E.D.F. Earth Defense Force

-Jaleco (1991)

- Also on SNES.

The Story

The Azyma Empire has constructed a new self-defense mechanism onboard it main attack satellite. This automated computer and the ships it could control were supposed to be the main Earth Defense Force. However, a mishap caused the computer to destroy all other satellites in its vicinity. It was sonly a matter of time before it deemed all of mankind its enemy. The computer took over the systems of all of the Azyma Empireís ships and sent them to destroy the people of Earth. The main Azyma carrier, K.A.L. (Killing All Life-forms), brought most of the computer-controlled ships to the planet. 

The Azyma Empire quickly reacted and developed two fighters that could not be controlled by the computer. These two ships are now the new Earth Defense Force, defending the Earth against the old Earth Defense Force. 

My Thoughts

Computers against humanity. It is the never-ending fight that humanity will be locked into in the future, well, after the zombie apocalypse, of course. The deranged computer story in Earth Defense Force may not be all that new, but the game does have a unique little RPG-type of weapon system.

Basically, the more enemies you destroy, the more experience the weapons will receive. When the level bar at the bottom of the screen is full, all the weapons will increase in size and power. And if you die, your weapon level doesnít decrease. Four weapons are available with valcan (yea, itís named valcan), laser, atomic (small projectile bombs), and homing.

The EDF fighter also has two weapon pods that attach to or fly with the ship. As you level you can switch them to various formations on-the-fly. The union formation attaches the pods to the front of the fighter, giving you a more powerful and concentrated attack. The rolling formation makes the pods circle the fighter. Shadow formation acts much like the normal Gradius option formation, where they follow the movements of your ship. There is another formation that lets the pods go off on their own to attack enemies by themselves. The last formation is useful at times, but can also screw you over if the pods donít attack the right enemies.

The enemies are a mixed, but consistent, variety. Some of the enemy ships are well-designed, while others look like an average enemy in any other shooter. The coolest looking ship is a small fighter with a huge mini gun at the top of it. That just screams badass. There is also a ship, that isnít a boss, near the end of the game that inexplicably turns into a flaming blue bird for a short time. I have no idea what the bird has to do with anything in the game.

Many of the enemies also seem to have cannons and weapons that resemble skis. Perhaps when the war is over the computer-controlled ships will be enjoying a vacation in the snow-covered Alps, practicing their record-breaking ski jumps.  

The bosses are a mixed lot. There is a dual super chain guns ship, a purple atomic robot that bursts from the KAL carrier, a robo-wall, a lobster-type of vessel that look like it belongs in the Darius games, an extendo-claw ship, and a big, stationary robot. EDF also takes somewhat of a Gradius approach to the final final boss and makes it a just something you need to shoot once. However, once you defeat the big robot, the game itself takes over. You donít even get to fire the last shot that saves mankind or pilot your escape from the base satellite.

The graphics are fairly average. The colors used throughout the stages are a bit bland. There is a large amount of detail put into all the ships, though. Many of them become battle-damaged as you shoot them. The music is pretty forgettable and does not add anything to the gameplay. The boss music is particularly not good.

Earth Defense Force seems to borrow some things from many different shooters. I canít tell if anything is really that original. The weapon system might be, but Iíve seen a similar one in Transformer, so I donít know how original it really is. It has its moments, though, and may be good to kill an hour or two with.

Score: 6.0

-Shawn

 

 

 

 

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