Category Archives: Gameplay

Broken Thunder – PC

Hey Folks,

For many of us shmups fan, Thunder Force is a staple of the genre, Thunder Force II was my first shmup on the Megadrive and needless to say I was quickly hooked and dove without any hesitations into all subsequent episodes.

As we know, Tecnosoft folded into the Twenty-One Company in 2001, Thunder Force VI for Dreamcast got canned. Tecnosoft is now referred as Twenty-One Tecnosoft Division and primarily sells OSTs of past games. SEGA bought the Technosoft IP and brand rights but we’re yet to see anything substantial coming out of that.

The cancellation of Thunder Force VI on Dreamcast coincided with the demise of the Dreamcast and SEGA’s re-orientation as a business, this is has been well documented so I won’t dwell too much into that.

In a previous post, we covered the mini game “R720 with Syrinx” from Segagaga which kind of acts as a love song to the aborted Thunder Force VI on Dreamcast. I’m not sure if any code from TFVI was re-used for this but I’m pretty convinced the Syrinx ship model used there is the real deal.

While we may never (ever?) get Thunder Force VI on DC, the actual soundtrack (or at least what was recorded up to its cancellation) was released, twice, actually:

– In 2001 as Noise Image Soundtrack Vol.3 Broken Thunder

broken_thunder

– In 2005 as Broken Thunder – project Thunder Force VI

Broken_Thunder_Project_Thunder_Force_VI

Official page for this disc here.

Both OSTs are composed for the most part by Hyakutaro Tsukumo (the man behind the soundtrack for Thunder Force V for example) and guests. Both were released by Noise Factory & AG. These soundtracks are pure Tecnosoft sonic bliss. If you haven’t listened to these, I’d highly recommend you do. The CDs are not so hard to find, if you have a proxy in Japan but you can easily listen to them on YouTube.

So what about Broken Thunder the game?

Well, it has a short and sad history I’m afraid… Back in 2005-2006, rumours were starting to circulate that Tecnosoft was to resume operation and hire new staff to work on Thunder Force VI for an unspecified platform. I was sceptical at the time, since the Twenty One Company is mostly focused on pachinko, it made little sense for them to resurrect Tecnosoft just for one game.

It turned out later that Factory Noise & AG (a music company) were in fact the ones developing a Doujin game based on the Thunder Force franchise, unsurprisingly under the name Broken Thunder…

Initially, Factory Noise & AG, released a Preview CD to wet our appetite. The CD contains the opening movie, about some wallpapers and MP3 tracks. A friend of mine in Japan (also a TF fan) bought a copy for me and we both agreed that actually the content of the CD looked really good. I had high hopes for Broken Thunder until it got released…

Broken Thunder was released on Friday, May 3, 2007 by Factory Noise & AG for Windows PC only. 2 editions were available at launch:

– a limited edition that includes the game soundtrack on CD sold for 5,250 yen

Game_Cover
– a regular edition was released simultaneously sold for 2,940 yen.

Broken_Thunder_Regular_ed.jpg

Upon release the game turned out to be fairly Broken… Reviews were really bad for the few that bought it, personally I passed on the purchase… The main problem is that the game  was very incomplete, it feels more like an alpha/beta than a proper game. Even the creators admitted via a text file on the game cd and on their website that the game doesn’t even contain 1/3 of the elements designed for the game. FNA planned to release the rest of the contents as a free patch, unfortunately due to poor sales and limited resources, the patch never materialised, the game got pulled out of the shelves and FNA folded soon after.

I believe the other reason for Broken Thunder’s demise is that the Twenty One Company didn’t like their IP to be used without permission and so clearly plagiarised. Around August 2007 the following update appeared on the Tecnosoft website (the real first update since 2001):

Capture

Less than a year later we learned that Thunder Force VI was being developed for the PS2 and Broken Thunder fell very quickly into oblivion:

TFVI_PS2

So why bother writing so much about a crap game?

