Super Thunder Blade review
Black hawk down
NOTE: This review is based off of what I played on Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, so if there are any differences between it and the original Genesis version and you're going "wait what that ain't true", well, now you know to watch for those instances.
What launch titles for old systems were made of.
If you lived in Japan and kept up with Sega in the late 80s, you would've witnessed the release of the Genesis (which was called Mega Drive there, probably to sound more powerful), and this game, Super Thunder Blade. This was Sega trying to bring the arcade experience home and trying to do a better job with better hardware than its competition, which still used 8-bit graphics (the NES)... just picture back in the day when you spent heaps of money in the arcades to beat the games, only to get your ass whipped and run out of quarters. Companies are evil like this, but there's always some good in them - they make a home console version, usually with inferior graphics and a bit less gameplay, but usually enough to recreate the experience within the console's limits and keep people occupied.
Oh, why was father time so unkind to this arcade classic...
Unfortunately, Super Thunder Blade didn't age too well. Four levels, choppy framerate, Master System quality, almost leaning towards NES quality production values, and just doesn't feel as exhilarating as the shoot em ups you'd experience on the NES. It's a case of a poor arcade conversion on top of bad ageing. I could probably stop the review here, but A) At least this is better than that shitheap *bleep*ing F16 Fighting Falcon on the Master System, and B) websites require me to go beyond two introductory paragraphs and an image. Without further adieu, let's dive into this piece of shit.
The game jerks more than a teenage lad going through *bleep*.
It's your basic shoot em up that takes place either behind the copter, or on an overhead view kind of like what 1942 does. The aim of the game is to go through, shoot down whatever's coming your way, and then defeat the bosses. It's a simple concept that's worked many times on many shoot em ups.
What's stopping you? Aside from the lack of fun you'll be having, there's also the issue of bad controls. Shooting and hovering - they're fine. Moving? Those controls give me AIDS, for they're delayed so badly, that I have to be a freaking fortune teller or the enemies would have to telegraph their moves ahead of time just for me to move and get out of the way.
Another thing that jerks badly are the graphics. Sure, the colors and whatnot are fine and it's at least aesthetically pleasing, though nothing to jizz your pants over. The thing is, it looks like everything jerks just to be able to move. Building slowly materialize and grow by 44 pixels per second as you close in on them, enemies zoom in by about 300 pixels as you get closer to them, and the road... actually, that's the only graphic with any semblance of flowing animation. Too bad that, despite being the biggest and most prominent thing in the game, it's easily ignored in favor of jerky shit. I guess our eyes are trained to look more at stuff that's suddenly coming towards us at 999km/h.
Oh man, is it bedtime yet?
The main problem with Super Thunder Blade is that it's just boring! When you're not dealing with jerky movement controls, you're trying to deal with your sleepy eyes as you continually hold the shoot button and dodge every now and again. It tries to be all blood pumping and awesome with some bullets coming at you every now and again, but it's no bullet hell, and once you get used to the shitty movement controls, it's not that hard to dodge them. Bosses are as easy as one-two-three once you get the hang of the controls from hell, since all you need to do is move and hold the shoot button. Goddamn. To be honest, I'm glad it's only 4 levels long - any more, and I'll be catatonic while the credits roll!
Decent music, I guess.
The only thing that's not constantly *bleep* up the butthole is the soundtrack. It's fairly rock inspired and it at least attempts to get you into the spirit of the game. It doesn't quite, but it at least sounds nice. Technically speaking, it's something that wouldn't fare too badly on the Master System, but with a new system, you'd expect something of a higher quality, especially when you hear it now stacked up against, say, Sonic The Hedgehog's soundtrack. But I guess all that matters is if it's nice to hear, or if it *bleep* your ears, and surprisingly, it sounds nice.
Well... it's better than F16 Fighting Falcon...
...but not by much. Super Thunder Blade is a pretty lame shoot em up that tries to replicate its arcade counterpart, but fails ever so miserably. I'll cut it a little slack, seeing as it's a launch title for the Genesis and Sega didn't know if doing more would overload the hardware and make our *bleep*ing heads explode, but that's about it. As is, it's an extremely unfun hunk of junk that should be avoided at all costs. Shit controls, shit gameplay, shit all fun - the only reason this game has a chance in hell is because it at least looks and sounds like something that has a soul. MAYBE only play it in the Genesis Collection on the PS3 and 360 just for the achievement/trophy, but that's it.
Wait, what story? Kill a bunch of terrorists?
Basic shoot em up affair. VERY basic affair... so basic. It feels very bland, very boring, and very short.
Nice quirk with the hover control, and the shooting works fine. Moving feels pretty jerky, though.
Colors and detail are fine by Master System standards, though it feels underwhelming on a new system, especially knowing what the Genesis ends up doing later on. Not to mention, the framerate is very jerky.
The soundtrack and sound effects feel underwhelming with all things considered, though I got a bit of a soft spot for the soundtrack.