Thunder Blade

Master System

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


Arcade games can be hard. Actually, they're supposed to be. The trick when porting them to a home console is to make them a little more accessible and usually put in some added value. That's where Thunder Blade goes so wrong (amongst the other problems it's stuck with). It's neither fun nor enjoyable, and it was best left in an arcade cabinet.

Thunder Blade feels like two slapped together games. The overhead vertical stages feel clunky, and the size of the helicopter means you're a target that the enemy doesn't need to be aiming for. While you're skinny enough to squeeze between bullets/missiles/shiny blinking death rays, the length means you'll catch a bullet in your back end unexpectedly.

In the behind-the-copter stages, the choppy scaling and tanks that just suddenly appear on the horizon simply aren't fair. They come in droves, bullets already fired as if their radar is accurate enough to keep you in their sites from miles out. It's hard to determine depth on anything, and there's no help to aid you.

All of that adds up to one brutal game, and fighting with it long enough doesn't bring much satisfaction. Four levels just aren't enough to carry this one. There's no multi-player, and considering how much flicker the game suffers from, that's not surprising. There's also no way to power-up. You'll be forced to stick with the most basic of weapons all the way through.

Controlling this beast of machine doesn't feel different from the countless other shooters out there, at least in the vertical sections. The view from behind tries to implement some minor physics, which means your controls are sluggish and hardly accurate enough to be acceptable in a shooter like this. Considering the oppositions firepower seems to quadruple in these sections, it's just ridiculous.

Background detail is adequate, and you're flying low to the ground. This gives the bosses a massive sense of scale, but by the time you make it to them, you're demoralized enough. The scaling effect in the other parts is abysmal, and the streets move at a different pace then the buildings. As mentioned above, the flicker can be a problem, and the last thing the player needs is something else to impede their progress.

There's some fair, if unremarkable, music settled in the background. The explosions take most of the attention. Bullets make a small and barely audible little noise, and it's not going to be annoying like it can be in so many other titles like this.

If you're looking for shooters on the Master System, you can find separate games that do this much better. Space Harrier is always a wise choice and the somewhat hard to find Power Strike is tolerable. Thunder Blade is simply better off forgotten, even if the idea didn't sound so bad on paper during the design meetings.


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Last updated: Saturday, July 09, 2005 08:16 AM