In a distant part of the universe, in the Latis system, an alien creature called Zelos was born. As he grew so did his appetite, and soon he began devouring galaxies, planets, and stars by the hundreds. Now your planet has appeared in Zelos' path, and it is up to you and a partner to fly into battle to save your world in planet Nemesis. The Emperor seeing the invasion of the home planets, immediately ordered two space fighters to go to the Latis system and repel the invaders. Salamander is an action packed shooter based on the arcade game. Stages can be horizontal or vertical scrolling. All stages are stacked heavily with alien formations, asteroids, living rocks ground troops etc. There are plenty of other hazards along your flight, such as laser barriers, laser turrets etc which will try to end your rescue attempt. Hopefully there are several power-ups along your journey, offering extra speed, bombs, ripple lasers, multiples and force shields.
Note that the MSX port of Salamander has a few differences than the original and any other 8bit ports. The here levels are notably longer than the arcade original, whilst the player is forced to start from a predefined checkpoint upon death of either pilot (when in two-player mode), instead of starting where you left off. Also you can collect "E" capsules by destroying certain enemies. Collecting fifteen will permanently upgrade one of the available weapons on the power-up bar.
The C64 version is pretty good, offering fast scrolling and smoothly moving sprites. This is a pretty faithful conversion using great graphics and plenty of colors too. Of course some of the original background details are missing here, but still the game looks pretty good. Note that the C64 version is way more playable when compared to the other 8bit conversions.
The sound is great too, featuring high quality gameplay tunes along with some interesting sounds FX (such as laser firing and explosions).