Fast forward to 2016, out of curiosity I bought a copy of Broken Thunder from Japan, I had seen gameplay videos on YouTube and it looked underwhelming. However, as an avid Thunder Force fan, since the release of TFVI on PS2 nothing much has happened with my beloved franchise. So I needed a fix…

After a short installation procedure and a lengthy tuning of the settings to get it to run on Windows 10, I was ready…

Needless to say, the review from back in 2007 were right, this game is a total mess, compared to any Thunder Force games released in the past. The movies for the intro, between level 4&5 and the ending are all well done but I don’t know what FNA were thinking at the time when they released Broken Thunder.

The graphics are very generic and any lack details, the background are static and empty, the animation of the main ship and some of the enemies are ok but the bosses are laughable, they lack any sort of interesting animation. They look like a single block of polygons flying around aimlessly, firing a few bullets here and there for a good measure. The boss of the first level is particularly amusing.

The game is fairly short and the difficulty goes from easy during the levels to nearly impossible during the boss fights, unless you manage well and have 3 claws fully charged before each fight. Even then, the boss of the 4th level is actually pretty vicious, taking inspiration from A3 from Thunder Force V without any of its class…

Despite many many flaws, I still enjoyed Broken Thunder, yes it’s far from being a proper Thunder Force and it’s very unfinished but the soundtrack is so awesome that I mainly play the game over and over just for that 🙂

As most of the gameplay videos on YouTube are fairly old, I decided to make a new one in high resolution, it’s not a full walkthrough but at least you can have a taste of the first 4 levels. I’m planning to do a full run through of the game in the future as well, so stay tuned.

Enjoy the broken Broken Thunder in all its glory and horror:

Also did a speedrun video, with Broken Thunder plugged into Cheat Engine 6.7, here the game runs at 5x speed with infinite lives and over weapon enabled. I don’t generally having cheats enabled but I was messing around with Cheat Engine to find any possible hidden content and I thought just running it at 5x was hilarious but I wanted to see how quickly the game could be completed 🙂

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Kid Klown in Crazy Chase (Sample/Beta/Prototype)

Hey Folks,

A long long looonnng time ago, I bought this sample/beta/prototype cart from a mate in Japan, the game is Kid Klown in Crazy Chase for the Super Famicom.

This game is probably one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever get to play in my life.  You can find a detailed review here on Nintendo Life.

Pretty much everything in this game is out to get you… and it gets you frequently, very frequently. Secondly you need to collect items (four playing-card suit symbols) while you are running down in the game (you can only run down the levels) in order to get the key that unlocks the next level…

I recently bought a new capture/streaming device so I thought I’d dust off this old cart and play a little.

What’s interesting about this cart is that it only contains 2 levels (the first 2 levels of the final game) and 1 bonus level, after that it gives you a nice Mode 7 animated Coming Soon message and goes back to the game title.

This cart was most likely sent to a magazine or even a store for preview/review purpose, although it seems quite custom with 2 large eproms coming off the back of the cart, perhaps it contain development code who knows?

There is an exact same cart or perhaps this exact card mentioned on SNES Central. Although this cart here doesn’t have a sticker at the back on top of the eproms or any staining, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kemco made more than one of these if not many, crafty!

Here are a few pictures of the cart:

I haven’t seen major differences (if any) compared to the final game, I’ll try to do a side by side comparison video of this version and retail in the future for posterity.

For now just enjoy some gameplay in 720p60:

Bye for now…

 

 

R720 with Syrinx – Gameplay

Hey Folks,

As a die hard Thunder Force fan, anything remotely related to this game series is of great (extreme) interest.

Everybody I’m sure have heard of Segagaga a quirky simulation of … well saving Sega from its own demise! I bought the game many moons ago but never really played it, mostly because my Japanese skills are limited 😦 And obviously without decent japanese knowledge it’s almost impossible to play.

Many of you may know that Segagaga contains a number of mini-games, one of interest for today is R720 with Syrinx.

