Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – not completing the Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection’s challenge for Super Thunder Blade

Redress – Go back and complete the challenge

As with Flicky a few days ago, today’s redress is for a game that I had on the Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection and couldn’t beat the challenge for. The challenge for Super Thunder Blade was called ‘Get To The Chopper’ and the aim was to get over 1,000,000 points on Stage 1. I remember trying the challenge repeatedly and failing…not sure why I was trying to complete it to be honest, the reward was the arcade version of Space Harrier. Having played Space Harrier II for an hour, I can’t say I’d be too thrilled with that ‘reward’. Still, I failed a challenge and feel like I should try it again, for my own peace of mind at least…

Title Screen

I’ll be honest; I’m not really a fan of Super Thunder Blade. As a kid, I saw it as a pathetic old game, the type of game that always turned up on compilations and bargain bins. As an adult, I kinda feel Super Thunder Blade is cheap and nasty. I shouldn’t be so harsh really, given Super Thunder Blade’s place in the Mega Drive’s life span – it was a 1988 launch game, so it’s unfair to expect too much.

Options screen

Look…it’s my holiday and I’m tired ok? I remember the challenge being difficult, so I’ve lowered the difficulty level and given myself seven lives. In my defence, I find lives come and go very quickly in Super Thunder Blade. If I increase the total of lives, then the game won’t be over in three minutes, it’ll be over in seven minutes…that sounded better in my head….

1

So, off we fly then. For those who have never sampled the delights of Super Thunder Blade, it’s basically a helicopter shooter, in the vein of Afterburner. It’s rough around the edges and a bit choppy, but to be fair it’s playable – I’m enjoying it more than Space Harrier II. I think that’s because Super Thunder Blade isn’t asking me to dodge through tiny gaps while dodging enemy fire. It’s mindless fun and I’m feeling mindless tonight, truth be told.

2

The sub boss of Stage 1 is a giant tank. I’ve built up a respectable score at this point, but I’ve wasted too many lives and the tank guns me down pretty quickly. Thinking over my performance, I realise that the options screen gave me the option to change the controls. I always struggle with inverted controls – they’re easy enough in theory, but I’m trained to think Up = Up etc. I quickly change the controls and restart Super Thunder Blade. Again, I’m enjoying it, though to be fair to Space Harrier II, I don’t have to play Super Thunder Blade for an hour. Mind you, if I really struggle with this redress, I might have to play Super Thunder Blade for longer…

3

The change in controls is working a treat – I feel like I’m doing much better at Super Thunder Blade now. Super Thunder Blade is very much an arcade game (well, it’s not – it’s a Mega Drive exclusive sequel to arcade Thunder Blade, but stick with me!) in that you need to memorize sections and attack patterns in order to progress. I’ve got the hang of dealing with the enemies now – bully the tanks on the ground that can’t really hit you and avoid the helicopters that can. The big tank is easy too – I just move out of the way of the fire, in a big circle, then aim for the turret. A couple of times doing this and the big tank is tanked. Yes, it’s late here, how did you know?

4

Ignore the crashed helicopter, look at the score – I did it! My strategy of ‘fly low to shoot the tanks, then come up to battle the helicopters’ worked. The score in Super Thunder Blade seems to increase based on how long you can stay in the air for. So, if you keep dodging enemies, you’ll be fine. Unless you’re a real helicopter pilot – then you will need to shoot everything down. If any future helicopter pilots are reading this blog and take this redress to heart, then World War 3 is just going to be lots of helicopters dodging fire like over-caffeinated flies.

Having beaten the challenge, I reach for the off switch…there is nothing to achieve by playing on and besides, I’ve enjoyed this little dalliance with Super Thunder Blade. Why have it outstay it’s welcome? It’s off to bed for me…

Verdict – Well, I beat the challenge so I’m pleased with that. However, playing this redress has got me thinking…am I done with Super Thunder Blade?

I had no intention of playing Super Thunder Blade again after this redress, but the difficulty level adjustment has made me realise how spoiled we are as gamers in 2017. I’ve got an amazing backlog, as do most gamers, but what if you bought Super Thunder Blade at launch? In Japan, the only two games out for the Mega Drive at launch were Super Thunder Blade and Space Harrier II..  That meant that you were likely to have to master Super Thunder Blade to get your money’s worth and keep yourself entertained until you could afford Space Harrier II or the next game you wanted was released. It feels somewhat flippant to move on with out playing the higher difficulty levels…maybe I should come back to Super Thunder Blade and try and beat it on the higher difficulty levels? I could start with Easy and keep working my way up, until I was the best Super Thunder Blade player in the world…

Nah, I got enough to be getting on with…

With that thought in mind, that’s the end of my Sega Holiday. I head back home tomorrow, back to work and the next stage of Retro Redress…taking on a game that I’ve sat on for far too long. Thank you to anyone and everyone who has read the redresses I’ve written on my holiday. I’ve enjoyed writing them and I hope you enjoyed reading them!