Thursday, October 13, 2022

Silpheed and AH-3 Thunderstrike

Sega CD Summer is out! This is the seventh entry in the Sega Tote Series

My personal Sega CD collection wasn't as large as Tommy's (whose grew to 20 games, he reflects in the book's final chapter). I had eleven of them.

Silpheed and AH-3 Thunderstrike were among them. Silpheed was a Christmas gift. I'm not great at shooters, but I thought this was pretty cool. AH-3 Thunderstrike (called Thunderhawk outside of North America, apparently) may have been the best Sega CD game I owned. Given that I actually liked Rebel Assault, that may not mean much to you.

The case for Silpheed on the Sega CD

Putting in Silpheed was remarkable. I can still remember the opening cinematic and how cool it was that the game featured real voiceover and radio chatter. 

The game looked phenomenal for its time, with polygonal ships over pre-rendered backgrounds. The background is essentially a video clip that your starfighter is flying over. When I first got the system, I didn't realize that and didn't care. Now, if you know the trick, maybe it looks less impressive. I still think it looks good.

Hardcore fans of shooters probably won't find much to recommend from the game because it's a pretty routine shooter with some OK weapon upgrades and enemies. I say it's a solid game overall that may not do anything particularly groundbreaking but manages to look good, sound good, and play competently. 

Is that a ringing endorsement? For a platform that struggled with "competent games" at times, you bet it is.

The case of AH-3 Thunderstrike for the Sega CD

I snagged AH-3 Thunderstrike from the bargain bin at Sears, which almost always seemed to have Sega CD games on clearance (most of their other games were way, way overpriced). 

I definitely got my money's worth.

Developed by Core Design and published by JVC for the Sega CD, Thunderstrike reminded me of a 3D version of one of the games from EA's Strike series. A briefing with voiceover preceded each mission to go over the terrain and map out the objectives.

Once the level started, you had a good deal of freedom to move around the map and blow stuff up. The weapons were satisfying to use, explosions looked good and felt even better, and the music soundtrack absolutely rocked. 

Thunderstrike was one of the few games that truly brought out the best of the Sega CD. The graphics were good, the sound great, and the gameplay top notch. If more developers treated the platform with such care, maybe we would've been spared all the slapped-together Genesis ports and seemingly endless amounts of full-motion video games that plagued the system.