A Sound of Thunder, an action-adventure on the Game Boy Advance, is based on Ray Bradbury's original short story and the subsequent movie, starring Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, and Ben Kingsley. Players assume control of the protagonist, Travis Ryer, who is forced to fix time after a time-travelling expedition goes horribly wrong. The game was first released in Europe on February 28, 2004, with it hitting shelves in the US one year later on March 1, 2005. Versions for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox were planned and in development, but they were eventually cancelled.
The story and characters are based on Bradbury's short story.
A time machine has been developed by a company to allow wealthy hunters to go on expeditions in the prehistoric age. However, on one dinosaur-hunting trip, someone breaks one of the rules by stepping on a harmless butterfly. The following week, Chicago feels the effects of the time-tampering, and slowly reverts to what life would be like if that butterfly had died prematurely. Changes happen in waves. At set intervals, the surroundings turn wilder, with people disappearing, buildings decaying, and roads covered by new plant life. Travis Ryer, who is involved with the expeditions, seeks out Sonia Rand, the woman who built the time machine, in the hope of fixing time and saving the world.
The title plays as a third-person shooter with occasional driving sections. The whole game is displayed using an isometric viewpoint, and to compensate for the lack of a control stick on the Game Boy Advance, a lock-on feature is implemented and is the only effective way to dispatch of enemies. Ryer's arsenal includes a machine gun, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher, as well as a special bomb that can slow down time in the vein of Max Payne. (Ironically, developer Mobius Entertainment would follow up this game by developing the GBA port of Max Payne using the same engine as A Sound of Thunder.) Each level has plenty of encounters with hostile species, including dinosaurs of various sizes and hazardous plant life, and there is the occasional boss fight that requires slightly more strategy than the usual shoot-and-strafe technique to defeat. To break up the action, there are a few puzzles in the game that primarily focus on pushing boxes onto switches to open doors or otherwise progress to the next stage of the level. The game also features isometric driving levels in which Ryer and companions must navigate hazardous streets while outrunning killer dinosaurs that give chase.
There are eleven levels in the game, and the player saves their progress using six-lettered passwords that represent the last level cleared (due to the lack of a cartridge SRAM--a decision seemingly made to cut costs). The passwords do not save weapons or ammo obtained, nor how much health the player currently carries. High scores and best times for each level are also not saved, despite being displayed. In addition to the single-player campaign, two extensive multiplayer modes are included: Multiplayer Arena ( deathmatches of two to four players) and Cooperative.
One of the more notable facts about A Sound of Thunder is that the film--which was originally supposed to be released in tandem with the video game adaptation--hit cinemas on September 2, 2005, six months after the video game was released in North America and eighteen months after the game was first out in Europe. The film was initially planned for a 2002 release, but unforeseen circumstances, some financial, delayed this. BAM! Entertainment, the game's publisher, faced a similar situation years before with Ecks vs. Sever, a game based on the film Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever that was released ten months before the film for similar reasons. Both Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and A Sound of Thunder were produced by Franchise Pictures, who went into bankruptcy during post-production on the latter.