Game of the Month May, 2004:
Super Earth Defense Force

System: Super NES Developer: Jaleco
Super Earth Defense Force is one of the best Super NES shooters I've played. Though it doesn't feature much that is new in the shmup genre, it's challenging, fun, and has some really pretty graphics. Super EDF is a really bullet-heavy shooter; it doesn't contain much in the way of actual level design, so it's like Zanac turned on its side. Although it's not as difficult as the best shooters I've played, Super EDF is a game that's easy to recommend.

Perfect formation, guys! An absolute 10!

That's some really bad dandruff you've got there. Super EDF's main "gimmick" is its power-up system. By defeating all enemies of a single kind on-screen, you get a huge point bonus. This bonus will partially fill a weapons meter. When the meter is completely full, the power of your chosen weapon is upgraded. I say "chosen weapon" because you can choose from a wide variety of weapons at the beginning of the game, although most players will probably rely on the homing cannon for awhile. If you max out the weapon level, the each additional increase of the meter adds a shield to your stock. Having shields is like having extra lives; if you lose all of them it's game over.

Super EDF also contains some very interesting visual effects. Level 4 has a satellite that first appears far off in the distance, but gradually gets larger as it scales towards you. Level 5 has a huge moon that looms into view and rotates with Mode 7 effects. The artistry of the enemies, backgrounds, and bosses is well-done, too, even though one boss is clearly a Darius rip-off and another (pictured here) is an R-Type rip-off. One thing I discovered is that the Super NES version of Earth Defense Force appears to have better graphics than the arcade game it was based on (at least judging by the screenshots of the arcade game that I've seen). Not that graphics make or break a game, but it's nice to see the designers went an extra step to improve things. Super EDF also has some decent music, though it's not particularly mind-blowing.

Didn't I see you in R-Type 2?

Super Earth Defense Force is probably easy and cheap to come by, as far as Super NES games go. I recommend giving it a whirl if you do.

Super Earth Defense Force Links

  • My Super Earth Defense Force Review - A complete review of this fantastic game.
  • VGMuseum Super EDF Ending - Contains screenshots of Super EDF's ending sequence and final bosses


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