SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC
Top Critic Average
Whether you're a shmup fiend or a complete amateur, there's fun to be had here.
Like most (perhaps every) Sega Ages releases, Team M2 has done another great job. There’s an argument to be made for the lack of including the Genesis and SNES versions of the game given that they are a bit different than this arcade port, and seeing as how Sega Ages titles in the past have sometimes included the other versions of games, too… I suppose we maybe got a bit spoiled in having the best of all of the versions included in one release, but I did want to mention that this particular release is just the arcade one. Still, it’s a great game, arguably one of the better SHMUPs of at least the early 90s, and M2 has done another great job of making it available on the Switch.
SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC is yet another fantastic addition to the SEGA AGES range. Thanks to its combination of eye-popping graphics, cool bosses, depth-enhancing features and enjoyable new additions, one of the best horizontally scrolling shooters is now even better. If you’re a fan of the genre or just remember playing a Thunder Force game or two all those many years ago, this is a must.
The final boss is a bit of a letdown, but the leaderboards and unlockable ships add decent replay value. The accessibility options are robust, too, as we've come to expect from these classic SEGA re-releases. Although Thunder Force IV, which released as Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar is the better game, its predecessor still manages to bring a healthy dose of shoot-'em-up goodness.
Thunder Force AC is a fantastic classic shoot 'em up, and its inclusion on Switch, along with some added bonuses, is a welcome addition to the SEGA AGES line-up. It is only held back by the lack of the original version, Thunder Force III, of which this one is but a slightly remixed version. Seems like a lost opportunity, but here's hoping the developer won't dare releasing it separately.
As far as classic shmups go, Thunder Force AC is one of the best and the opportunity to play it on a modern console is a treat.
As a longtime fan of the Thunder Force series, I couldn’t be happier to see SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC soar onto the Switch. With a satisfying blend of challenging gameplay, great visuals, and an incredible soundtrack courtesy of composer Toshiharu Yamanishi, it’s an exceptional shooter that no fan of the series should miss.
Even if Thunder Force IV may have turned you off like it did me, due to it’s brutal difficulty and weird vertical scrolling, I’m happy to say TFAC is a much more balanced and fun game, offering a fair challenge on its default setting with bonus content that makes this game fully deserving of the $8 pricepoint. (Or even 1000 Yen, if you were like me and imported this ASAP) There’s only one AGES game remaining, and here’s hoping the other Technosoft gem gets the same amount of love and care as this title did…
It's a relatively short game with a modest amount of trial and error, but its mechanics, level designs, and quality-of-life features make it a must-play for shoot-em-up fans.