Scrolling shooter fans were well served with the Sega Genesis and right out of the gate they got Thunder Force II from Sega/Technosoft. While not an arcade shooter, Thunder Force II would have been at home in the arcades if it was released there. Interestingly, Sega really covered several genres with the launch of the Genesis, only missing obvious choices like puzzle games and action platformers. The Sega Genesis is the second home for Thunder Force II, the first was the Sharp X68000 gaming computer (featured in our second issue).
There is a superficial story to Thunder Force II but as with most scrolling shooters all that really matters is the on screen action. Oh yeah, if stuff blows up real good is another concern. Stuff blows up good, real good, and quite often.
Thunder Force II levels alternate between side scrolling and overhead free roam scrolling. For most, the overhead levels will be a little disorienting since your ship turns on a dime, and gives nine cents back in change, which can be quite jarring. The side scrolling levels are standard fare, multiple scrolling backgrounds and tons of enemies on screen- both things the competition (i.e., the Nintendo NES) couldn’t do or that well.
Later iterations of the Thunder Force series dropped the alternating level design and went with just the side scrolling levels (thankfully). Eventually the Super Nintendo got Thunder Spirits (Thunder Force III which went head to head in issue #1 of RGM), Playstation and Saturn (Japan) got Thunder Force V and arcades even got a couple of Thunder Force games (which also hit the Japanese Saturn). As mentioned earlier, the Sharp X68000 recieved Thunder Force II prior to the Genesis/Mega Drive version. All in all, Thunder Force fans have been well served over the years, as long as they owned a popular system.
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