Based on an anime OVA series and the debut publishing effort of HAL Laboratories, Gall Force: Eternal Story seems on its surface to be just another Xevious clone. However, Gall Force has a few tricks up its sleeve that set it apart from the usually-wretched 8-bit console space ship shooter.
Gall Force: Eternal Story
Japanese Title: ガルフォース Eternal Story
English Release: none
Release Date: December 10, 1986
Publisher: HAL Laboratories
Developer: HAL Laboratories
Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Product Code: HAL-GAL
Disk Format: Double-sided
Notable Credits: None
Gall Force: Eternal Story was based upon the latest in a popular and long running series of anime OVAs at the time entitled Gall Force. This particular game is based on the OVA of the same name. A second and similar video game was released the same year for the MSX computer standard entitled Gall Force: Defense of Chaos, also developed by HAL Laboratories and this time published by Sony Cumputer Entertainment Japan.
The game itself is an above a average shoot ‘me up that borrows stylistically from Namco’s 1982 arcade release Xevious. Both are vertical scrolling space ship shoot ‘me ups and appear to be very similar in design.
Gall Force does however bring a few new ideas to the table. Namely the ability to destroy both airborne and ground base targets. The power-up system is also somewhat of a departure from standard shmups. Throughout the levels items can be found that increase the rate-of-speed at which your ships cannons can fire. Finding different types of cannons involves finding special gates scattered throughout the various levels. Entering a gate will transform your ship to a special space level. The enemies and bosses in these special stages are noticeably more difficult than those of the regular stages, but successfully clearing these special levels gives you a new pilot that you can swap out. Each pilot has a unique weapon that can be powered-up even further.
A pretty good spaceship shooter in it’s own right, Gall Force: Eternal Story is probably most well known for being the first game published by HAL Laboratories, who would go on to be one of Nintendo’s most loved and consistent second party developers, developing such titles as Kirby’s Dream Land, Super Smash Bros., and Mother 3.
Far short of being a bonafide masterpiece, Gall Force’s 80s anime aesthetic and interesting gameplay elevate it into the upper tier of early Disk System games, and certainly make it a welcome addition to the first year software library.