Operation Thunderbolt

Author: Julian Rignall
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #98

Operation Thunderbolt

Last year Ocean's conversions of Operation Wolf took the Christmas charts by storm, and this year the sequel, Operation Thunderbolt, looks set to do the same.

Based on the Taito coin-op in which features a pair of cabinet-mounted Uzi machine pistols. Operation Thunderbolt cats the players as two soldiers of fortune who are on a six-level mission to rescue hostages from a hijacked plane which has been forced to land deep behind enemy lines.

The action starts with 3D level in which you run down a road, picking off hordes of soldiers and helicopters with your on-screen cursor before they have a chance to open fire and wear down your energy bar. Careful shooting is the key here since you have limited amounts of ammunition.

Operation Thunderbolt

If things get too hot you can always give yourself a little breathing room by letting rip with a bazooka missile, which clears the area for a couple of seconds.

As you progress through the level, extra weapons can be picked up by shooting boxes and items on the ground - these include rapid fire, laser sights and extra rockets, energy and Uzi magazines.

Next is an Operation Wolf-style horizontally scrolling level in which even more soldiers and vehicles are present to give you severe hassle.

Operation Thunderbolt

Subsequent levels switch between 3D and horizontally scrolling, depicting a hazardous trip through the jungle, a ride over water in a speedboat, a hazardous dash across the enemy airport and finally the storming of the plane itself. This is very tough, with passengers running everywhere - shoot them and you lose energy - and baddies leaping out from all angles. Get to the end of the plane and shoot the hijackers and you complete the mission.

Although some might say that Operation Thunderbolt offers little new, the implementation of both versions are excellent. The gameplay is action-packed with loads of things to blast - I've never seen so many sprites on-screen at once!! It's very tough indeed, and takes a lot of practice before you can even get past the first level without using the continue option if you're playing solo - having a friend handy is advisable!

Novices might find Operation Thunderbolt too tough, but if you're a fan of Operation Wolf-style games and are after a challenge, try this out.


Very tough, but highly addictive. Definitely one of the top Amstrad arcade conversions around at the moment.


A great conversion with more shootables on screen than ever before. Get down to the software store and check it out double quick!

Julian Rignall

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