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Uchuu Keibitai SDF (NES/FC) – Full Run ALL Clear

Full Run of the Famicom exclusive Uchuu Keibitai SDF (宇宙警備隊 SDF), aka Space Defense Force, by HAL Laboratory. This was played on a real Famicom AV with the real cart.

Stage Listing:
00:00 – Start
00:32 – Stage 1
05:05 – Stage 2
09:13 – Stage 3
13:07 – Stage 4
18:43 – Stage 5
27:24 – Stage 6
31:20 – Stage 7
35:49 – Final Boss + Ending

Uchuu Keibitai SDF or 宇宙警備隊 SDF, as shown on the title screen, is a vertically scrolling shoot em up made exclusively for the Famicom and only released in Japan. You play as a space ship and in the tradition of games like R-Type, Life Force, and Abadox you are tasked with infiltrating and destroying some sort of alien biological threat.

SDF, similar to genre staples like R-Type, will require a bit of memorization from the player in order to adequately deal with the situations that are presented. On death you are sent back to predetermined checkpoints in the stage and are forced to fight your way back with a completely un-powered ship. You only start with 3 lives and extends are few and far between, so the game is not very forgiving for those attempted to clear it on 1 credit.

For powerups there are 3 different weapon types, each of which can be upgraded 3 times to reach max power. When you pick up a weapon powerup, you also get options which not only provide you more offensive capabilities for your special weapon, but also act as defense to your ship in a similar manner to the orb you use in R-Type. The options can absorb a number of shots before they get destroyed and you are forced to collect a new one.

You also have 2 different weapon modes, when your options are faced forward, you use your special weapon, when they are faced in reverse, you can only utilize your basic forward shot but you also get missiles and move faster. It all sounds really confusing but once you play the game a bit it will all make perfect sense.

There are 7 stages, all of which have a boss and mid-boss for you to fight. Most of the bosses require you to kill them quickly otherwise they tend to get increasingly harder to deal with. For this reason I usually recommend to either use the laser if you have it or your basic shot with reverse options (and a turbo controller) to output maximum damage before they get dangerous. The 5th stage boss in particular gets pretty nasty if you can’t quick kill it.

Like I mentioned earlier, the difficulty of the game remains fairly high throughout, and really culminates in the final stage where there is only a single checkpoint right before the boss. Unfortunately you are basically required to no-death/no-miss the stage with a decent weapon in order to be able to fight the boss without getting annihilated as you not only need firepower, but also speed.

The final stage is full of cheap kills and ridiculous hazards, that even when you have it all memorized you can still be killed almost anywhere. This final stretch of the game will definitely cause aggravation.

The biggest and most egregious flaw with the game (at least to me) is that there is no score in the game! It’s hard to believe that a game like this has something in common with far lesser titles like Thunderbirds and King’s Knight, but alas they could not be bothered to give the player a score anywhere, even after clearing the game. What a shame.

Still, despite the aggravating checkpoints and ridiculous final stage, I would highly recommend this game to those looking for a challenge or to those who are fans of R-Type or similarly bio-horror themed games.

Video transcription:

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