Thunder Spirits FI

SNES A Day 65: Thunder Spirits


Approximate Release Month: June 1992
Genre: Side-scrolling shooter
Developer: Technosoft
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.

5 thoughts on “SNES A Day 65: Thunder Spirits”

  1. I remember renting and playing this game back in the 90’s, but I had a blast with it. Reading your review now makes me wonder if I’ve just forgotten the negatives you’ve pointed out and remember only the positives…

    1. I mean, people love the games in this series, so I could be the outlier here, and not you!

      I know from my own experiences that I was much more tolerant of low framerates when I was a kid. So games like Thunder Spirits that perform like garbage are a challenge to deal with nowadays.

  2. I remember this game on the genesis except that it was called thunder force 3. While I’ve yet to play the snes version, I loved this game… But found it a bit too easy. I think the snes version has additional levels?!a

    1. Yeah, Thunder Spirits is pretty much Thunder Force 3. I’m not sure what the differences were, as I’ve never played any games in the series before this one. I know people like them, though!

  3. This game actually has an auto fire option, but it’s in a hidden options menu.

    That said, there is no reason to play this game over the far superior a Genesis game, Thunder Force 3. Thunder Force 3 runs smoother, has better music and a level select option.

    This game is actually a port of the arcade game, Thunder Force AC, which is an arcade version of Thunder Force 3 that came out after the Genesis game. Basically, Thunder Force 3 was really popular in Japan so they decided to port it from the console to the arcade (which is the opposite of what usually happens).

    Anyways, don’t let this game sour you on the Thunder Force series. Thunder Force III and IV on the Genesis are really good (stay away from II though).

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