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 Review 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 rotors. 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.