Approximate Release Month: June 1992
Genre: Side-scrolling shooter
Publisher: Seika Corporation
If you expect to get very far in Thunder Spirits by holding down the fire button like in most side-scrolling shooters, you’re not going to have a fun time.
You need to mash the button. For the entire game.
I got tired of playing Thunder Spirits very quickly. Part of the reason is that my hand would cramp up after only a few minutes of pressing the A button as fast as I could, as if I were playing a violent one-button version of Track and Field. The other issue I have is that the game has severe performance issues. I know, it’s not at all strange for a side-scrolling shooter for the Super Nintendo to be unable to run smoothly, but Thunder Spirits is particularly bad in spots. The level 1 miniboss is made up of several sprites, and the SNES can’t keep up with it, resulting in a glitchy, slow, flickering mess.
You get an inventory of weapons you can power up, but if you die with them equipped they either disappear from your ship or drop to the lowest power level. All five of the weapons I tried seemed neat and at worst were situationally useful even in unupgraded forms. Thunder Spirits likes to spawn enemies and hazards from the bottom and top of the screen, so running around with your best weapon out isn’t a great idea. Save it for the boss if you can.
Even if Thunder Spirit‘s auto-fire was worth using or there weren’t crippling performance issues, it doesn’t do anything appreciably different or better than other side-scrolling shooters already available on the system. If you’ve played through and enjoyed games like U.N. Squadron, Earth Defense Force, or even Gradius III and are desperate for more, only then should you check out Thunder Spirits.
Just be sure to keep an ice pack handy if you’re old like me.
Tomorrow: I should probably figure out how to play Clue at some point.