Thunder Force 3
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8  |  Thunder Force 3 Review (Genesis)
larsoncc , 2/7/2003 4:49:19 AM

Fire Level (pic) OK, just look at these graphics.  OK?  OK?  Thunder Force 3 is the very definition of a 16-bit shooter.  You've got multiple weapons, the mini-bosses, cool music, and five effects filled levels...  All before taking off to the final hidden level where the big bad evil dude lives.  Actually, in this game, there are 2 hidden end boss levels - because we all need variety.

Thunder Force 3 is one of those games that grabs you by the neck and forces you to buy a Sega Genesis It still has that power today, even if that power has faded a bit in the face of other very similar shooters.  Fortunately for the Genesis owner, these copy-cat games are almost all made for the Sega Genesis as well - witness Gaiares (pronounced Guy-R-Us).   The one notable exception that I can think of is Lords of Thunder, arguably the finest game produced for the Turbo Grafx 16 CD.

Now, I've got to tell you - before sitting down and writing this review, I took the time to read three or four reviews at "review sites."  It seems to me that they're thinking that a feature list is the most important part of any game.  Well, OK, then I'll just boil a page and a half of review garbage down to a sentence.  Thunder Force 3 features: 10 weapons (2 of which replace your standard weapons), 7 levels, multiple difficulty settings, several graphical effects (new at the time) like shifting backgrounds, the choice of starting level, and yes, Thunder Force 3, like other shooters, requires a certain amount of repetition induced memorization.

Reviews like that piss me off.  They're as necessary as the technical manual for a toaster.

Thunder Force 3 holds my interest because I'm acutely aware of the Genesis' limitations.  Less than 60 colors on screen make for a pretty poor color palate (witness many Genesis games that emphasize different brown shades).  Yet, here you have a bright, active shooter.  Witness the music.  FM Synthesis won't generate what I consider compelling music, but Thunder Force 3 does a convincing job of keeping you involved with its musical score.  Here at Fatman Games, I celebrate the unique process of game creation - technical points matter little, compared with the effort to make art come alive, to make a human statement with cold plastic and metal.

Thunder Force 3 looks and feels like the Genesis at it's peak.  If Revenge Of Shinobi was the NES crusher that came early in the Genesis' life, then Thunder Force 3 was the first dagger shoved into the throat of the traditional arcade.  When I played Thunder Force 3 for the first time, I seriously had no reason to go back into the arcades until the arrival of Street Fighter 2.  Looking at that statement written out, I see a lot of truth.  But I do see myself recanting the just a bit - any time I saw Yie Ar Kung Fu (1985), I still stopped and dropped a quarter.  For a shooter fan like me, there wouldn't be any significant advances in arcade technologies for years.  Hell, After Burner II was already in my hands, and unless I needed a sit down ride and a vibrating joystick, I didn't need to spend the extra money.

So there you go.  That's the reason you need to spend the $20 for the Genesis, and the $10-20 for Thunder Force 3 (it's a bit rare, I've seen it cheaper, though).  Get yourself a nice joystick, and go to town, kid.  You won't regret it.

I give Thunder Force 3 an 8/10.  (clones lower the rating by one point)

Other Pictures: Ice Level | Another Ice Level Shot | Mini Boss | Underwater

Yeah, I come to snuff the Rooster! (pic)
Yeah, I come to SNUFF THE ROOSTER!
yeah, yeahhh (pic)
Yeah, yeah-yahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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