Thunder Blade

Title           Thunder Blade
Publisher       Sega/US Gold/Tiertex 1988
Type            Shoot-em-up
Players         One
Compatibility   All (With Patch
HD Installable  Yes (With Patch)
Submission      Pretentious Nickname

In a word: WOW!

Thunder Blade on the Amiga is one Hell of a game.  It's four levels of
pure shooting goodness! The game starts off as an overhead shoot-em up,
and midway through the stage, switches to a 3D shoot-em up!  Make your way
through the 3D portion, and the view switches back to 2D mode for the
fight against the end-of-level boss.

Sound easy? It's not. The game has a fairly high difficulty setting, and
the controls take a lot (and I mean a lot!) of getting used to. However,
once you've mastered the somewhat awkward controls (it takes a few games to
do), you're in for a great ride!

Thunder Blade's graphics are excellent. The sprites look great, the
backgrounds in both 2D and 3D modes are well drawn, there are even a few
graphical effects (albeit minor ones) present. The best example of this
would be the pseudo-transparency effect used to simulate your gunship's

The sound effects are nothing to write home about. Standard action game
fare, really. The major disappointment for me was the complete lack of
background music. It's unfortunate, because Thunder Blade had some good
tunes in the arcade and console versions.

As mentioned before, the game's control scheme has a rather tight learning
curve. Moving the joystick up or down will increase or decrease your
altitude (both 2D and 3D modes), left or right on the stick moves your
chopper left or right respectively. Pressing the fire button fires a
single burst from your machine gun, holding it down fires an "autofire"
burst. Hold it down longer to fire a pair of missiles. You control your
chopper's speed (and forward momentum) by holding the fire button down and
moving the joystick up to accelerate, or down to decelerate. Once you get
the hang of this, the game gets a lot easier.

Thunder Blade is a prime example of what I'd call a "Player's game". Even
the arcade version seemed to cater to those of us who wanted something a
little more in a shoot-em up. The gameplay is utterly dependent on one's
technique. It's easy to finish once you get the controls down pat, but
it's a great deal more enjoyable once you've mastered them. Try using
your chopper's momentum instead of constantly accelerating and
decelerating, and those later 3D levels are a breeze!

All in all, I recommend Thunder Blade to anyone who enjoys a good shooter,
and to anyone who enjoys a good challenge.

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