SUPER E.D.F
( Earth Defense Force )
game Cover
game cartridge
スーパ E.D.F
©1991 Jaleco
Release: 1991-10-25 (¥8700)
Cartridge SHVC-ED
Shooter/Horizontal

American Version
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Released in America as
EARTH DEFENSE FORCE
( SNS-ED-USA )

Super E.D.F (aka Earth Defense Force) is a side scrolling shooter by Jaleco and based on their own arcade game originally released in 1991. A race of aliens has secretly landed on the dark side of the Moon with the intention to destroy Earth. The Earth Defense Force has deployed its best space fighters and pilots to counter the impending threat and defend the world from the alien invaders. The players takes control of the XA-1, an advanced fighter mounted with two satellite devices. These flying pods are at the core of the gameplay and their formation can be adjusted to the situation at the press of a button. They can stay close to the ship and provide more power to the main weapon, or be deployed and cause damage to enemy ships while firing in unison. A wide array of eight weapons are available to choose from at the beginning of each level - they range from Vulcan gun, Homing Lasers, Atomics, Lasers and so forth. Although Super EDF doesn't allow the player to switch weapons during play, or to collect power-ups, a clever experience system increase their destructive power in battle. A power bar located at the top of the screen slowly fills up as enemy formations are destroyed - once the bar is full, the weapon gets upgraded and its power increased (leveling up also adds new pattern-formations to the flying pods). A total of five power levels are available and they persist throughout the game - they are retained even if the player gets killed (or at least until he runs out of continues). The player starts each level with three shield units and passed the fifth power level, each new upgrade adds a shield unit to the ship.
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Earth Defense Force E.D.F. Earth Defense Force was originally released in the arcades in 1991 (picture on the right). However, a lot of enemies and elements didn't make it to the Super Famicom port. Several enemies were removed or redesigned, such as the large fighters from the first stage (which were dramatically reduced in size and changed) or the large ship that preceded the boss of the second stage, which was completely removed. However, the port features a lot of exclusive content (hence the 'Super' prefix) - it includes entirely new and unique levels and an exclusive final boss was added at the end of the game. Finally, the original arcade game had four weapons to choose from whereas the Super Famicom version features eight, but the two player option was omitted.

Teaser text from the American version:
A super saga of 23rd century satellite warfare!
The graphics will dazzle you, the speed will astound you... but if you don't think fast and shoot faster, you won't have a chance against the alien firestorm. Because in EARTH DEFENSE FORCE, the best defense is always a great offense. So get ready to hit first and hit fast in the hardest-hitting adventure to hit the Super NES screen!

Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :

STAFF

Director
Yuki Arai
S.ō.H.(X
Programmer
Papa Sekiya
Dragons V Shirato
Panic Yuma♥
Oh! Hara
Graphic
Catty.N♥
Bg Tadahiko
Sound
Y "Zep" Takashiba
Special Thanks
Kazaana
Myau-Kun
Azvear-S with SMDE


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Super EDF manual Game illustration American version
Click on picture to enlarge

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For whatever inexplicable reasons, Super E.D.F fell through the cracks of popularity. The first contact with the game is very positive - it is ridiculously fast without too many noticeable slowdowns (except maybe during a couple of boss encounters). The screen is always busy, filled with enemy ships and whizzing bullets, and the attention to detail is really impressive. The unconventional weapon/experience system is a remarkable contraption that really gives a sense of progression. Even if you lose a life, the game is kind enough to let continue with your current power level, which is something really gratifying and unique (Radiant Silvergun for the Sega Saturn will much later use a similar formula). Difficulty also builds up nicely, Super E.D.F starts off easy and gradually becomes really challenging as you work through the levels (the last boss is really tricky though). And although some levels can be a bit repetitive and rather long, mid-bosses often break such potential drudgery. Only the soundtrack doesn't really fit the action (to my taste), but it was also the case with the original arcade game. All in all, Super E.D.F is a solid shooter, not the best for the Super Famicom system but still a really good one.




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