Life Force was in many ways an updated Salamander; some elements, such as levels and bosses, were removed to make space for new content. Interestingly, most of the level graphics and enemy sprites from Salamander were used in favor of the ones used in Life Force, and it uses the Gradius power-up bar. The game was practically identical to the NES port of Life Force, other than being titled Salamander and featuring an expanded Gradius-like power-up bar. These ports make use of the Konami code, which in this instance increases the number of lives from 3 to 30.
Two years have passed since the battle against the Bacterian star system...
To the planet Gradius which regained peace, an unprecedented crisis has arrived. The unknown super-organism "Life Force" suddenly appeared in space!! It's a gigantic creature which absorbs all substances and continues to grow without stopping. In the meantime planet Gradius will be absorbed too! People entrust their last hope into the super spatio-temporal fighter Vic Viper.
Life Force changes the plot from Salamander by adding an opening text which establishes the game to be set inside a giant alien life-form infected by a strain of bacteria. Stages which featured star field backgrounds had them changed with the web background from Stage 1 to maintain consistency with the organic setting of the plot. The power-ups are also given different names too:
- "Speed-Up" to "Hyper Speed"
- "Missile" to "Destruct Missile"
- "Ripple Laser" to "Pulse Laser"
- "Force Field" to "Shield"
Konami later released an enhanced version of Salamander in Japan bearing the American title of Life Force, which further fleshes out the organic motif. All of the backgrounds and mechanical enemies are completely redrawn and given organic appearances. The power-up system was also modified, with the Japanese Life Force using the same power-up gauge as the original Gradius. Some music tracks have also been completely changed for this release. The power-up gauge is arranged differently for both players as well.
Both the original Japanese version and the enhanced Life Force release are included in the compilation Salamander Deluxe Pack for the PlayStation and Saturn, as well as in Salamander Portable for the PlayStation Portable.
|1||Stomach Muscle Zone||Brain Golem||Power of Anger|
|3||Stomach Inner Chamber||Intruder||Planet Ratis|
|4||Liver Zone||Fortress Valis||Slash Fighter|
|6||Brain Area||Zelos Force||Destroy Them All|
|1||Bionic Germ||Brain Golem||Power of Anger|
|3||Burning Chaos||Intruder||Planet Ratis|
|4||Organic Speed Zone||Giga||Fly High|
|5||Temple Zone||Crash Bam|
|6||Fortress Zone||Zelos Force||Destroy Them All|
- Interestingly, Life Force takes place in Gradius year 6842, two years after Gradius III.
- The Garden of Time in 2004 anime Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha somewhat resembles the Life Force Fortress.
|Ships||Vic Viper • Lord British • Sabel Tiger (Iggy Rock) • Thrasher (Zowie Scott) • Super Cobra • Galaxy • Purple Emperor • Red Devil|
|Salamander stages||Bionic Germ • Meteorite Space • Burning Chaos • Volcano Area • Salamander Planetoid|
|Salamander (MSX) stages||Top Flight Speed to Latis • Conduct to Space Station Zot • Set the Crush Blow System - Planet Eioneus • Set the Crush Blow System - Planet Lavinia • Set the Crush Blow System - Planet Kierke • Wrath of Venom • Crush Salamander|
|Life Force-only stages||Organic Speed Zone • Temple Zone|
|Salamander 2 stages||Sub-life Space • Prominence Fortress • Bio Hazard • Huge Battleship • Asteroid • Doom Fortress|
|Salamander bosses||Brain Golem • Tetran • Intruder • Fortress Valis • Death • Big Core X3 • Jumping Moai • Zelos Force|
|Port exclusive bosses||Zylom • Gaw • Giga • Tutankhamon • Dead End • Enigma • True Venom • Metal Slave • Zelos Barrier|
|Salamander 2 bosses||Biter • Hydra • Abadon • Tenny Rop • Plate Core • Cerberus • Doom|
|Gradius Video Games|
|Gradius series||Gradius • Gradius II • Gradius III • Gradius Gaiden • Gradius IV • Gradius Galaxies • Gradius V • Gradius ReBirth • Gradius: The Interstellar Assault • Gradius NEO • Gradius NEO Imperial|
|Spin-offs||Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2 • Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3 • Nemesis (Game Boy) • Cosmic Wars • Solar Assault|
|Parody games||Parodius • Parodius Da! • Gokujō Parodius! • Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius • Sexy Parodius • Paro Wars • Otomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius X: Excellent!|
|Other games||Scramble • Falsion • Thunder Cross • Thunder Cross II • Space Manbow • Force Gear • Trigon • Xexex|
|Pachislot||Gradius: The Slot • CR Parodius Da! EX • Gokuraku Parodius|
|Cancelled||Vic Viper • Gradius Arc • Salamander HD Remaster|