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Title SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC
Developer M2
Publisher SEGA
Release Date May 28th, 2020
Genre Shmup
Platform Switch
Age Rating E
Official Website

Sega recently announced they would be adding Thunder Force AC to their SEGA AGES collection. I figured I’ve already looked at a ton of Shmups this year, so what’s one more? I remember the Thunder Force games mostly from the time I spent with them on Genesis as kid, but this arcade version is very different. Let’s see how it shapes up with the AGES treatment SEGA gives these releases.

SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC is basically Thunder Force III found in Arcades in the 90’s, but there have been some changes made. First off some of the stages¬†have been swapped out for new ones, so if you go into this thinking you’re¬†going to get the same game on the Genesis Mini you would be very wrong. Continuing will not make you start the stage all over again, but instead you will start back right where you left off. The team here has added some extra ships as unlockables as well. The RYNEX ship from Thunder Force IV and the STYX Mass Production Model. These ships are all a bit different, so unlocking them will spice the game up a bit.

Thunder Force AC | Homing

SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC has a couple of different play modes, Arcade mode or Kids mode. Arcade mode gives players 6 credits to complete the game and of course you will lose the weapons you have obtained when you die. Kids mode makes the game quite a bit easier by bumping up the amount of credits you get to 9 and allowing you to keep your weapons even if you die. You can also adjust the amount of lives you start with and at what score you are provided extra lives to make them a bit easier to obtain. Save states are here to help you along your way as well.

Thunder Force AC | Boss

This one is old school hard, so you will need all the help you can get to complete the 8 stages of hell that await you. Arcade mode basically destroyed my soul and crushed my dreams quickly. Playing on Kids mode was much easier for me, since I may review a lot of these but my skills are not what they used to be. SEGA did a good job here balancing out the two modes to give hardcore and casual fans a good time.

Thunder Force AC | 7

Much like other Sega AGES releases there a few display options to choose from. These vary from full screen, dot by dot, vintage and cabinet mode. I feel like cabinet mode here looks cool but it really makes the screen a bit too small when playing handheld. The others really come down to the player preference. The other big addition here is HD Rumble. This works really well with this title as it gives you some rumble while the enemy ships are being blown to bits.

Thunder Force AC | Start

SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC is a ton of fun for hardcore players and causal fans alike. Each stage provides a good amount of variety and challenge. This will make you want to play them over and over to get a better score for the online rankings. The game looks great on the TV or in handheld mode and you can even listen to the fantastic soundtrack in the options menu. I feel like this title is well worth the $7.99 for folks that enjoy Shmups. If you’re not a fan of the genre there is nothing here that will change your mind, but for old school fans it doesn’t get much better than this.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher.

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.