Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thunder & Lightning: A Good Way to Waste Time


Since today is one of those, last day before a long-ass, booze-fueled weekend (or New Years Eve/day/Bears play the Packers weekend, if that works better for you), I decided to take a break from coding and play some VirtualNES to kill some time and free my mind from arrays and loops.  I thought I would just pick a game at random that I never heard of so I picked Thunder & Lightning (am I the only one who cannot read that title without my next thought instantly being, "the way you love me is frightening") which I was guessing, from the name, was a shooter.  I think my mind went straight to Blue Lightning for the Atari Lynx for whatever reason. 

Romstar was the distributor and they had a history of choosing pretty good titles to represent (Tiger Heli, Ghost N Goblins, Double Dragon II) so thought it was a solid choice. 

The color scheme initially threw me off because, as I stated earlier, I was looking for a shooter.  But, the icon to choose my settings was a space ship so maybe it was an outer space shooter the likes of Gradius or Thunder Force. 

Nope, not a shooter at all. 

Wait, why is the protagonist an ape?  Oh, that isn't an ape, that's Mr. Chin.  To give a little background on an old tale, Mr. Chin is an avid food lover in search of the best foods the world has to offer but has awaken the Thunder Warrior accidentally and is forced to break up blocks as punishment or, the old, "food lover angering the Gods and punished for it" game.

Anyway, in a nutshell, it is a Break-Out clone that knocks the socks off of its Arkanoid competition.  It is tougher, faster, and has more power-ups.  I don't know if the Vaus controller would work for it (as I said I was playing on VirtualNES with my PSII controller (see: Play (Mostly) Every NES Game from Your Browser with Joystick Support - http://www.geekyclown.com/2010/12/play-mostly-every-nes-game-from-your.html)) but I could see where it would come in handy if it does.

The first thing that really got my attention was the difficulty.  The first damn stage is hard.  This isn't for the weak.  But, once I got the idea of the power-ups (hint: hit the damn floating ship...looking...thing) it started to get easier.  Graphically, the backgrounds are pretty good for the 8-bit era and the music is average at best.  What this game has, that I wasn't expecting, is this game is more addicting than crack laced heroin.  Definitely worth (as opposed to pretty much every post I have written lately) spending some time to play.

Final analysis. Graphics: the backgrounds are good but the rest is basically just blocks. Audio: forgettable. Playability: this game is just plain fun.  If you liked Break-Out or Arkanoid then you have not touched the surface of that genre until you break out this beast.  I'd give it a strong B+ just because my addiction tells me so, or is that my dog telling me what to do - I get so confused, I'll just go back to breaking some blocks for the Thunder Warrior.

Play it on VirtualNES here - http://virtualnes.com/play/?id=NIN-TL&s=7

 See it in action...



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