Thunder Cross

-Konami (1988)


The Story:

The Black Inpulse, a known ally of the Bacterian Empire (from the Gradius series), has been envious of the Bacterians impressive forces for a long time. The Black Inpulse decides it’s time to take their rightful place as a vast Empire of their own. They have been buying supplies, weapons, and ship designs from the Bacterians for the past few years and have amassed a menacing armada to conquer their galaxy. Take the newly developed Thunder Cross to crush the forces of the Black Inpulse and save mankind.       

My Thoughts:

I’m assuming that Thunder Cross takes place in the same universe as the Gradius games. If it doesn’t, it should. Thunder Cross has many similarities to Konami’s flagship shooter franchise. Some of the smaller enemies are counterparts of Gradius enemies. A few of the bosses look like they were made from parts of Gradius bosses and even shoot the same type of weaponry. Thunder Cross also borrows the Gradius boss philosophy of “Shoot the core” with its own bosses. Each boss has a little core crystal on it that you must shoot to destroy it. 

The biggest homage to Gradius is the music for stage six with its remixed version of the Gradius theme. If you’re any kind of Gradius fan you will instantly recognize it. A couple of the other tracks sound similar to Gradius ones as well. But enough about the great Gradius similarities, back to Thunder Cross. Aside from the bosses, most of the enemies are spheroid or saucer shaped, which gets pretty boring when you see them flying about in every stage. One of these little ships will really piss you off though. When it’s destroyed it fires a last ditch, eye-for-an-eye attack, which is a single, quick moving, and deadly accurate shot that veers itself towards your ship. You only encounter one of these little ships at a time, but it will kill you just about every time. Speed power-ups would help against this threat, unfortunately there are none. Your ship does obtain options (hey, similar to Gradius!) and you’re weapon can be upgraded, but only once. Your ship also carries Lil’ Baby, a super bomb that clears the screen of enemies. 

The best stage was stage three, where you fight a huge Bacterian Empire like ship. Little ships fly in from off-screen and actually attach to it, effectively making more guns, while other ships come out from the ship’s hangers. All that and you have to shoot the core. The game is on the easy side and the bosses are pathetically weak. When you beat the game you are treated to a superbly mistranslated, misspelled, and very long run-on sentence.                

Score: 6.0