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Earth Defense Force Invigorates the Super Nintendo Shoot-’em-up Genre – Today in Retro Gaming – January 1, 1992

Earth Defense Force SNES

Although the Sega Genesis is well known for its arcade conversions and shoot-’em-ups, the Super Nintendo did get a fair share of its own, and on this day in 1992, SNES gamers were blessed with Earth Defense Force (also known by Super Earth Defense Force). Converted from the arcade original, Earth Defense Force game is a horizontal scrolling shooter with everything you come to expect from a classic shoot-’em-up: frenetic action, power ups, end-of-level guardians, and more.

The game’s plot, which deviates somewhat from the arcade original, establishes the warring factions of E.D.F. (Earth Defense Force) and the Azyma Empire, who have built a base on the far side of the Moon. From the relatively seclusion of the Moon, the Azyma Empire have secretly built a secret weapon which they plan to destroy Earth with. Of course, E.D.F. have dispatched their best fighters to eradicate the Azyma threat and their deadly weapon.

Earth Defense Force features some pretty neat features, some of which were innovative for the time. The player’s fighter ship has an energy shield that absorbs up to three enemy attacks, after which, the ship is then open to enemy fire and the loss of one of the player’s lives. Three speed options are available to choose from, with the fastest speed giving player’s the chance to dodge the faster enemies. There are two satellite ships that follow the player’s main fighter ship, providing extra firepower. The game also has a levelling feature, where by the player can earn experience points from defeating enemies, giving the player access to upgraded weaponry. While the SNES version, unfortunately, drops the two-player cooperative mode, it does have additional graphics and weapons.

Of course, the SNES version of Earth Defense Force version should not be confused with the unrelated series of third-person shooter games that began life on the PlayStation 2. With the original SNES version available to purchase on eBay, and with further releases on the Wii Virtual Console (July 14, 2011), and the Wii U Virtual Console (May 22, 2015), there are plenty of ways to experience this piece of videogaming history.

Neil Reive

An avid retrogamer who has worked on various projects, magazines, and fanzines. He started his videogaming journey with the Amstrad CPC464 computer before moving onto a Commodore 64, then the Sega Mega Drive, followed by a multitude of PCs.

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