Super Thunder Blade - Please explain to me what was so super about this.
Jun 8, 2011
A highly equipped terrorist organization has invaded a city. Their arsenal is made up of various armored and futuristic vehicles such as; tanks, mechas, and aircraft. The Air Force Special Operation Troop dispatches Super Thunder Blade, a heavily armed helicopter to defeat the enemies. -summary
Released in 1989 for the Sega Genesis, Super Thunder Blade is the successor to the original Thunder Blade for the Sega Master System, which is now playable on the Wii. I barely remember the original, but from what I do, this game always felt like an updated version as opposed to a true sequel. The game was part of the original launch for the Genesis, making it among the very first games I played for the system. Even taking this under consideration, nostalgia plays no factor here as I still consider this one of the more tedious games I ever played.
Super Thunder Blade is a single player action-shooter, that features game play from two perspectives across four stages. The first is a third person, behind the helicopter view, and the second is an over-head view. During the first view, you pilot the helicopter through the city destroying a never ending horde of choppers, tanks, and even a couple of planes here and there. The odds are completely against you in every way imaginable; your copter is under constant fire and while this is going on, you're making sure not to crash into the buildings on the far right and left sides of the screen.
Your chopper defends itself with a never ending supply of bullets and heat seeking misslies. The copter can also air brake to slow things down should you get too close to the building. This is not at all recommended though, because you become a much easier target at this time. It's best to constantly dodge and just keep on moving. Each of the stages bring something new to the table; stage 2 takes place in a desert that leads into combat inside of caves, with the huge pillars taking the place of the buildings. This stage is hard, quite possibly the hardest in the game, and definitely harder than the 1st and 3rd stages. The 4th stage is a revamped version of the 1st, except there are long barriers stretched from building to building, making it mandatory to break many times. This stage is virtually impossible to complete without hitting the brakes.
In the middle of each stage are one on one sub boss battles. These are incredibly easy, and I don't believe I was ever killed during one of these battles in my life. You basically fly around dodging all weapon fire and returning fire until the sub boss is dead. When this is done, you fly around for a little longer then engage the end stage boss. This is when the game goes into the second perspective, and here, it feels as if its much easier for the enemy to kill you and the poor hit detection really doesn't help matters.
While in the second perspective, you move from side to side with your weapons shooting downward in front of you. The bosses are incredibly big and heavily armed. These battles are difficult to make it through without practice, and you're going to die a whole lot on your first tries. This area of the game play feels way too undercooked though. The purpose is to fly through and destroy as many gun turrets as possible, but you can completely focus on dodging and making it to the end. Once you hit the very end frame of the boss, it will die automatically. The final boss is the only one you have to fight until the very end. The difficulty can be altered, and the lives can be increased. It also helps that when your copter is destroyed, you pick up right then immediately and enjoy a couple seconds of invincibility.
My issue is primarily with the game play. It just becomes boring after awhile, and a chore to just constantly dodge with such limited space and battle the same enemies with no change in strategy. The stages are nothing but rehashes of each other basically, with the 3rd feeling like the 1st in some ways, and the 4th feeling like the 2nd in a lot of ways. Plus the sub bosses add absolutely nothing, as they all use the same strategy to beat them. This also goes for the end stage bosses. The lack of depth is what brings this down tremendously. If the constant deaths don't force you to stop, then the by the numbers game play will.
The chopper can feel a bit sluggish at times, and I think this was added to give an authentic feel I guess. One button fires both bullets and misslies, and second performs the brake which responds pretty quick. The game also has a mixed piloting scheme, where if you choose to fly upwards, then you have to press down on the control pad and vice versa. Thankfully, this can be changed in the games options. Overall, the controls are decent.
There's an abundance of reused sprites, as everything looks exactly the same with no modifications; tanks, choppers, buildings, trees, scenery, the whole deal. The backgrounds are pretty bland for the most part, but the 3rd stage looks kind of pretty with the nice ocean, and the night time look of the final stage is pretty cool too. Some of the bosses have a nice look to them, like the 2nd stage tank boss, and space shuttle for the 3rd stage. All of the sub bosses for the most part look pretty bad, as not in good. It has a pretty solid BGM, with the first stage having the best song in the game. Sub bosses and end bosses have different themes that sound pretty good. However, the sound effects are pretty lame, with all explosions and a majority of gunfire sounding the same.
The high difficulty of the game can take away a bit here for some, but with lots of practice it can be a breeze to get through. However, the crumby ending really isn't a good pay off for what you have to go through to get there. Therefore, I can imagine most players finishing the game, breathing a sigh of relief, and putting it down for good. Only recommended to serious old school gamers.
Pros: -Challenging game play
Cons: -Weak visuals and very poor sound -2nd half stages are terribly flawed
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May 22, 2011
Oct 21, 2013 04:54 PM UTC
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