Thunder Spirits

-Techno Soft/Seika (1991)

 

The Story

The planet of Orn was destroyed once again and Gene and Sherry arrived at their home ship. Again, the shockwave from Ornís explosion seemed to cause a loop in time. When it was over, the forces of the Lone Star System had reappeared a second time. Orn was rebron for a third time. It must be destroyed once again, but the cloaking system has been reactivated. This time the cloak is only controlled by four planets because the planet of Haides was obliterated in the explosion. During Orn's re-emergence, our sensors indicated that the true core of the planet had been uncovered. The ghosts of the past will not rest and it is time for operation Thunder Spirits to begin. This will be the final battle with the Lone Star System.

My Thoughts

Just to make sure that the Genesis didnít have all the fun from Thunder Force games, Techno Soft licensed out another version of their successful Thunder Force III to Seika called Thunder Spirits on the Super Nintendo. Thunder Spirits is essentially a remix of Thunder Force AC, which was already a remix of Thunder Force III. It has the same weapons, many of the same levels, bosses, and enemies, but also features a couple new stages and enemies that neither of the previous versions had.

Stages one through four are all straight from Thunder Force AC, but with a few cosmetic changes to make them playable on the SNES. Most notabley, much of the foreground elements from both of the previous versions are missing here. Stage five is the same Thunder Force II combo stage from AC and boss from TFIII. Stage six is a big ship stage similar to the one in TFIII and AC, but with a different ship. Also, where the stage in those two games ended when you destroyed the ship, this one keeps going. After the ship is a meteor shower and a brand new boss. Stage seven is just like the base stage from TFIII and AC. Stage eight however, is another brand new stage and has a different end boss than the other two games. The ending is essentially the same, but looks better than the Genesis' because of the Super NESí Mode 7 scaling. It also has different stills and a better translation of the ending text (though not much better).

What Thunder Spirits also has in common with TFIII is the incredibly easy difficulty. The difficulty setting can be changed to hard and maniac, but the default normal is no problem whatsoever to breeze through. Maniac is a different story. As before, the bosses from TFIII can be killed within a few seconds. The two new bosses take a bit of work and act a little more like the tougher bosses of Thunder Force II and IV

The game does have some things that are not in common with TFAC. The colors of the stages are slightly understandably altered from AC, but a few stage colors are very different from AC and TFIII. And as soon as you hit the fire button the game enters slowdown. Because of the SNESí lack of ďblast processingĒ power, the system canít keep the speed up like the Genesis and arcade versions. It isnít as extreme as Gradius III, but the slowdown in the game is inescapable.

With the extra buttons on the SNES controller at the time, itís a wonder why they didnít implement the second weapon select button that Thunder Force II had so you didnít have to keep going through the weapons in the same direction. I miss TFIIís option to backwards select weapons. It made it quicker to nab a needed weapon in the heat of a fire fight.

The real story for this game in the instruction manual is the same as TFIIIís minus the whole previous 100 years of war thing. Plus the ship, called Styx, was renamed Vrax. Itís the same ship; it doesnít need a new name! The ships in all the other Thunder Force games actually are different so they do have different names, but this one is not so it shouldnít be called anything else.

The couple additional stage sections will appease a play through for Thunder Force fans. It was nice of Techno Soft to allow their treasured Thunder Force series to grace the Super NES, but through it we mainly see why this was a Genesis only series; until Thunder Force V that is.

Score: 6.0 

-Shawn       


More hot Thunder Force action:

Thunder Force II, Thunder Force III, Thunder Force AC, Lightening Force, Thunder Force V