, others turn into fast fireballs; all of them seem impossible to kill. The best strategy is to blast away at them as soon as you see them, but don't waste too much time and effort. Sometimes the best idea is to bypass a creature to save your life. If you do manage to rid yourself of one of these birds, though, you'll often be rewarded with a blue power pod. As we said in Part 1, a pod will clear the screen of all that is currently in your way.

The hardest objects to get past at this juncture are the "spitballs" that dance off the surface to the middle of the screen, often in pairs. You can blast them away - again, missiles will help you here - but they are so fast that it's difficult to quickly lock in on them.

Stay close to the center of the screen to increase the time you have to react.

Starting at point "A" is the worst threat to your survival: the solar flares. These flaming arcs start at the surface and curl a wide path through the air. They do their job in the wink of an eye and leave little space on the screen for your safety, but their impending presence is signaled with a small hill of flame on the surface. The flare will start here and then loop back to the left. The safest procedure is to locate your ship either to the right of the starting point, to the left of it (yes, inside the flare) or at the opposite edge of the screen from it. The first few flares come by themselves, but later you'll get groups of three, one after the other.

The rest of the level follows with combinations of what we've just described - more flares, mostly - and when you get past two more dragons, you're almost out. The solar surface will give way to a black screen, then you'll come face-to-face with "Cruiser Tetron". This lizard head is perhaps the easiest Mayor you'll face, but don't get too cocky. Simply dodge his puffs of fire breath and litter him with shots, and you'll find yourself on your way to Level 4.

No speed limit - Level 4

Okay, take a deep breath. Good, now let it out. While Level 4 can be taken as the one with the least opposition in it, it does have a section in it that will get your blood - as well as your onscreen ship-racing. When you hit point "B", put on your seat belt because you're going for a ride! The pace of the scrolling is upped to about three times the normal rate and the corridors are smaller. There are also a few globes spread out through the section, but they are hard to shoot, so don't bother with them.

The programmers have also spread power pods throughout this "racetrack", but many are against a wall. At this speed, you're better off grabbing at the ones that are in the open. You should also select a single Speed option, to make your ship more maneuverable, because the weaving pathway forces you to change direction frequently, lest you slam into a wall. Additionally, you should try to get Lasers; we'll tell you why in just a second.

Here are some hints: If you want to get the most power pods - some are grouped in threes - you should go to the right side at each fork. Also, it's wise to pause in this area frequently, glance at where you stand option-wise, and be ready to pick the option you want. At the speed you are traveling, it's nearly impossible to maneuver and watch your option display at the same time without careening out of control.

Do you know what that thing that hangs down in the back of your throat is? It's the uvula, in case you're ever asked again. After things slow down to normal, you'll see objects that look like that poking out from the sides. While it takes a lot of shots to destroy them, you're better off trying because if you leave them untouched, they explode and scatter indestructible silver disks in your path. The Lasers we advised you to get are the best weapon here, particularly if you get right up next to the bulb and fire.

The globes, marked on the maps as "C", have a weak spot that makes it easier for you to destroy them. If you stay to the far right of the globe's center, you'll be safe from the growing webwork. Don't feel that you have to get every globe, though.

The section that looks like a rib cage is not as hard as it looks, either. If you move off the bottom of the screen, you're susceptible to getting struck by the crossfire of beams that come out of the blinking blue and purple tips. Your main opposition comes from the bouncing horns. They can't be shot, but they are easily evaded by moving away from them until they hit the bottom and split into two, then slide over to where they first hit.

The last stage has you meeting the Mayor of Level 4, an ugly skull named Giga, whose eyes track your every movement. Basically, you have to adopt the same strategy as you did with Cruiser Tetron at the finish of Level 3. Watch out for Giga's eyes because they'll dislodge and move around the screen, and contact with either of them will destroy your ship - a likely conclusion, since they appear from off the screen when you least expect it.

