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Thunder Fox (Arcade) artwork

Thunder Fox (Arcade) review

"Rend soldier-types with semi-automatics and melt massive vehicles with flamethrowers. As early as level one thereís opportunity to cruise about in an army jeep and literally run terrorists down, or pick them off mercilessly with the vehicleís gun if youíre the delicate type."

It's about a pair of tough guys up against an army of terrorists, it's 2D, side-scrolling and features five levels of toplessness. In the spirit of Thunder Fox's aggressive theme, this review is an imaginary argument. So you can cheer. For the record, the bold guy brings up some good points, but smart money is on the big paragraph guy. Alright, then, letís get it on!

Bah! It doesnít look like much.

Well, no, I suppose it doesnít. Taito has used this 2D game engine for other, similar, run, jump and shoot games (like Crime City) and while it doesnít seem revolutionary now - nor was it then, actually - it more than does the job. The characters are all well drawn and nicely coloured. There are some huge sprites to move about, from the jeep you can control (more on that later) to the tank that threatens to turn you into high grade printer paper. And they are all animated well, without glitches and slowdown, thank you. Admittedly, the sounds can be annoying, even though hearing each terrorist casualty screaming ''ayaahhhh'' seems funny at first. Surprisingly enough, the limited tracks, repetitive though they might be, are not annoying, and actually seem to champion you on your mission.

Isnít it just typical Shinobi fare?

No, you ignoramus, it isnít. Shinobi doesnít have side-scrolling shooter levels involving cool hovercraft vehicles does it? And Shinobi IIIís famous horse-riding scene has nothing on this game's much, much earlier scene featuring Thunder and Fox (yes, those are our boys) riding jet skis. Most importantly, typically action side-scrollers like Shinobi donít typically feature two-player simultaneous murdering. Your coloured pants gents will be able to jump kick and stab with their knives for starters. They even have an unstoppable somersault kick to make Guile feel insecure, envious, and suicidal. And while shurikens are alright (come on now, who doesnít have a few shurikens in their jacket pocket), picking up Magnums and M-16s left behind by fallen foes is even more satisfying. Rend soldier-types with semi-automatics and melt massive vehicles with flamethrowers. As early as level one thereís opportunity to cruise about in an army jeep and literally run terrorists down, or pick them off mercilessly with the vehicleís gun if youíre the delicate type. So no, despite the gameís age, the package remains an extremely colourful and enjoyable one, and these days, thereís nothing typical about that.

I believe Iíve got you here: if itís so good, why didnít it get a 10?

Youíd like to think you have me cornered, but such is not the case. Thunder Fox is an excellent way to pass the time, but itís not necessarily a superlative, life-affirming experience, and the time you spend with it is just a tad too short. Itís also a bit hard going it on your own. But if youíve got a partner (not necessarily by wedlock) and you want some entertainment (Raunchy Rentals is closed), hunt this game down in an arcade specializing in oldies, or at the very least try it on good olí MAME - that's the emulator, for the uninitiated. Thunder Foxís approach parallels that of our heroes: it hits hard and fast and when itís all over, it makes you want to sit down, polish your knife, and exchange war stories over a cup of java.

Rating: 8/10

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 17, 2003)

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