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Looking back at a lost shooter game gem from the mid 90s

March 12, 2015

Picture this, it's the mid 1980s, and you're looking for the next awesome Konami game to hit the store shelves. Then it happens, there is Life Force staring you in the face. Telling you to "buy me and take me home", and so you do. Life Force which is also known in Japan as "Salamander" took off like no one's business after the success of Gradius, which was the granddaddy of all Konami shooter games.

For good reason too, it took the world by storm with its awesome and yet challenging game play, level design, and power-up features. The menu power-up system you see at the bottom of the screen is as old as the game itself, and was utilized in both future Gradius games, and spin off titles such as Parodius. Such is the case for Salamander, a shooter  that took the series to a new level and introduced the "overhead" levels we all loved so much.

After playing it for the  first time I immediately fell in love with it, and have enjoyed it ever since.

Gone are the days of 80s, and with it a legend that can never be relived again. Or can it? Not many fans of the original Life Force knew about a direct sequel that launched back in 1996, and thanks to a well known emulator called MAME, you can relive that experience again with yet another great shooter, Salamander 2. MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, and is an arcade board emulator with one purpose in mind.

To preserve the past for the future in terms of  not letting these games simply pass into oblivion, but rather make it possible to not only play them once again, but also learn about the hardware and games themselves. Yes, that too is looked upon for educational purposes, one that I myself have been into for a number of years.

For those of you who have never heard of it, or always wanted to play a sequel, here is a long play video from start to finish using MAME as the driving force behind it. I highly recommend it to you and your friends to give it a shot. It'll blow you away, pun intended.


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