Super Thunder Blade (Video Game Review)

Video Game Review
Super Thunder Blade
Sega Genesis
1989
Developed by: Sega
Published by: Sega

When a console launches, the console’s manufacturer tries to make sure that the best software possible makes it to launch. How Super Thunder Blade made it through the launch window makes absolutely no sense. It’s not even a third party game since Sega was the company that made it. There’s a reason why nobody cared about the 16-bit Sega Genesis during the NES days until Sonic showed up; because of garbage like Super Thunder Blade.

The game has the player pilot the helicopter and blow up everything in sight. Planes, tanks, and ships stand in the way but it’s up to this lone heli to leave a path of destruction. The game has four stages with each stage having two different parts. The first part is played from a behind-the-helicopter third-person perspective. Avoiding buildings and other stationary obstacles are an additional challenge for the player as their trying to take down all the enemies. The second half of each stage is played from an overhead perspective with the same goal; destroy as much as you can.

The game is controlled with the d-pad and two buttons. The d-pad moves the helicopter all about. One button fires and the other button makes the helicopter to hover (which essentially acts as a break because the copter is always in a state of forward motion).

In business, when you’re about to discipline someone, you’re supposed to start with something nice. So here it goes: at least this game didn’t break my machine or give it a contagious disease.

The graphics aren’t very inspiring. Although they do look better than anything than the original NES could produce, this game doesn’t make it feel as if the Sega Genesis was all that much a leap in technology. The game shows everything on screen fine although there are pop-up issues as well as other graphical glitches like enemies disappearing in thin air after being destroyed. You’d expect something like that on the NES or other consoles with inferior hardware but the Genesis should have better explosions and debris to explain the disappearance of an object.

It also doesn’t help that the sound is inferior to something you might hear on the NES. The game doesn’t sound all that good. Granted the sound board on the Genesis wasn’t award-winning but it shouldn’t be outperformed by NES games either. The in-game music isn’t grating on the ears but it could have sounded a lot better. It feels as if there was creativity involved when coming up with the soundtrack. The sound effects are horrendous. Some of the shots fired sound like someone trying to rev the engine of a motorcycle dying of emphysema. Thank goodness for the mute button on TVs.

This game is just bad. For starters, the helicopter controls as well as a 1983 Toyota Tercel with bald tires on a street coated with black ice. It’s unresponsive and if you’re moving in one direction, you’re pretty much committed until the game lets you change direction. Considering that some buildings pop out of nowhere and it takes twitch reflexes at times to move around them, it becomes an exercise in futility.

The gameplay is awful. Navigation issues make the first part of each stage frustrating to play. Once the game shifts to an overhead perspective, it gets worse. It’s about as thrilling as writing video game reviews for horrible Sega Genesis games. I hate to go back to NES games, but there are many overhead shooters that blow Super Thunder Blade out of the sky in terms of gameplay excitement. At least the behind-the-helicopter perspective made things interesting and a bit exciting. The overhead gameplay segements here feel lame and dull.

Super Thunder Blade is a game to avoid. However, Sega continues to stand by this game with multiple releases on compilation discs as well as digital download releases. It’s not worth it. Even if you’re buying a Sega compilation disc to play the Sonic games, don’t even waste your time thinking about playing this game after you’re done with the blue blur. It’s bad! It’s Sonic in 3D bad!

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