Tough stuff - Level 5

The first challenge in a level is usually a tough one: in Level 5 a line of creatures (which we've marked as "D" on the maps) unfolds in your path like a curtain. To get past them, pick one specific row to shoot and you'll have a clear spot to cruise through when they come towards you. If you have Lasers, you'll be able to get rid of more aliens, leaving even more space to move. Lasers will also break loose some power pods when you come to the floating asteroids that follow.

Hint: Following this asteroid field, there will be some items that look like bouncing fuzz-balls. Do whatever you can to get rid of every one of them - otherwise they explode into a spray of fragments.

There comes a point, just before the end of Level 5, where you are confronted by three bobbing spaceships tossing glowing globes at you. If you take your time, you'll not only get them out of your way, but also grab a bunch of power pods. One rule, though: let the pods scroll to you, because this keeps the maximum distance between you and the opposing ships. Another hint: if you want to get a specific power-up button here, use the START button frequently to freeze the action. This makes assessing your situation much safer than in the heat of battle.

The Mayor of Level 5, Tutankhamanattack, starts off with a threat other than the standard firing - you'll have your eyeful of that soon enough! -because the framework around him falls apart when he makes his appearance. To stay alive, stick close to his head until some of the bricks on the left have fallen, then pick a lull to slide back to the left until all the bricks have dropped. Once Tut "comes to life", you'll have your work cut out for you! A circling ring of gold not only creates a shield around him, but also serves to obscure the shots he takes at you. He travels back and forth, so try to stay in the area with the most room to maneuver, so you can stay clear of the circling globes and Tut's shots. Take your time and you'll be on your way to completing your mission.

Homeward bound - Level 6

When the background turns green, you'll be in danger from spraying bullets coming from the sides. Missiles will, as always, be your best ally in this situation. If you don't have missiles, try to analyze the pattern to find safe spots in which to place your ship. We've found that staying close to the bottom of the screen is a good offensive position.

In a repeat performance, Gradius' Amkarkhand Heads are brought back to do battle with us. These statues can only be damaged when their mouths are open, but that's also the time that they fire dangerous rings at you. Staying close to the mouth, while more risky, enables you to get rid of them quickly (just as you did with the uvula-shaped objects in Level 4).

Watch out for the mixture of statues and the bullet spray that we just spoke of - a deadly combination. Finally, this is complicated even more by some heads moving from the edges of the screen and flipping face-up, making them impossible to shoot for a period.

After the heads comes the most important section. Here, you'll face a globe with a snake-like creature circling it. Just hang loose and blast at the snake, while avoiding the blue blobs he drops. When the snake is gone, the screen will start scrolling upwards again. Here's the important part: don't let the large globe move off the screen without blowing up the little, pulsing globe inside it. If it gets by you, upon your completion of Level 6, you'll be thrown back to Level 4 - not a very nice reward for all that work!

You'd think that after the main requirement for completing the game, you'd be done. Sorry, but no. First you have to negotiate one last section - perhaps the most difficult of all: piloting your craft through tiny spaces between pillars that seem to slam shut in front of you. At first, they leave plenty of clearance: but every once in a while, you have barely enough room to get by. The best strategy is to stay as far back as you can, so you can see where the opening is. To hamper that plan, one set of pillars close completely (which we've marked on the map for you, as point "E").

Successfully wending your way through Life Force rewards you with a distant view of Zelos imploding. At that time you'll be tossed back to Level 1 again, to try to better your score and do more damage to the forces of evil.

Good luck on your mission - and may the Life Force be with you!

reggie posted a review

This is a scrolling shooter video game developed and published by Konami was released in 1988. Game play is for one or two players simultaneously.

In some remote part of the universe, was born Zelos, an alien creature. As soon as he grew up he began eating away hundreds of galaxies, planets, and stars. Now your own planet has appeared on Zelos' way. It is your and your partner’s duty to fly and fight to save your world. There are six levels, which alternate between side and vertical scrolling. Each one is ending with a powerful guardian. Through the game, destroying certain enemies will release power-ups, which you can use to equip your ship with powerful weapons, extra speed, and shields.

reggie posted a review
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