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Salamander [Model GX587]

Arcade Video game published 38 years ago by Konami Industry Co., Ltd.

Listed in MAME

Salamander [Model GX587] screenshot

Salamander © 1986 Konami.

Salamander is a 1 or 2 player sequel to 1985's superb shoot-em-up, "Nemesis". While it retained the same basic gameplay and feel of its predecessor (particularly the superb and innovative weapons system), Salamander featured both superior graphics and a more imaginative approach to level design. The earliest example of the latter appears towards the end of the very first level, in which imposing, organic obstructions grow before the players' eyes. The game's third level - the infamous 'lava' level - is another good example of Salamander's superb design; with huge solar flares constantly erupting both above and below the player's ship that must be carefully navigated to avoid instant loss of life. Salamander introduced further variety to the action with the introduction vertically-scrolling levels, which alternated with the standard side-scrolling levels.

Salamander's weapon power-up system is as follows :
* SPEED UP : Five speed levels.
* MISSILE : Press missile button to launch.
* LASER : Your forward rockets turn into deadly lasers.
* RIPPLE LASER : Use shoot button to fire.
* FORCE FIELD : Protect your ship with barriers.
* MULTIPLE : Increase your fire power by up to four times.

Multiple special powers can be obtained, but the LASER cannot be used in conjunction with the RIPPLE Laser.

Goodies for Salamander [Model GX587]
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Konami Nemesis Hardware
Game ID : GX587

Main CPU : MC 68000 @ 10Mhz / G400 Bios
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80
Sound chip : 2x AY-3-8910 psg


Salamander was released in July 1986 in Japan. It is known in US as "Lifeforce", but it was re-released one year later in Japan as "Lifeforce [Model GX587]" (June 1987).

Salamander is the game that inspired Ikeda Tsunemoto (Toaplan>Cave) to develop the 'Danmaku'; the shot patterns seen in "Donpachi" et al.

Note: The kanji on the Japanese version title screen actually reads 'Sa Ra Man Da', meaning 'Sand Gauze Wide Snake'. This is an example of 'ateji', where Japanese artists use the phonetic value of a character to fit the game's name allowing them to write the name in kanji as opposed to a kana.

The first boss in Salamander appears as BRAIN GOLEM in "Kyukyoku Sentai Dadandarn".

Soundtrack releases:
[JP] [Cassette] Dec. 16, 1986; Original Sound of Salamander [KHY-1012]
[JP] [Cassette] Nov.21, 1987; Original Sound of Gradius & Salamander [Battle Music Collection]
[JP] [Audio CD] (Nov.21, 1987) Original Sound of Gradius & Salamander [Battle Music Collection]
[JP] Nov. 21, 1988; Original Sound of Salamander [BY12-5019]
[JP] May 25, 1992; Salamander Again - Konami Kukeiha Club [KICA-7601]
[JP] May 21, 1998; Salamander - Kukeiha Club Pro-Fusion [KICA-7702]
[JP] Apr. 09, 2003; Salamander Arcade Soundtrack [KOLA-030]
[JP] Sep. 22, 2011; Konami Shooting Collection [LC-2039~48]

The story between the different versions of Salamander differs. While the story in the arcade original is not entirely clear, the Famicom version claims a large creature named Zelos (possibly the serpent often pictured on the game's cover art) is preparing to swallow your planet whole, and you must stop it from the inside out. The US arcade follows primarily the same story. the Japanese LifeForce may have a more surgery-related story, involving the removal of an unwanted virus or microbe from the body. The MSX version of Salamander differs the most from any of these. Basically, a prophecy from long ago comes true when an army attacks Latis and it's surrounding planets. They have created a barrier around Latis, and the only way to undo it is by activating a 'crush below' system created by ancient Latisians.


* Bypass the mini-boss in stage 6: In stage 6 (Zelos's fortress if you're playing Salamander or the brain area if you're playing Life Force), there is a mini-boss section consisting of multiple boss ships that fire sets of 4 lasers. Move your ship all the way to the top of the screen and you will be safe until this section ends. This glitch does not work in the Japanese re-release version of the game (the one with a purple background in attract mode).


japan Nintendo Famicom (sept.25, 1987) "Salamander [Model RC821]"
korea Nintendo NES (1990) "Life Force Salamander"
japan NEC PC-Engine (dec.6, 1991) "Salamander [Model KM91002]"
japan Sega Saturn (june.19, 1997) "Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus [Model T-9520G]"
japan Sony PlayStation (jul.3, 1997) "Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus [Model SLPM-86037]"
japan Sony PlayStation 4 [PSN] (nov.27, 2015) "Arcade Archives - Salamander [Model CUSA-03575]"

japan Sony PSP (jan.25, 2007) "Salamander Portable [Model ULJM-05219]"

japan MSX (dec.26, 1987) "Salamander [Model RC758]"
japan Sharp X68000 (oct.1988) "Salamander [Model CZ-218AS]"
japanNEC PC-9801 (1992)

[CN] Mobile Phone (2009)


Game's ROM.
Game's picture.
Game's screenshots.