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The Thunder Force series (サンダーフォース Sandāfōsu , also Thunderforce) is a series of scrolling shooter type video games developed by the Japanese software company Technosoft. The games are known by fans of the genre for their hardcore appeal, pleasing graphics, and generally well composed synthesizer-based soundtracks.
The series' first game appeared a variety of Japanese computers, such as the Sharp X1 and the NEC PC-8801 mkII. The majority of installments in the series appeared on the Mega Drive console, where the series gained much of its popularity. The most recent entry was released on PlayStation2.
The setting of the Thunder Force games (excluding the fifth chapter) are centered around the war between inhabitants of the "Galaxy Federation" (protagonists), and the "ORN Empire" (antagonists). The games feature the "FIRE LEO" spacecraft and its iterations, developed by the Galaxy Federation under "Project Thunder Force" to be small, but maneuverable and powerful fighter craft. The Galaxy Federation feels that these ships have the best chance of defeating large forces such as the ORN empire's, as opposed to sending a host of larger ships. Thunder Force V details the discovery of Galaxy Federation technology by Earthlings and the consequences this discovery causes.
Early games in the series had multi directional scrolling, overhead stages where the player would attack airborne and ground targets. These stages were later removed in favor of horizontally-scrolling stages that contained various gameplay elements derived from popular horizontal scrolling shooters Gradius and R-Type, such as an array of interchangeable and unique weapons, satellite turrets which provide the player additional firepower, and level design which encourages player memorization and skillful ship maneuvering/positioning in order to effectively pass.
- Thunder Force (1983)
- Thunder Force II (1988)
- Thunder Force II MD (Sega Genesis) (1989) (port of Thunder Force II)
- Thunder Force III (Sega Genesis) (1990)
- Thunder Force AC (Arcade) (1990) (port of Thunder Force III retooled into an Arcade game)
- Thunder Spirits (Super Nintendo) (1991) (port of Thunder Force AC)
- Thunder Force IV (Sega Genesis) (1992) (a.k.a. Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar)
- Thunder Force Gold Pack 1 (Sega Saturn) (1996) It contains Thunder Force II and Thunder Force III.
- Thunder Force Gold Pack 2 (Sega Saturn) (1996) It contains Thunder Force IV and Thunder Force AC.
- Thunder Force V (Sega Saturn) (1997)
- Thunder Force V: Perfect System (PlayStation) (1998) (port of Thunder Force V)
- Thunder Force VI (PlayStation 2) (2008)
Thunder Force VI
- A video was made in 2000 which circulated on the Internet showing the intro sequence for Thunder Force VI. This video serves as evidence that Thunder Force VI was at one point in development for the Dreamcast console.
- In 2001, a video game music album was released from the band "Noise" entitled Broken Thunder: Noise Image Soundtrack Volume 3 featuring music intended to be used in Thunder Force VI. The soundtrack is composed by Tsukumo Hyakutaro, Noise band member and music composer for many of Technosoft's games (including Thunder Force V).
- On December 5, 2005, the music featured in Broken Thunder: Noise Image Soundtrack Volume 3 was re-released along with other arrangements from previous Thunder Force games on an album entitled Thunder Force VI Soundtrack ~Broken Thunder~ published by "Factory Noise & AG".
- Internet rumors have been floating around that Technosoft, who has not been heard from since the early 2000s, are currently rehiring staff and planning to release Thunder Force VI in the fiscal year of 2006 for an unnamed game system. This rumour later turned out to be a dojin game named Broken Thunder.
- Factory Noise & AG released a sample CD of "Broken Thunder", which contained a high resolution video of the game intro, 20+ Wallpapers and 3 MP3 music tracks. . The game was later released on the PC in both a collector's edition which also contains a soundtrack CD, and a standard edition. However the game itself is generally considered an inferior and incomplete product, because the contents lack polishing(e.g. most of boss models are inanimate solid objects); and a text file in the game DVD indicates that the producer himself also believes the game "does not include 1/3 of designed elements", and plans to update the content in the form of a free patch. As of May 2007, all shops have stopped selling the game and existing copies have been taken off the shelves.
- As of June 2008, Tecnosoft's web site has displayed the text "New THUNDERFORCE Coming Soon!" Famitsu announced Thunderforce VI in July 2008. The game will be developed and published by Sega under the direction of Tez Okano (岡野哲), and is currently to be released for PS2 in October. The game listed K.Matsuoka (Kazue Matsuoka), whom had work for Thunderforce III, as copyright owner.
- On October 30, 2008, Thunder Force VI was released in Japan.
- Forgotten Franchises: Thunder Force (from Sega-16) - In depth article about the Thunder Force games. Also contains some media (the Thunder Force VI video mentioned above can be found here).
- ThunderForce Forever - Contains artwork/renderings, fanfiction, story information related to Thunder Force. It is also the homepage of Thunder Future, a fan made Thunder Force game currently in development, and contains information about its progress.
- Thunderforce Next - A fan site. Appears to be fanfiction based.
- Series Info - Contains release date, system release, and plot information about the series (except Thunder Force V).
- Template:Ko icon Thunderforce Cafe - Fanlisting dedicated to Thunder Force. Contains artwork, music, video, merchandise pictures, etc.
- Broken Thunder PV - A low-resolution version of the new Broken Thunder Video.