Life Force (CRL) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Life Force
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #52

Life Force

The action in Life Force takes place in a station - not Tooting Broadway on a Saturday night but a nuclear power station in orbit which has become infested with nasty little bugs. Your job, as cosmic Rentokil man, is to clear up this infestation, in your trusty megatank.

Yup, this is another one of those overhead view games that scrolls you around a vast scenery of bas-relief graphics.

The object of the game is to track down and destroy a total of eight Flexible Robot Caterpillars which crawl around the power station at high speed. Apart from the FRCs, there's an assortment of minor nasties which don't matter much except that they get in your way and kill you.


You travel around in a tank with a revolving turret, armed with a not-very-impressive array of weapons. You get a laser gun with a limited supply of energy and a forcefield, also limited in energy. Trundling through the power station, you'll be able to pick up smart bombs, heat-seeking missiles and more laser power. But to start with, you've nothing to brag about.

Picking up weaponry as you go, then, is all-important. If your laser power goes down it will only temporarily stun the minor nasties, although it will still shoot bits off the FRC. Similarly, your forcefield goes down whenever it's turned on for long periods. That can also be topped up by picking up force cannisters. The few smart bombs and missiles dotted around will also come in pretty useful.

Since weapons are always enclosed by walls, you need to blow up sufficient space for your tank to get in. Simply driving over a weapon picks it up.


The all-important FRCs don't appear very often and you'll manage to get a few shots at one before it disappears again. No point in chasing after it, as I said - it's much quicker than your tank.

You'll know an FRC when you see one. It's a caterpillar built out of dots, the body being a string of red dots with a blue one at the head. The idea is to shoot away all the red dots until only the blue one is left. The FRC then stops and you drive over it. Apparently the head has a nuclear fuel rod in it, and you need eight of these to complete the job of stabilising the station - that's what it says here anyway.

The eight FRCs are scattered around the three levels of the game which you take in order. And although you have three tanks (lives), the game ends if either the minor nasties catch you with your shields down or the FRC bumps into you head first.

You must use your Escape option if things start looking bad. Only by pressing Escape do you eject from the tank (which blows up) and get to use the next one without having to restart the game.

This scenario may not sound very inspired but it's curiously enjoyable because there's no limit on any of this and no really manic zapping to do. You simply bide your time, knowing that sooner or later an FRC will show itself. If you explore long enough, you'll get to know the place, where the weapon dumps are, where the FRCs usually hang on, etc.

Graphically Lifeforce is no great shakes. We've seen this type of scenery too often before. But the programmer does have a good time with minor nasties and explosion effects. Apart from those, both the tank and the FRCs were pretty disappointing creations.

Lifeforce is a good and competent game that becomes pretty absorbing once you've got into it. The play area is large enough to give a feeling of space but, to my mind, there's not quite enough to do for players who want something really meaty to sustain them through the plague of Christmas Carry On Films.

Bohdan Buciak

Other Commodore 64 Game Reviews By Bohdan Buciak

  • The Trap Door Front Cover
    The Trap Door
  • Tunnel Vision Front Cover
    Tunnel Vision
  • Through The Trap Door Front Cover
    Through The Trap Door
  • Battle Island Front Cover
    Battle Island
  • The Art Studio Front Cover
    The Art Studio
  • Roy Of The Rovers Front Cover
    Roy Of The Rovers
  • Water Polo Front Cover
    Water Polo
  • Nebulus Front Cover
  • I, Ball Front Cover
    I, Ball
  • The Big Deal Front Cover
    The Big Deal