Operation Thunderbolt (video game)

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Operation Thunderbolt
Operation Thunderbolt arcade flyer featuring the game's protagonists
Promotional flyer
Developer(s) Taito
Publisher(s) Taito
Director(s) Menahem Golan
Platform(s) Arcade, Amiga, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Commodore 64
Release 1988
Genre(s) Shooting gallery
Mode(s) Single-player, 2 player Co-op
Cabinet Upright
CPU 68000 (@ 13 MHz)
Sound Z80 (@ 4 MHz)
YM2610 (@ 8 MHz), (6x) Volume (@ 8 MHz)
Display Raster, 320 x 240 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors

Operation Thunderbolt is a one- or two-player shooter arcade game by Taito made in 1988. It is the sequel to Operation Wolf. Like its predecessor, the game uses mounted positional guns as controllers. It also adds two-player simultaneous play. Versions of the game were released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and various home computers. An arcade exclusive sequel to Operation Thunderbolt was released in 1994, Operation Wolf 3.


Roy Adams and Hardy Jones, two green berets, must save American hostages from a hijacked airliner which was forced to land in the fictional African province, Kalubya. To accomplish their mission, they must capture six different bases, shoot enemies such as soldiers, jeeps, tanks, and helicopters using their machine gun or grenade launcher, and try to save the hostages along the way. Enemies attack with bullets, grenades, or rockets. Killing the hostages by accident results in the player receiving a bad ending. Once Stage 8 is reached, the players must engage with the lead hijacker holding the pilot hostage. At this point continues are no longer permitted and if the player dies, he obtains a game over screen which is also seen when the player fails to insert coins before the continue timer reaches 0. The player can accidentally kill the pilot, which triggers a bad ending. If he kills the hijacker, the good ending is shown with the credits.


Operation Thunderbolt was ported to the following platforms:

Gameplay in the Snes version

The Super NES version also works with the SNES Mouse[1] and the Super Scope. In addition, the player was able to choose from a variety of different characters. The storyline was altered in that the hijackers were members of a fictional country known as the Bintazi People's Republic, ruled by General Abul Bazarre, ruler for life. General Bazarre demands that his comrades be freed or else the hostages will be executed.


Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 80%[2]
Crash 91%[3]
Sinclair User 92%[4]
Your Sinclair 93%[5]
ACE 927[6]
Next Generation 2/5 stars (SNES)[7]
The Games Machine 91%[8]
Publication Award
Your Sinclair Megagame
Crash Crash Smash
Sinclair User SU Classic

The game won the award for best graphics of the year according to the readers of Crash magazine.[9]

Reviewing the Super NES version, GamePro criticized the repetitiveness of the gameplay and the slowness of the aiming reticule, but praised the colorful and detailed graphics and strong sound effects, and concluded that "This Operation is a success, generating plenty of shootin' thrills for intermediate soldiers."[10] A reviewer for Next Generation dismissed it as "another shooting-gallery game, just like Operation Wolf ... It's good for a mild adrenaline rush - barely - but that's it."[7]

Connection to real events[edit]

Operation Thunderbolt was also one of the names used to refer to the Israeli Defense Forces' 1976 hostage rescue mission at Entebbe, Uganda, and also to a feature film dramatizing the same event. The game is arguably a very loose adaptation of the raid at Entebbe: The "North African province Kalubya" in the game is in a location in Africa that corresponds to the location of Libya in real life; the name of the province is an obvious corruption of Libya (possibly a portmanteau with Kaboom or Kablooey), and both involved hijacked airliners, hostages and a commando raid (the hijackers landed the plane in Libya to refuel before proceeding to Uganda; the game unifies the two locations).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]