Thunderblade is an Arcade game by Sega. The player takes control of a helicopter and destroys air and ground threats while avoiding buildings. It is one of the early games to make use of Sega's Super Scaler technology (along with Space Harrier, Hang-On, OutRun, and After Burner), which scaled sprites and allowed them to seem as if they were different distances away from the player, giving the game a pseudo-3D perspective. In the case of Thunder Blade, this made buildings to appear to have height and depth to them, as well as making it seem enemies were coming into view from below as the helicopter flies through the streets.
The game intermittently switches from a vertical scrolling top-down perspective to that of a third-person "behind the helicopter" view in which it appears to travel forwards into the screen, on a Z-axis. Both viewpoints play the same: The player must use a mix of weaponry to attack both rival helicopters in the air and enemy tanks on the ground, all the while avoiding the nearby buildings.
The original Arcade version was released for the Sega X Board hardware. The game came in two different cabinets. The standard upright cabinet featured, like Space Harrier and After Burner, an analog flight stick and force feedback.
The other, more expensive, cabinet was the deluxe sit-down cabinet, where the player sits on a helicopter seat and the seat moves in sync with the chopper's movements, with the player controlling the motion of the seat. The monitor of the deluxe cabinet is decorated with various dials and graphics to simulate the look of a real helicopter cockpit.
The game was a huge arcade hit and Sega would port the game to many consoles, including both of their own consoles, Master System and Mega Drive / Genesis, as well as many other systems. These versions generally weren't able to properly mimic the effects of the Super Scaler technology, however.