Life Force

Lifeforce Boss

Life force was released by Konami in 1988 for the NES. It’s a classic space shooter and the sequel to another great NES space shooter Gradius. Life force is a port of Konami’s arcade game of the same name. You control the Vic Viper a sweet spaceship that is upgradeable.

The gameplay in Life force is split up between six levels. A cool feature is that some levels are horizontal scrolling and others are vertical scrolling. It’s a nice way to make things interesting in between levels.

Powerups can be collected and used to get multiple ship upgrades. Some of the upgrades cost more powerups than others. You can upgrade your speed, add missiles to your ship, get a ripple gun which is stronger than the standard bullets, get a laser gun which is the strongest gun, add options which are little dots that fire bullets like your ship, and finally force field which protects your ship from bullets until it takes too much damage.

The graphics and control are very well done. Each level has it’s own theme and the end bosses are very big and really do the best you can with the NES hardware limits. The in game music is timeless and a joy to listen to.

Life force also contained the famous Konami code: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start so you could start with 30 lives. Even if you didn’t use the Konami code you could continue your gameplay if you died. You would just have to start each level over again.

You can play 2 player co-op which is a lot of fun. Having a friend cover one side of the screen while you take the other sure does make things easier. If you share powerups each ship can be a beast.

Lifeforce is one of the best space shooters for the NES and a classic that is a must own. If you don’t have a NES you can purchase it on the Nintendo Virtual Console for the Wii.

Life force Title Screen
Lifeforce Title Screen
Life force Gameplay
Life force Gameplay
Life force Boss
Life force Boss
Life force Boss 2
Life force Boss 2
Life force Gameplay 2
Life force Gameplay 2
Life force Gameplay 3
Life force Gameplay 3
Life force Gameplay 4
Life force Gameplay 4
Life force Gameplay 5
Life force Gameplay 5
Life force Gameplay 6
Life force Gameplay 6

Contra

Contra Title Screen

Contra was released for the NES in 1988 by Konami. Contra is one of the best side scrolling shooter games for the NES. It’s a game that defines what a side scrolling shooter should be. Contra is a port of the Konmai arcade game of the same name.

The gameplay in Contra is fast paced and exciting. There’s never a dull moment and always an enemy that needs to be taken out. It’s fun as a one player game, but as a 2 player game it’s outstanding. To me it’s just so much more fun with a partner because you can split up and take down the aliens together. To me, the nostalgic memories of playing Contra with a friend and seeing how fast you can complete the game will last a lifetime.

Contra will also be remembered for the infamous Konami code. The “Contra Code” as some people call it give you for 30 lives which made the game so much easier. The code is: Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start.

The graphics are well drawn and bright and colorful. The environments are very detailed and keep you immersed in the action.

The sound and music is outstanding. From the gun shots to the explosions it all sounds right. The music is catchy and classic with it still being used in remixed form to this day. Any of the stage music would fit right in on your iPod.

The game control is near perfect with everything feeling tight and responsive.

Contra is without a doubt one of the best NES games. It’s a valuable NES game if you have it in your collection but it still is priced inexpensively enough for most any retro gamer’s budget.

Since it’s one of my favorite NES games of all time, I own a nearly mint complete in box (CIB) copy that is a treasured part of my personal game collection.

Contra by Konami for the NES complete in box (CIB)
Contra by Konami for the NES complete in box (CIB)

Contra Title Screen
Contra Title Screen

Contra Nintendo NES Gameplay
Contra Nintendo NES Gameplay