If you've ever played the classic 3D shooter that is Battlezone and have fond memories of it, then this similarly style game might be of interest to you. It's not exactly complex but it is fun, which is what counts most, and it provides some nice, undemanding blasting action to while away a few hours. You're thrust into the role of a combat pilot in the Ground Defense Games, a series of head-to-head arena challenges which takes place across a number of different planets. It doesn't really matter which planet you play on, as the goal is generally the same, and in order to emerge victorious, you have to defeat the enemy drones which spawn into each arena. To make things more difficult, you have to defend several pyramids in your area while also trying to destroy those of the enemy team, making this quite a frenetic and challenging affair. Destroying pods sometimes reveals upgrades like shields, boosts or weapons such as twin-fire, while there are also magnetic tracks dotted around the arenas which you can hook onto to get around a bit easier. Thunder Strike is far from complex but it is a lot of fun. The set-up is nice and simple but the variety of ships and arenas gives the game a good sense of variety and the essential gameplay has all the appeal of a classic sports title. The early 3D visuals are pretty decent too and although they don't move at the fastest speed in the world, matches still seem fairly hectic and offer a good challenge. All in all, a very nice if undemanding bit of sci-fi action.
The Olympics of blasting games
With a bold title like Thunderstrike, this couldn't really be anything other than some kind of shooter, possibly featuring a hi-tech plane or chopper. And indeed, upon firing it up, you'll discover that's exactly what it is and like the similarly themed Thunderhawk 2, this provides a rollicking good time. Players get to jump into the cockpit of an advanced futuristic helicopter but instead of venturing into the usual warzones, you are actually a participant in a kind of sporting event. You get to travel to various planets and must take part in a series of contests where the objective is to blow the living daylights out of a series of robotic drones and fighters. You also have to defend a set of pyramids while destroying the generators of the enemy while there are a few upgrades that occasionally get left behind when you blow up an enemy, such as shields, speed boosts and double fire capability. Dotted around the arenas are tracks which you can hook onto and which make traversing the level a little bit easier. You have four ships to choose from too, each of which is slightly different in terms of handling, speed etc, while you need to perform well enough in each round in order to progress to the next one. Thunderstrike certainly isn't deep or complex, being more akin to Battlezone than Apache, but it sure is fun. The visuals are pretty solid for the period and zip along at a fair old rate, while the controls are simple to pick up, allowing you to get on with the serious job of blowing stuff up without any need to worry. It's not a game you're going to play forever, as it soon becomes slightly repetitive, but while it lasts, it's one hell of a ride.