Game of the Month January, 2004:

System: NES Developer: Natsume
Rip-off games rarely succeed in being better than the games they try to be like. But although Abadox's story and graphics conjure memories of Konami's Life Force, it's a shooter that really stands out on its own. Taking place inside a giant, planet-consuming alien (just like Life Force), you will find much scenery that looks as though it were lifted right from the other game. (A red blood cell stage, a flight through giant mashing teeth, and red brain boss, and both horizontally and vertically scrolling stages for starters.) But the resemblance between Abadox and Life Force end there. Abadox is much more difficult, and its design relies more heavily on flying a distinct path through certain stages.

Looks like Saturn is the next planet on Parasitis's menu.

Notice that weird face in the bottom left corner Level 2 is where the first evidence of Abodox ingenious design is clear. As you approach the second half of the level, your passage suddenly becomes very narrow. All the while, there are enemies appearing from the bottom of the screen (as vertical stages in Abadox scroll downward instead of up.) These enemies sometimes fly straight through, but others pause, fire bullets, and dart off in another direction. You absolutely have to find a specific place to position your spaceman to both take out the enemies and dodge the bullets, and it's not very easy with having little room in which to maneuver. Level 6, the final level, takes this idea to the extreme. Although it appears you have more room to move, the way the enemies react to being shot in this stage means that you have to be specific in how you take them out and where you're positioned on the screen to avoid that which cannot be destroyed. Abadox's level creativity seems more or less inspired by Irem's classic R-Type.

There is never really a lull in Abadox's action, but Levels 2 and 6 are the hardest in the game. The other levels may take some practice, but their difficulty is more on par with Life Force. The boss battles don't really get challenging until Level 6, either. (The first two even have safe spots!) But even so, the challenge of Levels 2 and 6 counts for something; better to have two great levels than none at all. It also says something about the game that it has an invincibility power-up, and it still manages to be challenging. The graphics and music are also very well-done. The stages are lush with large and colorful backgrounds (some of them animated) and enemies, and the Level 3 music is my favorite in the game.

The inevitable 'nod to Alien' boss

Abadox is a game that I feel every shooter fan should try. Don't be put off by the obvious Life Force rip-offs, it's still a good game in its own right.

Abadox Links

  • My Abadox Review - A complete review of this fantastic game.
  • NES Enshrined - DiefWolf's review of Abadox


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