Lords of Thunder (called Winds of Thunder in Japan) is a side scrolling shooter developed by RED and published by Hudson for the Turbo CD and Sega CD. Beyond its gameplay, the game is probably best known for its heavy metal soundtrack.
Lords of Thunder's plot follows the attempted resurrection of an evil god named Deoric (Zaggart in the PC Engine version) by a force of six evil generals who serve the Dark Priest Zonbul of the Gald Kingdom. The player controls a brave knight by the name of Landy (a.k.a. Duran) who is granted a variety of magical armor by the goddess Farina. The generals have conquered the six kingdoms of Mistral to channel energy to the tower of Gald in order to revive Zaggart; Landy has to stop them all before it's too late!
Lords of Thunder's horizontal-scrolling shooting is augmented by a choice of four elemental armors and a shop that sells useful items before he enters the fray. Landy can also strike with his sword by moving close to the enemy and holding down the attack button; he continues to shoot as normal as well, and the sword strikes are quite powerful! Each armor also has a different effect when a "bomb" is used.
- Wind Armor: The wind armor fires moderately powerful shots straight forward; its power is simply increased as the weapon energy gauge is filled. The least useful armor. When a bomb is used in the wind armor, waves of lightning are emitted in both directions from Landy.
- Water Armor: Shoots waves of blue energy in addition to the basic shot. As this weapon is leveled up the energy waves become larger and more powerful; at max level waves are also fired backwards. The waves are strong and penetrate certain types of walls, making this a very easy to use armor. Perhaps tellingly, Landy is depicted as wearing this on the game's cover and in the game's cutscenes... When a bomb is used in the water armor, the screen is covered with spinning whirlpool like objects.
- Fire Armor: A basic armor with flame-based attacks. At max level the explosive fire shots evolve in to a powerful flame-thrower which is moderately controllable based on the player's movement. When a bomb is used in the fire armor a fiery salamander is summoned to destroy enemies.
- Earth Armor: The earth armor fires an extremely powerful "bomb" type-projectile towards the ground at an arc in front of Landy. When leveled half-way it also shoots one towards the ceiling; at max level they emit large shockwaves and are easily the most powerful attacks in the game. Get in close on bosses' weak points to kill them extremely fast! When a bomb is used in the earth armor meteors rain from the heavens.
Most of these items can only be purchased at the store; however, crystals and a couple of other items are dropped by enemies, too!
- Crystals: The basic currency to be used at the shop, these are dropped by all sorts of enemies. Blue crystals are worth five and red are worth twenty-five.
- Lifestone: The variety dropped in stages, this restores three points of life to Landy. Quite rare!
- Magic stone: The variety dropped in stages, these increase Landy's weapon power. Blue ones add one point of weapon power and red ones add five.
- Lifestone (lv1): Only available at the shop, this adds two points of life to Landy's life meter.
- Lifestone (lv2): Only available at the shop, this adds five points of life to Landy's life meter.
- Lifestone (max): Only available at the shop, this completely fills Landy's life meter!
- Magic stone (lv1): Only available at the shop, this adds 3 to Landy's weapon meter.
- Magic stone (lv2): Only available at the shop, this adds 8 to Landy's weapon meter.
- Magic shield (lv1): A barrier that allows Landy to take a hit without taking damage.
- Magic shield (lv2): A slightly superior magic shield, this allows Landy to take two free hits.
- Magic shield (lv3): The best of the magic shields, this allows Landy to take three hits.
- Fairy stone: These are the "bombs" of the game, and their effect depends on the armor being worn when they are used. Up to three can be stored at one time.
- Elixir: This expensive item will completely restore Landy's life meter once when it has been fully depleted.
- Continue: Allows the player to continue if they get a game over!
The game's first six stages can be completed in any order.
Auzal - the water stage: A watery area full of water dragons, jellyfish and winged soldiers. A strange monster is encountered as a mid-boss; a large portion of the stage takes place under water. Auzal is controlled by general Aspidd, who transforms in to a large half-snake beast headed demon for her duel with Landy.
Dezant - the desert stage: This stage is filled with the basic magic flying soldiers who will trouble Landy throughout the game; half-way through the stage Landy descends in to a cave only to have to escape it in a high-speed sequence while avoiding the collapsing roof and enemies riding platforms covered with rotating blades. General Scorpion controls this area, transforming in to a large insectoid monster to fight Landy.
Helado - the ice stage: With strong enemies and tricky obstacles this stage isn't to be taken lightly! Avoid getting blown around by the ice-faces in the cave and don't get crushed by falling icicles! This area is controlled by general Matansha, who transforms in to a kirin like beast.
Cielom - the sky stage: Landy flies high in to the sky while battling rotating flame-spewing skulls and suicidal spearmen who leap from flying turtles and the windows of a huge flying cathedral. The cathedral proper is also defended by large iron golems. The boss is general Pajarona, second in command only to the dark priest Zonbul himself.
Bosque - the forest stage: A creepy forest full of strange and dangerous wildlife, including man-eating plants, pulsing pods, and titanic insects. General Jardein is in command here; he transforms in to a massive creature which can fire a powerful stream of energy from its weak point.
Llamarada - the volcano stage: The player must guide Landy up the outside of a volcano while avoiding fragments from an eruption and then down inside of the volcano to a fortress inside of it! Unsurprisingly this area is full of fiery enemies, including phoenixes and multi-headed firebreathing beasts. The intimidatingly named General Ballrender has mastery over the denizens here; he transforms in to a large demonic warrior with the power to seperate in to spheres.
The seventh stage, the Dark Tower of Gald, is automatically entered after completing the first six stages. The first part is a typical stage where Landy advances up the tower to fight Zonbul at the end; the second segment involves Landy being granted infinite weapon energy by the Goddess Farina for the final duel with Zaggart.
Like many disc-based games of the early 90s, Lords of Thunder takes advantage of the CD format with heavy metal instrumental music that goes far beyond hardware limitations of the era. The soundtrack was produced by Japanese music house T's Music.