Thunder Force II is a hybrid top down free roaming shooter and a side scrolling shooter packed into one game, referencing the first Thunder Force with the top down section and staying competitive with the new side scrolling levels. Players fly the FIRE-LEO02 Execliza, searching to destroys bases in the top down mode and then fly through the side scrolling sections in search of defeating ORN once and for all.
Weapons and Powerups
Thunder Force II has a diverse selection of weapons that can be chosen at any time as long as the ship is equipped with the weapon power up. Below is a list of all the weapons and a short description of their usefulness.
A default weapon, twin shot is a basic, no frills weapon that deals moderate damage with limited range. Twin allows the ship to fire two machine guns at a withering rate. Since twin is one of the two weapons retained after a death, it is a key weapon in the game despite its mediocrity.
The second default weapon, back is basically twin with the exception that the ship can now fire forwards and backwards. As such, bullets stream from the front and back and can be very helpful in shaking a tailing foe off without having to meticulously fight off the opponent and putting the player's ship in danger.
Wide (Top Down Only)
A top down weapon only, wide replaces back when picked up and for good reason, as wide shots not just front and back but also from a 45 degree angle both ways from the front. Wide is good for confronting overall threats and is useful for keeping the tail clear from foes while dealing damage to units in front.
Five (Top Down Only)
This weapon feels quite like a spread cannon, covering a great area and dealing medium damage. This weapon can fill a majority of the screen and keep foes suppressed, but the only drawback is that it is hard to spot enemy bullets with all the firepower dished out.
Des (Top Down Only)
Primarily a ground attack, Des allows the ship to shoot at ground targets not just directly head on but at the two 45 degree angles, making this the perfect weapon for destroying bases and not putting the ship in front of danger. Des is effective against turrets since they shoot only in a certain pattern.
Clash (Top Down Only)
A weapon similar to the flamethrower from Contra, this weapon shoots swirls that constantly loop forward, destroying units in its path. This weapon is more powerful than most other weapons and could be used to clear the screen of enemies with proper directional input.
The series' trademark weapon, the hunter shoots out energy balls that lock on to enemies and continues to follow them until they are destroyed. Hunter rounds shoot from the ship extremely fast, making this weapon the ultimate force in dealing with onscreen enemies. The only downside is that in top-down levels hunter rounds do not strike ground targets and can attack enemies that are invincible, allowing vulnerable enemies to slip by.
Mega (Side View Only)
The replacement to back, mega is a good offensive choice as it allows the ship to shoot three rounds forward and two rounds backwards, enabling good coverage of most angles during scrolling levels.
Wave (Side View Only)
A good early weapon, wave shots weave in and out of each other and can go through obstacles which make this weapon great for taking care of enemies further down the screen. Its oscillating pattern also can pick off units where other weapons cannot reach.
Side (Side View Only)
Extremely helpful in the later levels, side blaster lets the ship shoot directly above and below, great for eliminating turrets and falling enemies with ease. It can also be used to take out destructible flying obstacles without awkwardly positioning the ship at an angle that is disadvantageous.
Nova (Side View Only)
This weapon requires a bit of thought for proper use. It shoots rounds of energy in a spread formation, but will always shoot in the opposite direction from where the ship is heading. Therefore, to get this weapon firing forward, the ship must be "flying" backwards, or to shoot above, the ship must be flying downward. However, once this learning curve is established, this weapon can be used strike enemies from any angle.
The strongest weapon in the game and the replacement to twin, laser first either a constant beam of energy in the top view mode, or four lasers in rhythm for the side view levels. Foes will melt at this weapon's great power and strength.
An add-on for the ship, the claw is similar to the options from Gradius, rotating around the ship and firing forwards. The most valuable addition the claw brings is that the claw can absorb enemy bullets if it comes into contact with it. The ship is capable of having two claws attached to it, making death from bullet fire significantly decreased if managed well.
Roll increases the speed at which the claws rotate around the ship. Bullets will have a much harder time penetrating through to the ship when roll is active. After a set time, the roll will cease and the claws will continue to roll at the original speed.
Like Contra, barrier grants temporary invincibility for the ship.