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Sega's Official Home Page Thunder Force 2

Thunder Force 2 is a classic shoot 'em up (shmup) game for the 16-bit Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) console. Unlike most console games, this was an arcade in its purest form. It had a constant 60 frames per second frame rate, and action that was non stop. It, unfortunately, was programmed to have only 4 of its 9 levels side scrolling, and the rest set in an over head view. The over head viewpoint would not have been so bad, except that it was not a vertically scrolling over head view - it was a completely different shooter. Fortunately, Thunder Force 3 removed that terrible part of the game for the next version, but Thunder Force 3's side scrolling levels never matched the arcade style shooter that Thunder Force 2 is known for. Anyone who has ever played Thunder Force 2 can attest that it is one of the best console shooters ever made, and is surely more arcade-like than almost any other shooter out there.

Since the switch into 3D, everything that made these shooters the classics that they are, have been lost. Everyone attempts to add in the 3D element to make the game up to today's standards, and it does not work.

There are only two methods in which to maintain the elements required to make a shooter a great game on today's computers:

The first is to simply leave it in 2D, and upgrade the graphics. You can add as many parallax scrolling screens as you want, and as many 3D extras in the game as you want, but always leave the game-play elements (the elements that are important to the gamer) in the 2D plane - you should be able to remove all the 3D extras and still have the game playable (although it is possible to show far in the background some hints as to what is coming up later in the level, since the perspective allows you to see further ahead in the level in the background than you can see in the foreground). You can even go into a slight 3D view as the original Silpheed does, but maintains a 2D game - this allows for the screen to be longer than a normal 2D view does.

The second is to move the game and all of its elements into the 3D world in an exact conversion, keeping all the elements of the 2D game, but simply adding an extra dimension. The trick is to not simply leave the game in 2D, and add 3D extras, like having enemies on another plane that only your heat-seeking missiles can attack (the additional requirement of needing to lock on to half of your enemies changes the game - after one simple addition, the game is no longer a classic 2D shooter). So what does the game look like after the conversion? It would look like Space Harrier, with a few things changed. The linear movement is the same as the 2D shooter. The 2-dimensional movement is the same, just in a different plane. One important difference is that the enemies should never just shoot extremely fast projectiles at the player's current position requiring him to keep moving constantly and also to avoid moving in the path he has just moved from. But that is such a simple strategy of movement and offers no real reaction like the classic shooters do. Enemies should shoot in this 3D game as they did in the 2D version - with slower projectiles (on average, anyway), and let the player determine where he should position himself to avoid contact. Running around in circles the whole game, as in Space Harrier, is not as fun. You can view a small engine demo of this type of Space Harrier clone on my Projects / Games page.

Thunder Force 2 Title Screen:
Thunder Force 2 Title Screen

Thunder Force 2 Game Play Screen Shots:
Thunder Force 2 Level 1 Thunder Force 2 Level 2 Thunder Force 2 Level 2 Thunder Force 2 Level 2 Thunder Force 2 Level 4
Thunder Force 2 Level 4 Thunder Force 2 Level 6 Thunder Force 2 Level 6 Thunder Force 2 Level 6 Thunder Force 2 Level 6
Thunder Force 2 Level 6 Thunder Force 2 Level 6 Thunder Force 2 Level 8 Thunder Force 2 Level 8 Thunder Force 2 Level 8
Thunder Force 2 Level 8 Thunder Force 2 Level 8 Thunder Force 2 Level 8 Thunder Force 2 Level 8 Thunder Force 2 Level 8

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Jason Allen Doucette | Xona Games | The First Pixel