Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | AND | IOS | PS3 | PS4 | VITA | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

Thunder Force VI (PlayStation 2) artwork

Thunder Force VI (PlayStation 2) review

"It's obvious that Sega and the former Technosoft employees who worked on this project still love the same scenes that I loved ten, fifteen, seventeen years ago. That reassures me; my fascination with such details was clearly no accident. For children who have grown up, for people who stopped embellishing in their minds and only accept what's "real"... Thunder Force 6 makes those moments real — no imagination required!"

After an absence of ten years, there was no way that Thunder Force 6 could possibly live up to fans' expectations. Every episode before it pushed technological boundaries, and there was no way that a low-budget revival could possibly continue that trend. I wish I could say that it's easy to disregard the expectations as "unreasonable" and enjoy this shooter for what it is. Unfortunately, the bosses are pushovers, the stages are too short, and Tsukumo Hyakutarou didn't compose any of the music. Worst of all are the "tribute" stages which, instead of recalling nostalgic feelings, mock the memories they're intended to respect.

Screw you, Sega. It wasn't enough to just ruin Sonic -- now you're cashing in on other companies' classics, as well!

Two days later, I realized something: I was acting like an idiot. Anyone who claims to love a series, but judges the newest episode after a mere 30 minutes of play, is full of crap. I don't aspire to idiocy, so I gave the game another chance. I raised the difficulty level by one notch and actually played the game to completion -- and now I love the Thunder Force series more than ever.

When you love something, especially as a child, it's easy to get lost in imaginative fantasies. Thunder Force 3's "Gargoyle" boss may have looked like a big sprite that stood on the right side of the screen and randomly sprayed orange goop, but it was actually a biomechanical goliath that set the jungle ablaze with gouts of flame! Thunder Force 4's space battle isn't just a bunch of inanimate ships on a black background; it's an intergalactic war! Thunder Force 5 gave crazy names and backstories to otherwise ordinary bosses; "Armament Armed Arm" was more than a tank that transformed into a mechanical spider... it was a vicious killing machine that kept being reborn each time it was destroyed!

Thunder Force 6 focuses on bringing those extravagant memories to life. The biomechanical goliath Gargoyle has returned, bigger than before, as "Gargoyle Perfect". The space battle is re-enacted, this time with massive explosions and laser beams coursing between battleships in opposing fleets. And the indestructible machine, Armament Armed Arm, has been reborn yet again as Barbaric Berserk Beast.

It's obvious that Sega and the former Technosoft employees who worked on this project still love the same scenes that I loved ten, fifteen, seventeen years ago. That reassures me; my fascination with such details was clearly no accident. For children who have grown up, for people who stopped embellishing in their minds and only accept what's "real"... Thunder Force 6 makes those moments real -- no imagination required!

The reason I dismissed these wonderful details when I first played the game is because the default difficulty setting is far too easy. The bosses died so quickly that Gargoyle Perfect came across as a five-second joke, rather than a reborn goliath. With a quick visit to the options menu, that was easily rectified. That simple adjustment also made the stages far more challenging; the fire level, formerly decorated with inactive volcanoes, became a raging inferno of eruptions. On the easiest difficulty setting, I literally made it to the boss without pressing any buttons (which is totally unacceptable). On the tougher settings, I had to weave and dodge and switch between my ship's five weapons, which have been drastically re-balanced. The stages are still a bit short, but that's not as noticeable when the world is exploding around you.

For people who beat the game at the default difficulty or higher, Sega has included two rewarding surprises; one is unheard of for a Thunder Force game, and the other is unheard of for any shooter. Both improve the game tenfold.

Fans of Thunder Force should absolutely pick this import up, as Sega put nearly two decades of love into it. If you haven't played Thunder Force before, if you don't have fond recollections of the lava level or the Guardian Knight, it's still worth experiencing. Through insane camera work and a ridiculously high-powered electric guitar riff, the designers even make a dogfight against a small spacecraft -- a small spacecraft! -- feel exciting. Thunder Force 4 is still the most intense, and Thunder Force 5 still has the most epic final boss, but Thunder Force 6 does something no one expected: it makes the entire series better.

Bless you, Sega.


Rating: 9/10

zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (December 31, 2008)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

More Reviews by Zigfried
One Chance (PC) artwork
One Chance (PC)

One Chance is a bad game for obvious reasons. The graphics are poor, the music is repetitive, the guy walks slowly, the story is silly, player interaction is minimal, and victory is achieved through repetition instead of mastery. Its claim to fame is that you only have one chance unless you game the syst...
Canabalt (PC) artwork
Canabalt (PC)

I view people who subscribe to the holy book of Canabalt the same way that Orson Scott Card intended readers to view Xenocide's Qing-Jao: as obsessive and deranged failures, compulsively tracing lines in wood until they realize they've accomplished nothing. Then they die.
Splatterhouse (PlayStation 3) artwork
Splatterhouse (PlayStation 3)

Once upon a time, all this blood and nudity would have been daring. I remember gasping in awe when playing the originals . . . of course, those were marketed towards pre-teens who couldn't even get into R-rated flicks. In today's world, hacking up misshapen beasts and grabbing softcore pics just isn't enough.


If you enjoyed this Thunder Force VI review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
honestgamer posted December 31, 2008:

This was a great review that did its job and nicely walked me through the range of emotions that a fan is likely to have when playing this game. I can't say that I'm a fan, having only played a few hours of Thunder Force V, but I was also interested in how this latest edition played and now I'd like to experience it for myself. I doubt that I will, though; my modded PS2 busted and I simply can't justify buying another one to play a few imports. Not when the PS2 is on its last leg. Maybe someone will localize this and save me some grief. Are you listening, Atlus?
board icon
Felix_Arabia posted December 31, 2008:

Fantastic review, Zig.
board icon
bluberry posted January 03, 2009:

what they said. good stuff.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Advertise | Sponsor a Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2015 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Thunder Force VI is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Thunder Force VI, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.