Octurbo: Lords of Thunder

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Mento

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Edited By Mento  Moderator
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I'll admit it, when you don't know nothin' 'bout nothin' when it comes to the TurboGrafx-CD, it's hard to select a list of games you really need to check out. I'm thankful for the few suggestions offered so far; though it's easy enough to pick what look like winners from the 45 CD games released in the US (Protip: probably best to avoid the ports and licensed games), the 417 PCE-CDROM² games are a bit more of a jungle. My point being, is that I'll be checking out a lot of games I'm only tangentially aware of, if at all.

Lords of Thunder ("Winds of Thunder" in Japan) is not one of those games. I mentioned the CD format's capacity for improved music via redbook audio, and Lords of Thunder has one of the greatest VGM soundtracks I've ever heard. I hear it's sort of legendary how metal this game is. I'll be sure to link to a few tracks at the end, like before.

As for the game itself, it's one of those horizontal shoot 'em ups that came at a time when developers were introducing to the genre what I call "cinematic uncertainty", a phrase I used to describe Donkey Kong Country Returns' difficulty. What this means is that weird, unexpected and enormous shit will just appear for dramatic reasons and completely wreck you if you aren't able to anticipate it. While stages become a lot more exciting, they also depend far more heavily on memorization before you're able to conquer them reliably. If a random gigantic dragon appears out of nowhere, you need to know that the guy is coming and prepare accordingly, perhaps by hovering around the small part of the screen that its colossal body doesn't take up and jamming on that fire button, dropping a few bombs too for good measure. The visuals and music together make Lords of Thunder something of an intense experience, but it's clear I'll need to replay stages several times before I fully get into the swing of things. There's more, of course, but I'll save that for the screenshots themselves.

Instead, let me just ask you this: Are you ready to rock?

