Sega have been doing a fantastic job putting titles out with their Ages programme. As huge fans of the Shmup genre we were happy when Thunder Force AC got announced, was it worth the port? Lets find out.
Thunder Force AC exists due to the reception of Thunder Force III and the positive feedback of Thunder Force 2 scrolling stages. It’s fitting then that Thunder Force AC isn’t just a straight port of III but also incorporates levels from 2 and wraps them in an arcade friendly package.
While being an arcade game, it doesn’t actually stand graphically taller than its Mega Drive inspiration, only in minor ways does it differ. This isn’t a knock as Thunder Force AC is a mightly impressive looking title for 1990, some amazing scrolling and visual effects make it almost a shame to be focusing more on your ship and incoming fire than the lovingly created worlds your flying through.
If you’re familiar with Shmups then the name M2 should need no introduction, they have been key in releasing some of greatest ports of the genre, here Thunder Force AC joins that list.
In terms of additions you have several difficulty modes including a “kids mode” which allows you to play a rather easy version of Thunder Force AC.
You also have several extra ships you can play as including throw backs to other Thunder Force games which is a fantastic addition and gives more incentive to replay the game. Greatly appreciated being that the game is only around an hour long, the replay is in beating high scores and 1CC runs.
There are Online leaderboards waiting for you to dominate them and you can also have several screen options to make the game look like its running on an actual arcade cabinet.
All in all Thunder Force AC is a fantastic version of a legendary Shmup, there is a reason the name Thunder Force means so much to fans and AC is one of them. It may not be an essential purchase for people less invested in the genre but if you’re a fan of the Shmup life or just loved Thunder Force back in the day, Thunder Force AC is worth giving it “just one more go”.
Doesn’t add much to make this appealing to casuals or newcomers but it’s a solid port and one any Shmup fan should certainly look into