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".
[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.