Thunderstrike (Millennium) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By Millennium

Published in Computer & Video Games #104


The armchair sportsman of the future won't be tuning in to jet-powered football of particle tennis. In 2238 the only competition worth televising is the Megacorp Industries Ground Defence Games.

Entrants get a choice of five ships to fly in the contest, each of which has different speed, acceleration and manoeuvrability statistics. However, after each round the referees award outstanding pilots enhancements to upgrade their ships' flight performance.

The games consist of 50 rounds, played in five different 3D arenas. The object of the gameis to use your ship's armament to defend a set of ground installations from robot attack ships which are being released from generators. The attack ships try to deactivate your installations by landing on top of them and draining them of energy, whereupon they turn into homicidal heat-seeking mutants. Blast all the enemy drones and their generators before you lose all your installations and you progress to the next round.

There are six types of deadly drone ships, each with their own offensive characteristics. They include Saboteurs (which head straight for your installations and try to deactivate them), Bombers (which, not surprisingly, lay bombs) and Lungers (which explode into clouds of shrapnel when shot). If you're lucky, though, a dead drone will leave behind a pick-up pod, to equip your ship with boosted shield or weapon power, up to three spinning defence pods, a set of turbo boosters of double shots.


This is one game I've been looking forward to for a while, and the wait has been well worth it. It's basically a pretty simple game, like a 3D version of Defender, but it's very, very playable and the speedy vector graphics make playing it an exhilarating experience.

Initially, viewing the action from a terrain-hugging remote "camera" makes it quite difficult to gauge where pods and ships are meant to be, but everything falls into place after only a few minutes of experimental swooping about and blasting.

Control is by mouse or keyboard, and both are fine, though the heavy-handed among you might find it even easier if you turn the mouse sensitivity down a notch or two. The feeling of zooming over hill and dale is marvellous and if you're lucky enough to have a VGA card plugged in, the scenery is spectacularly colourful, as you can see from the screenshots.

In EGA mode, the colours are less subtle, of course, but this doesn't affect the gameplay at all, and for once, here's a game you don't need a superfast machine to play. Thunderstrike looks perfectly respectable even on an 8MHz PC.

Paul Glancey