I have had this nice and shiny MEGA CD-R gold disc for quite some time, gathering mostly dust. This one is Lord Of Thunder from Hudson Soft, a port of Winds Of Thunder on the PC Engine made by Hudson Soft and Red Corporation or so they’d like us to think… It was actually developed by CAProduction Co Ltd., who gave us the likes of Gate of Thunder and Hagane to name a few.
Winds of Thunder is a solid and challenging shooter and the SEGA CD version inherit most of its qualities with a few changes like a remixed soundtrack (that you may love or hate compared to the original PCE version.) slightly inferior graphics compared to the PCE… (For a full comparison between the versions check out this article from PC Engine FX.)
I have yet to see any differences between the final release and this disc, the first few levels and intro seem to be the same as the final product. The seller told me this disc originates from a now defunct US Magazine. The files written on the CD are dated from 20/12/1994 but on the final release they are dated from May 1995, the soundtrack is the same as on the final game but according to my hex editor the final and beta/review data part differ, probably few code optimisations here and there. Since the game is mostly a straight port from the PCE version, I wasn’t expecting massive differences between the two, here is a picture of the disc.
And a gameplay video, I did manage to crash my MegaCD, so it’s possible the code is still buggy on this version: