NES Works #084: Life Force & World Class Track Meet

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By Jeremy Parish. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

We have a follow-up to a 1986 classic here, in deed if not in name: Life Force, the sequel to Konami's Gradius. Well, sort of. It's complicated. But since we never saw the actual Gradius II on NES, this will have to do. Life Force makes use of the same excellent power-up system as Gradius with some refinements, including a new weapon option, new handling of Options, a revamped shield, and perhaps most importantly a far more forgiving respawn system upon the player's inevitable demise. Along with these improvements, Life Force also incorporates two-player simultaneous action and introduces a unique dual-format scrolling system seen nowhere else in the Gradius series. It's quality fare, and a real technical and gameplay highlight for the NES... a feat that becomes all the more impressive when you consider how it had to be scaled back from the Famicom release to work within the constraints of U.S. cartridges.

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Production notes:

  • NES and Famicom footage in this episode was captured from @Analogue Nt / Nt Mini / Nt Mini Noir via RGB out.
  • Standard definition video upscaled to 720 with xRGB Mini Framemeister and @Retro Tink 5X. There is a small amount of visual distortion in certain vertically scrolling sequences that the latest Retro Tink firmware update appears to address.

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