Salamander (沙羅曼蛇 (サラマンダ), Saramanda), retitled Life Force (ライフフォース, Raifu Fōsu) in North America and in the Japanese arcade re-release, is a scrolling shooterarcade game by Konami. Released in 1986 as a spin-off of Gradius, Salamander
introduced a simplified power-up system, two-player cooperative
gameplay and both horizontally and vertically scrolling stages. Some of
these later became normal for future Gradius games.
Salamander was followed with a sequel in 1996 titled Salamander 2.
Salamander 2[a] is a 1996 horizontal-scrolling shooterarcade game developed and published in Japan by Konami. It is the direct sequel to Salamander (1986) and the third game in the Salamander series, which itself is a spin-off of the Gradius
franchise. Up to two players control two starships — the Vic Viper and
the Super Cobra — as they must destroy the alien race Doom before they
wipe out all of the planet Gradius. Gameplay involves shooting down
enemies, collecting power-up items, and avoiding collision with
projectiles or obstacles.
Though it was a moderate success in arcades, Salamander 2 was met with mixed reviews. The game received generally negative feedback from fans of the original Salamander for its poor design and inferiority to its predecessor. It has been republished through Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus (1997) and Salamander Portable
(2007). These re-releases were better-received for their gameplay,
graphical style, and soundtrack, though its high level of difficulty and
lack of innovation were the subject of criticism. Its music has since
been re-released in various Konami soundtrack albums.
Salamander 2 is a horizontal-scrolling shooter video game.
Players control a starship through six scrolling stages in an attempt to
destroy the hostile alien race "Doom" before they wipe out the planet
Gradius and the remains of mankind. The first player controls the blue Vic Viper and the second controls the red Super Cobra.
Both ships are tasked with completing each of the game's six scrolling
stages; these stages alternate between horizontal and vertical-scrolling
In these, players must shoot down constantly-moving formations of
enemies while avoiding collisions with them, their projectiles, and
moving obstacles such as asteroids and walls. Stages conclude with a
fight against a boss that is defeated by destroying its weak point.
Completing all six stages allows the player to start back at the
beginning, or "loop", to replay the game at a higher difficulty.
By destroying red-colored enemies, players can collect power-up
items that enhance their weapons. Both players begin the game with a
standard forward-moving shot, and can upgrade these to a laser, a
circling "ripple" laser that increases in size, and a twin shot, in
addition to a forcefield and an increase in movement speed. Large, brightly-colored orbs known as "Options" can be obtained, providing additional firepower.
Players can also collect smaller ones named "Option Seeds", which
circle their ship and also assist the player in fighting off enemies.
Options can be launched at enemies to create powerful shocks of
lightning that home in on nearby targets.