Aug 17 2009
Following hot on the heels of its success with Pac-Land, Namco released this platform-shooter. The animation was the star in this game, your central character walked with grace and style and the enemies leapt from platform to platform like the sneaky buggers they were. When you disappeared into one of the doors for more ammo, the enemies would stand, turning their heads this way and that, trying to track you. When you emerged with a machine gun, it was time to make them pay. You could actually have pitched battles as you ducked behind crates and then let rip as they massed toward you. Leaping from floor level to balcony level was possible only if there was a railing, but doing it was so much fun!
Released two years before Sega’s superb Shinobi, Rolling Thunder looks like Battle of the Planets meets James Bond. The manga styling is unmistakable, particularly in the hero and the hooded bad guys – looking vaguely like the KKK.
The hero, a special agent named Albatross is going up against the forces of a megalomaniacal alien called Geldra as well as rescuing the love interest, Agent Leila. He’s got to battle through ten levels of Geldra’s defences which include a forest/swamp, industrial factory, warehouse and lava.
Rolling Thunder is more than the sum of its parts. It combines guns, doors, dual playfields, difficulty, crates, klansmen, panthers, tension and a hero that somehow manages to be cool with a broom stuck up his butt.
It’s rock-hard but it’s great!