Earth Defense Force

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This article is about the 1991 video game. For the unrelated video game series, see Earth Defense Force (series). For other uses, see Earth Defense Force (disambiguation).
Earth Defense Force
Earth Defense Force
North American SNES box art
Developer(s) Jaleco
Publisher(s) Jaleco
Composer(s) Tsukasa Tawada
Yasuhiko Takashiba
Platform(s) Arcade, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console
Release date(s) Arcade
INT 1991
JP 19911025October 25, 1991
NA 199201January 1992
EU 1992
Wii Virtual Console
EU 20101029October 29, 2010
JP 20110111January 11, 2011
NA 20110714July 14, 2011
Wii U Virtual Console
NA 20150522May 22, 2015
JP 20150826August 26, 2015
Genre(s) Scrolling shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Earth Defense Force is a 1991 horizontal scrolling shooter video game developed and published by Jaleco.[1] Originally an arcade game, the game was later released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as Super Earth Defense Force, dropping the two player cooperative gaming mode while adding graphics and selectable weapons.[2] The game was released on the SNES in Japan on October 25, 1991, and in North America in January 1992. The SNES version was eventually released on the Wii Virtual Console in Europe on October 29, 2010, in Japan on January 11, 2011, and in North America on July 14, 2011.


Released as a horizontal shooter game in the US in January 1992, the object of Earth Defense Force is based on survival of the game's levels, punctuated by the defeat of bosses at the end of each one.[3] It is a fixed-length game, with a proper ending at the completion of the last level.

The player normally begins each level with three "shield" points, each able to absorb one enemy attack. The shield points are represented in the upper right corner by green ovals under the heading "Shield". Additional shield points can be earned once a predetermined game score is reached. Up to five shield points are represented on screen. However, a player can acquire more than five shield points, but they can not be seen. This is extremely rare though, due to the difficulty of the game and the score intervals at which additional shield points are acquired. Loss of all shields results in the loss of one of three credits, or continues, and loss of all continues results in the player seeing the game over screen.

The game uses a unique leveling system, in which the player gains experience from enemies defeated to gain newer, more powerful versions of the weapons the player has access to.


The story varies slightly between the two different versions of the game.

The Arcade original takes place in the equivocate future date of Earth, 20XX. The Earth is unexpectedly attacked by the mysterious Azyma Empire: a space-bound monarchy currently dedicated to eradicating all life on the planet from its flagship the Orbital Satellite Buster. The Earth's only hope lies in the recently developed XA-1 and 2 space fighter ships used by the organization known as E.D.F: Earth Defense Force.

In the Super Nintendo version, the Azyma Empire has established headquarters on the dark side of the Moon. After attacking the Earth, it is revealed they have a secret weapon being developed on the Moon, one capable of destroying all life on Earth. The E.D.F. is ordered to send their XA-1 fighters in to drive out the invaders and destroy their ultimate weapon.



Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 3/5 stars[4]

Since its release, Earth Defense Force has met with moderate critical reviews, as evidenced by a three out of five star rating by Allgame. Subsequent to its release an enhanced version was broadcast via the Super Famicom's Satellaview subsystem to Japanese gamers under the title BS Super Earth Defense Force.


  1. ^ "Earth Defense Force". MobyGames. Retrieved 9 Nov 2013. 
  2. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "Super Earth Defense Force". Allgame. Retrieved 2006-06-15. 
  3. ^ "Super NES Games" (PDF). Nintendo of America. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  4. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "allgame ((( Super Earth Defense Force > Overview )))". Allgame. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 

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