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Original Horror Shirts

Gradius/Lifeforce   Konami

Back in the day, there was actually a time where I saw games on the NES before I saw them in arcades.  Two big ones are Gradius and Lifeforce, English versions of the popular Salamander series in Japan amd Nemesis across the pond in Europe..  Before I even touched them in arcades, I learned that the Contra Code worked sometimes and there was also a super warp in Gradius, and Lifeforce's last stage was and still is a pain in the ass.  Just how do I navigate through all of those collapsing sideways columns? Anyway..

Gradius, the continuing evolution of the Scramble-Super Cobra shmup games.  A horizontal point-to-point shooter with levels traversing through bizarre outerspace locations; Easter Island, a Cave, a giant bubble room Rave of some sort.  Or was Easter Island just in the NES version?  I'll have to check our crack research team when they finally stop playin Halo 2600.  Each level ending with a Guardian of some kind, a spaceship with powerful weapons that could be out-maneuvered, out-gunned, out-everything if you collected the right power-ups.  You'd think that if they made these huge ships to destroy you they would be able to maneuver their guns and aim, time their shots, or just install a couple of gigantic fekkin' titanium flyswatters to smack your ship silly.  But they didn't.  This is a space war of attrition.  You will sometimes lose, but sometimes win, and winning brings you back to the beginning to do it all again, and then.. wait, are you sure about that guys?  I thought Lifeforce did that?  Oh.  They both did?  Hmm.. I'll trust you for now.

Then we have the big one, Life Force.  Or Lifeforce.

Lifeforce was more in the line of the old movie from the 1960s Fantastic Voyage, where you take to the insides, literally, of a human body. Your quest: to clean out the body by fighting various enemies, creatures, and bizarre monsters in the human body.  Strangely enough, I do believe in the first level, the boss is the brain, which you destroy.  I'm not too sure how that constitutes saving somebody from internal parasites, but in videogames, Rule #1 is "Suspension of Disbelief".  No, it's not possible, and yes, you should just shut up and keep playing, dipshit.

Eyes?  Check.  Interestingly enough, to make these games have more longevity in the home versions, they made the game a bit longer, and, much like Contra for the NES, much better than the arcade versions.  Gotta give people a reason to shell out cash to buy a cartridge of a game that goes by pretty quick in a play-through in the arcade (but eats lots of coins).

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