Review by Solidshoe

Reviewed: 04/06/02 | Updated: 04/06/02

ThunderForce X? Not Quite....

I like Red, and I like Hudson, because they've made some killer games in the past.

I do, however, hate the fact that many of there better games were nothing but complete rip-offs of games on other system. In many cases, as with Neutopia and Adventure Island, the only difference between the rip-off and the original, was the name.

Gate of Thunder is one of those fantastic rips.

Gate of Thunder is essentially Thunder Force 3 with less charm. Take Thunderforce 3, change all the levels to computer installations or factories, and you have GoT. The enemies come at you in larger numbers here, but their patterns are so predictable that on the first try, you could get to level 5 without taking a hit. GoT is too easy.

The graphics are great for an 8-bit system, with some great hand-drawn backgrounds as opposed to the typical bit tiles used in most cartridge games. The backgrounds even change every other minute...

The problem is that the levels all look the same. Were it not for the colors, it would be hard tell where one ended and the other began. The enemies are decent looking, with original designs and some decent weapontry, but they hardly ever get a chance to do anything because they go down so easily. You can nuke most of the enemies before your brain even has time to register that one appeared on screen.

The music is over-rated. Lords of Thunder's soundtrack NUKES GOT's. It's not bad by any standards, but more emphasis seems to be put on straining different synth instruments than on composistion. The actual catchiness of the songs is just not there. You can hum Thunderforce songs in your sleep. GoT's music only seems to work when you see the action on screen, and too much of it sounds like Hi-tech country music, if you can imagine that. It's unique, granted, but I can't help but wonder how a pure synth Thunderforce 4 type soundtrack would have worked for this game.

GOT was a Pack-in game, though, and it is fairly entertaining the first couple of times through. But the replay value is lacking with only 2 of the 7 stages being any kinda challenge. Worse, the game goes from being ridiculously easy to downright cheap once entering level 6 and 7, which speaks poorly of the programming crew. The last level is more of a manic shooter than a paced finale, with is nothing like the majority of the game.

The bosses are crap, plain and simple. I don't care if this is only an 8 bit system. The attacks and patterns of the bosses are downright laughable, and none of them take any skill what-so ever, unlike thunderforce 4 where a boss encounter could last for 5 minutes, these are over in 10 seconds with a powered-up weapon.

As a RED shooter, GOT is average. Their overhead shooters are much better, and Lords of Thunder is MUCH, MUCH better, with a better soundtrack, way better music, and progressing challenge.

GOT is alright, but it's not Thunderforce.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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