Earthforce - ? - PC
Reviewed by The Postman

I’ve been on a real PC shooter kick for some time now, and with good reason. The quality of games has been steadily increasing. Maybe programmers are catching on to the shmup craze, and are studying console systems to learn how to code better. Whatever the reason, the next PC demo to get thrown in the review blender is Earth Force. The version I looked at is just the downloadable demo, which is one level, so I can’t get too in depth about the game since all the features aren’t open yet.

EF is your typical textbook shmup - you against the world with no backup and no real plan. The pilot is able to log in at the spaceport, and I assume upgrade the ship (according to the webpage, the full version allows you to buy both weapons and new spacecraft). Otherwise the pilot screen is pretty useless, so lets move on to the game. You’ve got a regular rapid shot, a superblast which takes a second or two to charge, and a long blasting beam laser like in Soldier Blade. All of your special weapons need a full charge to fire, shown by an energy bar at the bottom. This also depletes when you get hit, although you have a separate life meter. Don’t worry, because it recharges with time.

That’s the basic layout of gameplay, but is not a game much more than that? Sure. Graphics in EF are very detailed and smooth. The backgrounds tell a story, as cars are strewn out on the roads in a crashed position. Locations are easily recognized as you fly over a runner’s track (protecting the neighborhood give incentive…..) And the first boss is a menacing tank equipped with a flamethrower, and a very nicely animated flame trail at that. He even leaves tread marks on the ground…..

EF does have some bad points though. Gameplay is slow, and the enemy patterns are predictable. After going through it once, you pretty much know what’s headed your way. And there’s no joystick support in this version, so three weapon along with directional keys are needed to play. There are no save spots, and the game is unforgiving. Getting shot is one thing, but DON’T collide with an enemy. Overall from what I’ve seen, I would certainly give the full version a look-see. The new ship options and purchasing power would add a lot to the game, and a full 15 levels sound nice, but if it is just more of level one rehashed 14 times, that just won’t cut it.

Graphics: 90%
Gameplay: 80%
Sound: 85%
Overall: 85%


That hangar is awful clean, isn’t it? I mean, if you’re taking off and landing and repairing the ship, I think there would be some dirt and blast marks.

After coming from the underground base, you are assaulted by enemy forces. EF uses good lighting effects, as shown in the enemy trails and your energy weapons.

Here’s the power shot ripping through some mines. Hope nobody is out running today.

The tank. That’s all he needs to be called. The tank. And check the detail on that crater!

He’s got a lot of attacks, from lasers to missiles to the flamethrower. Don’t get mesmerized by the dancing flames….that’s it for the demo version. Anyone with the full version, feel free to comment!


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie