Thunder & Lightning



“If you are a dedicated ball-and-paddle connoisseur, Thunder & Lightning stands as an essential exhibit to try. Otherwise, some will enjoy while others will not. At least it is nifty-lookin’ and operates hitch-free.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.

I have a soft spot for RomStar as a developer.

Both Championship Bowling and Cowboy Kid are great examples of their work. You will hardly ever see these titles in any top-10 lists, nor even as people’s favorites, yet they possess a certain sort of charm that is difficult to put into words. They are the type of games you remember fondly, and clearly came from a competent team, but just never had the full polish of a AAA title for the era.

Sometimes, the flaws are obvious: Let’s be honest, there was never a huge market for a bowling game on the NES, even with four-player capability. And the narrative shortcomings of Cowboy Kid, a game in which you spend your time constantly shankin’ Mexicans, are cringeworthy. Really, from the execution to the title, Cowboy Kid seems like the kind of game a 12-year-old thought up in the 1950’s era of gunslinger television.

Then there is Thunder & Lightning. Again, with its unfortunate flaws (see the full review for details). But, again, with flourishes that would be an unexpected surprise — they put in a two-player simultaneous mode, which is cool, if executed a little strangely (two smaller paddles that cannot pass each other) and ends up more difficult than you would think.

One problem with paddle games... the RAGE.

One problem with paddle games… the RAGE.

Unlike Arkanoid with the Vaus controller and Breakout on Atari 2600 paddle controllers, Thunder & Lightning sticks you with full reliance on the D-Pad. This means that you are presented with obvious limitations in your play.

But if you like action-oriented puzzle games, and you can embrace the limitations herein… I can honestly recommend Thunder & Lightning. The frenetic moments of power-up overlap are very satisfying, and all the little characters that pose benefits and consequences alike are pleasant enough to meet.

Give Thunder & Lightning a try, if you can. It is definitely one of those quirky, slightly-obscure titles that will better your well-roundedness as a retro gamer. You might even really like it.

NES Gameplay Tips For Thunder & Lightning: Be patient, abuse the power-ups, and limit the opportunities for sharp angle changes near the floor.

There is room to explore some neat possibilities in this 8-bit game. I uploaded a video to show one of these little tricks.

Read The Full Review For: Non-categorized thoughts for you hipster review types out there, commentary on the music and pixel art, too many words, and critique on the one very particular flaw of this game.









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