The Thunder Force (サンダーフォース?) series is a series of scrolling shooter type video games developed by the Japanese software company Technosoft. The games are known by fans of the genre for their hardcore appeal, pleasing graphics, and generally well composed synthesizer-based soundtracks.
The series' first game appeared a variety of Japanese computers, such as the Sharp X1 and the NEC PC-8801. The majority of installments in the series appeared on the Sega Mega Drive console, where the series gained much of its popularity. The most recent entry was released on the Sega Saturn, later ported to the PlayStation.
The setting of the Thunder Force games (excluding the fifth chapter) are centered around the war between inhabitants of the "Galaxy Federation" (protagonists), and the "ORN Empire" (antagonists). The games feature the "FIRE LEO" spacecraft and its iterations, developed by the Galaxy Federation under "Project Thunder Force" to be small, but maneuverable and powerful fighter craft. The Galaxy Federation feels that these ships have the best chance of defeating large forces such as the ORN empire's, as opposed to sending a host of larger ships. Thunder Force V details the discovery of Galaxy Federation technology by Earthlings and the consequences this discovery causes.
Early games in the series had multi-directional scrolling, overhead stages where the player would attack airborne and ground targets. These stages were later removed in favor of horizontally-scrolling stages that contained various gameplay elements derived from popular horizontal scrolling shooters Gradius and R-Type, such as an array of interchangeable and unique weapons, satellite turrets which provide the player additional firepower, and level design which encourages player memorization and skillful ship maneuvering/positioning in order to effectively pass.
|Thunder Force||Home computers||1983|
|Thunder Force II||Sege Genesis||1988|
|Thunder Force II MD||Sega Genesis||1989||Port of Thunder Force II|
|Thunder Force III||Sega Genesis||1990|
|Thunder Force AC||Arcade||1990||Port of Thunder Force III retooled into an Arcade game|
|Thunder Spirits||Super Nintendo||1991||Port of Thunder Force AC|
|Thunder Force IV||Sega Genesis||1992||Also known as Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar in America|
|Thunder Force Gold Pack 1||Sega Saturn||1996||Contains Thunder Force II and Thunder Force III|
|Thunder Force Gold Pack 2||Sega Saturn||1996||Contains Thunder Force IV and Thunder Force AC|
|Thunder Force V||Sega Saturn||1997|
|Thunder Force V: Perfect System||PlayStation||1998||Port of Thunder Force V|
|Thunder Force VI||PlayStation 2||2008|