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Meet Joey Tenka - a renegade with a mission from hell and a weapon to match. Nothing is going to stand in his way!!!!
  • 17 types of intelligent mechanoid baddies to slaughter
  • 28 complex missions to complete - it's just an endless 3D gore fest.
  • Crawl, jump, walk, run, hide and blast your way across numerous loactions and levels.
  • Boost your SG26 gun with endless upgrades - pipe grenades, lasers, missiles and mines.
~ from the back of the box

It's hard to remember how unstandardised the first-person-shooter was during the genre's infancy. Doom and Quake set the template for many, but I'd argue it wasn't until the double whammy of Half-Life and Unreal in 1998 where the genre really solidified. What do I mean by this? Well, let me explain by highlighting Psygnosis' FPS from the year prior; Lifeforce Tenka (or Codename Tenka to those across the pond).

If you've heard of this obscure shooter, it's most likely because it was also released on the PlayStation. There, it used a control scheme many of us would baulk at today; shoulder buttons make you look up and down or strafe, while the d-pad did your movement and face buttons the actions. It's cumbersome now, but was the norm back then. But this site is primarily about old-school PC games, so let's take a look at that.

Pay attention to the intro ramblings of each stage to know what to do (left).
Use collected items in front of stations to open up new areas (right).

You can just about reconfigure the controls to utilise a keyboard and mouse layout, but when playing you can tell this wasn't the designer's preferred way to play. The default controls (which I've mercifully changed) require dextrous use of the arrow keys alongside the navigation keys above it. Contort your pinkie and you'll be able to shoot. Game design seems to have been altered to suit these less-than-ideal inputs. A red laser in front of your gun will not point directly in front of you, but target the nearest visible enemy. A box will surround the creature telling you that any shot from now will hit its target. It makes for a game that's less about skill and reflexes, but positioning and enemy placement.

I'm not sure I like this focus. Stages play out in a meticulous fashion as you search for coloured keys to unlock doors where unstable reactors require your bullets of destruction. Enemies are placed specifically to impede this goal, not to provide challenge or cool encounters. As a result, it all feels a bit samey. No matter the level, or how different the wall textures are, it's all the same; a maze of corridors to get lost in.

That's not to say Lifeforce Tenka doesn't innovate in other areas. From what I gather, it was one of the first of its kind to give you the ability to duck. And you can jump too! Neither is implemented in a satisfying fashion, with crawling limited to traversing through air ducts while I've yet to encounter a real need to actually jump. From a technical standpoint, these must've taken a while to implement in its 2.5D graphics engine. The developers took great pains to limit texture warping whenever the perspective changes making sure you always have a tangible view of your surroundings. To see just how impressive this is, look at the previous year's Duke Nukem 3D. Whenever you look up and down in that game, the visuals crashed into each other providing a confused image particularly in close quarters. Only those programmed in full 3D were able to get around this with ease.

A dead droid drops a red key. Once collected, the once locked doors will automatically open (left).
Shoot grates so you can access new areas using this new-fangled ability called 'crouching' (right).

Other than the actual levels, everything else uses full polygons. Enemies are pleasingly chunky and varied. The most common creature is a mecha-wasp that goes down in one hit, while humanoid foes have context-sensitive location damage. Aim for the head, and watch it fly off in a satisfying fashion. Even the power ups are fully 3D. Enemies may drop multi-coloured cubes which, when you've amassed enough, will upgrade the only weapon you'll ever carry. You can even add limited use mines, rocket launchers and lasers to it, but the (admittedly well designed) firearm won't look any different.

So, Lifeforce Tenka is something of a relic of a game. It was developed in the Wild West of the first-person-shooter where there was no "right" way to make a game like this. Sadly, even with some neat technical and gameplay touches, it doesn't advance the genre at all, nor does it provide anything you can't get elsewhere but better. An entirely average game that will surely drain your own lifeforce should you play for long periods of time.

To download the PC game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses dgVoodoo and inmm.dll to run on modern systems. The presence of a real or virtual CD drive may be required to play. Manual included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 192 Mb.  Install Size: 324 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


Lifeforce Tenka is © Psygnosis
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

Like this? Try These...

https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/eliminator.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/fears.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/shadow-master.html


  1. This is one of the WORST PC ports I've ever played! The mouse input doesn't work, at all!

    Not to mention, the game itself is pretty lacklustre and a good reason why the N64's one-two punch of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and GoldenEye utterly trumped it in console FPSs. I mean, those controls are quite cumbersome enough on PS1.

    1. It's not entirely devoid of fun, but it is a generic game overall. Remember to press F1 when you play to invert vertical mouse axis. Plays much better then.

    2. Tried pressing F1, didn't work.

    3. What exactly are you experiencing with the broken mouse? Pressing F1 should just swap looking up and down (I prefer it the opposite to the default), but as clunky as it is the mouse should work from the get go. Settings are saved in the registry, so perhaps that didn't write properly during the install. Run "LFT.reg" from the install directory to see if that helps (more info in ChamberNotes.txt).

    4. Still doesn't work.

    5. Don't know what to say. It's working fine for me so unless you can give me more details I'm stumped.

    6. Calm down, Anonymous! If it doesn't satisfy your standards, port it better yourself. If "This is one of the WORST PC ports I've ever played!" you obviously haven't seen much. Don't discourage collection chamber guys doing an amazing job!

    7. Not sure how you figure that Anon giving his own subjective (and therefore valid) opinion that this is one of the worst PC ports that he's ever played is "discouraging Biffman from doing an amazing job at preserving gaming history. He was being critical of the port itself, not the work that Biffman has done in brining said port to modern PC gamers.

    8. It's a tone thing innit? Anon 1 was being terse and blunt. If I did a bunch of unpaid work getting a game into a working shape, writing it up and releasing it, I wouldn't be much encouraged if the first response was a flat 'this is crap' and the follow up was a tech complaint left like a turd on the doorstep (and without even providing any contextual info that might help hone in on the problem for the benefit of others).

      Like, I'm sure Biffman doesn't want everyone to preface every comment with 'thanks for all your hard work, but...', and yet at the same time, a little tact can make a big difference in how you come across. Manners cost nowt, you know?

    9. To be fair, I'm OK with people not liking a game and expressing that through comments. I thought this one was a little underwhelming though I wouldn't say it's devoid of entertainment value. I tend to be on the more forgiving side in my reviews anyway.

      The mouse controls are a little janky (as are the controls in general), so I don't know whether the OP is expressing an opinion about them "not working" like other more polished games, or if it's an actual technical issue that I can't replicate.

  2. I can't get it to run at all for me. It just says to insert the cd when I click on the exe. Running on Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, Nvidia GTX 1080ti, Intel i5 13600K.

  3. Same problem here, the executable asks me to insert the CD-Rom. I'm on Windows 10, and I have to manually launch _inmmserv.exe beforehand too.

  4. For those that say the game is asking for a CD-Rom, I suspect this is one of those games that require the presence of a real or virtual CD drive regardless of whether a CD is present or ISO is mounted. An empty drive will do. There is a brief bit of information in the FAQ about this.