Lords of Guitar Solos

The game starts on this mysterious doodad and six gem-like sigils that appear to surround it. I suspect there might be six bosses and a big final boss. No, I didn't read the synopsis.
The game starts on this mysterious doodad and six gem-like sigils that appear to surround it. I suspect there might be six bosses and a big final boss. No, I didn't read the synopsis.
Ah, so peaceful, so pastoral. This isn't metal at all!
Ah, so peaceful, so pastoral. This isn't metal at all!
Yeah, that's more like it! Obelisks and maelstroms. Throw up those horns!
Yeah, that's more like it! Obelisks and maelstroms. Throw up those horns!
One anime decides he/she's had enough. He/she's really more into the gentler prog rock stuff, I'm guessing.
One anime decides he/she's had enough. He/she's really more into the gentler prog rock stuff, I'm guessing.
And takes to the skies in his/her standard issue flying jet armor and axe-sword. You know, normal knight stuff.
And takes to the skies in his/her standard issue flying jet armor and axe-sword. You know, normal knight stuff.
Turns out a few weirdos have been collecting under the giant monolith.
Turns out a few weirdos have been collecting under the giant monolith.
Seven of them, to be precise. Wait, was I off by one with my earlier prediction?
Seven of them, to be precise. Wait, was I off by one with my earlier prediction?
And then this priest dude summons the bad guy from Krull and it all starts getting a little too real.
And then this priest dude summons the bad guy from Krull and it all starts getting a little too real.
Like
Like "Holy shit that guy is big" real.
Welcome to Lords of Thunder! I don't need no configurations to know how to rock! (No seriously, is there a difficulty setting?) (Yes, but Normal is the lowest.) (Fukken metal!)
Welcome to Lords of Thunder! I don't need no configurations to know how to rock! (No seriously, is there a difficulty setting?) (Yes, but Normal is the lowest.) (Fukken metal!)
Well, it looks like I have a few options for where I want to start. I'll stick with the default, this deserty place. Seems like I might be decent at it?
Well, it looks like I have a few options for where I want to start. I'll stick with the default, this deserty place. Seems like I might be decent at it?
These armors, turns out, define your weapon load-outs. I figured fire has to be the most damaging. I mean, makes sense, right?
These armors, turns out, define your weapon load-outs. I figured fire has to be the most damaging. I mean, makes sense, right?
There's also a shop before each stage. You can get a boost to health (useful if you barely scraped through the last boss fight), shields that take a few hits on your behalf (useful if you're going into a stage blind), power boosts that increase your weapon power from the offset, an additional bomb, elixirs which I think work like the fairies in Legend of Zelda and additional continues. You can't have too many of those, but they're a bit pricey right now.
There's also a shop before each stage. You can get a boost to health (useful if you barely scraped through the last boss fight), shields that take a few hits on your behalf (useful if you're going into a stage blind), power boosts that increase your weapon power from the offset, an additional bomb, elixirs which I think work like the fairies in Legend of Zelda and additional continues. You can't have too many of those, but they're a bit pricey right now.
The Fire Armor gives me this neat spread shot as the default. If I keep picking up power boosts, it'll change into something even more damaging.
The Fire Armor gives me this neat spread shot as the default. If I keep picking up power boosts, it'll change into something even more damaging.
In addition, I want to be collecting these gems for the next shop visit. It's easy to get distracted while grabbing them and get hit, though.
In addition, I want to be collecting these gems for the next shop visit. It's easy to get distracted while grabbing them and get hit, though.
For instance, this sudden antlion is one of those things you ought to be giving your undivided attention to. As well as being the biggest threat on the screen, if you can kill it fast enough you'll get even more goodies. It's what I was saying earlier about playing a stage a few times so you know when these larger types show up.
For instance, this sudden antlion is one of those things you ought to be giving your undivided attention to. As well as being the biggest threat on the screen, if you can kill it fast enough you'll get even more goodies. It's what I was saying earlier about playing a stage a few times so you know when these larger types show up.
Better watch out for the giant dragon crawler tanks too, while I'm at it.
Better watch out for the giant dragon crawler tanks too, while I'm at it.
The desert stage then takes a turn for the vertical as I fall through this hole. Those spiky guys are mining robots that are constantly falling from above, so I'm trying to stay away from that half of the screen.
The desert stage then takes a turn for the vertical as I fall through this hole. Those spiky guys are mining robots that are constantly falling from above, so I'm trying to stay away from that half of the screen.
The power-ups (you can see one there, they look like yellow stars with blue gems) will eventually upgrade your weapon. At the top right, you can see your health (blue pips) and power level (red pips). If it goes yellow, your weapon suddenly gets a lot more badass. You lose power level whenever you get hit though, sort of like Cave Story (or a bunch of other shoot 'em ups for that matter).
The power-ups (you can see one there, they look like yellow stars with blue gems) will eventually upgrade your weapon. At the top right, you can see your health (blue pips) and power level (red pips). If it goes yellow, your weapon suddenly gets a lot more badass. You lose power level whenever you get hit though, sort of like Cave Story (or a bunch of other shoot 'em ups for that matter).
This jumping knight dude just completely ruins my day. He's not quite a boss, but he's persistent and will often get behind you, making it hard to destroy him quickly.
This jumping knight dude just completely ruins my day. He's not quite a boss, but he's persistent and will often get behind you, making it hard to destroy him quickly.
I didn't survive. Instead, I'm trying out the green Earth Armor. It has far more ground game going on, perhaps obviously enough, and the torrents of flame it summons are far more damaging to the low-lying enemies around here.
I didn't survive. Instead, I'm trying out the green Earth Armor. It has far more ground game going on, perhaps obviously enough, and the torrents of flame it summons are far more damaging to the low-lying enemies around here.
Though I got a lot further with this armor, this boss is kind of ridonkulous. If its fire breath doesn't get you, its lightning sword or pincer weiner will.
Though I got a lot further with this armor, this boss is kind of ridonkulous. If its fire breath doesn't get you, its lightning sword or pincer weiner will.
I'm trying a different stage instead, the aquatic Auzal. I also have the yellow Wind Armor on, which fires relatively weak lightning bolts out. I suspect this might be the armor to have if you're good at holding onto power-ups.
I'm trying a different stage instead, the aquatic Auzal. I also have the yellow Wind Armor on, which fires relatively weak lightning bolts out. I suspect this might be the armor to have if you're good at holding onto power-ups.
Whoa! What the hell, damn guy!
Whoa! What the hell, damn guy!
I didn't like Auzal. I'm trying the much safer-looking volcano zone Llamarada. Maybe Jeff Minter designed this stage?
I didn't like Auzal. I'm trying the much safer-looking volcano zone Llamarada. Maybe Jeff Minter designed this stage?
The blue Water Armor is similar to the Fire Armor, but the spread is more focused. Having shots appear directly above and below you has a useful defensive aspect too. This is presumably the suit to wear if you're a wuss, like me.
The blue Water Armor is similar to the Fire Armor, but the spread is more focused. Having shots appear directly above and below you has a useful defensive aspect too. This is presumably the suit to wear if you're a wuss, like me.
Let's... let's not go into the volcano, guys. I'm very hurt.
Let's... let's not go into the volcano, guys. I'm very hurt.
It doesn't help that I'm immediately accosted by whatever the hell this thing is.
It doesn't help that I'm immediately accosted by whatever the hell this thing is.
Daaaamn, died again.
Daaaamn, died again.
You have a timer to make a decision here. It's the candles; they go out one by one. Honestly, though, unless you've saved up enough for an extra continue to replace the one you've just spent, there's no point if you still haven't beaten a single boss. It's not likely I'll be doing that today. I kinda suck at shoot 'em ups, if that's not clear.
You have a timer to make a decision here. It's the candles; they go out one by one. Honestly, though, unless you've saved up enough for an extra continue to replace the one you've just spent, there's no point if you still haven't beaten a single boss. It's not likely I'll be doing that today. I kinda suck at shoot 'em ups, if that's not clear.

Lords of Thunder is amazing, but at the same time requires a level of dedication I'm not quite prepared to lend to a single item in a daily series. I did get to the boss of that first stage though, so I bet I could beat him with enough perseverance and caution. Caution isn't really the sort of adjective that suits Lords of Thunder, though, as you'll come to understand once you listen to its music below.

While I do have a few more shoot 'em ups on the docket (there's so dang many, you can't swing an Option around without hitting one), they're all a little less serious than Lords of Thunder. And considerably less metal.

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GunstarRed

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#1  Edited By GunstarRed  Online

Oh shit! I want to play this game right this second! I was vaguely aware of this game. I'd seen someone playing the Mega CD version of it though. That is some of the finest music I have ever heard in a game... And a cover by Ghost in the Shell's Masamune Shirow! Did he do the in game art also? God damn, this might be one of the coolest games ever.

I see it was made by Red. They've made a bunch of really good action games, especially on the PS2 ( Gungrave, Bujingai) It's a shame they seem to be pumping out fossil fighters games for kids on the DS/3DS these days... METALLLL!

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bobafettjm

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Man, I really need to find me a TurboGrafx, let alone the CD. I have heard how great this game is multiple times, but I am really not very good at these shooters.

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