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A classic best left in the past
The arcade version of ThunderBlade is a true classic, another addition to a lineup of Sega hits that includes Afterburner, Outrun and Golden Axe. However, the home version suffered a little, largely due to the fact that the early hardware wasn't really up to the task of replicating the stunning graphics and intensity of the originals, thus making this a slightly disappointing experience. This one is another shooter, a genre that Sega handled particularly well, as evidenced by Space Harrier and other such games, only this time you're piloting a high powered helicopter. The story tells vaguely how it's your task to ensure that a coup fails to install a corrupt dictator in power but it's all pretty inconsequential stuff as what this game is really about is blowing things up. There are twelve stages on offer here, each of which plays out according to one of three styles. Two of these are broadly similar and are basically traditional vertically scrolling shooters, with the addition of the fact that you have to climb over buildings while bombing ground based enemies. The other one takes a 3D approach and throws in planes and other choppers to the enemy list and which plays out like some of the aforementioned games. ThunderBlade certainly isn't a bad game, and if you like your shooters hard and intense, it makes for an entertaining time. The action comes at you fast and furious and even genre veterans should find it challenging. The visuals are chunky and colourful but a bit jerky, while sound is not really up to much. However, it's difficult not to find the game feeling a bit tired and it is showing its age somewhat. Check it out for nostalgia's sake but don't expect it to be as good as you remember