R720_1

R720 with Syrinx is kind of a spoof shmup where you have to defeat Sega characters and Sega consoles as bosses.

syrinx

It’s a fairly short game but the interesting thing from a Thunder Force point of view is that one of the ships you can pilot is Syrinx which was gonna to be the main ship for Thunder Force VI on the Dreamcast. Now we’ve all seen the Thunder Force VI trailer for the Dreamcast but surprisingly it  is also included as an video introduction to Syrinx and co before you get to play R720.

We also all know that Thunder Force VI for Dreamcast was sadly cancelled in 2001 and that a struggling Tecnosoft was bought by Pachinko maket Twenty One Company. Ultimately Thunder Force VI was (re-made?) released on the PS2 on October 30, 2008.

Hyakutaro Tsukumo

An interesting fact is that the game contains music from Hyakutaro Tsukumo who composed music for a number of Tecnosoft games and Thunder Force VI for Dreamcast. The OST for TFVI DC came out in 2001 under the title Broken Thunder. This music was also re-used in the Doujin shmup Broken Thunder released back in 2007.

broken_thunder_ost

Segagaga was released on March 29, 2001 along with R720 with Syrinx so around the time Thunder Force VI was cancelled and 2 days before Sega decided to discontinue the Dreamcast. So here we have a ship and a partial OST from Thunder Force VI Dreamcast, the mistery deepens. Given the events and dates it’s safe to assume that R720 with Syrinx is more of a tribute rather than a preview of Thunder Force VI DC right?

Anyway today, I decided to take matter into hands and play this alleged tribute to a game I was so looking forward to on the Dreamcast. Don’t get me wrong I love Thunder Force VI on PS2 but it doesn’t have the finesse or the Tecnosoft touch of previous episodes.

So after a little bit of tinkering with Dreamcast saves downloaded on the internet, here I am playing R720 with Syrinx 🙂

R720_2

Here is the outcome of my playing session in glorious 1080p, the game is in 4:3 but the video should be clear enough for you to appreciate this little gem, obviously a lot of videos on this have been made in the past but I really wanted to do my own 🙂

Enjoy and see you next time!

 

Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles – PSP Preview Demo

Hey folks,

An interesting piece of Castlevania history popped up recently on the Assemblergames.com forums 🙂

Courtesy of member Getta Robo, we now have a preview demo of Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles on the PSP.

Dracula X being my all time favorite Castlevania, I had to have a try!

The demo only contains the first level of the game, both routes and bosses available. Quite a few differences compared to the release, no cinematic, different background music and graphical details.

The game came from a developer DVD and was likely used to show the title to the world.

Here’s a game play video, enjoy!

Godzilla (PS4) Gameplay

Hey Folks,

First post in a very long time, today let’s play a little bit of Godzilla on the PS4.

I’ve always had a strange attraction to non-AAA titles… I like big productions, big stories, jaw dropping graphics… But I can’t help loving the likes of EDF and co, just because they are tons of fun.

I read a few reviews about Godzilla and all were fairly underwhelming but who cares really?

Godzilla Roars!!!
King of the Monsters!!!

The premise of the game is simple, destroy stuff and kill other kaijus to get bigger and meaner. There are quite a few game modes and loads of monsters to unlock & control that makes the game quite enjoyable and maximizes the replay value.

The controls are fairly erm… horrible? But once one gets past the initial awkwardness good fun is a ahead!!! If like me you need a break from MGSV, GTA V et al then grab this game, for the price it’s well worth it!!!

Enjoy the video 🙂

Sabre

 

 

Gameplay: Ultra Seven – Chikyū Bōei Sakusen – Bandai Playdia

Hey Folks,

Time for some little obscure gameplay 🙂 I’ve had a Playdia for a long time but I never really used it. Why would I anyway? 😉 I wanted to test my EZCap 148 dongle on Windows 8.1 and it seems to be working just fine.

The game I’m playing today is Ultra Seven – Chikyū Bōei Sakusen a game based on the Ultraman series sequel, Ultra Seven. Like most Playdia games, Ultra Seven is some kind of interactive movie, however this one also has a few action sequences.

My japanese being a bit rusty, I didn’t really know what I was doing most of the time. I only played for a short period  of time so there might be more to this game than what is showed on the video…

Enjoy!

Sabre