Sunday, September 23, 2012

Game of the Day - Lethal Thunder

The tagline for Lethal Thunder should be "YOU are the power-up!"  Lethal Thunder is a vertical shooter with one of my favorite features (that is also pretty rare) - the faster you press the fire button, the more powerful your fire becomes.

Let's back up a minute... LT is a pretty normal early 90s very shooter with fun, quasi-cartoony graphics and some imaginative enemies.  You have two buttons to use along with the joystick.  The buttons are fire and bomb (of course they are).  You have to have picked up a little satellite and have it following you to use a bomb.  That satellite is what launches and explodes as your bomb when you push the 2nd button. So, there is never more than one bomb in your arsenal, you simply currently have one to deploy or not.  When you do, soon enough another starts floating onto the screen for you to procure.

There is also one other condition for when you can launch a bomb and it has to do with your firepower...  As I said before, the great feature of this game is that the faster you push the fire button, the more powerful your shot becomes (with most weapons, it increases how many shots come out simultaneously).  There is a gauge on the left side (right side for plyr 2) that shows your current power level, the gauge has arrows next to it at certain levels indicating where you achieve the next level of power.  So, you can watch the power bar increase as you pound the button, trying to get it to the max.  Now, back to the bomb, the bombs are only armed and able to be launched when your firepower achieves the third level (2nd power-up).  The bomb will change color to indicate you can now launch it.  BUT!!!  Here's the catch - when you launch a bomb, your firepower resets back to the minimum.  So only use it when you need to.  This thoughtful restriction in bomb arming and the penalty for using it adds a lot to the strategy of the game.

There are other colored orbs to collect and they change your weapon type (there is a nice assortment).

And don't forget the data.  If you read the blog regularly, you know I likey the numbers.  LT reports at the end of the stage how many enemies you took out at each power level and the total shots taken and then gives you bonuses proportionally.  Sweet.

So, the fun of the game is trying to break your button and grow your bicep.  It is very difficult to press so quickly as to achieve max power.  And while it's true that the plentiful firepower can make the game seem easy, soon there are enemies everywhere to counteract all your power.  So, you are tempted to bomb them, but if you do, it's back to square one for your firepower.  It all adds up to a very unique twist on a very overdone genre.  Play it and measure your arm muscles before and after.

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