Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thunder Force VI -Finally!

I want to keep an open mind about this, and the skeptic in me tells me to reserve emotion until something tangible has surfaced, but I can't help myself. The news of a new Thunder Force game finally being released is too good to be true, and I truly want to believe that my anticipation will be justly rewarded upon its release this October 30 (Japan only. Argh!). There are some things involved with this resurrection that might raise concern, but I doubt that there's any real reason to be worried.

One thing is worth pondering, and that is the fact that this game is being done by a whole new team of people. The series has never disappointed in the past, but as they say with those products advertised on television: "past experiences are not indicative of future results," or something to that effect. The fact that the last three games rocked doesn't mean that this one will too, especially given that the development team doesn't have any experience with the franchise. Yeah, if you look at that Famitsu scan, it certainly looks awesome, but I'm still going to be a bit anxious until I see some gameplay in action. Techno Soft (or Tecnosoft, whatever...) no longer exists as it used to, and this newest sequel is being done by Sega. Considering the current development state of that company, this alone should send alarms sounding, and red flags should pop up everywhere.

There is a silver lining to this cloud though, as Tez Okano, the writer and director of Segaga for DC and the awesome Astro Boy Omega Force for GBA, is directing the project. He says that the blade weapon from Thunder Force IV (or the idiotically-named Lightening Force in America) is his favorite, so hopefully he'll try for a 16-bit feel for this game. These scans are all there is to go on so far, but I'm betting that we should hear more in a short time. The game looks to be pretty far along in development, and YouTube videos of gameplay should be popping up soon.

Glancing at those scans instantly reveals two things to me: the free-range weapon from part five is back, which may or may not be a good thing, and that the best-looking boss from Thunder Force III is returning! Yes, Gargoyle from planet Hydra can be seen there in the upper right-hand corner of the second page. He looks like he's been working out since his last appearance, but that signature flame breath looks just as deadly as ever.

It's no secret that Thunder Force III is my favorite of the bunch, so I'm hoping that the gameplay mirrors that sequel. Regardless, I will absolutely be all over this, even though I lack an import-friendly Playstation 2 to enjoy it. Hey, that's just a minor detail! Finally modding my dusty PS2 will give me ample reason to go out and enjoy other quality releases, like the Phantasy Star remakes and all those great Sega Ages releases.

It's great to see that this series is back, and I can only hope that it doesn't disappoint. I loved Gradius V and R-Type Final (despite its faults), and a new Thunder Force on my shelf is the shooter trifecta to me. This thunder is no longer broken!

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